A Sip From The Firehose: Monday, April 28, 1998

By: David Intersimone

Abstract: 9th Annual Inprise Conference - A Rocky Mountain High

Monday, August 31, 1998
Monterey, CA

9th Annual Inprise Conference - A Rocky Mountain High

I'm back from Denver and the 9th Annual Inprise Conference. I had hoped to write this conference summary column right after the conference ended, but I justhad to take a few days off to recover from all the early mornings and late nights. I had the besttime this year. It was great to talk to so many of our wonderful customers, partners, and press.Even though there is still a lot to do to actually close down the conference, we are alreadyworking on the 10th Annual Inprise Conference to held in Philadelphia (or as Delphi developersare calling it, Phila-Delphi-a), July 17-21, 1999.

Note: There are only 292 days until ICON 99 :)

My Impressions

Putting on a conference is a very complex task. There are so many different customers, speakers, sessions, hotels, menu items, materials, and issues, it is always a wonder (to me) that it all works. Many of our attendees have told me how well they thought the conference went and how much they learned. Many have also sent me suggestions for improvements next year. Of course I may bebiased in my opinion, but I thought that this year's conference was the best ever. We had moreattendees, more sessions, more speakers, a bigger computer lab, and more exhibitors that ever before.This year we added the conference newsgroupwhere attendees could communicate with each other (and they're still communicating!).

I was especially pleased with the flow of sessions starting with Del's opening keynote, followed by Monday morning product addresses, followed by John Landry's industry keynote, followed by the Inprisetechnology keynote. All that within the first 24 hours of the start of the conference and there werestill two days to go! Tuesday and Wednesday were a complete blur of keynotes,sessions, events, and meetings. Dr. AlanBaratz gave attendees a "state of java" presentation and announced our strategic relationship withSun Microsystems in his Tuesday industry keynote. On Wednesday, John Naisbitt helped us focus on thesocial impacts of technology in his "High Tech, High Touch" industry keynote. If youwant to listed to the keynotes and product addresses, they are available (via Real Audio streaming) on the web.

Big cheers an applause went up several times during the conference. One of the biggest cheers came when Del, in hisopening keynote, told attendees there would be "versions of Delphi for years to come". The next big cheercame when Chuck J gave a technology demonstration of a Delphi compiler that generated Java byte code. Possibly thebiggest cheer from a select group of attendees came when it was announced that the Visual dBase product will betransfered to the InterBase Software Corporation for all future development. To paraphrase one dBase developer "I came tothe conference expecting to attend a wake, instead I was present at the rebirth of dBase". I was pleasantly surprised bythe applause when I announced that Microsoft had sponsored the Tuesday night event at the Elitch Gardens amusement park(my friends at Microsoft also told me they were happy at the reaction). There were so many other times where our attendees gave loud vocal encouragment and reinforcement that it is hardto list them all here. It is great to have customers who are so vocal about their development tools.

Application of the Year Award, Spirit of Delphi Award

During the opening keynote, we announced the winner of our Enterprise Solutions Program (ESP) "Application of the Year" award. The winnerwas Apogee Information Systems of Marlboro, Massachusetts,for the global sales-force-automation and customer-care application it developedfor ITT Sheraton hotels. The Application of the Yearaward recognize the success of our systems-integration partners in using Inprisetechnology to develop and deploy IT solutions that solve their customers'enterprise-wide business needs. Other finalists for the award included CommonVision of Houston, Texas,for its order-processing and accounting application for Amerex, a Texas-based brokerage firm; andCompuware of Columbus, Ohio, for its Java-based enterprise human-resource application used by over6,000 employees of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

During the Delphi Meet the Team session, the Spirit ofDelphi Award was announced. The Delphi Advisory Board nominated individuals (and teams) and Delphidevelopers voted. The award is given to those individuals who selflessly dedicate great portions of their own time andenergy to bringing Delphi, and information about Delphi, to others. Delphi would not be what is today without the efforts of these specialindividuals. Their hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. The voting was so close for first place that two winnerswere chosen. They are:

Honorable Mention was also given to a few individuals who received hundreds of votes:

The Best Collectible from the Conference

Many attendees won prizes at the welcome reception after correctly filling out the trivia game cards.Some winners received their prizes from members of my family who were helping at the reception. Triviaprizes included juggling balls, inflatible 48 inch swords, and nerf bow and arrow. All attendees receivedthe conference bag and T-shirt. Other collectibles included giveways by our exhibitors. I especially liked the "Mile High on Delphi" button from Raize Software Solutions.

