Consciousness … over

Debate may continue to rage about the existence and nature of consciousness among philosophers, neuroscientists and others ( see the latest from Nature here), but we are done with the topic. We’re already looking forward to APE 2025 with conference dates set for January 13-16.

End of the year is nigh!

The approach of 30 June means two things:

1. It’s never been a better time to register for the next APE conference

2. Season passes at SilverStar are at their lowest rate before this date.

The approaching cold weather system currently hitting South Eastern Australia is another little reminder of the Canadian winter around the corner.






Summary proceedings 2023 Available now!

To quote a number of 2023 participants “What a great conference!”. For a bit of a flavour, check out the summary proceedings here.

One of the big discussion points was the use of AI. ChatGPT had just started to gain attention when we ran the conference. Lately, we’ve been playing with the text to image AI within BING and it provided us with some pretty neat illustrations of what APE is all about. Enjoy! Let me know which one you think best captures APE!










APE Recovery Complete

January 9-14, 2022 saw the post COVID resurrection of APE conferencing. 

It was not without some cobwebs but the end result was an excellent conference with many fascinating presentations on the experiences of the last few years and speculations about the future. 

In the immediate future is the preparation of summary conference proceedings and then preparing for APE 2024. We expect the summary proceedings to be completed before the end of this quarter. Hopefully we’ll have flights booked by then as well!

During the conference final sessions we discussed dates for 2024. There was some support for shifting the dates a little later in the calendar. A suggestion was made that we aim for 15-19 January and the SilverStar conference rooms have been held for those dates. An alternative is to straddle the weekend with sessions on 11, 12 and 15, 16 of January. Looking forward to your feedback!

Profs Stevenson and De Souza presenting at APE 2023

APE and Avo’s

As announced, the theme for the 2023 conference is “Après Recovery”. It’s nice to think that this will reflect a post-pandemic world, even as infection rates currently remain high. We seem to have moved to a new worry – inflation*. Apparently avocados are one of the few grocery items we can buy now without feeling inflation’s suck. This is great news for us avowed avo’ lovers.

The avocado might also have some lessons for us in predicting change. Just the other day, Millennials were being excoriated for their inability to do without the luxury of an avocado on toast. Now picking up a few avo’s at Coles or Woolies is the epitome of good housekeeping. Of course the other half of this turnaround is the avo’ entrepreneur. She invested on the basis of hipsters’ insatiable demand. The trees she planted are now bearing fruit but everyone else’s are too.

Could the same thing happen to the monetary value of our professional services? Medical specialists have always seemed able to limit new entrants. But this may no longer be the case. Some other professions have been doing a lot of planting… School leavers of the last decade may be charging into the roles that offered income and lifestyle five or ten years ago. Are they right to do so? What will it mean for established professionals?

HAASta la vista!

*A reminder: APE registration is unaffected by inflation during the early bird period. Also, inflation can be largely ignored once you get to SilverStar. High fuel costs can be ignored – there’s no need to go anywhere that doesn’t involve a simple slide on perfect snow, or a walk down the stairs to the Chilcoot conference room. There in the Chilcoot, you will be able to crack a few cookies and engage in some deep thought and discussion about the future shape of your professional life. For more peace-of-mind, you could ride chairlifts largely powered by BC’s green hydro power.

Inflating APE

Sadly, the convenors of APE are old enough to have lived through many types of inflation including the dreaded stagflation. The 1980s, arguably our prime years, practically invented stagflation. Stagflation sounds kind of fun until you figure out that the “stag” bit did not refer to Triumph sports cars, deers with huge antlers or other memes for youthful lustiness. What stagflation did mean was significant unemployment and inflation, mitigated by punk music.

Back in the day, we got pretty good at gaming the stagflating economy by not having cash (easy at that age), delaying fixed payments for as long as possible and trying (but usually failing) to negotiate pay that would match the future declining value of a dollar.

