Why I'm an ODTUGger

Welcome to the official first blog post of the Newcomers' site! In this article, you’ll get a better understanding of why people love the ODTUG community and the annual Kscope conference.
Enjoy (some of the pictures are from Kscope or other ODTUG events)!

Mike Riley, Project Manager/DBA, Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits
Kscope14 Conference Co-Chair

mike riley.jpg
How did you become involved with ODTUG?
Back in 1999, I was working on our first project in Oracle Designer. We needed help, we went to one of the best, then ODTUG President Kent Graziano. I didn’t know Kent at that point, and surely did not know about ODTUG. While he was onsite, we became good friends, and he told me “the gospel according to ODTUG”. I have been a “convert” ever since, attending my first Kscope in 2001, and being a member since that point in time. As Vice President, President, and Conference Chair for ODTUG in the past 8 years, I hope that I have been just as good as Kent was in spreading the word about ODTUG.
Why do you attend Kscope?
Content is always the first answer. Can’t find it better anywhere else (and I’ve looked). Collaborate, OpenWorld, independent training, Oracle Education, they’re all good. But NONE are better than ODTUG, and we provide great value for the training dollar. Networking and friends are my second answer. I can’t wait to see my “extended family” each year, and this year especially. And third, we always try to go to interesting places, some more than once. Seattle this year is going to be a great, new experience for many, and the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place to visit.

Mia Urman, CEO, AuraPlayer Ltd.
Director, 2014 ODTUG Board
mia urman.jpgHow did you become involved with ODTUG?
I tried to think back how I got started with ODTUG and remembered it was all thanks to Monty . :)
It is actually a funny story. We were all having a discussion on Linkedin where people were complaining that the content at Kscope is all APEX and I hinted that my Oracle Forms sessions were rejected from Kscope but I'd be happy to come and present anyways. Then Monty reached out to me and said that if I did a Webinar for ODTUG where we had over 100 registrants I would get to present at Kscope. We did our first Forms webinar and had 189 registrants so they gave me 2 sessions :)
I was SO impressed with how ODTUG saw that content was missing and took real action to correct the issue although the agenda was already closed. Ever since, I am an ODTUG groupy! I started with doing webinars and attending events and recently graduated to where I now sit on the Board of Directors. I will also be presenting 2 sessions at this years Kscope conference (without having to beg the organizers on Linkedin :)
Why do you attend Kscope?

I look forward to Kscope every year since it feels like summer camp for Oracle techies. Everyone is there to learn, have fun, and meet people. Even the most famous product managers and Oracle ACE's hang out with lowest level developers and talk tech over a beer. Everyone is there for the same reason and everyone is approachable. It was this feeling of comradery that makes me come back year after year. 

Martin Giffy D'Souza, Co-Founder and Senior Consultant, ClariFit
Director, 2014 ODTUG Board
martin dsouza.jpgHow did you become involved with ODTUG?
After attending my first Kscope ~6 years ago in NOLA I was hooked! The following year I had the opportunity to present and never looked back. Mike Riley asked me to get more involved one year and I started with the membership committee. I was happy to see my efforts turn into something that is a staple today ($99/year membership cost). Following that, I joined the board and have had a great time working with the ODTUG community to help its members.
Why do you attend Kscope?
They're a lot of reasons why I ensure that Kscope is a yearly event on my calendar. The main reason is the people. All the experts from around the world come to this conference. It's also an amazing networking opportunity. 

