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Author's profile photo Jim Spath

Misses and near hits in Orlando 2014 – why I won’t be at ASUG/Sapphire Now

While many of you are packing for Florida, finishing work deadline projects and juggling your agendas for the 2014 ASUG Annual Conference, co-located with SAP’s Sapphire Now, I’m facing another week in the office, installing software, testing, and filing bug reports.  After a long string of unbroken conference appearances, what happened?  And what will I miss?  Or not?

Each year, through my volunteer efforts on behalf of SAP users through ASUG, and as an SAP Mentor, I’m offered a ticket to the conference.  Pretty sweet, as others need to jump through hoops to get a pass, with limits on the numbers of attendees.  Without elaboration, I didn’t get travel funding approval, and decided that I could not swing personal finances to pay my own way. Perhaps if the event planning process had not been so excruciating this year, I might have worked out a loan to get me to Orlando, but there were more reasons not to go than to go.  What follows are my decision pluses and minuses, leaving out some as not-for-public-consumption.

Will Miss

Definitely I will miss my ASUG volunteer friends the most. It takes a special caring person to devote their spare time to putting together webcasts and formal event agendas, with little thought to the reward other than building a better network.  It’s one of those “pay it forward” chits that we do without expectation of specific reward.  I’m the chief haranguer of a great bunch and like to think they won’t be the same without me.  And the support folks, from HQ staff, through event tech crew, to the people serving food, cleaning the facilities, and driving the fork lifts.

Won’t Miss

This could be a long list, so I’ll start with easy choices – the lines for the Mears shuttle; airport check-in; overstuffed carry-on bags; verbose deal-makers on Bluetooth head-sets; over-sized watches; too many keynote [sic] speeches.

Will Miss

I will surely miss the opportunity to meet conference session speakers, introduce them, and monitor crowd reactions.  It’s a behind-the-scenes responsibility I take very seriously, even as the volunteer roles in executing the conference have been supplanted by apps and full time conference planners.  I’ll miss connecting different people to each other, drawing on my experience at other events to help the newcomers find their way.  And I will probably even miss the Sunday “Speaker Orientation” session that perennially is scheduled late, short on depth, and misses many speakers due to timing.

Won’t Miss

I will not miss any hyperbole about “cloud”, “mobile” and whatever the other alleged key word is this year.  Particularly HANA.  Will not miss the oversell of a technology that solves few problems in the enterprise except “adding shareholder value” and increasing complexity in an already dense matrix of information services.  Won’t miss vendor booths solving problems I don’t have.  Won’t miss the global press trying to discern world shattering import from the turn of phrase by a suit.  Won’t miss the sometime terrible wireless coverage on the show floor.

Will Miss

The SAP Mentor family, starting with the godfather Mark Finnern, the most seasoned veterans, on up through those just anointed, I mean announced. The sidebar chats with Jon Reed who always has a level head and sage advice on what to blog and what not to blog (and that Ethiopian restaurant way off the main route).  The daily Mentor wrap-ups, open to the public, where one can pause for a breath before evening activities, and perhaps make new or renew network acquaintances.  The SAP Community Network team, particularly my fellow Moderators and occasional visitors to these shores such as Steve Rumsby and Carsten Nitschke and Moya Watson.  And Blag, and Abesh, my two Amigos.

Won’t Miss

The lack of sleep for 3 days, trying to make as many sessions as possible, and walking, walking, walking (I love hiking but am too familiar with the sidewalks, and curbs, and planting strips along International Drive).  Guards checking my conference badge (see the video that follows…).  Loud background noise at lounges and restaurants.  The keynotes (I know, I said that already). Saying, “No I am not going to Sapphire; I am going to the ASUG Annual Conference.”

Will Miss

Blogging every day.  This will be my only post about the conference.

The RediPedi crew.

Eating a hearty breakfast at the Denny’s across the street from the convention center, instead of cold sticky buns.

The family atmosphere at the former Quality Inn 9000.