Lots of pundits today are suggesting we are heading into a similar period. If they are right, we need to get our lives and businesses tuned to anticipate this. At APE we are moving proactively by:

  1. Opening registrations for 2023 now thereby allowing you to lock in rates before inflation takes hold, and in this financial year to accelerate any available deductions
  2. Offering early bird discounts to recognise that future payments will be of lesser value in real money terms than current payments
  3. Trying to lock in our costs, such as flights and venue hire, well ahead of January.

I’d encourage you to do the same. None of us want to be run over by raging stagflation…

2023 : Après Recovery?

2023: Après Recovery?

SilverStar Après! (photo credit SilverStar Mountain)

2022 was supposed to be the “Recovery” conference. In the end it was an Omicron washout. But it is “game-on!” for 2023. Tentative dates are 10 to 13 January, 2023 for an “Après Recovery” themed conference.

Of course anything is possible in this terrifying new world. But as we wait to see what the next catastrophe brings, why not make plans for a flourishing future?!

Making plans at least helps to organise thoughts, establish priorities, and acknowledge good fortune (where it exists!). So please build APE 2023 into your calendars. No promises, but maybe it will be a turning point for the world, or at least we can make a little bit of it better…


APE Again!

Optimistically, we have booked travel to Canada for January 2022. Can’t wait to get there and I know a lot of others are thinking the same way. We NEED to gather and process what has happened over the last two years and start to plan for the next. So we are planning to hold a conference- details are:

Place: SilverStar British Columbia
Dates: 10- 14 January, 2022

Contact us if you want to discuss participation as a speaker or delegate or to discuss logistics

Jab Jab Hook

A few months ago we were buoyed by airlines announcing they were getting international flights going by October 2021. It’s pretty clear that that is not going to happen. The Australian Budget is predicated on international travel not resuming until June 2022. Accordingly, odds are that we won’t be running a conference in January 2022. We’ll keep you updated if things change.

Back in the ’90s we went to a “boxercise” class . We had to practice going “Jab Jab Hook”. There was something wonderfully frustration-relieving about smacking the pads of the instructor, big Terry.

The analogy, obviously, is with our vaccination program. If we all get in our two jabs, we should be able to hook back into international travel and relieve the frustration of being incarcerated in Australia.

Admittedly we are “cooped up” in a pretty fantastic location. Many of us have taken advantage of learning about what our backyard can offer up. We are also probably more aware of how much inattentive travel we used to do. I think it is fair to say that when the gates are finally opened we will travel with a greater consciousness of our impacts and appreciation of the features of distant locations. We’re certainly planning to travel less often but for longer and with greater intensity of focus. We hope that you will share this intensity and focus with us in future APE meetings, even if we have to wait until January 2023.

Evolution, extinction or hibernation for APE?

The world has certainly moved a long way since our last post on 14th of March. Then, we anticipated still holding a meeting in SilverStar in January 2021. We struggled to conceive of a pandemic that might disrupt minor aspects of our lives for a short period. Now, there are so many “known-unknowns and unknown-unknowns” that we are adjusting to a completely different set of expectations for at least a couple of years.

International travel to a conference is outside our expectation set for the first half of 2021. Even if travel to Canada were possible, things that make APE special (face-to-face discussions, indoor and outdoor activities, buffets …) are not flavour of the month under COVID19.

This leaves three options; we can evolve to a COVID19 friendly model, we can give up and accept extinction, or we can hibernate.

Option 1: An evolved APE to meet COVID19 social distancing notions would probably mean Zoom hosted discussions. This does not have the same appeal as face-to-face meetings where the snow is falling outside and your legs are feeling the effect of recent adrenaline-laced adventures. One of the main features of APE is that we take ourselves away from the day-to-day, we get fresh perspective and free ourselves of a few of our limiting beliefs. In my experience, this is not really a possibility in a Zoom meeting…

Option 2: Extinction of APE – something we are not ready to contemplate.

Option 3: It is the third option that seems most sensible at the moment. Hibernation is equivalent to what is happening with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and many other events. If we poke our heads up in 2021 and find that we are still in “iso”, we will re-evaluate.

Please let us know if this makes sense to you, have other ideas, or just want to say “hi”.