Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor of Germany, oh, approximately a million years ago (that would be just over 120 years for the less literal-minded of you), is reputed to have made a comment about people retaining respect for sausages and laws by knowing very little indeed of either product’s manufacture. I don’t know anything about creating laws, but you are reading the rantings of a former 4-H member, so oh yes, I know how to make sausage.
So what on earth does the manufacture of delicious yet not completely healthy foodstuffs have to do with KScope and ODTUG? Both are the result of planning, preparation, inspiration, perseverance, sacrifice, and just plain hard work, only the witnessing the putting together of KScope11 won’t make you a vegan.
What I mean by all of this is that KScope11 was my first as a board member and that meant I got to see and experience it all – the endless meetings to define content, the voting on and debating over abstracts and schedules, the ever-present budget awareness (alas, ODTUG is not a multi-billion dollar entity, although we can but hope, so “Is X worth it?” is a pretty common question), the monthly board meetings, the biweekly SIG meetings, the inspired work of the conference committee and its many subcommittees, the completely less-than-glamorous stuffing of conference bags – the lot.
And it is a lot. A lot of work done by the volunteers (the board and the SIGs and the subcommittees and the I-must-be-crazy-just-tell-me-what-to-do-and-I’ll-do-it helpers) and a ton of work done by Your Conference Connection (ODTUG’s professional management company who go way, way, way beyond whatever could possibly be in their contract) and an unbelievable level of generosity (I still find it amazing to think of all of the product managers that come to the symposiums and what they talk about even more amazing) from the Oracle that is the first letter in “ODTUG”. In other words, the magic that is an ODTUG Kaleidoscope conference comes about because many talented people spend an awful lot of time making it happen.
Why does ODTUG try so hard? This is why I think this organization is so special and why I’ve personally given as much as I can – it does it because of you, the ODTUG member. You are what drives ODTUG because you are ODTUG; everything you see at the conference is our best faith effort to provide the best in education, networking, and even entertainment because we want the same for ourselves. I see this ethos at work within the organization, at events outside of Kaleidoscope, and of course in our yearly conferences. It’s a concept of service, sacrifice, and community that isn’t all that common. That’s what makes KScope so special and so good and, in my not entirely unbiased opinion, the best technical conference, bar none.
So now you have at least some idea of what it takes to make a Kscope happen. What’s your reaction? Queasiness? Inspiration? I hope it’s the latter as KScope is very much a labor of love. Perhaps old Bismarck was too much of a cynic. Or maybe he would have given up politics and been an Oracle geek if ODTUG had been around. We’ll never know the impact on modern European history if he had embraced Apex or EPM instead of real politick, but you can impact your career by coming to San Antonio for KScope12. It’s literally already in the planning – I hope you come as it will be the best ODTUG has ever seen. See you there.