Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Jim Spath

Short Haul Clue Train – southbound

[[Friday | ../../../../pub/wlg/12897]] | [[Saturday | ../../../../pub/wlg/12915]] | [[Sunday | ../../../../pub/wlg/12920]] |  (*Monday*) |      Me, and 180 buds.  h3. Monday Morning Quarterback   For those unfamiliar with American football, and the cultural phenomenon of vicarious sports team management, Monday morning quarterbacks are those office cooler chats where someone opines what they would have done, had they been in charge of the team for that crucial play. In this case, it refers to the after-the-fact programming of a big event, once the key decision makers have already been through the matrix numerous times. The call for speakers opened last fall, closed on 01-Dec, and we’ve been reading the abstracts and ranking topics since then. However, due to unfamiliarity with the organizational structure, late submission, or other factors beyond our control, there always seems to be a number of orphan abstracts.    So, I wasn’t too surprised when an SAP contact came in with a list of little lost sessions.  I’m guessing they don’t know who SIG program chairs are, how the event planning cycle works, and no one told them what was the best way to make content appealing.  Unfortunately, with more than 3 times as many abstracts as we have room slots, there is not a lot we can do about it.    With travel restrictions, we’re trying to find ways to hold even more webcasts.  One idea we kicked around was peer-managed webcasts, where instead of waiting several weeks to get on the official calendar, have an operator standing by, with limited availability, we do something like a “meet-up” where we rotate hosts for topics, and use different teleconference facilities. It could work for topics of narrow focus.  We have run similar sessions in the past when Unicode conversions were just beginning, and when we’ve wanted to chat with small groups about specific upgrade projects.  h3. Webcast planning  After Peter McNulty  (/people/peter.mcnulty/blog) and Jürgen Lindner helped the program team get through the annual conference grid, they stopped in to the year round community meeting to discuss the {code:html}SAP NetWeaver Call Series{code}, a bi-weekly webcast on a range of technical topics, other ASUG webcasts and newer technologies (to many SAP users) like wikis and podcasts. One topic for followup was storage of webcast recordings.  I understood  content gets purged, but that could be a problem for customers still on older software.   Rob Jackson talked about the acronym dilemma with an example webcast announcement concerning ‘ASUG and ARMA’ (ARMA being American Records Management Association – related to data, not performances…).  John Schuster, ASUG Education Director, stopped in to talk about how SAP requests webcasts, which ASUG SIG (special interest group) needs to know about them, and how to monitor or moderate them so the content is top quality. I talked about how I capture the chat text for further analysis, and podcasts I have done with speakers to amplify points in the slides and demos.   h3. Image compression -rw-r–r–  1 jim  staff    33062 Jan 27 15:27 DSCN6091b.jpg -rw-r–r–  1 jim  staff    31136 Jan 27 15:28 DSCN6095b.jpg      h3. Quality     In photo #1 below, I was sitting Monday morning before the general session, blogging about the day before.  I posted Sunday’s session sometime in the wee hours, so this was probably checking after the fact for the remaining typos.  If you notice the button on my SAP Mentor cap, you might also notice it in the background of photo #3, on the lapel of the tall gentleman in the dark suit behind the lunch table.  On the button is the number “*10*”.     I asked a couple friends what it meant, and they didn’t know.   Many of the hotel employees had the same button, so I asked one of the staff what it meant.  He said, “it’s a ten, like, perfection.”  I thought, yes, right, it is a _quality initiative_.  Strive for a perfect score in your work.    The funny part (to me) is when I asked my ASUG peers later what it meant, each said “I don’t know.” So I told them.    Monday morning, I asked one of the people setting up coffee and pastries how I could get a button, and was told, “let me check in the office – we have a bunch of them.” A minute later, when I gave him my card, he took his button off and handed it to me.  I thought, this is awesome, so I gave him one of my remaining SAP Mentor buttons.  If you have one, you know what it says.  You might even have one with a low serial number.   Anyway: quality.  It’s not how you do your job, sometimes, it is how you relate to the people who are helping you succeed. Photo 2a shows most of the ASUG BITI Year Round Community team. That’s me in the middle, the tall hairy one.  Photo 2b is a close-up of my rare SDN T-shirt.  I’m also the one not wearing a badge.  We tried to go for the David Brenner look (Philly inside joke coming up) – with two photos, one like this and one like this (or maybe it was Buddy Hackett).    h3. Doing Good     Registration  ( is now live for ASUG members to be able to join Craig Cmehil  (/people/craig.cmehil/blog)’s Friday Morning Report  ( marathon webcast on 12-Feb-2009 through 13-Feb-2009, to raise money for Doctors Without Borders  (  I have several cool ideas cooked up for my portion of the show, and am open to others on what you want to see and hear.   ASUG management has embraced this idea; I will share more details on a later post.  h3. Southbound  After 48 hours of work and socializing, it was time to head over to 30th Street Station.  I did a short blog while there (see Crumbs From the Spork) then Manju and I had about 45 minutes of debriefing each other.  The ideas flew back and forth; I tried to capture them on paper as there really wasn’t time nor space to get much more formal.  Next thing I knew we were walking off to the Aberdeen parking lot.  A job well done.  h3. The Past   Last year, our planning meeting was about 2 weeks sooner.  As I looked back at a blog I wrote then  (/people/jim.spath/blog/2008/01/12/conference-planning), several statistics jumped out.                                    || Abstracts || ALL 2008 || ALL 2009 || BITI 2008 || BITI 2009 || || Submitted | 1,426  |  1,675 |  202 |  303 | || Unprocessed |  220 |  145 |  20 |  17 | || Accepted |  471 |  405 |  74 |  56 | || Alternates |  215 |  381 |  35 |  70 |  More abstracts this year, fewer rooms; and, more alternates just in case. These are not final numbers of course, as we continue to shuffle speakers, rooms and content to get the plan in order.  I see an increase in volume of review work, with a corresponding decrease in unfinished leftovers.  We need to have unprocessed down to zero in a few days for notifications to go out.  Not telling someone is worse, in my view, than rejecting them. h3. The present  Karin explaining the grid, in the moment.  Media Description: Link:       h3. The Future See: Photo 4   image   photo 1: Slacker image    photo 2a Left to right: Rob, Kat, Jeff, Jim, Gretchen, Carolyn, Manju image     photo 2b (now, turn to your left) image   photo 3 Left to right: Rob, Unknown, Unknown, Rich  image

Assigned Tags

      1 Comment
      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Srini Tanikella
      Srini Tanikella
      Thanks Jim. A Big "Hello" from the BITI BABY to SCN, ASUG and the global SAP fraternity.

      On behalf of Udbhav Sesha Tanikella aka "BITI baby"...