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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
- 2015 conference