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Susan Gantner, Jon Paris and Paul Tuohy on the Future of Virtual Conferences

Charlie Guarino speaks with Susan Gantner, Jon Paris and Paul Tuohy to discuss the shift to virtual conferences and what that change means for the future of developer conferences as the world reopens

Charlie Guarino: Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of TechTalk. This is Charlie Guarino and today we are doing a departure from our traditional podcasts. In the past, it's always been one on one where we have one person, and we have an entire interview about that, but we're doing a different format today. If I were to ask anybody quite literally anybody in our community, who are the mainstays, the original luminaries? Who would they name? Who would come to their mind first? I think it would be one of the three people that I'm speaking with today, one of the triad or the trinity or the triumvirate or the trio or maybe even the Triple Crown or the Trifecta or the Troika? How's that? All these great—I can't think of anymore words that have three in it but anybody who is anybody in this community will know these three names and I am so pleased and happy today to have with me today joining me none other than Susan Gartner, Jon Paris, and Paul Tuohy. It is a real honor to have you here today and thank you so much for all three of you joining me here today. I'm so happy that you're here and made some time for this discussion today.
 
Jon Paris: My pleasure, Charlie.
 
Susan Gantner: Thank you, Charlie.
 
Charlie: Thank you very much. So, the reason why we're taking today is because we were chatting and I know there has been some talk in the community, a bit of an announcement of sorts and I wanted you to share some of your thoughts on what the announcement might be and also your thoughts on it so I'm just going to turn the tables on you. I know normally you do a lot of interviewing. I'm going to turn the tables on you today and you can share your message and we'll chat about it. So, I'm going to open the floor to anyone, and we'll see where it goes from there.
 
Jon: Susan is the most polite one of us usually so shall we let her answer Paul?
 
Paul Tuohy: Sure.
 
Susan: It may be my last chance to get a word in, I think. 
 
Charlie: Well don't forget. I have control of the mute so I can always take care of that.
 
Susan: Okay. Yes so, the three of us, I mean we all have our individual identities, I suppose, but as a group I won't go through all the little triads and things that Charlie did but as a group, I think we're best known for system i developers, a company, and more specifically the RPG & Db2 Summit as a developer's conference, IBM i developers conference. We've been doing that for—I forgot to add up how many years but it's been a lot, since 2007 was it? Anyway, whatever the timeframe was.
 
Charlie: Awhile.
 
Susan: Yeah, awhile and we have loved it. It's been a great experience for us and apparently at least a lot of our alumni tell it that it was also a great experience for them. Then of course then Covid happened and so we pivoted the same as most other companies that were in a similar sort of business, we started doing the Summit online, virtual, so we did the virtual RPG & D2 Summit. We did two of those last year. We're doing one of those still coming up this year and of course we did a lot of other online education as well but specifically as far as the Summit conference is concerned, that’s where the things are changing a bit and so basically a lot of our alumni and we have a very loyal group of alums and a lot of them have been saying this virtual thing is fine but what we really love about the Summit is the in-person thing and the comradery and everything that happens there so we're going to hold off until that happens. So unfortunately, we have made the decision—I guess unfortunate for us to a certain extent—we made the decision that we just don't think we're going to be able to do another in-person Summit, so sadly we think that's a good part of our history but it is history at this point. We don't see doing another in-person conference and nobody is more unhappy about that than we are or more disappointed about that perhaps than we are because we really did enjoy but it's due to the complexity of what the pandemic has done and uncertainty about when—if and when people will ever be able to come back in large numbers. The risk just seems too great particularly considering where we all are in our respective careers and ages as you can see, all of us with some degree of gray in our hair. So for that reason, that's sort of the first part of the announcement is that we are not going to have any more in-person Summits. As I said we had pivoted to a virtual Summit, a virtual format for the Summit conference and while we think we did a pretty decent job, certainly given the limitations of time and lack of experience in that arena for all of us, we think we did a pretty decent job of virtual conference, it's not something we enjoy that much. For in-depth learning, all day workshops and quick webinar kind of things maybe but for the type of event that we do that has come to be known as RPG & Db2 Summit, we just are not convinced that virtual is something we want to continue. It's not nearly as interesting to us as the comradery and everything we had with the Summits or to the alums we think so we're still going to continue to do some online education in various forms. We're not going away as system i developer but the upcoming virtual Summit that's happening in October that's planned to be our last RPG & Db2 Summit so that's the second part of the announcement. So that's it.
 