By far, the best collectible at this year's conference (IMHO) was InterBase, The Card Game.Created by Bill Karwin (one of our conference speakers) of InterBase Software Corporation. The card game, for two to four players, simulates the workings of InterBase.To quote from the game instructions: "To win the game, you must manipulate data just as you wouldusing the actual database. During the game, you try to meet the conditions described on your objectivecard, by Inserting, Updating, and Deleting data cards to the playing area. At the same time, you tryto prevent other players from meeting their objectives." It is a very clever card game, fun, andeducational. Congratulations Bill on a truly unique want to teach people about SQL databases.

What was announced at the conference

With all the sessions going on, it may have been hard to keep track of everything that was announced duringour five days in Denver. The following are a few of the announcements made during the conference.

The IChronicle - Conference Daily

This year we added an official daily newspaper, The IChronicle, which contained details about the previous days events. It alsoinformed attendees of the day's schedule and any updated that ocurred. This year's IChronicle issues are available on the web. A big thanks goes out to our editor, Bob Arnson, for pulling off theimpossible (creating the daily newspaper while attending the conference at the same time).

What the Press and Attendees had to say about the conference

You might think that I am a little bit biased saying all the great things about our annual conference. You can see foryourself what others are saying about their five days at over 5,000 feet. Attendees have also put up pictures from theconference as well.

I have received many nice comments and suggestions for improvements from attendees. I have excerpted a few choicequotes from the hundreds of emails.

    "I want to thank you and all your people for putting on such a greatconference. This was the first I've attended and I returned home havinggained significant knowledge and having had a great time (family-withdrawalsymptoms aside)."

    "The conference in Denver was great and I found it to be extremelybeneficial to my programming development and consulting business. Mygoals in attending were all acheived."

    "I also appreciated the careful organization of the time table to use everymoment well. Most of all I appreciated the keynote of John Naisbitt. Thatwas my most profound experience at a software conference."

    "I had to let you guys know that I had just met the girl of my dreams atthe conference, and our relationship is moving along just fabulously right now!"

A Special Thank You to our Conference Sponsors

I would especially like to thank all of our conference sponsors for their support and contributions that helpedensure the success of this year's conference.

International Inprise Conferences

Couldn't make it to Denver? Attended the 9th Annual Conference in the US but need more education?There are still six more opportunities to attend an Inprise Conference this year. Inprise keynote speakers,Charlie Calvert and I will be at the International Inprise Conferences. There willalso be other Inprise employees from Scotts Valley attending the conferences.

Look for us at the following locations:

Summing Up - The Tale of the Tape

What makes a successful conference? Sometimes it is just the feel you have after the conference is over. It can alsobe measured how many nice things attendees had to say. Most important to me is making sure everyone learned as much aspossible during the short five days we spent together. Two measures we follow very closely are

  • Did the Conference meet your expectations? 92.8% said yes.
  • Do you plan to attend future conferences? 97.1% said yes.

Looking at the final attendee database shows some of the following statistics:

  • Attendence - over 3000
    • Developers 60%
    • Managers - 40%
  • Top 2 US states with attendence - California and Colorado
  • Top attendence from outside the US - Canada, Netherlands, Brazil - oh those wonderful Brazilians!
  • Company that sent the most attendees - 30 - The Ultimate Software Group
  • Number of meals served - over 24,000
  • Number of Delphi tatoos - 1 that I saw (on Zack Urlocker)

Of course we can always improve the conference next year. If you have any suggestions for ways that we can make theconference even better (session ideas, keynote speakers, meal and beverage choices, etc.), send them to me atdavidi@inprise.com.

See you in Philadelphia, July 17-21, 1999!

David Intersimone

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