Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The hens drank my Hen!

Last night was bunko night and my wife was hosting, so the child and I were booted from the house lest we dampen the party vibe. We ate dinner and ran errands and channel-hopped relentlessly on the XM in search of songs that would satisfy us both. We had a good time and returned home at the appointed time.

But we couldn't get close to the house, because the bunko group's cars filled the driveway and lined the street. So, we parked down the street and slipped into the basement. Thirty minutes later, the party was still going strong. For a party is what it was. My wife and her friends would rather socialize then play.

Tired of our forced exile, the child and I went upstairs, but we had no real dampening affect on the affair, and we retreated to our respective rooms. Finally, the party broke up, and I emerged from the cocoon, and discovered what I believe to be the engine behind the party: my Old Speckled Hen was gone!

My wife, seeing my shock, asked "Would it make you feel better to know that they really liked it?"

While I am glad to discover that these fine ladies have excellent taste in malted barley and hops, the answer is no, not really.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Death by "Slideument"

I recently attended Gartner's BPM Summit in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland. The venue was interesting. The public spaces with their giant indoor gardens were very nice, but the rooms were nothing to write home about and the food was way overpriced for the quality. The conference itself was bi-polar: sessions either were excellent or a total waste of time. There was almost nothing that was just average.

One or two outside presenters actually understood the purpose of slides, but even the best Gartner presenters were undermined by Gartner's insistence on building what Garr Reynolds refers to as slideuments: the Frankenstein's monster that is created by mashing up a presentation and a hand out and fails to serve either purpose well.

The vendor sessions were almost universally horrid. Why Gartner insists on subjecting paying attendees to these "I don't think I'll bother with a veil" sales pitches is beyond me. Maybe the vendors pay more to sponsor conferences in the short term, but Gartner's abuse of its corporate client base can't be good for Gartner's long term viability. Please, restrict the vendors to the exhibition hall, or at least police the presentations.

The one lone exception was a Fujitsu-sponsored user case study, which pointed me towards a specific application of these tools that I hadn't considered previously. However, there's no reason that Gartner couldn't identify interesting user case studies itself. Burton Group seems to do this just fine, and while Burton slides aren't where they need to be either, they are typically better than Gartner's.

A final plea to all who read this blog: please resist the urge to slideument. Garr's Presentation Zen can start you down the path to presentation enlightenment.