COMMON Is Not Canceling Conferences in 2007
February 6, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Sometimes, it is important to answer direct questions directly to avoid confusion. Readers of Insider Weekly, another newsletter that participates in the iSeries market, may have made a mistake in interpreting two key sentences in a story about the upcoming reconfiguration of the COMMON iSeries user group. In a story that ran last week, COMMON president Beverly Russell was explaining about the changes that were coming in 2007 for the user group, and twice while she was explaining those changes, she didn’t say explicitly, after direct questions, that the twice-a-year COMMON conferences that are a part of the OS/400 community would be held in 2007 as the organization sought to increase the educational opportunities for members of COMMON.
If you read what Russell said, knowing what she knew, it makes perfect sense and you would not get the wrong impression. But if you did not know what Russell knew, you could read this story and think, quite logically, that COMMON was canceling the conferences and moving to another means of reaching out to its membership more often and more locally and also giving third-party solution providers and IBM a means to reach out to them as well through whatever venues it had planned.
Well, let’s just clear this up right now. COMMON is not canceling the bi-annual conferences that are its biggest events. “While we are still fleshing out our plans, we are not doing away with the conferences,” explained Ralph Gervasi, executive director of COMMON. “In fact, we are adding Webcasts, seminars, and more face-to-face opportunities. If you do the math in terms of touch-hours, it will be a lot higher in 2007.” And the changes are already under way for 2006, which will see conferences in Minneapolis and Miami Beach, plus 10 one-day seminars and five Webcasts, according to Gervasi.
As for the seemingly perpetual speculation about the fate of COMMON because of its finances, Gervasi said that the organization had seen its highest profits in 10 years after reorganizing last year–specifically, he said COMMON “did fantastic” in 2005–and wanted to lay to rest any notion that COMMON was in some sort of financial trouble. “Financially speaking, COMMON is on solid ground,” he said.