Charlie: Susan this really makes me think because you did talk about Covid and how that really has had such a profound impact on not only us but it's a pandemic, the entire world, literally the entire world and then you also mentioned some key words there like pivot and that really has—we've all been forced to pivot and Zoom has really changed how we deliver content. Zoom has also really democratized how we deliver content. Quite literally anybody with Zoom account can now get out there and call themselves a conference or just a speaker if you will. I think certainly the three of you have inspired so many people including myself, I’ll put that out there as well, to really to challenge myself and to be my best and to really deliver timely information to people who really need it when they needed to hear it so I thank you for that as well but let's go back on that for a minute because you talked about how in-person conferences has really—how important that is to all of you and the future of education I mean we're a changed society than we were even just you know 15 months. We're a changed society how we not only deliver content but how we consume content. What are your thoughts on that and the future? Where do we go from here? What's our our path forward? Where do we go from here? Anybody can answer. I'm just curious. I said Susan because—
 
Paul: I don't know. Have you got a good paddle?
 
Charlie: Have I got a good paddle? I'm working on it.
 
Paul: No, I think it is changed times and I do think an awful lot more of the future is going to be online. Now I think that comes at a cost. I think we all know there are lots of different learning styles that people have, and I mean know for myself, my own personal learning style would be very much an online one. I will consume an enormous amount of information from a website by myself and a lot of the time when I would attend a conference and even with Jon and Susan, when I hear them speaking, sometimes I nearly started going oh come on, get to the point. Get to the point. Get to the point. I know this bit, right? You know get to the bit that I don't know so but that's fine for me. To me the big thing about what's going to be missing live is all the secondary stuff. It's the two-minute conversation you have over a cup of coffee with someone. It's the aside.
 
Jon: Yup.
 
Paul: That's what you don't get.
 
Charlie: You know it's funny. Sometimes people will tell you that it is that two minutes aside, that's where the golden nuggets really come out of a conference for sure.
 
Paul: Yeah, and that is I think what all of us have been missing over the last year.
 
Jon: Yeah.
 
Paul: And but I do think that regardless of that, I mean again it's always one of these things in life. I mean to me it's never a thing of well what is right and what is the right way and the wrong way? I think it's going to become a reality that now for a lot of companies, they're going to be looking at things like going yeah just for the last year we've been doing all this stuff online. Why would I send people away for training? Why would I go to that extra cost of travel and hotels? Ahhh, they can just do it online.
 
Charlie: Yeah but—I'm sorry.
 
Paul: I think that's going to become a reality for a lot of companies.
 
Charlie: But the counter point to that Paul is that there is so much potentially pent up demand for in-person conferences that, yeah I agree with you that we can do online and the cost of entry is very low as you well know, but the idea to just sit in a room with people and you've already said it, those two minute asides, you can't dismiss the value of that and I guess maybe the real challenge is how do we convey that our managers to come up with the extra dollars in their expense accounts to allow us to still do to continue to do in-person-attend in-person events.
 
Paul: Yeah, I really think the only people who have a hope of ever doing that Charlie are the people who can demonstrate how the company get benefit out of well when I attended this conference, because of this conversation I had with Charlie or Jon or Susan or Paul or whatever, that's why we saved 200K on that project and if you don't have that, going on the basis of well you never know. I might pick up a nugget in a side conversation with someone. Ahhh, am I going to give you a budget for that? I don't know.
 
Charlie: Well possibly the argument for that then is if ever RPG and SQL have been transformative, it's been the last several years and yes, the internet is full of information and anybody can just go online and just start pulling information but it's because of that wealth of information why in-person is so important because when you go to an in-person event, you're-you're getting the benefit of somebody who has distilled the information to meaningful content. Now sure, they can do it online, but I just have to say the point again. It doesn't replace being in-person.
 
