When I received an email in December of 2011 I never would have imagined it would lead to a group of APEX experts traveling through three countries in South America sharing their passion and expertise. The email was from Marcelo Burgos who was writing on behalf of the Comunidad Oracle Hispana. Marcelo learned that I had an affinity for the Spanish language and wanted to know if I'd participate in a podcast for the community.
I explained to him that I hadn't had the time to work with the language very much lately but I set aside my fears and agreed to do it. As we traded emails about the podcast, the subject of the OTN Latin American Tour came up. The tour was scheduled to be in Argentina in August 2012 and for a brief moment I considered joining it but for one reason or another it didn't work out. That's when Nelson Calero thought outside the box and proposed we make our own "APEX Tour". Trato hecho! (done deal)
The Plan and the Prep
The plan was to visit three cities in different countries for the inaugural event: Sao Paulo, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was scheduled to give three presentations alongside a group of local APEX experts including Ricardo Stumpf of Brazil, Daniel Bozzolo of Uruguay, and Gonzalo Sanchez of Argentina. The catch??? All presentations were to be done in Spanish!!! The only exception to the rule was Ricardo's presentations in Brazil as he could do those in Portuguese. Anyway, it sounded like a good idea when I agreed to it...
About weeks ago, after eight months of planning, I boarded my flight to Sao Paulo. The preparation for the my presentations was unlike any I had done before. I was presenting on topics that I was already comfortable with but the thought of doing the presentations in another language was TERRIFYING! The preparation reminded me of times in high school Spanish class when I had to speak in front of the class: lots of flash cards, lots of practice, and lots of pressure! Luckily I had help from two amazing women: my wife Sonia and Clarisa Maman Orfali. I'm very grateful to both of them.
|Marcelo, Eduardo, & Ricardo|
The first day went very well. I was both relieved and excited when we had all finished. To sum up things on my end, I'd say I did alright. That's better than bad but leaves lots of room for improvement. I'm pretty sure I dropped an r from the word cargar at some point. The only clue to my mistake was the sudden burst of laughter from a few people in the audience.
As we were getting ready to leave, I made one big mistake: I forgot to grab the power cord for my laptop. I only realized my mistake when I got back to the hotel and at that point there was no one in the offices at Oracle. Gonzalo offered to swing by on the way to the airport the following day as the rest of us were flying out too early to do so. Fingers crossed...
|Ricardo, Dan, Sonia, Nelson, Edel, & Clarisa|
The next morning Daniel gave everyone a ride to the University where we were scheduled to present. Gonzalo wasn't due to arrive until around lunch time. Until then, I was dependent upon whatever battery power I had left. The computer told me I had just over 30% power which it estimated would last a little over 60 minutes. Given that the presentation was only 50 minutes I thought I was golden. Then Murphy, who's law is known around the world, showed up and shut my computer down about half way through my presentation. Smooth...
During the cab ride to the Argentine University of Enterprise (UADE) we could finally see the city. Buenos Aires is beautiful, reminiscent of some large European cities but with its own style. The room where we held the event was packed, the highest number of attendees throughout the tour. By this time I had given up on my laptop and decided to use the one my wife had brought. That turned out to be a really good idea.
The event was awesome and not by accident. Many people worked very hard to make that event a success, including Marcelo, Clarisa, Gerardo Tezza, Fernando Garcia, Marcelo Ochoa, and others. Everyone did a great job presenting but I was most impressed with Gonzalo who had updated his presentation for the third time during the tour based on feedback he'd received - well done. I also wanted to say thanks to Paola Girotti for her support and for saying a few words at the event.
|Clarisa, Paola, Fernando, Marcelo, & Gerardo|
Final Thoughts and the Future
In the end I felt the tour was quite successful. Many of the attendees were new to APEX, seeing it for the first time. I could tell they got it - that for web based applications on the Oracle Database, APEX was the way to go. Thanks to everyone that worked to spread that message and to everyone that came to hear it. I left with many more friends than when I arrived.
Of course not everything was perfect. We received lots great feedback from many attendees, both good and bad. We plan to use that feedback to make the event better next year. We also plan to grow the event next year. More countries, more speakers, more APEX! Look for more details in the coming months...
|A hungry bunch!|