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Last month I talked about the presentation “The Art of Defensive Programming – Coping with Unseen Data” I was doing at the PhUSE Single Day Event (SDE) in Beerse, Belgium. The event was held yesterday on 28 November 2017 at the Janssen EMEA site, where I’d started my SAS contracting activities 25 years earlier. This was the 6th SDE I’d presented at in Belgium, and the 3rd on this site, so I was fairly familiar with the venue and knew many of the attendees too.
As at recent conference events I included a free draw for a copy of my latest book “SAS Programming and Data Visualization Techniques“. The attendance at the SDE was around 80 and not just coming from Belgium, with 21 of those entered the draw, and the winner was Lieke Gijsbers from OCS Consulting in the Netherlands (see me presenting her with my book in the photo).
You are probably now asking why this will be my last report from a PhUSE event? Over the last year or so I have reviewed the benefits I get from presenting at conferences and how much it costs me to attend them. Consultants spend a lot of time doing Cost-Benefit analyses and PhUSE events seemed to be moving lower down the list. The larger companies can easily afford to send multiple delegates, but a small percentage of their staff, to PhUSE events because of economies of scale. Unfortunately, Holland Numerics is not a large company, so we have to send 100% of our staff (me!). By presenting we get a 33% reduction on the full conference fee, but we lose 100% of our income during the conference and SDE days, and the same is true for every other independent consultant attending PhUSE. Next year I was hoping to combine some of my training courses with PhUSE SDE and PhUSE Connect (the new name for the annual conference!) events, but none had come to fruition.
I am extremely happy with the records I have created as a mere SAS programmer (and not a Statistical Programmer!) during my membership of PhUSE:
- I have attended 13 consecutive PhUSE annual conferences since the first was held in Heidelberg in 2005.
- I have presented at least 1 paper in every PhUSE annual conference I have attended, including several papers I had brought with me “just in case” to fill in for short-notice withdrawals.
- I have presented in 18 SDEs since they started in 2008, including 6 in Belgium, 4 in the UK, 3 in Germany, 2 in Switzerland and Denmark, and 1 in the Netherlands.
- Since the PhUSE annual conference was held in Basel in 2009, I have held a beer-tasting evening near to the conference. That is a total of 9 beer-tasting evenings! It started because I wanted to taste the local beers, I preferred to drink beer with friends, and it seemed to work out just fine, because I had no complaints, and I added many new beers to my beer-tasting database. In fact I had to stop Yvonne Moores, the 2011 Brighton conference chair, from putting a note in the daily conference news, and it was still over-subscribed using just word-of-mouth! The largest evening attendance was actually 24 in Budapest, when, unable to find a Hungarian beer establishment, I opted instead for the “Belgian Abbey Restaurant”!
- Last, but not least, no-one has enjoyed PhUSE events more than me!
I would like to thank PhUSE for allowing me to present my SAS-related papers at their conferences and SDEs, but I will not be renewing my membership of the PhUSE Society as usual in January.