Paul: Oh yeah. No definitely. Definitely doesn't.
 
Jon: I don't think any of us would argue with you Charlie but in the majority of cases we're not holding the purse strings. Over the years we've seen a lot of very strange situations. I mean, we see managers who recognize the value of training and it is a cost effective, it comes down on the right side of the balance sheet shall we say who have literally written to us saying how do I get my programmers signed up and come to your event? I got a budget for it, but they won't go, so it's always been both ways. There are always people who will recognize the value of it but right now or up until now rather, as Paul said, they haven't had this example of well we've been doing all right without it and you know wait look at this. We've saved all this money on the budget, no travel, etc. etc. People working from home, you know there's the whole of that aspect to it. I don't think it's that we think it will never happen or it will never be valid. It's just a question of whether it is in for want of a better word in a meaningful timeframe for us. I think live education will continue and will flourish in the future but it's going to take a long time for it to recover.
 
Charlie: You know this is not to suggest by any means that virtual is bad. I mean, in the last year I'm not alone, surely we all have attended and presented at virtual events so—
 
Jon: Right.
 
Charlie: This is not to dismiss the quality of that because it's hardly a cottage industry. It's been around for quite some time so that's important to point out too. I'm not trying to say that it's not worth going and certainly our audiences have expanded as a result. I mean any small user group is now international—
 
Jon: Yeah.
 
Charlie: And they're getting attendees you know people who never would have met or heard of so it's a compelling argument for that as well.
 
Susan: It is.
 
Jon: It is, yeah.
 
Susan: That's one thing that's been really interesting for us as far as the Summit but like you said Charlie, a lot of local user groups and things I think it's great that we're seeing some of these groups that some of which might have been struggling a little bit when they were just dealing with their local audience now being able to open up and offer a lot more to a wider audience and are maybe getting a new lease on life so to speak because of the virtual aspect of it so yeah it definitely has it's pluses as well.
 
Charlie: And it goes even beyond groups. It even has given the world now a whole new set of speakers; people who never would have even thought of you know throwing their hat into the ring so to speak. Now they're out there speaking, and no one says they have to speak at a conference. Anybody again with a Zoom account can now go out there and start sharing information and I think that is an ancillary benefit of Covid if ever there were one.
 
Jon: Yeah.
 
Susan: Yeah.
 
Jon: I’ll speak just for myself here Charlie because I don't want to put this on the others but I think perhaps in some respects for me, I think there is—how do I say this? There is an age perspective here. I've been teaching face to face for a lot of years. 40 odd years one way in another now that has been part of my working life and what might surprise a lot of people I think is that if you talk to people like us who present regularly, I may throw the same set of charts up but I never deliver it the same way twice and the reason that you don't do that is if you're any good, you are constantly watching the audience; you're watching their reactions. You're looking for the whites of their eyes if you like and looking at what are they understanding? Did that hit home? Did it not hit home? Okay I'm dealing with a—even if you don't ask questions, you're still getting the reactions and if you go into it that way, then you know to slow the pace down, to speed the pace up. There are charts later on that you know that you've got in there that you can skip through quickly if you're having to spend more time up front you know what I mean so I can take the same basically 60 minutes worth of material and I can deliver it in 45 minutes or I can deliver it in 2 hours depending on how the audience is reacting, etc. etc. Now obviously when I do at a conference, you're stuck within the timeframe and you adjust but I think for those of us who have been teaching for awhile, that's what you miss. That's why for me I love being able to offer education via the virtual Summit. I hate the fact that I haven't a clue as to how the audience is reacting. I just I feel as if I'm trying to teach with my left leg cut off.
 
Charlie: Is it a fair point to say that you're speaking as somebody who has decades of experience presenting live in-person events and perhaps the argument falls short when I say that virtual events are still fairly new—
 
Susan: Yeah.
 
Jon: Yup.
 
Charlie: And therefore, even though some groups have gotten quite good at delivering virtually but it's still a work in progress. It's still evolving so perhaps we will reach a point where that becomes the de facto way to deliver the most content.
 
