But on September 3-5, 2014, I gladly joined ranks with over 400 WUSSes descending on the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose for the Western Users of SAS Software (WUSS) Educational Forum and Conference. It was my privilege to once again serve the group as an invited speaker and workshop instructor.
It was a great conference, and I'm thankful that I was able to be a part of it!
Wednesday: Opening Session and a whole lot more
The conference officially started on Wednesday at 1:00 pm with the Opening Session and a keynote address by AnnMaria DeMars. Conference co-chairs Ethan Miller and Frank Ferriola took the opportunity to use a parody of "The Most Interesting Man in the World" to promote my "Ask Vince" session:
"I don't often use SAS to create multi-sheet Excel workbooks. But when I do, I prefer to consult ... DelGobbo. Ask Vince, my friends."
I have to say that caught me by surprise; I knew they were going to do something to me, but didn't know what.
Under the direction of Kim LeBouton, WUSS tried something new this year: panel discussions. At 3:30 pm, Dan Heath from SAS and I joined Erik Larsen and Robert Springborn on the Data Presentation and Reporting Panel. It was a lively hour-long session where we answered a wide variety of impromptu questions from the audience. Interestingly, the answer for many of the questions was, "Stored Processes", a SAS technology that I partly support in my day-to-day work.
Then at 5:00 pm, I presented a 90-minute version of one of my SAS/Excel hands-on workshops. For those who don't want to do the math, my workshop ended at 9:30 pm Eastern time. And then it was straight off to the mixer at Scott's Seafood for about 3 1/2 hours. It was a very long day, so it's a good thing I'm not a wuss!
Thursday: Breakfast with scholars then live Q&A
Rebecca Ottesen once again invited me to participate in the Junior Professional and Academic Scholar Breakfast at 7:30 am on Thursday morning. Even after such a busy day on Wednesday, it was easy for me to jump out of bed extra early to attend this event because I so much look forward to it whenever I'm asked to participate. Skilled SAS users intermingle with students and junior professionals during breakfast, and then there's a brief awards ceremony. I'm always impressed with the energy and ingenuity of these rising SAS stars.
The "Ask Vince About ... Moving SAS Data and Analytical Results to Microsoft Excel" session was held just before lunch. SAS Global Forum 2014 conference chair Marje Fecht asked me to do this session during that conference, and Ethan liked it so much he asked me to do it at the WUSS conference, too.
I don't have any prepared material, and instead rely totally on whatever questions are asked by the audience. And there aren't any "planted" questions - do you think I'm a wuss?? I'm happy to report that it went well here, too (whew!). And we may try it again at SAS Global Forum 2015.
Friday: Winding down
On Friday morning, I presented an introductory talk about SAS Enterprise Guide, helped tear down the SAS Resource Central room, said goodbye to old and new friends and then headed back to the East Coast with a few SAS colleagues. Weather woes in the Midwest prevented us from arriving until a little after 3:00 am Eastern Time. It's a good thing I'm not ... never mind.
But all of this got me thinking. I've spent a good amount of time in the West, and a fair amount of that time was spent working and using SAS from odd and interesting locations. Like a recent trip to the LA area, where I worked and watched the sunset from a table at The Sunset.
So maybe I am a WUSS after all...