A Few Testimonials
Why attend PUG Challenge?
Rob Willoughby said:
I was a first time attendee last year. I've also done some of the PUGs meetings remotely. It was 1000% better attending in person. Not only do you get to meet lots of folks from the PUGs, but you get lots of PROGRESS employees as well!
The Sunday workshops are fantastic - you get hands on training step-by-step, with the both PROGRESS and non-PROGRESS experts to assist you. Later on in the week, there will be sessions discussing what you just learned by people who've been using it in the real world. If this doesn't get you jazzed about how this applies to your own job, then perhaps nothing ever will.
The pricing for this whole trip was very reasonable. I did have to work our execs a bit to get this trip approved last year. But it was well worth it. It was simply the best work-related experience I've ever had, and I'm glad I was talked into it.
Rob Fitzpatrick said:
To those who can't *get* budget, I say: *make* budget.
It's under $500 for an early-bird ticket and a very reasonable hotel rate. And once you're there you have almost no expenses.
So yes, pay for it yourself, take a three-day vacation, fly, drive or hike to Manchester, and immerse yourself in the best Progress conference there is. Soak up all the session goodness. Network your brains out. Personally, I've paid more money on various personal-development expenses (courses, seminars, books, etc.) and got less out of them than I got from attending PUG Challenge.
And when you get back and implement changes at the office that make you more efficient and valuable and save the company money, be very vocal about how you got this knowledge and that you expect the company to foot the bill next year.
Mike Furgal adds:
I'll chime in my $0.02.
I see enough value in this technical conference that I am bring my entire DBA staff every year. (Editors note: that was back before Progress bought Bravepoint. Mike still brings his whole team -- which is now much larger.) You can get the session presentations on line sometime after the conference, which is in itself very useful, but seeing the presentations live, hearing the questions and interacting with the OpenEdge community is well worth the low admission price.
I go to many conferences annually, mostly as a speaker. This is not like the old Progress conferences where there was always a "messsage" that Progress wants to convey. There is no opening show and glitz. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the Progress shows and the spectacle and buzz it created. These PUG Challenges, both US and EMEA, are excellent as it's all technical content without any glitz or sugar coating and there is no "message" other than it's real world discussions from people who live and breath the technology.
From a value perspective, I see enough value that I am sending myself (as a speaker) and my team. Plus the beer is always flowing and it tends to be pretty good beer, it's one of those details that the PUG pays attention to!
Thomas Mercer-Hursh Ph.D. opines:
... if I was a developer working in a small company whose management was too shortsighted to understand that sending a person to a conference like this provides more educational bang for the buck than can be obtained anywhere else and I was a person who had any aspirations about growing into a better position in the future, I would take vacation time and go on my own.
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