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Southwest Fox: Day 4

The final day of the conference. People are dragging after two or three full days of sessions. The dreaded Sunday 8:00am session slot is feared by speakers and attendees alike. Amazingly though, more people showed up for the 8:00am slot on Sunday morning than the 4:15 slot on Saturday. I guess I should not be real surprised since people are dragging just as much by the end of Saturday’s sessions.

I volunteered to do the APEXSql vendor session because APEX does not have the resources to send people to every conference. No one showed up even though I had door prizes to hand out (which we gave away at the closing session). I hung out until 8:15 and then bailed. Based on the other speakers (Bazian, Wollenhaupt, Hennig, and Granor) I was not the least bit surprised. I used the time to get some breakfast and made one more pass through my Data Explorer session, which went well.

I had to sit in on Cathy Pountney’s Customizing Your Vertical Market App session to see how she adjusted it for the new go-karting times. You see, part of her customization to “Rick” app was to show how I prefer to rank the racers by average lap instead of fastest lap. Cathy actually stayed up until 3:30am entering in the scores and was gracious in her loss the night before. I bailed right after she demoed the apps. Well done Cathy, well done.

Last up is the closing session. We like to have a closing session because the conferences we have attended in the past that don’t have one feel like they end without closure. Kind of end flat. So we try to end with some buzz by giving our some final prizes, announcing next year’s conference, and a call to action to end on a positive note. I think we accomplished this.

The closing does not mean we are done. We have lots of things to pack up and clean up, break down the White Light Computing booth and the registration table, make sure the vendor monitor rentals are packed up. After that we are off to meet with the conference center staff to review our bill, and discuss some of the good things that happened and address any issues we may have. Overall it was a very positive meeting. I feel the conference hotel had a few minor glitches, and there were minor issues with some of the service, but they did a terrific job ensuring our guests were comfortable during their stay and our sessions did not have problems from a facilities point of view. I honestly cannot say enough good things about the staff. They jumped on every request and when things weren’t perfect they tried to correct the issue.

After that meeting Doug, Tamar, Therese, Marshal and I meet to discuss the conference while it is still fresh in our minds. We note things we think we can improve on for next year. I have 14 items in my notes for things we think we can improve on or tweak. Some are really simple and some will take some brainstorming. The biggest problem we had in my opinion was the wireless. Some people had real problems getting connected and some of us had no problems getting connected. We rebooted the routers each morning and at lunch which helped, but not for everyone. The conference center is in process of implementing free wireless throughout the facility, and actually started rolling it out the weekend we were there. We could not count on it and when I tried to connect it would not let me. Hopefully next year they will have it working and we won’t have to use the routers we used last year and this year.

Sunday evening was a blast. Normally Therese and I head out to Sedona for some rest and relaxation, but this year decided to leave Monday morning instead of Sunday afternoon. We went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory which was delicious. Afterwards I hung out with a group of people who congregated at the Feltmans’ place. I think I left around 2:00am as I could not stay awake any longer. I am not sure I have laughed any harder in months. What a great way to end a terrific week in Mesa.


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