Waynette is exhausted after everything she did at SAS Global Forum, so she asked me to write a blog post for her so she can take some time to rest up. ??? Hey, Waynette, like you think I’m a bundle of energy after chairing the event ??? I mean, I wrote an email yesterday but noticed just before sending that I forgot to include something very important that most good emails have – vowels!
I expected to be pleased with Chris Hemedinger’s Keynote at the Closing Session, BUT he managed to exceed my high expectations. However, due to time limitations, he left off a lot of stuff. There’s no way I can cover it all in this short space, but I can at least start to fill in the gaps …
- Several people asked me about Dr. Goodnight’s pronunciation of the word “chassis” during the Opening Session. I checked; he was right, in this context, it IS “Chass-iss”, not “Chass-see”. The rest of us 3,400 attendees were wrong.
- Seriously, I don’t remember Dr. Goodnight having such a good time with his portion of the Opening Session in YEARS!! I was glad it happened on my watch, and just wish I could take credit for it.
- We were all a bit surprised by Jim Davis' trip to the Twilight Zone during Opening Session. Seriously, the thought of TWO Jim Davises is scary!
- Joe Theismann stopped me backstage to wish me luck just before I went out to introduce him. For some reason, he doesn’t tell people to “break a leg” before they go onstage.
- Speaking of Joe, a few of you caught his inadvertent reference to “The Power of No.” He didn’t get the phrase wrong – he got the context wrong. It was from a little talk he gave me backstage, telling me what to do if one of the conference attendees suggested that we participate in a little inappropriate behavior. (Uh, Joe, you could have saved the time and energy – it proved not to be even a remote possibility. Darn it … )
- And it's a good thing that the Technical part of the Techology Connection is available on Livestream to be replayed at our convenience. I didn't get to see any of it the first time. Joe Theismann was backstage after his part of the talk, and gathered a small group of us together to tell "war stories". As Conference Chair, I thought it my responsibility to keep our Keynote speaker happy, so I listened until Security reminded him that he had another engagement to get to. THEY dragged HIM away from US - not vice verse! (And not literally, either.)
- And … the story can now be told – the Teleprompter quit on me during my Monday morning introduction. First time in our history. It came back online within 30 seconds – our technician keeps a hot backup for just such an emergency – but I didn’t KNOW when / if it would. The SAS staff backstage was (a) thankful that it wasn’t them onstage at the time, and (b) that if it did have to happen, it was fortunate that the person on stage had a proven track record of being able to come up with a load of <malarkey> (NOTE: Original term also censored: Waynette) on the fly.
- Congratulations to Nat “Woodsman” Wooding and Rick “Ricky the Human Wiki” Wicklin for their awards at the SAS-L (and related social media sites) gathering. And a big Thank You to the entire community, who raised $111 for the Children’s Book Drive by auctioning off one of Macro Maven Ron Fehd’s infamous hats.
- And, a happy belated 30th birthday to one of our behind-the-scenes gurus (who wishes to remain anonymous). Party animal that she is, she celebrated by helping the attendees keep track of the current trends in social media over in the SAS Support and Demo Hall.
- Ron Cody was originally the first person to be honored with an invitation to give his presentation in our Encore room on Wednesday morning. He called me from Texas to decline – he had to leave early. I couldn’t convince him to fly right back. (I saw the line of people hoping to get into the lecture room to hear him – I encourage those individuals and others to check out SAS Global Forum Take-Out; we were fortunate enough to select Ron’s paper as one that would be included in that package.
- Being the Conference Chair is apparently not as high profile as having written a hot book on SAS, as I so painfully learned during hallway chats with Lara Delwiche (“The Little SAS Book”) and Chris Hemedinger (“SAS for Dummies”).
- Speaking of Chris H. - he omitted another way to keep the conference alive after you return home – have the catering staff find out that the conference chair is a local resident. They packed up enough leftovers for me to take back home from our catered events that I may be keeping the conference alive for WEEKS!! (At least during my lunch hour …)
Seriously, chairing SAS Global Forum 2012 was one of the most significant moments of my life. I was reminded of the value of assembling a good team – the section chairs – and then standing back and staying out of their way while they do the job I asked them to do. And they did it so well, by assembling a good team of speakers and session coordinators, then standing back and letting them do THEIR job! The same is true for the crew from SAS who assisted behind the scenes to make sure all was going well.
Most importantly, it appears almost all of the approximately 3,400 attendees found SAS Global Forum 2012 to be a good use of their time – learning, networking, and even a little socializing in their free time.
BUT … all that rain that haunted us just before the conference has resulted in my lawn undertaking a growth spurt, so I am certainly glad that I now have a free weekend to deal with it! I’d better get started …
Andrew T. Kuligowski
Former Conference Chair
Now, just another face in the crowd once more