Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Non-Conference Jitters

The emails are flooding into my inbox: join us at Booth 1234 for exciting news and giveaways, I'd like to schedule a meeting with you and my VP of Sales, please mark your calendars for our three awesome concurrent sessions, don't forget to register for our special customer appreciation event on Monday night, etc. 

That can only mean that the big fall slate of conferences is nearly here. Oracle Open World once again takes over San Francisco for a week of red-hued excitement, and EDUCAUSE convenes its annual meeting of higher education technologists to discuss the latest in pedagogical innovation. 

These are two of my favorite events, places where I fill my brain with data, build a backlog of great ideas for the future, meet new colleagues and break bread with old friends, capture pages upon pages of notes to post to my teams at home, and otherwise expand my universe. But alas, I'm not going to either event this year. I must confess, I'm getting a little jittery about whether I made the right decision. 

The sad scenario began with a simple logistical problem: the conferences are simultaneous. This is a novel problem -- typically Oracle Open World takes place several weeks before EDUCAUSE. But conference scheduling being what it is, the latter event was moved up more than a month earlier than typical, thereby creating a predicament. Given my primary job these days is the student information system, and most higher education / SIS folks will choose EDUCAUSE instead, and I have excellent technical leads to send in my stead, I made the call to drop OOW from the schedule. Besides, Orlando isn't such a bad place to go... Perhaps a tacked-on trip with the family to Disney World was in the cards... 

But then the realities of go-live began to weigh heavily upon me. Could I really afford a week away at such a crucial time? The team can live without me -- I've always said that no good team can be so dependent on their leader that they cannot function for a week without him/her. The question was more whether I wanted to be away at such a crucial time, and the answer was a resounding no. That last week in September is a pivot point toward proving  our first release and I want to be a part of it. 

So I'm bummed to miss the great presentations. And condolences to the vendors and friends I'll have to miss this time around. See you next year (and hopefully while making a presentation about our resounding success!)


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