This was my first-time attending SAP Tech Ed; yes, that’s right, I was a Tech Ed Virgin. Had I been a Las Vegas Virgin as well, I think things would have got out of hand quickly. Luckily for me, I was married by Elvis 10 years ago in Vegas, so nothing shocked me.
Ian Markram and myself (The Seed Analytics Executive Team) ventured forth from Sydney to Las Vegas to drink from the SAP Firehose, meet old friends, and make new ones. What follows are my brief impressions of our week in Vegas.
Tech Ed App
The SAP Tech Ed app for Android and iOS was good. Really, really good. Just like SCN, it is ‘gamified’, so we all earned points for checking in, doing surveys, etc., The leader board for the points accrued was always fun to follow.
The app had hooks to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, so anything you posted in the app could be pushed straight through to social media. I loved that it inherited the agenda I had set for myself, so I could easily find out what I was booked to do next, and plan meetings around it. It allowed you to ‘follow’ other attendees so you could easily find out what other people were doing.
The one enhancement I would love to see? I want to be notified where to go for my next session – so either have the app send meeting invitations to me, so all my sessions were in my calendar, or (ii) build in notification functionality so the app reminds me.
During the course of Tech Ed we met the SAP EIM team from the US – Mike Keilen, Paul Medaille, David Quirk, Scott Braker-Abene, and Ina Felsheim. Every one of them was helpful in answering our questions about Products, their Roadmaps, and listening to our ideas about how we could contribute to their success. Ian and I really enjoyed our time with the EIM team, and we look forward to seeing them again next Tech Ed.
A special mention to the RDS team of Oren Shatil and Frank Densborn. Their presentation was great, and they were very accommodating of our questions.
A special mention goes to Public House in The Venetian. We dropped in the first night for a Burger and a Beer, and came back every night thereafter. Belgian Beer on tap is always a rare and wonderful thing- at the end of a full day, it is magical. The colleagues we invited to join us also seemed to feel the same way. The experience was enhanced by our friendly servers who provided us with a welcoming attitude, delightful attire, and of course, cold beer.
There is nothing Bad to report! The only downside is that attending the event is not a low-cost proposition for those of us from Australia. The Convention fee, the accommodation, the return flights from Australia, and the incidentals run to AUD 6000+
Actually, the one thing that was difficult to adjust to was that Nevada state law prohibits Taxi Drivers picking you anywhere except an approved place (i.e. Hotel or Restaurant). So you can’t hail cabs on the street – no way, no how. You have to walk to a Hotel and get in line. You have been warned!
There is nothing ugly in Las Vegas. It’s all bigger, brighter, stronger, sweeter, more delicious… just plain BETTER than real life. As I have said for years, “Las Vegas is ‘Disneyland for Adults’”.
My Tips for Tech Ed Virgins
Once Tech Ed starts, you enter the Tech Ed Vortex (TEV); everything outside of The Venetian seems to disappear and you suddenly realise that all your waking moments are consumed with Tech Ed events, Tech Ed attendees, Checking-In on the Tech Ed app, and After-Tech Ed parties. The days fly by in the TEV;
Lesson: Don’t plan other activities during Tech Ed. Want to shop, or shoot machine guns, or visit the Grand Canyon? Do those things before Tech Ed starts, or after it finishes.
Winners Are Grinners!
Gambling is everywhere. You can’t go from your room to the Convention Centre without walking through the Casino (actually you can, but then a five-minute trip becomes a fifteen-minute trip). There are so many ways to win (you might think). I saw lots of excited, inebriated, overconfident Tech Ed attendees attempting to win… but I didn’t see one person who walked away with more than they started with!
Lesson: Vegas was built on Losers, Baby. The more you have to drink, the more the Casino loves you, because you’re going to be donating it all to them. Choose a limit, and stick to it.
There are 6000+ attendees at Tech Ed in Las Vegas, and you probably don’t know 99.9% of them. That presents you with a lot of daunting strangers, or (ii) an excellent opportunity to meet some great people.
Lesson: Step outside your comfort zone and introduce yourself to somebody new every day. Lunch every day offers you the opportunity to meet new people simply by sitting at a random table.
Claim to Fame
I got through the entire Tech Ed experience without a cup of coffee (or an energy drink). I am forty-something. Enough Said.
I thought the time difference between Sydney and Las Vegas was going to be tough to handle. It wasn’t that bad. There were a couple of days at about 5 PM where my eyelids were heavy, so I got up out of my chair and stood at the back of the room. It’s so much harder to fall asleep when you are standing up.
Michael is the Practice Lead for Seed Analytics, an SAP Services Partner, and global provider of solutions for SAP Data Governance and SAP Data Migration.