I’m following up on a conference almost half a year later — try to bet that! Actually, this blog post was written more than 3 months ago and was sitting in my drafts waiting the moment I understand why I really wrote it. 3 months later… I still don’t know but I thought I should share it anyway. Maybe I could at least get some comments…
Pythian participates at dozens of database conferences every year. Usually, our participation comes down to sending speakers to present. Occasionally, we make a decision to join as exhibitors too. This is usually an exception (or so it’s been thus far) because our exhibition experience doesn’t always show any visible impact in the form of new revenue or generating real opportunities leading (with maybe couple small exceptions) to business. It means that when we think on whether we invest into an exhibition booth or in sending few more speakers to a conference, we are likely choosing the latter.
This year’s RMOUG Training Days was one of those exceptions — we thought that exhibition booth cost was very affordable and by getting a booth I could ensure that we have an OakTable Network booth too (which makes sense since we actually have few Oakies at Pythian). Traditionally, exhibitors setup raffle prizes. This is usually done to collect business cards in attempt to generate some marketing leads. While this is somewhat important (yeah — we do marketing too), I already mentioned that these leads haven’t really materialized into anything for us (well, maybe not yet) but we would still do it — get a simple prize and then add business cards to our database so that we can email a Pythian newsletter once in a blue moon or even reach out for sales if there is some indication that Pythian could help. I’d say nothing unusual.
It’s all good but the thought of doing just a boring raffle didn’t sit right with me. If we get on the exhibition floor, I at least want to make it fun and enjoyable for us and hopefully others around. So while we got a Kindle, we also cooperated with Apress and Jonathan Gennick who kindly added few eBook vouchers for Oracle books — can’t go wrong loading a Kindle with good source of knowledge. Tim Gorman also contributed few vintage RMOUG t-shirts to add some spice.
At the last moment, I had an idea of adding a second special prize — a place at a special performance course that Cary Millsap and Method R organized for Pythian internally along with the set of unique performance tools from Method R. I was hoping it would turn our prize into a success story and I’m proud to say that it did! Of course, this isn’t my “fault” but Cary’s who kindly supported the idea — here is what the feedback was and I got a real kick from it (and so did Method R folks):
Dear Cary and Alex,
I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the Oracle Performance classes over the last several weeks. I learned a lot from the instruction as well as from the questions and comments from my classmates at Pythian. I will continue to learn as I study the reference materials and use the Method-R tools in the future. You both always made me feel welcome and valued as member of the group. Now that the class has completed, I realize I won a prize much more valuable than an iPad or a gift certificate (although that would have been cool too!! :), you gave me the opportunity to grow professionally, a gift that will last a lifetime.
Rally Software Development
Well, now I know that we did the right thing taking on the RMOUG exhibition and I think I know how I’m going to choose raffle prizes going forward. Maybe that’s how we can change the world — one DBA at a time?