My ODTUG

Tonight I received an email from Mike Riley, president of ODTUG, asking me several questions regarding the ODTUG Kaleidoscope Conference between June 26-30 2011, I have the honor of being one of the presenters in the conference. Below are my answers to his questions.

What’s the best thing about Kscope conferences?

Kscope has a very special place in my heart even though this is going to be the first time I will be presenting or even attending. In early 00’s I was just a young developer at Dulcian, USA. Every year around spring time, a breeze of excitement surrounded the company. Paul would gather us in the conference room and we’d start planning his presentation for ODTUG. (We always referred to the conference as ODTUG. Still today, I have no idea when people started calling it Kscope.) It was, (and still is) the conference where Dulcian made its big announcements. The entire company would come together to complete “an important milestone in the company vision” just in time for ODTUG.
“Do you think we can finish this by ODTUG?”
“This feature is important for ODTUG”
“If this doesn’t make it to ODTUG, we are screwed.”

In my head, I created this imaginary crowd of important mysterious experts, who never called, never emailed, never visited us for 364 days in the year but looked forward to what we had to show in June.

I waited for the judgement day to come with incredible tension and worried like crazy that during the five minute demo, these mysterious experts would uncover the bugs I did not fix or discover a weakness in my architecture that I have not seen. That would be the end of me. Sometimes I’d get angry with these mysterious god-like experts because they seemed to never care how hard I worked. They were mean and cruel because the smallest bug or the tiniest glitch was enough to ruin an otherwise perfect presentation. I felt like I should be appreciated for my heroic efforts. But what if it all worked? Picturing a marvelous demo was enough to get me out of my depressing mood. I’d fantasize about the mysterious gods heaping praise on me, insisting Paul that they must meet this brilliant young talent. I’d dream that they would invite me to the next ODTUG. I’d dream that I would speak to them and be accepted as one of them at such a young age. The youngest god ever.

Paul disappeared from the face of the earth during ODTUG. I treated every email, every phone call, every instant message from him like a sneak peak to heaven. He was up there talking to gods and sending messages back to me.

I interrogated him for every little detail when he came back. I never cared about the pens, the t-shirts or other goodies he brought back. I never took one home. All I cared were the stories. Those I took to the heart. Did he talk to an important Oracle executive? Are they convinced by our vision? Is it really going to happen this time? How was the presentation? Did the gods like it? What was their response? I asked all these questions and many more only because I could not dare to ask the one question I really wanted to ask: “Did my name come up at all?”

Years passed. I moved back to Istanbul. I got married. My son was born. I grew up just when I thought I was done with growing up. Along the years I’ve met several ODTUG members. I had the honor of working together with John Jeunnette and David Wendelken. Gods turned into mortals. Mortals turned into colleagues. Colleagues into peers. Peers into friends.

Still, when that time of the year comes, I can’t help having butterflies in my stomach. Even when I know, it is not a conference of gods but friends. Even when I know it is not the judgement day but a day to share. Even when I don’t pull an all nighter anymore for that little bug which if fixed will convince Oracle to follow our vision.

So, Mike, the best thing about Kscope is that it makes me have butterflies in my stomach, regardless of whether I am speaking, attending or waiting for someone to come back.

Who do you most look forward to seeing a presentation from at Kscope and why?

In the most selfish, egoistic, megalomaniac and narcissistic way that anyone can possibly imagine, I am looking forward to seeing a presentation from myself. I’ve been waiting for this moment since the first day I found out about ODTUG and I have never submitted a paper until this year. You have accepted my first abstract.

Your all-time favorite Kscope moment is…

My all time Kscope moments are the days when Paul came back from the conference to the office with pens, t-shirts and stories.

I will be presenting “World Class Web Development with PL/SQL” on June 28 2011, at 11:15 AM. I am looking forward to meeting all my friends and being accepted as one.

Yalım K. Gerger

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2 Comments.

  1. Your remarks almost made me cry. As ODTUG’s Executive Director I have been intimately involved with the planning of the ODTUG conference for many years. I always look forward to seeing and catching up with the “gods” and that includes everyone who attends. Thanks for reminding me that ODTUG Kscope really does make a difference and not just to the people who attend.

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