Jon: Well, it's interesting because we've had classes, private classes where we have tried to encourage the clients to turn on their video and we've stopped doing that now because sometimes all that it shows you is that they're not paying attention at all.
 
Susan: Or they're not even there.
 
Jon: Or they're not even there. 
 
Paul: Right.
 
Jon: Right? Sometimes they just walk away from the desk whereas at least in-person, I mean I know I've done this before when I've got a particular person in the class and I know from previous discussions this is a part they should be interested in and clearly they're not. They're sitting there doing their email or whatever. Then I can take the opportunity to address them and say Fred, have you come across this situation, that kind of thing. You're constantly monitoring your class. You're constantly changing what now you deliver. That just goes by the board. You know that's just so hard, so maybe the result of all of this is going to be that there will be a new generation of teachers who thrive in that environment. I've been watching, for example, a few YouTube training sessions on different things lately and it's very interesting to me, not IBM i related stuff, open-source stuff but it's very interesting to me that nobody ever thinks in that world of doing an hour and 45 minutes or an hour and 15-minute session, right? They're 7 minutes. They’re 9 minutes. They're 4 minutes and you know little bitty bits and pieces and that's a completely different style. It would take me longer than I hope I've got left in my career to adjust all of my material to fit that format. You know again that's probably part of it as well. I don't know how the others feel but because I've been in that world lately, it got me thinking in that direction.
 
Charlie: Well, you're right. It has spawned a whole new generation of—maybe it hasn't spawned. Maybe they were there the whole time and maybe just-you know Jon you could easily break down any one of your sessions into small bites and share them with the world and that's really what's happening. You know people are sharing just bullet points, you know one tip here, one tip there, not an entire session.
 
Jon: Yeah.
 
Paul: But I think that then just becomes the passing on of information. It's not giving context—
 
Jon: Right.
 
Paul: So for example if we're talking about something like if I'm doing a session I don't know on embedded SQL or something, yes I'm going through the here's the mechanics of it but I'll also be going through here's the why and here's how the bits fit together and remember when we did that? Well now do you see the relevance of why I said you don't do X? Because this is where you would shoot yourself in the foot and it's connecting all of those little blocks. That's what you don't get with the 5 minute snippets.
 
Charlie: Well—
 
Paul: All you get is somebody sort of going like it's sort of someone introducing you to Lego. They hold up and say you know here's a bit with eight and eight little bumps on it. Here's a bit with four and here's a bit with two. Enjoy.
 
Charlie: Well you said you're not going away so give us a little insight to that. I mean you're not going away so therefore there's might be something, some incarnation after like that's beyond this. What do you see yourselves doing after the last Summit?
 
Paul: I don't know but it involves a lot of alcohol Charlie. 
 
Charlie: It involves a lot of alcohol.
 
Jon: Will it be the second sitting of the last Summit?
 
Charlie: Right exactly but I mean workshops, I mean individual training? I mean where does this all fit together?
 
Susan: Well, we have been doing workshops for—well, we did workshops with our in-person events and that is one thing that was at least had some aspects of it that were easier for us to adapt to virtually because before we had workshops that happened all in one day at the same time in-person right before the event started so that gave us severe limitations right? How many rooms do we have? How many speakers do we have on site and that kind of thing, so with virtual, it suddenly occurred to us we're not limited to that anymore right so we now have decided to do like workshop series so we did a whole workshop series earlier this year, full day hands on workshops similar to what we have done in-person but you can sign up for all of them if you want too. You're not limited to just going to one and so you know we've been doing that already so I think and those work pretty well, so I think we'll probably continue to do something you know workshops, a series of workshops like we've done this year.
 
Paul: Yeah. I think it's a thing Charlie that I suppose what the big change is that where prior to this, prior to the pandemic where we were doing two conferences a year and I think it's fair to say that it's a thing we felt nearly obligated. I think our whole calendar of everything else was arranged around those two conferences.
 
Susan: Yeah.
 
Paul: Like I would know that coming up to our conference, you don't take client bookings. I don't put myself in the middle of a project because I'm going to be busy on the conference—
 
Jon: Yeah.
 