Education, networking, influencing.

A look back


won’t miss: any keynotes

Next step(s)

  • dcode-teched
    • tcode-deched
  • 2015 conference

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas


      I will miss you next week.  It won't be the same without you.

      On this:

      Definitely I will miss my ASUG volunteer friends the most. It takes a special caring person to devote their spare time to putting together webcasts and formal event agendas, with little thought to the reward other than building a better network.  It's one of those "pay it forward" chits that we do without expectation of specific reward.

      I completely agree with you and thank you for highlighting this.


      P.S. I do recognize that voice mail message in the video.  Well done.

      Author's profile photo Steve Rumsby
      Steve Rumsby

      I'm sorry the first (and maybe only) US event I get to is the one you don't 🙁 You were on my "must meet" list. I guess I'll have to try and blag funding again next year, or maybe you will make it to Berlin? Or both...

      I'll be thinking of you as I endure enjoy the keynotes.

      Author's profile photo Susan Keohan
      Susan Keohan

      Jim, the #BITI team will definitely miss you.  Who will be our moral compass if not you? 

      Funny, I am going to 'not miss' many of the things you won't miss either.

      I hope we can fill in, taking good care of your Amigos and haranguing as necessary.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      Meeting you at a community meeting for large/global SAP implementations is among my earliest memories of an ASUG Annual Conference. Your absence means there are big shoes for us to fill, but I'm sure the BITI team volunteers will step up. You will definitely be missed.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      Even I will miss the conference this year 🙁 . It's been such a great experience speaking for four years at ASUG Annual Conference. Thank you so much for all your support last year in Mobility Space. It was pleasure meeting you. I had planned to meet you this year as well, but I'm in similar state. Miss you buddy.


      Author's profile photo Abesh Bhattacharjee
      Abesh Bhattacharjee

      Dang ! Will miss you !

      And since I have a day extra either ways of thinking of visiting the Ethiopian restaurant again maybe ? Jon Reed say what ?

      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt

      I know many will miss you Jim.  I myself won't be there but am waiting to hear about the highlights, lowlights and learnings from others.

      If you tag this blog #SAPCC you will officially be participating with this your thought piece in my humble addition to Susan Keohan 's :  Your Mission If You Accept It

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Jim and the #BITI team, missing y'all already! As I hear each morning at 6:45 - "Be well, do good work, and keep in touch".

      Author's profile photo Nigel James
      Nigel James

      I think one of my favorite things about keynotes is trying to d-code them to determine the BS and Vaporware from the stuff that is actually actionable for a company today.

      Great list Jim and I will miss your daily blogging.

      Stay well.

      Author's profile photo Martin English
      Martin English

      All vendor events need a Lone Haranguer 🙂

      And for those (very occassional) less than rivetting key note speeches...


      Author's profile photo Jon Reed
      Jon Reed

      Will miss ya man. 🙂

      "ASUG 2011 review, with Jon Reed and 75 percent of Jim Spath,"

      Shot in the dingy chairs behind the (formerly) Quality Inn, remains one of my fave shoots. Carry on...

      Author's profile photo Moya Watson
      Moya Watson

      Jim you are too kind -- I won't be at SAPPHIRE so maybe we should make our own fun!  meet in the middle somewhere?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      i wish i could say i won't be there, but believe it or not i have never been to a Sapphire. i thoroughly enjoyed our get-together and stage performance at the pre-session at Berlin TechEd in 2010 and i apologize if i was grabbing that mike one too many times.

      i'm still trying to get over the Visigoths, but been thinking about Scythes as another tribe/nation worth mentioning.

      enjoy your scout camp as much as you can,



      Author's profile photo Jim Spath
      Jim Spath
      Blog Post Author

      Tammy, Steve, Sue, Gretchen, JayaKumar, Abesh, Marilyn, Atul, Nigel, Jon, Moya, Greg (et al):

      Thanks for the well wishes, Now go enjoy the conference, if you're there. I will keep my nose to the grindstone.