May 9, 2008

Solutions Road Trip - End of the Day

After the sessions and before the baseball game started, we had a networking event that the North Texas HUG (NTxHUG) likes to call "User to User Exchange." It's an opportunity for everyone to ask questions about his latest Hyperion issue to see if anyone else knows the answer. It can turn into a bitch session at times with everyone complaining at length about their bug of the week, but today was thankfully restrained.

Mike Burkhart from Alcon started off by asking how many new attendees were in the audience. Over half the audience raised their hands to say this was their first NTxHUG meeting. Each of the new members got to give a brief introduction. To my pleasant surprise, half of the new attendees were from out of town. Some were from Austin (about 200 miles outside of Dallas), a lot were from Oklahoma City and Houston, and there were a few from farther away than that. Two guys actually flew in from San Francisco which just goes to show how starved for a Hyperion conference people are. Humorously, one of the guys from California won a pair of Dallas Stars NHL Playoff tickets we were giving away. He asked to swap it for a certificate for 1 free day of Hyperion training. Another person who won a pair of playoff tickets asked to swap it for one of my Essbase books. I guess the National Hockey League isn't as popular as it once was.

Speaking of sports, the baseball game pitted the Texas Rangers against their hated rivals, the Oakland A's. Note that while the Rangers hate the A's, the A's couldn't care in the least about the Rangers, because as a general rule, the Rangers are shockingly awful. Tonight though, the Rangers not only won, they posted
their third straight shutout. They've now gone 31 innings without a run scored on them which apparently hasn't happened since 2005. Here's the view from our patio:

In total, I think today was a great success. We're definitely going to repeat this in the future at locations other than North Texas. Already, two other regional Hyperion User Groups have contacted us about hosting similar road trips to their areas. We're more than willing to travel around the United States or the world, so if you're interested in having us come to put on, say, "Solutions Road Trip to Alaska," don't hesitate to send
Danielle an e-mail.

The only thing I'd probably do differently is to expand the event to an entire day. This would allow us to get 6-9 more presentations in (3 tracks times 2-3 presentations per track in the morning). We'd probably need to charge a fee, though, to cover costs of the food for lunch. We ate all the costs (pun possibly intended) for this event and with the rooms, food, drinks, door prizes, travel costs, and so on, we ended up spending several thousand dollars. Was it worth it? Yes, but if we had just asked each person to pay $49 for the day, we wouldn't have lost money with the event. Any overage we could have given to the local Hyperion User Group, and people would be thrilled to pay $49 for all these hours of education. I talked to several people that were shocked we weren't charging since they're used to paying $750 for a day of Hyperion training.

Would you pay up to $99 for a full-day conference? Discuss.

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