Paul: And don't take anything the week afterward because I'm going to be exhausted the week afterwards you know that kind of thing and I think we've sort alluded to it but the three of us, some of us more than others, me being the youngest just to point that out—
 
Charlie: Noted. Noted.
 
Paul: But it's like we're getting up there and so I think it really is a fair thing to say that the enjoyment that we got out of the live conferences, we don't get that buzz from the virtual one so and I think there are other things at this age that are also starting to interest us in other areas so I think it's going to be a thing of when we feel like doing something we will do it as opposed to feeling that we're obligated to do this conference you know once or twice a year or in the spring we have to do X and in the fall we have to do Y. I think it might become a thing of you know I'm feeling a bit bored. I think I'd like to do a workshop.
 
Charlie: It even goes beyond the technical aspect of it. I mean one of things that I truly enjoy being so privileged to speak at different conferences around the world quite literally is just the travel in and of itself. The travel is so wonderful and that goes beyond the two-minute asides. That having dinner with friends in restaurants and comradery that goes with being able to see different cultures—
 
Paul: Yeah.
 
Charlie: Whatever and that's the part that I miss and have been missing this last year. I'm pining for that. I suspect that that will come back I think in fits and starts but I'm already seeing some beginnings of that which I'm very happy for. I don't know if it will ever reach the same capacity it was in the past but again time will tell right?
 
Jon: Yeah.
 
Paul: Yeah.
 
Charlie: I know anybody who is listening to this podcast is well aware of the impact that the three of you have had on the community and to be sure it's a lot but I'm just wondering what impact has the community had on the three of you? I mean I'd be curious to hear, again turn the tables again. What impact has it had if any you know from just meeting the people and hearing their stories? They're in the trenches and you're hearing how they've grown and you've seen the same people through the years and watching them grow professionally. What impact has that had on you?
 
Jon: Hmm. Interesting question.
 
Charlie: I try.
 
Jon: I mean one of the things that I have literally starting telling audiences in recent years or particularly people who email me for example or where's a follow up, where it's an email follow up to something that happened at a conference is the amazing amount of teaching and writing material I get out of answering people's questions. I enjoy questions maybe in part because I'm too lazy to go and work out what it is I want to know about next so it's sometimes what I learn next is governed by what people are asking me about.
 
Susan: Well and similarly I think you learn what things that you know you can teach differently you know. I enjoy getting questions because it gives me an idea of what did they get of what I taught and did I miss something or is this a whole other area that I should have gone into or that I should think about going into that I haven't done before. Jon, you were saying and I'm the same way about the fact that I never deliver the same charts the same way two times in a row or two times ever but I also and I think what constantly amazes a lot of people especially conference organizers when they're bugging me for handouts, you know it's like these are sessions you've done forever. What do you mean your handout isn't ready? It's because I don't think I ever even deliver the same talks because this question came up and oh, I can find a better way to say that or asked this question and that was a great question. I'm going to make sure I include that in this thing so yeah, absolutely the questions and the feedback from the attendees is very valuable and you know a lot of times we always say hey you've got my email on the front of the handout. Please email me anytime. Not very many people do, and I suspect because I think I would probably feel this way perhaps I suspect a lot of times they think well they don't really mean it? They're just being nice saying yeah if you have questions you can email me, but I think we really enjoy getting the interaction particularly now that we're not in in-person and that person wasn't able to ask those question and we weren't able to have this discussion over lunch after the session and that kind of thing.
 
Charlie: Let's lighten the mood a little bit because—
 
Paul: Sorry Charlie can I just throw a little bit in on that?
 
Charlie: Absolutely, Paul.
 
Paul: Apart from the just the technical side of it, it's a thing I think that all of us are inclined to forget at times is just how good this community is, the IBM i community.
 
Charlie: That's true.
 
