Undaunted and determined, the Greater Houston Regional User Group (GHRUG) has plans for an HP 3000 show in 2007, despite grappling with a challenge to draw big numbers on short notice for its show in November of 2006.
We'll admit to an insider's view on this story — since after that conference I joined the GHRUG board of directors. (Behind that banner is Bill Hassell, Ann Howard, Charles Johnson, your correspondent, and the sparkplug of the 2006 event, Judy Reustle.) When there's only one arrowhead flying toward a target of 3000 customers, you want to be part of the wood behind that arrow.
While some of our readers puzzle over that metaphor (there's one conference for the 3000 this year; I wanted to help), I'll spill the beans a bit by noting the show for '07 will be earlier, based on provisional plans for the first-rate venue used last year. The University of Houston Clear Lake campus is easy to get to, has ample low-cost lodging nearby, and provides auditorium and breakout spaces as big and modern as any at a much larger, less 3000-specific show.
For now, mark your calendars for the weekend of Sept. 15. That's a full three months after HP's Technology Forum in Las Vegas this year. The Tech Forum offered a much smaller lineup of 3000 talks last fall, making it a very different training destination.
Considering that budget-minded Southwest Airlines — still an HP 3000 shop, by the way — serves the closest Houston airport (Hobby) with an ample flight schedule, travel costs should be more than reasonable. Being 30 minutes between downtown Houston and the Galveston beaches makes a Clear Lake hotel a bargain, especially if you've been confronted with rates like those in the Bay Area.
It's my opinion, but a survey might show that a big reason for the 2006 lack of participation might turn out to be a lack of details and notice about the event — far enough in advance to loosen up travel dollars, speaker commitments and training monies. First notice came in March, but conference registration didn't open until late September, just about seven weeks before the event.
The board is going to make the cost to attend in 2007 easy to work into a budget, so customers can get themselves in the door for the training they will want. Vendors will be a key element in gathering the community in Texas.
The board has plans to make the only HP 3000 conference in 2007 a better-attended event. Having been to what was a great conference this past November, I can't believe GHRUG needs to improve the 3000 content much. Alfredo Rego. Bill Hassell (for those 3000 managers learning the expert tricks of HP-UX). Gilles Schipper. Birket Foster. Charles Finley of SCRUG fame. Plus folks from migration-tested companies like Speedware and Acucorp.
We are thinking, perhaps, to include some non-3000 training that the 3000 manager will need -- because, quite frankly, most of you are doing more than just tending to your 3000 and its apps.
We hope to see all of you there.