April 15, 2008

Collaborate 08 Hyperion Track - Tuesday

Remember how I went a bit "off the rails" about the horribleness of Monday's lunch? I was told by someone later that there were actually decent desserts during the afternoon snack hour. I was busy then, so I didn't personally see the desserts in question, but I'm willing to stipulate to their existence. Still, chocolaty goodness in no way makes up for the gruel (cold) that they served for lunch. Note that I kept my eye out for tasty snackage today and saw nothing. If there was sugary heaven to be found, someone was hiding it from me.

This was the busiest day I've ever experienced at a convention. I was supposed to go to John Kopcke's presentation at 9:45AM on the "EPM Vision," but I cancelled (in favor of catching up on e-mail) when I heard that it was going to be shockingly similar to the presentation Fred Richards gave at the Hyperion SIG. I sometimes get a kick out of hearing Kopcke speak, but I forced myself to miss this session.

At 11:00AM, I delivered a presentation called "Essbase for Non-Financial Applications." The room was about half full (or was it half empty?). Roughly, there were about 100 people there. I enjoy giving this presentation, because it gives concrete examples of how Essbase is not just for the financial analysts and accountants at a company.

I talked about the many applications Michaels (the arts & crafts stores) has built that were non-financial and I went into exhaustive detail about their marketing/advertising analysis application. It's interesting not only because it's primarily operational statistics, but also because it has a newspaper dimension that lists over 1,300 newspapers around North America. I think it's probably the only "newspaper dimension" I've ever seen.

Immediately after the presentation, Tracy and I rushed to a book signing at the Collaborate bookstore for our two new books. While people have asked us for autographs before, I've never been a part of an actual book signing. I really enjoyed myself. Some people stayed to chat while others just presented their books. I had fun making up pithy comments to write in the books along with the signature although being tired, some of the comments were only semi-pithy.

The only problem with the book signing was that it occurred during lunch. Oh, wait. They served box lunches again. God was smiling on me this day by saving me from the dreaded boxes of bread.

I stopped by the booth briefly. Traffic was extremely light, so I was able to walk around and talk to some friends from other consulting companies. I heard a few rumors about the implosion of some of our major competitors. I'd like to repeat them here, but I'm not the gossipping type. ("Say, did you see Acme Solutions kissing AAA Consulting behind the projector screen?") I also heard (again, rumor) about the impending demise of a couple of Hyperion products that will be replaced by Answers Plus. I'll have to verify this before I post it, but since a lot of people use these products, I'm not sure who I can convince to go on the record.

Today's exhibit hall (at least at around 2:00PM) was devoid of food. I may starve to death at this convention.

Two presentations after lunch: Real World Optimization and Power of 64-Bit Essbase. The Optimization present had around 140, but the 64-bit presentation was surprisingly light (50 people, tops). Maybe it's because it ended around 5:45PM and a lot of people were tired.

I did cause quite a stir in the 64-bit session when I broke the news about the upcoming release of 128-bit Essbase. Supposedly (I believe it when I see it), it can handle outlines with up to 2^1024 members in a single dimension. Theoretically, a single cube can grow to 274,877,906,944 YB (yottabytes) in size. In the lab, the Essbase developers have built a cube that stores the entire current contents of the internet. I'm hoping that they used Aggregate Storage. While Oracle is pretty inspecific about their release dates, one of the developers told me (off-the record) that "they won't even have this in beta until after this year" so don't hold your breath.

Consider that last paragraph to be a delayed April Fools Joke. Back to the serious.

After the presentations, I raced back to the Hyatt Regency to catch one of the limos we rented to a client appreciation event we were hosting at the Denver Chophouse. We rented three limos. The one I was in was called an "REO Speedwagon" and looked like an armored car on the outside. Some of the other people got in a party bus that looks like the "heavily armed recreational vehicle" in Stripes. I kid you not.

We had about 60 people show up at the event. Dinner was tasty (I had the 4-cheese Penne) and after the meal, we had an amazing mentalist named Chris Carter perform. We started off by introducing him as "Chris Carter, interRel's new Director of Human Resources." He actually sat and ate dinner with us doing periodic tricks: "I learned these to help break the ice in my HR role." It eventually became obvious that he was not an HR Director.

After the food and mentalist, we went downstairs to Sing Sing, a dueling piano bar. We rented out the place from 8-9:30PM for our "private interRel party." It was more fun than humans should be allowed to have without serving jail time. I attribute a large portion of the fun to the open bar we had during the event. They let us keep the tab open until 10:30PM (though they started letting other people in) which just added to the fun, frankly.

I rode the Urban Assault Vehicle back to the Hyatt at 10:30PM, staggered up to my room, and collapsed. Conventions are exhausting. I really need to get myself a Segway.

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