And just like that, in the blink of an eye ODTUG Kscope19 has come and gone. I always joke with my husband that as soon as Kscope is here, it’s over. It’s truly a crazy whirlwind of learning, networking, and fun.
ODTUG Kscope19: The Summary
Last year I gave you all a detailed view of the Kscope conference from the Conference Chair perspective. This year I’m going to do things differently.
The truth is that I have a super unique perspective of Kscope behind the scenes after this many years of planning the conference. Kscope can’t possibly hold the same mystery as it used to for me, because I know *exactly* how the secret sauce is made.
This isn’t a bad thing. Kscope is still an amazing experience that is unparalleled in the Oracle world. What holds wonder for me now is not the magic of the top notch education and high quality events…but something way more exceptional. It’s about the human connection. At every Kscope I now stand back and marvel at the bonds formed right under my nose. It’s gratifying to see how many lifelong, close friendships are forged right there at Kscope.
So, instead, this year I’ll summarize my personal Kscope experience with a list of events.
Short version: meetings, networking, learning, and events. Rinse and repeat. x6
- Final presentation to the ODTUG Board about Kscope19 (done in Oracle DVD)
- Prep and shopping for events and activities (can I get a “hey” for the Geek Game Night Minute to Win It tasks?)
- Bag stuffing
- Community Service Day
- Saturday night private party
- Sunday Symposiums
- General Session rehearsal
- Oracle meetings
- Speaker reception
- Newcomer’s orientation
- Welcome reception (I went dressed as a pink ballerina munchkin – yes, I walked around in downtown Seattle like that, too!)
- interRel booth duty
- Geek Game Night
- More Oracle meetings
- More General Session rehearsal
- General Session
- Attending sessions (for reals! and for the first time in many years!)
- Monday night reception
- More booth duty
- Monday night private party
- Community night events
- More Oracle meetings
- More presenting
- More attending sessions
- More booth duty
- Some slivers of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. USA! USA! USA!
- interRel’s Customer Appreciation event
- Oracle ACE dinner (well, the very last few minutes)
- Late night social events
- More attending sessions
- WIT luncheon
- ODTUG Kscope Special Event party (I went dressed as one of my favorite characters, Lara Croft!)
- After party
- Thursday deep dive
- Closing session
- Final Conference Committee and Board get togethers and discussions
And sprinkled throughout, I did my usual Chair task of responding to conference fires (there are always minor issues that happen behind the scenes). These often interrupt session time. It’s a big job, but somebody has to do it!
Natalie and I also managed to get in some Orange Theory Fitness (although, clearly not enough due to fatigue and sleep deprivation).
It really was a fantastic conference. My highlights included meeting and hearing from new attendees, catching up with my ODTUG friends, meeting my social media friends in person, sharing knowledge (especially when I get to co-present with legends like Kellyn Pot’vin-Gorman), and welcoming the conference attendees to the Special Event in our especially loud and boisterous receiving line!
Here is a short montage of some of my personal Kscope19 photos (with some borrowed from the Twittersphere):
(Music credit: “Jump Start” by The Hang Ups)
ODTUG Kscope19: The Oracle Announcements
Because I can’t write a blog post without plugging some technology, I am going to do a quick recap of the Oracle announcements. There were *many*, earth shattering (?) Oracle announcements this year, and especially reserved for the ODTUG Kscope conference.
ODTUG is very fortunate to have super strong bonds with our community Oracle Product Management teams. They invest heavily into our conference and we love to host them. In case you missed these announcements (check Twitter!), here are the *super high level* summaries of the announcements by community:
Oracle Database & APEX
APEX now runs on Oracle’s Autonomous Database! Woo hoo – this is a big deal!
Oracle EPM Cloud
Licensing and product consolidations – many of them – see my blog post (and blog hop) from earlier in June when the news first hit. In addition, many answers about new on-prem EPM v11.2 coming out in September.
Oracle is listening and revamping their customer relationships in the Analytics space! Essbase gets a new home! Also, licensing and product consolidations for the Analytics stack. See Oracle’s recording of their special announcement (broadcast live at Kscope) here:
Oracle Emerging Tech
Emerging technologies are going into every Oracle product if they aren’t already there. Seriously. Get yourself acquainted because emerging technologies are revolutionizing Oracle software, making jobs easier and more streamlined.
A Fond Farewell
And on those high notes, my ODTUG Leadership journey has come to an end. For those of you who may not have heard, this is my 2nd and final year as the ODTUG Kscope Conference Chair. I’ve now been directly involved with ODTUG Kscope for *seven* years, and on the Conference Committee for *six* of them. Six years is a long time, my friends, for a task that takes a full year to complete. It’s an entire lifetime in some careers.
I’m proud of all that I have learned and accomplished during my time with ODTUG. It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve the ODTUG community. During these seven years, I have:
- Moved up the chain in ODTUG from content selection member to Conference Chair
- Earned my MBA
- Changed companies
- Achieved Oracle ACE Associate, ACE, and then ACE Director
- Authored/co-authored 3 books on Oracle EPM & Analytics Cloud technologies
- Built a house and moved into it
- Inducted four people into the Oracle ACE program, helped promote one to Oracle ACE, and promoted two friends to Oracle ACE Director
- Mentored a number of folks (I love you all!)
- Completed a Tough Mudder
- Gained 10 pounds (which happens naturally with time), then lost 15 pounds this year. I worked really hard for my Lara Croft costume – no joke! Started Orange Theory Fitness on January 1, 2019 and have been on a diet. Diet + exercise works!
