The Oracle ACE Program is part of OTN and one of the things they do is enable ACE Directors to travel to conferences and speak to audiences who normally struggle to get good speakers across the whole range of Oracle.
Obviously OTN has a budget and one way to make that budget go further is the concept of OTN Tours. This is where a number of user groups agree an itinerary for their events in such a way ACE Directors can present at several over a shorter period.
Francisco Munoz Alvarez is one of the great organisers of OTN Tours, he is president of the Chile User Group and also very active in his adopted home of New Zealand and has arranged many successful tours in Latin America and Asia Pacific. I personally have had the opportunity to take part in several, most recently Latin America 2014.
There have also been tours in India and the Nordics and this year the first Middle East and North Africa MENA tour took place.
Where the user group is not English speaking, it can be over whelming if all content is in English and not all usergroups can afford translators, so they try to get a good balance. I firmly believe that one responsibility of ACE Directors on tour is to encourage local speakers to step up and to identify those who should be in the ACE program, and it is great as these usergroups are able then to have more balanced content. I have nominated or championed several people I have come across this way. It is not just to encourage them to speak, but to blog and write papers in their language to add to the content available for sharing knowledge.
This however means that along with a greater number of ACE Directors applying for a tour, less English speaking slots means there is much more competition. To get funding on a tour you need to have 2 presentations at each of at least two legs. This is always a challenge for me as many usergroups are technically focused and already have very little applications content.
So today I heard I have not been successful for the next Asia Pacific tour in November and I am sad, but also pleased that they now have enough good local speakers to reduce their reliance on us 'foreigners'. It is always sad to be turned down for a conference but like I say to people not successful for UKOUG, it is not about being rejected it is about capacity. I will particularly miss Tokyo as I have spent a lot of time there both with usergroups and in my role with Fujitsu.
To my friends who are going, have a great time. I am busy enough, I am taking part in the Nordic tour in October and will be submitting my papers for Collab and RMOUG over the weekend and hope I judge what people are looking for correctly.
And I have an exciting new job so still a happy wee lady.