Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two minor problems with Collaborate 14

Note: I paid full price to attend Collaborate 14 and it was absolutely worth the cost of admission.

It was an excellent conference, excellent venue, much improved presentations, and overall an extremely well organized conference. I highly recommend it, and most definitely recommend it over Oracle OpenWorld.

With that being said, I highlight below the two biggest problems I personally found with the conference.

Problem #1: Limited exhibition booth time

Collaborate 14 is a 5 day conference, from April 7 to April 11. The exhibition hall was only open for 2 days, and for a period of 4 hours each day, from 10:45am to 3:15pm. The exhibitors lose an hour dedicated to lunch, so there's essentially only 6 hours to roam the vendor booths. That's 6 hours total for a 5 day conference!

Bad planning? Intentional? Either way it doesn't matter. Personally I was disappointed and the vendors I talked to weren't too happy either. I would have liked to spend more time socializing and engaging with the vendors, as well as spend more time at the Oracle stands.

Ahmed roaming the exhibition halls, happy at something, though he's not sure what exactly.

Problem #2: Late publishing of agenda causes presenter planning challenges

Many presenters were unsure what day they were presenting, so they were unsure when to book their travel, opting to stay for the entire 5 days, not by choice. Now granted as an organizer I would love/encourage/plead with presenters to stick around for the entire conference, it's unfair to some of them who may have other commitments. Give them the choice I say.

Don't read too much into these criticisms. I merely raise them to highlight areas of improvement and they reflect my opinion alone (although a lot of people I met agreed or shared similar concerns). This was an excellent conference and I will surely be back next year. I had a blast, I learned a lot, and I met some old and new colleagues. Hats off to the IOUG, OAUG, and Quest for once again organizing a great conference.

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