- Helped restart and am now leading a local user group, the NTxHUG (North Texas Hyperion User Group)
- Expanded my presentation reach beyond ODTUG Kscope: RMOUG, Oracle Open World, Collaborate, Project Management Institute, regional and local conferences and user groups
- Presented to the ODTUG Leadership team
- Successfully led and executed two ODTUG Kscope conferences
^^ I share the above to show how much someone can accomplish even with a full-time job on top of volunteering for ODTUG. I urge anyone interested in taking a more strategic role at this amazing user group to reach out to the ODTUG Board members for more information. ODTUG needs you!
One of my buddies asked me at the conference if I would miss being directly involved with Kscope. I told him no. It might be hard to understand that sentiment, but there are several good reasons behind it. For one, I’m super excited about the next set of ODTUG leaders. I can already see them emerging. In addition, I’ve grown close to the Kscope20 & Kscope21 Conference Chair, Kevin McGinley, and I have the utmost faith in him. He is a very smart guy and he has a lot of super cool conference ideas.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’re leaving the organization in good hands.
Once the final Kscope19 closedown tasks are complete, I will be formally retiring from ODTUG Leadership. But, this isn’t goodbye. As long as I’m in the Oracle world, I plan to submit to ODTUG Kscope as a speaker. Kscope really is a special annual event–a family reunion of sorts with the foundation of a wonderful grassroots user community. I will always hope to attend in some capacity.
Another question that several folks asked me during the conference: if I’m not working on ODTUG, what will I be working on? Every year that I’ve volunteered for ODTUG, I’ve put in *hundreds* of hours towards this awesome user group. That’s thousands of hours over the course of seven years. That’s a LOT of time to get back in my life. I have a back log of personal items that are in desperate need of attention, as well as other career goals that I hope to fulfill. I will still be blogging, tweeting, and expanding my technical horizons. I will also still be involved in other Oracle user groups and speaking at multiple conferences. To borrow a line from Natalie, “I got plans.”
The Thank Yous
And now it’s time to wrap up this post. I’ll start with many thank yous. Unfortunately, in my older age my memory is not as good as it used to be so I apologize in advance for anyone who I may have forgotten.
First, I want to thank the wonderful YCC team who is the ODTUG management company behind the scenes. They work super hard all year long with the ODTUG Board and Kscope Conference Committee in the trenches, and then put in crazy hours during Kscope week to ensure that the conference runs smoothly. Past and present YCC teams – your efforts never go unnoticed and I give you a hearty round of applause for everything that you’ve put into this organization. You’ve been with us for many, many years. ODTUG is what it is today because of you.
In addition, a massive THANK YOU to my past and present Kscope Conference Committees, track leads, and content selection teams. Without you, ODTUG Kscope would not have been successful! It takes a village, and each and every one of you have had a meaningful impact to the conference and to me personally. I will miss our strong friendships forged over the highs and lows of conference planning. Some of you are just starting your Kscope path and I am so excited for what the future has in store for you!
Next, a personal thanks to the following ODTUG folks who started me on the ODTUG path and/or have mentored me along the way:
- Cameron Lackpour (<– he was my first introduction to ODTUG!)
- Natalie Delemar (also rolling off this year but at the end of December – she has termed out on the ODTUG Board and will be greatly missed)
- Monty Latiolais
- Sarah Zumbrum
- Mike Riley
- Chet Justice
- Danny Bryant
- Tim Tow
- Edward Roske
- Kent Graziano
- Kellyn Pot’vin-Gorman
- Debra Lilley
- Mia Urman
- Veronica Snow
^^ I have some out of this world memories from this group of people. Thank you for those. They will be cherished for many years to come.
Fourth, massive props to the Oracle product teams (Database, APEX, EPM, Analytics, and now Emerging Tech) who have become my friends over the years. It astounds me how involved you are with ODTUG Kscope and how much passion you have for the ODTUG community. I hope you always have that faith and commitment because ODTUG Kscope would not be what it is without your support.
Next, a thank you to Jennifer Nicholson and the past and present members of the Oracle ACE and Groundbreakers program for working closely with the Kscope Conference Committee and ODTUG Board to ensure that the ODTUG ACE members get the recognition that they deserve!
Also, a gracious thank you to the ODTUG Boards, past and present, for taking the sometimes difficult conference planning path with our Conference Committee. Every year brings new faces to the Board and Kscope Conference Committee, important strategic decisions, and new struggles. I’ve been on the ODTUG Board side once myself – hang in there and let your passion for ODTUG guide your decisions!
In addition, a hug to my past and current companies (TopDown Consulting and interRel Consulting) for your support of my onsite Kscope conference time. Giving me the freedom to do my Conference Chair duties has helped me to execute this almighty job. And, I am fortunate not to have to take vacation time for the Kscope conference week, unlike a handful of other ACEs who have to make personal sacrifices for this wondrous conference and many other Oracle conferences.
Eighth, a hug to all of the hundreds of ODTUG friends that I’ve made over the years. I’m glad that we’ve been able to bond over technology and ODTUG, and I hope to continue being your friend for many years.
Finally, a huge thank you to my husband, family, and personal friends who have allowed me to use up so much personal time to take this insane ODTUG journey. These folks will probably never read this blog post (LOL), but I want the universe to know how much their support meant to me over the past seven years.
The Usual Ending
As done last year, here is a montage of the ODTUG Kscope19 experience, as told by the Twitterverse…with a little help from some famous Seattle-bred bands. Thank you to the conference attendees on Twitter who sent out messages of joy and happiness about this year’s Kscope.
(Music credits: “Good Old Days” by Macklemore and “Future Days” by Pearl Jam)
Cheers and much love to the ODTUG community. I hope to see you in Boston at Kscope20 next year!
-Opal Alapat, Oracle ACE Director & ODTUG Kscope19 Conference Chair