April 16, 2008

Collaborate 08 Hyperion Track - Wednesday

I got to sleep in until 8AM, because the first presentation I had to deliver was at 9:30AM on "Calc Scripts for Mere Mortals." The room was packed, but I'm not surprised: this one and "How Essbase Thinks" are usually really full.

In the continuing saga of disorganization at this conference, OAUG scheduled me to deliver two presentations at the same time today at 11AM: Ask an Essbase Guru and Tips for Hyperion Planning. Tracy is also supposed to sit on the panel, but she's delivering a presentation at that time too. We've been trying to convince them to move the Guru panel (in addition to the fact that I can't be both places at once, interRel has 3 other presentations at the exact same time). As of Wednesday morning at 8AM, they hadn't moved it, so we scrambled to get coverage. Josie Manzano end up delivering my Planning presentation and Vince Tran delivered Tracy's "Integrating System 9 with Your Data Warehouse" session. I heard afterwards from some of their attendees that they did great jobs.

The panel consisted of 7 of interRel's Hyperion Essbase Certified consultants (including Eduardo Quiroz, the co-founder of my company, and one of the first three Essbase certified consultants in the world). I played the MC role, and I really enjoyed it. We took questions from the audience (the room was about half full) and it's one of only three times in my life when I can recall not a single person walking out until time was up.

Some of the questions were high-level (how do you get Essbase certified?), some were forward-looking (what's going to happen with the Essbase VB API?), some were historical (what does the acronym 'Essbase' stand for?), some were technical (how do I get the Essbase Add-In to work for any user on a given computer not just the one under which it was installed?) and some were downright bizarre (when was the last time Edward shaved his beard?). We made it through about half the submitted questions and the audience gave the panel a nice round of applause at the end. I enjoyed the experience, and I think the attendees did to (since none walked out and they seemed to be smiling throughout).

The only problem was that although OAUG knew this was a panel, they only put one wired microphone in the room. They also didn't set up a raised table at the front (as we've had at previous panels). We ended up setting up 7 chairs for the panel, I used the microphone, and the panel tried to speak in their best "outside voice." There were a couple of times when Jason, Lisa, and Tracy couldn't be heard, so I had to do a bit of repeating (and one time Tracy walked around to the podium mic for a particularly long bit).

The organization of this conference compared to Hyperion Solutions (or OpenWorld which I did not enjoy from a content standpoint, but it was VERY well organized) is underwhelming. I've had several Hyperion attendees come up to me and when I ask "so how are you enjoying the conference?" either answer with "this is so poorly organized that I had to sit on the floor to eat my continental breakfast since they didn't provide tables or chairs" (or something about else about disorganization) or "there aren't a lot of good presentations." Some people have actually told me that they're not coming back to Collaborate due to its inferiority compared to Solutions. This isn't good, because where else are they going to go? There's Kaleidoscope for the technical side, but they don't (at least at the moment, anyway) offer applications content.

... and they have to do something about the food. I know I'm beating a dead horse (and on a related note, some of the attendees feel like at lunch they've been eating a dead horse), but food is important. People have to eat every single day, and they don't expect to be out of town eating bready sandwiches. May I add that I'm also appalled that you have to submit a ticket to get food (and one drink only!) at lunch? We're all wearing our badges, so the only reason to have us also give tickets is to make sure that we're not getting seconds. In other words, they want the people who are still hungry after their sandwich to stay hungry. They also limit each attendee to two drinks during the Wednesday night event which they monitor through tickets. Two drink maximum? That's reason enough to boycott right there.

I think someone from Collaborate must have read my blog, because they actually served a hot lunch today! I was told it was a buffet style lunch with actual warm food. I saw someone eating steak and someone else with salmon. As luck would have it, I was at my second book signing today, so I wasn't able to find out if there were any hot vegetarian options. Danielle was kind enough to run over to the Hyatt Altitude restaurant and pick me up a quesadilla. My stomach was most appreciative. Today's book signing was more lively than yesterday. The bookstore sold out of our System 9 books but they have plenty of Essbase 7.1.x books left. I wonder if the adoption rate of System 9 is accelerating or if people just hate to learn outdated information?

The book signing overlapped into the OAUG Meeting of the Members in the Wells Fargo Theater. I dragged Tracy over there with me. We sat high in the balcony and ate our warmish lunch. When we walked in, OAUG was talking about their new Web 2.0 application: Knowledge Factory. It lets users share information with other users and there's a bit of social networking as well. While this seems nice, isn't this already being done by Blogger, MySpace, and Wikipedia? Maybe it's better simply because it's not opened up to everyone but rather exclusive for OAUG members? I doubt it, but we'll see.

They asked all the Oracle ACEs to stand, so I did, but I was in the back row, so I think only Tracy saw me. She gave me a pity clap. Most of the meeting (from the point where we walked in) was devoted to giving out awards. Tracy left about 10 minutes after we arrived, and I really can't say I blame her. I stuck it out, though, in the hopes of quality information. There was none.

After the Meeting of the Members, I had a 90 minute talk with Kristin Newman about the future of the OAUG Hyperion SIG. She asked me to "please not blog" about the contents of our conversation, so I'll respect her wishes. I'll see if Ed Delise (President of the OAUG Hyperion SIG) wants to put anything on the record.

I stopped by the booth to help with the packing away of everything. They would only trust me to handle taping of the boxes. I did a few and then Val decided I was unworthy and took my tape gun away. I did convince one of the exhibit hall cleaning people to let me have one of the interRel blue dog prints (the ones that led the way to our booth); it's proudly adorning my laptop bag at the moment.

I went to dinner at Baur's with the ODTUG board of directors and a few others (Tim Tow, Mark Rittman, Dan Vlamis). Dinner was pleasant. For dessert, I ordered chocolate gelato (I'm a big fan of gelato) and they brought me 4 balls of gelato... each the size of a marble. Literally, they were less than a bite full. Everyone else's dessert was huge, so I got seriously mocked. It got even more ridiculous when the waiter brought out cones of cappuccino ice cream compliments of the house each one of which was bigger than my four marbles of gelato put together. I asked Mark Rittman to take a picture of my dessert just so I could show how unbelievably small it was. My advice if you're eating at Baur's in Denver: don't order the gelato.

Did I mention that it started snowing? It was 70 degrees last night and now the ground is covered in a layer of wet snow.

I was supposed to go to the "Explore Colorado Party," but several of my friends stopped me as I was about to go in and warned me not to bother. They claimed that there was some indoor skiing (on a carpet?) and inflatable rock climbing. While it sounded like it could have been fun, I do have some blogging to catch up on. Tomorrow's the last day, and I can't hardly wait!


Anonymous said...

I will disagree on one point: I don't think they limited you to two drinks, they only provided two drinks via the cheesy tickets. It looked like they were still willing to sell you drinks. Still very lame.

The F&B was horrible throughout the entire conference, and the Wed night entertainment seemed extremely cheap. I've never been to a conference that rationed tickets for my F&B and then expected me to purchase more. If you are going to provide such a bad "entertaintment" night, then at least give people all the booze they want so they will be content.

I will say that the food at the Wed night event was pretty good, if you could find a place to sit and eat it.

Anonymous said...


Here's a link to Mark's photo of your gelato dessert...sorry it was so small...


Mike Riley