I arrived in Las Vegas early last night just in time to meet with a number of members of the Ariba team and a smattering of the speakers highlighting the event. All in all, things feel somewhat different from past LIVEs -- or at least recent ones. I'm sensing a feeling in the air of passion these days at Ariba that was lacking in past years. I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with Bob Calderoni last night at a cocktail hour, and I swear, I've never seen him so fired up about the company's direction and customer traction. Now, read into this as you wish, as Bob is the CEO, and he should be passionate. But I've also been critical of him in the past for being about as interesting and dynamic as a typical accountant getting up on stage to evangelize his trade. This year, he seems more involved than the past, more engaged not only in Ariba's direction but where the overall sector is headed. After chatting with Bob and a few other folks including IACCM's Tim Cummins who it is always a pleasure to see, I sat next to Tim Minahan over dinner and caught up with him over just about nearly everything except the company and product details Spend Matters readers want to hear. Alas, it's always good to see an old friend doing well. Still, better him than me working 24 hours per day over the next few days trying to pull off an event of this size without a hitch.
- Jason Busch