Monday, November 12, 2007

OOW2K7: What's the story?

The opening salvo in the OpenWorld 2007 campaign was the Sunday Night keynote. When I arrived at Moscone Center at 5:30 the queue for stretched around the block. Literally round the block. I'm sure I wasn't the only person asking whether we were all mad. At least it wasn't raining and at least we all got in. Actually it turned out to be a good thing to be one of the last people into Hall D, because it meant I had to sit through considerably less Billy Joel than the early birds must have had to endure.

Most of the event was devoted to Larry's account of the history of Oracle's thirty years. I'm sure he's told these stories a thousand times already but many of them were new to me. The best story was John Kemp, the first Chief Finance Officer, who used to deliver pizza to the Oracle offices but who was studying Accountancy at Berkley. Also the famous first sale to the CIA was for a product, Oracle version 2.0 (there was no version 1.0) which hadn't been written yet. How times have changed. Unfortunately the speech became less focused and eventually turned into a recitation of people who joined the company over the years.

The rest of the session consisted of some slightly desperate sketches from the cast of Saturday Night Live. There was also a worthy presentation on Oracle's global responsibility programme. There are a number of initiatives in the education arena (mainly encouraging schools and students to use Oracle software). Also, Oracle employees do lots of volunteering. The event was finished off by a pub rock band composed of Oracle employees and customers, fronted by the Senior Vice President for Alliances, playing a song about Oracle rocking for ever. The band was called Eardriver but I'm afraid Hallclearer would have been more appropriate.

Of course I had to leave anyway because of the ACEs' dinner. The Fly Trap is a nice place. I got to drink Pinot Noir from Francis Ford Coppola's vineyard and the food was good. The one problem with these occasions is that the restaurant layout prevents you circulating too much, so you end up talking to a handful of people. Eddie Awad asked my advice about user groups; I'm not sure I completely answered his question but it has stimulated some thoughts which I may blog later. Doug Burns was extremely jet-lagged; you may think that's a euphemism, I couldn't possibly comment. We all got issued with our new Oracle ACE fleeces, which are actually gilets with a large Ace of Spades symbol on the back. I don't know whether the ACE directors' fleeces have the tiara as well. Inevitably Mogens Norgaard wore his for the entire evening. Steven Feuerstein threatened me with a steak knife. These liberal peaceniks are all the same.

So, what is the story?

Is there a big theme? Beats me. One of the Oracle people I spoke to last night said they all don't know what's going on. If there is a big announcement it will be just as much of a surprise to the employees as to the rest of us. One of the ACE Directors who had spent the day in the Directors' briefing sessions said they had been told that there would be no mention of features currently under development. Apparently all that stuff is being saved up for next year's OpenWorld when Oracle are going to make a big deal out of 11gR2.

In the afternoon I was wondering through the Yerba Buena Gardens. A young chap on a bench clocked my OpenWorld pass. Jerking his head at the big tent which is blocking off Howard Street he asked me, "Do you know what the party's about?" "Oracle," I said. "Database software." He turned to his friends and told them, "Computer shit."


Anonymous said...

Billy Joel. Long queues. Nothing of import. 'Jetlagged' Scottish DBA's. Cheap fleeces.

Just like my manager said when he rejected by request to attend OOW. Phew.

But seriously, I am really enjoying all the impartial coverage. Keep it up. It is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

It's jet lag! I *promise* it's jet lag.

To which my traditional cure is to see if I can drink myself awake.

I can't say it's been an enormous success yet, but I believe it's worth persevering.

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