Paul: I mean it is full of fairly phenomenal people and I think the thing that summed it up was that I think Charlie, everybody is my wife Phil. The first time she came to a Summit conference with me which was sort of the first work thing that she ever really went to with me. I mean she'd been at a couple of you know dinners and stuff where she'd meet people that I work and obviously she knew Jon and Susan and all of that because they're my friends but it was the first seeing a large group together right. I remember coming back and just asking her sort of saying well what did you think the whole conference and everything and all she said was they're all such nice people. She was really blown away with that you know that that like everybody. She said you know everybody at the conference was nice. There were no you know grumpy people, narky people. I said well hang on. I've got a list of them.
 
Charlie: You have a list people who are in double secret probation right?
 
Paul: Yeah I think for all of us, this is one of the joys about going to conferences is that you get to meet all of these people that a lot of time you've met before and always these new people and they are always nice people.
 
Charlie: Which is a perfect segue to a quote from Winnie the Pooh if you can believe that and the quote is how lucky we all are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard right to be part of something like that and it's really is so true. Back to your thing about everybody being nice, this quick memory came to my mind. I was at a conference once and Jon was presenting in the next room; at the end of the conference Jon comes out of the room and he says these people are just so nice. I said I know. They're wonderful. He said no, you don't understand. I was presenting the wrong slide deck and it was only until ten minutes until the session ended that somebody even said something to me. I remember that story. I don't know if you remember that Jon but that was—
 
Jon: Yes.
 
Charlie: That was a great story. That was a very funny thing. So—
 
Paul: Well, that's unusual Jon. Somebody woke up before the end of one of your sessions. 
 
Charlie: Wow okay so I was going to say let's lighten the mood but I think we're already there. I wanted to ask you just a couple of funny thoughts. I know you throughout the many years you've been presenting surely a couple of funny things must have happened at some of the conferences you've been attending. I just wondering if you wanted to share one or two quick funny stories, antidotes or things that have happened at different conferences you've attended if you have any stories. The one that comes to my mind is always about the cows but I know you have some other stories.
 
Jon: The one I think that was in Fort Worth and it wasn't one of our favorite destinations, but it was okay but from the minute we walked in, we had nothing but trouble. As when we run the Summit, we have an office where we keep all of our equipment locked up and we could never get into the darn thing without finding the security guard wherever he was in the building because they had no less than three different sets of keys cut and this went on and on and on. We were wondering what the heck is going on and they finally did bring a locksmith so that was resolved but we couldn't understand why things like that kept happening. Then I think it was late in the day the second to the last day we were there and the sales manager came around and said oh by the way. Tomorrow I just wanted to give you a heads up. There's going to be a lot of people walking around with clipboards and making notes. Don't worry about it. It won't affect your event but it's okay. So we said well okay why? He said the hotel declared bankruptcy last night and they're the auditors coming to take inventory of all the equipment and from that point on, it became immediately apparent you know why there hadn't been hiring locksmiths and things like this. You know probably there wasn't a local tradesman that would deal with them because everyone knew they were going under but that wasn't the only weird story from that particular one but the other story, we're not going to put the other story out in the public. That's for telling you privately over a few beers, Charlie.
 
Charlie: Perfect.
 
Paul: I think the one you were referring to Charlie just to clarify a couple of things—
 
Charlie: The cows, yeah. With the cows.
 
Paul: With the cattle so in Texas and this happened I think at what three of our conferences? Just before so where we would arrive in, the weekend before our conference would start, the previous conference that was in those rooms is a longhorn cattle auction and it's in the actual ballroom where we have our dinners, that's where they auction the cattle so these cattle are brought into this ballroom and all these people in rhinestones and ten gallon hats and very fancy boots, it's quite a good story. It's real fun walking around that hotel while this is on. But as you can imagine the smell that is in that room, remember the first time it happened, we were going there is no way that smell is going to be gone before the conference starts but they did. They always managed to get it done. The closest came once though when the wind changed and where they would have the doors open, the wind was actually blowing the smell back into the room so that took them a bit and we had the one where one of the cattle escaped outside—
 
Jon: Yup.
 
Paul: And the joys of looking out a window as this longhorn went dashing up through the car park and about 30 seconds later followed by a cowboy on a horse with a lasso twirling it over his head chasing it so I mean it was—
 
Susan: It was a real live rodeo.
 
