COLLABORATE minus 3

Apr 7, 2014 / By Michael Abbey

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I always like to get to the location for a conference a day in advance so I can

  • Get accustomed to the time change
  • Get a feel for my way around the venue
  • Figure out where my room is
  • Establish a few landmarks so I do not wander aimlessly around the facility and hotel as though every voyage is a new life experience

COLLABORATE officially starts on Tuesday, though there are education sessions all day Monday facilitated by the three main groups responsible for the show – the IOUG, OAUG, and Quest International Users Group. So where did this animal called COLLABORATE come from one may wonder?

Rewind to about 2004. The three above-mentioned user groups each had their own show. Each reached out to Oracle for logistic and education support, something that the vendor was (and still is) happy to give. It was starting to become obvious that the marketplace upheaval was having a dramatic effect on user group conference attendance. At the same time Oracle expressed a desire to support fewer shows. You do the math – it only made sense. Why not have a 4-5 day mega conference and work with Oracle for many facets of support. Not only were the attendees of each show being asked to pick one or the other; Oracle was investing a massive number of personnel to support all three shows separately. It was a cumulative decision to amalgamate the shows and we wondered where it all would start.

With the blessing of the IOUG board I made one of those very first phone calls to one more people on the OAUG board and the rest is history. I do not remember who I spoke to first and there were probably a handful of feelers going out from other places in the IOUG infrastructure to OAUG bigwigs. I spoke to board member Donna Rosentrater  (@DRosentrater) and we jammed on what could/should become of a co-operative effort. We chatted a few times and the interest amongst board members of the IOUG and OAUG reflected cautious optimism that we could pull if off. Each user group had its own revenue stream from separate shows. We needed to embark down a path that would not put these at risk. That is what the brunt of the negotiations centered on and the work we did together led to the very first COLLBORATE at the Gaylord in Nashville in 2006.

Once the initial framework was established, it was time to turn the discussions over to the professionals. Both groups’ professional resources collaborated (hence the name maybe) and this mega/co-operative show became a reality. COLLABORATE 14 is the 9th show put on by Quest, OAUG, and IOUG. I am not going to say “this year’s show is going to be the best yet” as I believe that implicitly belittles previous successful events. Suffice to say, for what the user community needs from an information-sharing perspective – COLLABORATE is just what the doctor ordered.

Tomorrow’s a day off; wander aimlessly through Las Vegas tempted by curios, shops, food emporiums, and just about every other possible temptation one could think of. Sunday starts with a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon and I went all out and forked over the extra $50 to sit in the convex bubble beside the pilot. There’s a bazillion vendors poised to whisk ine away to the canyon with a fly over the Hoover dam there or on the way back. I chose Papillon and am looking forward to the excitement of the day which starts at 5:10am with a shuttle to the site where the whirlybird takes off. Talk about taking one’s breath away.

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