I can’t believe it’s been a month since this year’s Kscope conference in Orlando! What a fitting moment to evaluate my experience and reflect on another successful conference. To set the stage, this was my second Kscope experience (my first time was in 2017) and my second time presenting. In 2017, the conference was in San Antonio, and I was just excited to present and experience my first conference as a consultant. This year, whereas I excited to present, I was most excited to meet new people, get involved, and experience as much as I possibly could.
I arrived in Orlando late Saturday night. I was bummed because I had every intention to participate in the Community Service Day, but some last-minute plans derailed me from flying in early. This year, volunteers worked with UP Orlando and from all the wonderful pictures on Twitter, it appeared to be a smashing success. I requested an Uber, and it was a beat-up old pickup truck, with some very “risqué” bumper stickers. An interesting start to my Kscope week indeed!
Sunday started off with several texts from my colleagues asking me where I was and if I was going to breakfast. Despite not going to sleep until 2:30 am, I reluctantly got up, got dressed and headed to breakfast. Following breakfast was the Oracle Analytics (BI and Essbase) Sunday Symposium where Gabby Rubin and Matt Milella shared some strategy and the roadmap for OAC as well as explained that Essbase is Freedom!
After more symposiums, a yummy lunch, and then more symposiums, it was time for the Ambassadors meeting followed by the Speaker’s reception. For those new to Kscope, volunteering to become an Ambassador is a great way to get involved with the conference and meet great speakers, all while attending sessions. Put simply; Ambassadors are in charge of handing out session evaluations, collecting them, and turning them into the registration desk. I received a pin for each packet of evaluations I turned in and ended up with four.
Lastly, we had the welcome reception where guests were to dress up as their favorite characters. Since we were at Disney, I decided to dress up as the one and only Black Panther (I didn’t go in full costume, top only). After seeing some of the costumes, going all in would have been just fine.
After the party, the team and I had enjoyed a late dinner at Shula’s!
Monday started off with breakfast followed by the General Session. Dr. Heather Knight was the keynote speaker, and she was amazing.
Sessions began after that and would last through Wednesday. Sessions fall under three tracks: EPM (Enterprise Performance Management, i.e., Hyperion, reporting, etc.), Database, and APEX (Application Express). A misconception that I often hear about these conferences, especially from public sector folks, is that the sessions are too technical and do not apply to functional users. I can tell you as a functional minded guy, that is so not true. Not only are there sessions that are geared to Higher Ed, or Public Sector, the most amazing thing, particularly about Kscope is the breadth of sessions. You will see everything ranging from technical, “how to program a computer using the Java-based language” to entry-level, “what is a computer?” Ok, maybe not that basic but you get the jest.
I attended a few EPM sessions and worked at my company’s booth for a while. After the sessions, it was time for Happy Hour, followed by “Community Nights.” Each track or “community” had their own event: Database/BI Trivia, EPM Lip Sync Battle and APEX Show & Tell. My company had a client event that evening, so I wasn’t able to attend, but I heard everyone had a good time.
So remember how I told you earlier that I was reluctant to get out of bed on Sunday morning? Well, multiply that by ten on Tuesday morning. The only thing that woke me up at 6:15 am was the bullhorn making announcements to the 100 or so 5K “Fun Run” runners, the same race I was registered for! I jumped out of bed, changed into my running gear, and stretched while riding the elevator. To make matters worse, the humidity level was around 98%. Anyhoo, the course was beautiful, and the organizers did a fantastic job. In the end, not my best race, but I finished it, and it felt good!
After the race, I had some breakfast, hit an EPM session and prepared for my presentation on EPRCS (Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud). Later that evening, there was another happy hour (do you notice a theme?), and I went to dinner with my team.
Later that night, I met up with a friend and took a late night stroll to watch the fireworks (and lightning storm, remember 98% humidity!).
After the morning sessions, I attended the Women In Technology (WIT) Luncheon. It’s hard to put in words how wonderful this event was. Attendees (who had to pre-register) were assigned to a table, and each table had a moderator and a list of workplace scenarios. There were not many men in attendance, but I think each table had at least one if any. After a moving opening speech by Opal Alapat, the moderator would read off a scenario, and we would all chime in. I was able to bring my perspective into the conversation and the best part was hearing the all different perspectives on each of the scenarios. My only critique is that there wasn’t enough time!
After the luncheon, there were two more sessions, and then it was time to get ready for the Special Event at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. Only one other person form my team wanted to go with me, and I’m glad he did, we had a blast!
We were instructed to wear neon, and I definitely did! There was an after-party later, but I had an early flight the next morning, so my colleague and I left a little early and hung out at the lobby bar in the hotel. My Kscope18 experience definitely ended on a high note!
When I look back and reflect on Kscope18 and ask myself if I accomplished all that I wanted to accomplish, the answer is an astoundingly yes. I had an amazing week, I gained some great knowledge that I can bring back to the workplace, my presentation was a hit, I met a few new people, and I got to connect more with my team.
Here are some helpful tips that will make your next Kscope experience fabulous:
- Download and leverage the ODTUG Kscope App. It is a lifesaver, and you can fill out session evaluations through the app.
- Don’t worry so much about taking pictures of the slides or writing down everything the presenter is saying. Some sessions are recorded, and all the slides are available either before or after the sessions.
- Don’t be afraid to meet new people, especially in your community/track. Networking is key and believe it or not, Kscope is not like other conferences where you exchange business cards and walk away never hearing from that person. The people you meet here can end up being your friend for years to come!
Till next time (in Seattle for Kscope19)!