But is it worth going to? why Lenexa? what can we expect this year?
I put these and some other tough (well slightly tough) questions to IIUG President Stuart Litel who kindly agreed to an exclusive interview with the Informix Application Development Blog..
- Q. What's different about this year's IIUG conference over previous years?
A. It will be a very technical event with a concentration on purely Informix. All the sessions revolve around the entire Informix product line.
Q: Why did the IDUG and IIUG conferences go their separate ways?
A: A few reasons.
1) The IIUG Board believed that the users wanted a more affordable and Informix only event. We had experience at doing two day events before and we attracted many more people.
2) We wanted to do an event that was a break even event financially, not where costs were very high and the price had to be high and also not to make a big profit, but only to put a little seed money away to cover costs to do an event each year.
Q: Why would people want to take time out of their work schedule to attend the IIUG Conference?
A: I have personally been to each and every Informix conference since they started about 15 years ago. I personally believe it is not only what you learn but the people and relationships you make, such as meeting you the first time a few years ago and fellow Informix users around the world. If I have technical problems or questions I have the contacts throughout the world to talk to and help with my word situation.
You will be learning and meeting some of the best instructors, but at conferences you are meeting the best technical trainers from IBM, developers like yourself, Jonathan Leffler, John Miller, Madison Pruet, Kevin Brown, Scott Lashley as well as fellow users who you can share work experiences. I have often said give me two days at a conference with power users and developers vs ten weeks of Informix only classes and you will learn not only more but create the right contacts to assist you in your every day business life. And don't forget you can meet Carlton Doe and get a copy of his IDS 11 book autographed!
Q: Attending a conference is a big waste of money, discuss..
A: I definitely dont agree with that statement. See all my comments below. I mean for about $1500, three days, over sixty sessions on JUST INFORMIX and its related products, how can you beat that. I have heard well its not only the money but also the time away from the office. Please tell me what better deal there is in the IT / IBM / Informix world. The IIUG created this event to be just that an event that people will learn about and talk about later. I have heard people comment about coming to Kansas City, whats there to do. Trust me I just about the same thing, but it does not matter where we hold the event, we are there for the event and to learn and meet fellow users and this proved to be the perfect location.
As for the Conferences being a waste, hey I have been to every Informix Conference there ever was under Informix Corp. Every IBM event that had Informix content (the old Technical Conferences and now IOD) and IDUG / IIUG event and most of what I have learned and almost all the Informix contacts I have in the world were all made due to coming to these conferences. It is like anything else, it is what you make of it, and here you have the opportunity to make what ever you want with fellow users from around the world.
Q: What presentations are you planning to attend?
A: Me personally, to tell you the truth I have not looked at the sessions yet. But there is over 60 Informix technical sessions, the most number of Informix sessions than any IBM conference or other event anywhere in the world! and for the price, how can you beat this! The bad news I doubt I will get to any sessions, because I will be too busy with the event. Although I try not to miss sessions from what I call the "Gang of Five", the Five IBM Distinguished Engineers - they are always the best (of course Guy I will get to your sessions).
Q: Why Lenexa, I mean come on, why Lenexa?
A: If you take a right hand turn out of the hotel it is College Blvd. Drive five miles or so down the road and that is where most of the Informix developers and support team for IBM are actually located. Many of these people will be presenters at the conference in addition the Monday night party we intend to invite the entire Informix development and support staff to the party. One big family is what I am calling it!
Also Kansas City is centrally located in the middle of the United States so we are not at either coast. I remember the biggest Informix conference ever was held in Chicago with over 5,000 attendees and I believe one of the reasons was due to the location. What do they say in real estate... LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. well Overland Park / Lenexa / Kansas City provided just this.
Q: Do you have any entertainment lined up for us?
A: Wait you said people were there for the technical sessions... OK I will give you an exclusive PEAK but will not spill all the details.
Sunday night will be a reception in the Exhibit Hall starting around 6PM
Monday night will be an event which I will call "Party with the Informix Family" with all the attendees, developers and support staff from the area invited and Tuesday night is an off site event which I will not give you any of the details. But here is something I will say to you... They put me in charge of the parties, so if you have met me before you will know the food and beverages will be good (and I love to eat and I hate drink coupons hint hint :) )
Over the years I tell lots of Informix stories and I will always remember a few years back at an Informix conference run by IBM I walked down a hallway and there was Jonathan Leffler sitting on the floor eating lunch with some users drawing all kinds of technical information. Give Informix users some good Informix content and pizza on a box and a corner to sit in on the floor and they are happy... We re there for the technical information, but the entertainment will be fun too!
Q: How are the registration numbers looking so far?
A: We are way ahead of schedule. As of the writing of this to you, we only have space for about 110 - 120 more people. The hotel can only hold about 340 people in the main conference room, so that is our limit. Also on the Hotel room block, we have blown over it twice! I had to call the hotel and get more rooms under the hotel room block. We are way ahead of projection. In fact we have more Informix people already registered than attended last years combined IDUG / IIUG event and we still have over 11weeks to go!
Also on the side of Sponsors / booths... We have more booths already signed up an paid for then the IBM IOD and IDUG 2007 events combined!
Q: Why Lenexa again?
A: Cause we want to be where the developers are! It gave us access to the core of the Informix team (of course besides you guys up in Portland, Oregon!)
We have three of the most important people in the IBM Informix world coming to speak. Arvind Krishna is the Vice President of Database Servers for IBM Information and he will be the keynote. If you have never heard Arvind speak, he is truly very informative and very entertaining. Also speaking will be Jerry Keesee and Bernie Spang together. Jerry is the Director of World Wide development for IBM Informix and this past year at IOD, Jerry's session was one of the few for any product that was standing room only. In fact they closed off the room due to fire regulations. Bernie Spang is the Director of WorldWide Marketing for IBM Information Management Databases. These two are great together, which is why I asked them to do it together. It will be fun to see who gets more time on stage!
And speaking of these three individuals, there will be some world class special announcements happening that I cant talk about a this time, but they will be press worthy announcements happening (opps that is all I can say). But there is some other special stuff happening that I have not even told the conference committee yet that I have planned up my sleeve.
Speaking of the Conference committee, these people are doing one heck of an amazing job. Lead by IIUG Board Member Cindy Lichtenauer, One of the IIUG Founders and first President Walt Hultgren and long time IIUG Board Member James Edmiston, they are joined by long time Informix users: Kernoal Stephens, Tammy Frankforter, David Link, Bruce Simms and Tom Beebe.
Also one last note. I got an email from someone in Croatia the other day who is coming. He figured out that he can fly to the USA, stay for the entire conference and pay for the conference registration for less than it costs just for the registration only to an IBM conference in Europe and this event is where the true Informix knowledge will be, so he is coming to the event and urging other users in Croatia to also come.
Personally I have estimated that the total cost of the event for someone in the USA including Airfare, hotel and conference registration is only about $1500 from most anywhere in the lower 48 states! Remember a week at an IBM class is I think about $2500 just for the tuition and IOD registration is about $1595 for the EARLY BIRD. Here you get much much more for about the less cost!!
Thanks Stuart! From what I've heard the list of sessions is being finalized about now. Here is where you can check the list of Confirmed Technical Sessions. Hope to see you there in April.