September 16, 2009

ODTUG Kaleidoscope - Final Thoughts

The ODTUG Kaleidoscope conference in Monterey, California was magnificent. Attendance was up over last year making it one of only two conferences I'm aware of that went up since last year (the other has to do with Blackberries). There's a good high-level review of K'Scope from my friend, Prashanth Prasanna, at

The Hyperion hands-on labs were packed to the gills. The 3 Hyperion track rooms in most cases weren't standing room only, so next year has room to grow in terms of attendance. The Hyperion Developer's Symposium on Sunday went very well as Al Marciante from Oracle brought a great cast of Product Managers to talk about the future of the various Hyperion, Essbase, and Oracle EPM tools and applications. I personally enjoyed most the keynote from Robert Gersten, because I enjoy his off-the-cuff, absent-minded professor style of speaking. Robert seemed to enjoy speaking to a crowd of a couple of hundred Hyperion fans too.

There were two unexpected highlights of the week. The first was the Hyperion Midnight Madness event. The "Ask a Guru" panel went from 10PM-midnight on Monday and there were 100+ people there eating chocolate, drinking caffeine, and asking questions. Attendance kept growing over the two hours and at midnight, our moderator, Tim Tow, finally had to cut off the questions or we were going to be there all night. The panel consisted of all the Oracle ACEs and ACE Directors for Hyperion/EPM at Kaleidoscope as well as a couple of guests from the Hyperion SIG board just to keep it lively.

Speaking of lively, the other hit of the week outside the normal conference fare was a bluffing/detection/strategy/party game called Werewolf. The first night of Werewolf (go to for a copy of the game) was held right after midnight madness. Moderated by interRel's CFO, Stephanie Kelleher, about 13 people stuck around just to see what people were talking about.

On Tuesday night, everyone requested we play it again (which we did until about 3 AM) and we increased to 25 players. On Wednesday, the groundswell continued and we went up to 45+ people playing until almost dawn. While it ruined any chance of sleeping I might have thought I was going to get, it made for one of the most fun conferences I've ever attended. Apparently, Werewolf is sweeping the software conferences of the world:

Was the conference perfect? No, but my gripes are minor compared to the things they did right. The food wasn't as good as Kaleidoscope 2008 and there weren't as many vegetarian options. The internet at the hotel was horrendous making it so on several occasions I couldn't even get a connection. The location was too far from the local city so you had to drive to the local restaurants for nightlife. I would have liked to see even more Hyperion attendees, but considering that Collaborate Hyperion attendance was down 40-60%, I guess Kaleidoscope should be happy that they saw any growth at all.

Still, Kaleidoscope was the best conference I attended in 2009 and I can't wait for 2010. Keep watching this blog because as I get official confirmation of the days and location for next year, I'll be posting it here.

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