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In prior years the dream in Southern California always became the annual SCOUG
OS/2 show, an open-house affair with lecturers, vendors and exhibits. This year
the dream became bigger, better, more widely known. It became Warp Expo West.
"We wanted an outreach-oriented group," says Rollin, "similar
to Team OS/2 but separate. We wanted to bring OS/2 to the community."
"We found the meeting facilities, calculated the budget, spent hours and
hours planning the details," confirms Steve. "We had three shows of experience
behind us - the original Warpstock and the two annual SCOUG events - and we knew
what to do and how to get it done." When the show was awarded to Atlanta, Steve
had a project plan and no project.
"Very few people travel 3,000 miles to attend a show," says Rollin,
the man in charge of SCOUG's annual extravaganza. "SCOUG put on an annual event
in prior years and a quick membership survey showed that less than 5% would attend
the east coast show. Instead of starting from scratch and planning this year's SCOUG
event, we adopted Steve's plan."
SCOUG was heavily involved in two shows in 1997, one of them being the first
Warpstock. But that wasn't the first one. The first one was called, simply, the
SCOUG Open House.
"It was Rollin's idea," says Carla Hanzlik, Editor of the SCOUG publication
OS/2 For You. "He put the first show together."
And from Rollin: "One of the goals I've always had is that the SCOUG group
members have all this information, but there is no way to disseminate it. The Open
House was meant to be a tightly scheduled series of lectures by the group members
which would explode the information and knowledge within each of our SIGs to all
of the OS/2 community." That first Open House ran three parallel lecture rooms
all day, was heavily attended by members and non-members alike, and gave Rollin
and his team the fateful experience they would need a few weeks later, when Warpstock
"We ate at a Red Robin restaurant, and talked about a show," says Carla.
"Felix wasn't a leader or a manager, but he had a very specific idea and he
wanted everybody to consider it. He wanted somebody, somewhere, and maybe it was
everybody, everywhere, to put on an OS/2 show."
The success of the first SCOUG Open House the following year gave a momentum
push to the simmering Warpstock. There was a team in California that had done it,
knew how to do it, could do it again. Maybe they will help. Help with Warpstock.
There were a lot of players spread out across the country at that time. Felix
Cruz was part of the initial team, though briefly, and there was Michael Perry,
Paul Hethmon, Mark Abramowitz, Rollin White, Esther Schindler, Larry Finkelstein,
Judy McDermott. Email kept them joined together, but there wasn't a physical place
where they could congregate, divide up the tasks, then hit the street and get the
job done. "Larry was pushing to have Warpstock in Philly," reminisces
Carla, "but the only team that could put it together was the SCOUG Open House
team in California."
The Warpstock Committee made a decision: the show would take place in Los Angeles.
"We got together for lunch near the Sundial offices where Carla and I work,
and Steve drove down from L.A.," Rollin remembers, "and somebody asked
if we should use a different name. So I said Warp Expo West, and nobody complained.
So that was the name. I wish every other decision was that simple!"
Luckily for the show, there's a lot of OS/2 development work in California and
the lecturer lineup was surprisingly easy. "I was in the hallway at the SCOUG
monthly meeting," says one prior-year lecturer, "and from out of the blue
Rollin walks up to me and says 'You'll be speaking in the third lecture time period,
and here's your topic.' And he's such a nice guy, it's really hard to say 'no'."
Exhibitors are a little different. "It takes constant work to bring vendors
to a show," says Rollin. "You contact them, remind them, ask them, explain
the show to them, it's a sales job. We worked hard and got some good ones."
Warp Expo West also has something new - a vendor presence over the 'net. "We
had a suggestion for a virtual exhibitor space called Vendor100, a product area
where people could try OS/2 software, see the vendor web sites, talk to knowledgeable
people about the applications, and buy on line. We put up a registration page just
for the Vendor100 program, and let everyone know it was there." Rollin considers
the Vendor100 showcase a Warp Expo West "first". "It's been wildly
successful," he says.
There were no financial backers, and no promoter with a bankroll. Rollin White
took the problem to SCOUG, and the group stepped forward with an offer to both host
and fund the event. There was no Warpstock bank account; all funds passed through
Things then picked up steam. Paul Hethmon, based in Memphis, signed up many of
the lecturers. SCOUG Board member Mark Abramowitz found the wonderful facilities
where the first Warpstock would be held, and other members joined on as the on-site
crew. OS/2 software developers were contacted, many by Mark, and asked to be exhibitors.
The OS/2 Museum, the huge assemblage of OS/2 history curated by Terry Warren and
Carla Hanzlik, was brought in from SCOUG's Open House.
"We were surprised at the turnout," remembers Rollin. "People
were simply showing up at the door. We never did find out how they knew about the
"OS/2 users want shows," says Terry Warren, President of SCOUG. "They
want to meet other OS/2 users, learn from OS/2 lectures, see and buy OS/2 products."
"When every city has an annual OS/2 show, I'll be happy," says Rollin
White. "There are OS/2 users everywhere, and they want and should have this
kind of support. That's what a grassroots effort like Warp Expo West or Warpstock
is all about."
"It's not about creating a sales floor where exhibitors can sell their products.
It's not about creating a corporate marketplace for the Fortune 500."
"Warp Expo West is for every OS/2 user, small or large. There's no restriction,
no minimum or maximum size, no qualification procedure. This show, and every show
like it, should be for everyone."
"My ideals and goals have never changed. We - you and I and every one of
us together - have the knowledge that makes OS/2 strong. Warp Expo West isn't a
show but rather a concept, a massive transfer of vital information between OS/2
users from every background, and with that transfer comes the new strength that
always carries OS/2 forward. Warp Expo West exists for that one reason."
For more on Warp Expo West the web page can be found at http://www.scoug.com/warpexpowest