May 14th 2016 and we are, yet again, on the eve of the SAPPHIRE and ASUG Annual Conference in Orlando Florida. 25,000+ people flocking from all corners of the globe talking nothing but SAP, Innovation and the future of their digital enterprise. It is truly a unique and incredible experience for anybody who has not been before!
Surviving SAPPHIRE is not difficult but there are a few things I always make sure make it into my bag to make my life that little bit easier. So here they are:
Seems like a no-brainer but my iPhone is going to be my guide, my calendar, my window to the outside world as well as my way of finding any of my 20+ colleagues around the show floor. At Bluefin, as an example, we use Slack for all our communications and for SAPPHIRE it’s no different. We are co-ordinating our booth activities and general communications though Slack. From e-mail to meeting invites right through to Twitter it’ll be my iPhone I’ll be relying on most.
Of course relying on my iPhone has it’s problems. In a keynote of 25,000 people both cell coverage as well as WiFi will simply be terrible so you can literally watch as your phone or tablet battery drains as it attempts to communicate with the outside world. For this reason I carry my trusty battery pack which I’ve had for a few years now. I’ll get 4 to 5 recharges for my phone out of a single charge of the battery pack – should get anybody through the day nicely!
I’ll be very honest and admit I’m on the fence this year when it comes to my iPad. Before I got my iPhone 6S+ (note the + so it’s almost a tablet anyway) I would have said it was a must, but now I’m wondering if I even need it. I’ll probably make the decision on Monday before I leave. Normally it’s my device for meeting notes, twitter, the ASUG app and general browsing. I’m leaning towards bringing it for meetings alone where its much easier to take notes with.
I never go anywhere without the ability to take a call with a headset. I really hate holding my phone to my ear for an hour while sitting on a conference call. My go-to headset is absolutely the Voyager Legend from Plantronics. It has no equal when it comes to cancelling out the noise around you so you’re not the person people are asking to mute. And if you do have to mute, it has a dedicated button on the device to mute without having to take out your phone. This is awesome if you have to take the odd call at SAPPHIRE while wandering around the show floor. Similarly I always bring my Bose headphones for those really noisy environments where I want to be able to hear the people on the call better.
Business Cards (and a pen)
Another obvious one, but I always carry business cards and a pen. The pen in this case is so that I can write on the back of any business card I receive to remind me who they were and what we talked about. You will meet a LOT of people at SAPPHIRE so always remembering what happened in each conversation isn’t realistic.
SAPPHIRE is an ecoconscious conference so there aren’t stations everywhere with plastic cups or bottles giving out water. Instead you need to bring your own refillable bottle which actually works really well. I’ve been hunting for the awesome metal bottle I picked up at last year’s TechEd but alas I think I left it in Ireland so I’ll be picking something up along these veins over the next day or two.
Mint strips & headache tablets
3 days, 18-20 hours a day you WILL get a headache at some point – always carry a few tablets to ward one off if it starts – you won’t regret it! Similarly I always carry breath refreshing mint strips. Nothing is worse than wandering into a session with coffee breath (or worse!).
ASUG and SAPPHIRE App
The app provided by our friends at SAPPHIRE and ASUG this year is excellent giving a great overview of the show floor, attendees and your personal agenda. If you haven’t got it installed then my advise is, go do it, NOW! (get it? SAPPHIRE NOW…..)
After parties, other events, dinners or whatever it is – you will need a ride sharing app at the ready to get back to your hotel – don’t arrive without one of these good to go – you’ll need it!