Cameron Lackpour, CEO, CL Solve
Director, 2014 ODTUG Board
cameron lackpour.jpgHow did you become involved with ODTUG?
I've been to every conference (just about) that has featured Essbase: Comshare User Conferences until of course "the lawsuit" which surely was one of the greatest own goals in corporate history, then Arbor's Dimensions (alas, only one because after that came Hyperion and the end of Dimensions), then each and every Hyperion Solutions conference there ever was (none were a patch on Dimensions and I got to the point where I would attend only 30% of the sessions as they were so sales oriented), and then, finally, came that fateful day in 2008 when Tim Tow gave me a ring and asked if I wanted to present at this new Oracle user conference he was working with.  I am a huge fan of Tim's and not one to take his suggestions lightly.  It was 100 people together in a single room at Kaleidoscope 2008 in New Orleans doing nothing but talking, presenting, sharing, and geeking out over Essbase.  What's not to like?  ODTUG appealed to me in just about every way possible including being incredibly open to new talent and ideas.  I haven't looked back and am now somewhat amazingly coming to the end of my second term on the ODTUG board of directors.  I've learnt a tremendous amount from my time in ODTUG and like to hope that I have reciprocated in kind a little bit. 
Why do you attend Kscope?
This is a trick question, right?   I attend Kscope because it is the intellectual, professional, and social highlight of my year.  There is no other conference that combines the deep technical content of its sessions, a chance to meet all of my peers who span the globe, and no other place I can have as much fun.  It is the highlight of my work year and if I find it all a bit exhausting I can't reproach myself later for not taking advantage of everything Kscope has on offer. 
David Schleis, Systems Architect, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
Director, 2014 ODTUG Board 
daveschleis.jpgHow did you become involved with ODTUG?
I was attending an Oracle Education class on Designer 2000 in 1997 when I first heard of “The User Group” from the instructor. I joined ODTUG shortly thereafter. While I was not able to attend the conference in 1998, I did purchase the five pounds of conference proceedings. The content of those papers and the lineup for 1999 was enough to convince my manager to send me to the conference. My experience at the conference was like nothing I expected. It began at the general session, when I learned that I was there to “work hard and play hard.” Oddly enough, I managed to do both. Not only was the content exceptional, but being able to meet the people who wrote the books I was reading, and having them talk to me like a peer was actually life altering. In addition to the “experts,” all the attendees were willing to share their experiences and ideas.
While the conference experience was great, it was the people of ODTUG that got me hooked. From the attendees, to the presenters, to the board and the support staff, it seemed everyone wanted to help make me a better developer.
The only way I could get my work to send me back to the conference was to present. So that is what I did, and kept on doing.
Why do you attend Kscope?
There’s one thing that brings me back year after year...and that’s the people. At Kscope you’ll find some of the smartest and most influential people in the industry. A conference for developers put on by developers. The people who use the products you use, who create the products you use...who write the books about the products you use. You know you get the best and the brightest from around the world presenting over 300 technical sessions on every aspect of Oracle-related development. You know, it’s really this outstanding content that brings me back year after year. So I guess it’s two things…the people and the outstanding content. You know it’s really fun when you’re sitting in a session and they’re right next to you as one of the shining stars from our geeky little galaxy. They’re here to learn  as well as present. And what’s even better is that after the session these people are willing to talk to you. You know I remember at my very first ODTUG conference they had a "meet the authors" session. And what was really great is that I was talking with the people who literally wrote the book on Oracle and they were speaking to me as a peer. It was a great experience. But it’s not just the presenters and the authors who are willing to exchange ideas. Kscope is crawling with smart IT professionals who face the same challenges that you face and may have solved them in ways that you may never thought of. Yeah, if there’s one thing that brings me to Kscope, it’s these networking opportunities. OK, so I guess it’s three. The three things that bring me to Kscope are: people, the outstanding content, and these exceptional networking opportunities. Oh, and the food - that’s terrific!
Debbie Gollnick, Director of Development, Scripnet
Kscope14 Conference Seattle Street Team
debbie gollnick.jpgHow did you become involved with ODTUG?
I started off with ODTUG through the ODTUG Leadership program.  I had attended a few conferences prior and thought it was time for me to give back.  I was lucky enough to be selected into the Leadership program and that jump started my involvement. 
 Why do you attend Ksope?
 Kscope has a huge amount of technical sessions in the areas I focus on.  The speakers are experts and are so willing to share just because they want to help.  I also love the community aspect.  ODTUG gives back and the conference isn't just about work. 

Erica Harris, Senior Oracle DBA, Waikato Regional Council
ODTUG Marketing Committee Member
erica harris.jpgWhy do you attend Kscope?
Kscope is small enough to feel friendly but big enough to have great speakers, excellent content and a meaningful presence from Oracle. I get excellent information on new features for recent releases, on product directions and on useful techniques and tips for current versions. The networking is invaluable too – I’ve met many interesting, well-informed people with whom I’ve stayed in touch.
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