Charlie: You don't know—you don't know the true ending to that story Paul. There's another ending that you're not even aware of. That one particular cattle did manage to hide in the conference rooms and is now a certified RPG SQL developer and I've received a resume recently and we're in discussions right now so—
 
Susan: That's terrific.
 
Jon: Yeah.
 
Susan: But Paul, you missed the best line of that whole story right which is that at opening session Paul said that this was the first time that they ever had to clear the BS out of the room before we got here. 
 
Charlie: That's really funny. That's really great.
 
Paul: Was that also the hotel with the vultures—
 
Jon: Yes.
 
Paul: Or was that another one in town?
 
Susan: Yes, the vultures up on the patio.
 
Paul: So that the one where Terry and Amy, Amy was our marketing person and that and they went to their room and they noticed they had a balcony, but the balcony was covered in a lot of bird poop. They were sort of like that's weird until one day Terry came back up, happened to glance out the window to look at two vultures sitting on the balcony, staring in at him. Two full grown vultures. 
 
Charlie: You're making me think that I'm paling around with the wrong group of people and I mean that because the worst has happened to me was maybe a bulb on a projector went out. I mean I don't have good cattle stories and bird stories, so I think I'm missing out on something here. 
 
Jon: No. You're just not trying hard enough, Charlie.
 
Charlie: Well that's probably true enough. So we're coming to the end of our time here. Any last personal message? I know you'll be back but any last personal messages you want to share with the the IBM i community at large, just some final thoughts and then we'll wrap this up. Any final thoughts or any words or personal messages?
 
Susan: Well one thing, of course. We'll just remind people that we do have one more RPG & Db2 Summit coming and we plan to have as much as we can virtually. We plan to make it sort of celebration of what the summits have been like and to thank everybody, the speakers, the exemplar people who have been with us and all of the attendees who made it all possible so we're going to really enjoy our October virtual Summit but the other thing more importantly is just to thank the IBM i community and encourage everybody to continue with education in whatever form you can. I'm a particular big believer in local user groups. I think it's such a shame that a few of them have sort of faded by the wayside here in recent years or died completely. I'd really love to see maybe they will be the first ones that come back with the in-person kind of stuff because you don't have to travel anywhere. You don't need a big budget to get together. I think it's really important that that happens and I'm really hoping that that can happen. If there's anything I can do personally to help local user groups to do that, please let me know.
 
Charlie: And it needs to happen. Technology marches on, right?
 
Susan: Yeah.
 
Charlie: So, people need to you know keep upping their game for sure. You know one of my favorite quotes I think is a very apropos right now is you know let's not cry because it's over. Let's smile because it all happened, right? I think that's a very fitting—that's Dr. Seuss I think by the way but anyway so let's wrap this up. I just want to give my personal message to the three of you and I just want to say that the three of you have truly laid the path down for me and so many of the speakers that I know that that I speak too and your names are always right off their lips first so you should know that as well so I'm thanking you on behalf of all the speakers that I know and all the other people who you've touched. It's been a real privilege and I just feel very as I said in the beginning very privileged to both know you, all three of you and not just as teacher and mentor but as friends so thank you for your friendship as well. It really does mean the world to me so thank you very much.
 
Susan: Same for you Charlie.
 
Jon: So glad that the Summit gave us the opportunity to get together and to get to know you better over the last few years.
 
Charlie: Sure even though I've known you for 25+ years. 
 
Jon: It's kind of weird. There's know and know isn't there?
 
Charlie: Exactly right. Exactly.
 
Susan: Yeah, yeah and now we know we like him. [Laughter]
 
Charlie: Despite the rumors. Exactly. All right so I think we'll leave it there. I think that's a good point to leave it at so anyway thank you very much the three of you. It's been a real treat. Thank you everybody for joining me this month on this podcast. I'll be back next month with another podcast and until then make sure you visit TechChannel. There's lots of other great content on there and what else can I say? Thank you guys and we'll keep in touch.
 
Jon: Thanks Charlie. Look forward to seeing you again soon.
 
Charlie: All right. Okay bye now.
 
Jon: Bye now.
 
Susan: Bye.
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