The Oracle OpenWorld conference starts on Sunday and this post will talk about my Sunday experiences. The first thing I dealt with on Sunday, after Starbucks (of course), is registration. Unlike the Hyperion conferences I attended in the past, there are a number of registration areas just due to the size of the event. There is registration at multiple Moscone Center locations and at some of the conference hotels as well.
My registration as a speaker was at Moscone South. The line when I went was about 5 minutes long for speakers and about the same for Oracle employees. My COO, Michael, had already registered at the Marriott where the Hyperion activities were centered; there was nobody else in line.
After I registered, I had to go to Moscone West to pickup my conference materials. The lines for registration were quite a bit longer over there; it looked like about a 30 minute wait. Luckily, I didn't have to wait in a line to get my materials. One really nice thing is that as a previous Hyperion Solutions attendee (about 12 times), I qualified as an alumni. Here is where one of the big differences became very apparent... Swag.. That's right, swag.. As an alumni, I also got a jacket with the OpenWorld logo. It was the first of many items adorned with Oracle logos that I snagged. I have snagged so many, in fact, that I hope the are giving away Oracle logo suitcases sometime during the week so I can manage to get the stuff home!
Next on my agenda was the Oracle Partner Network ("OPN") Partners Meeting. There was the usual stream of execs talking about the 'go to market' strategy; now that my company resells Oracle products, it was much more useful than it used to be. The guest motivational speaker, Alison Levine, gave a very interesting presentation that I was very interested in. She suffered from a heart condition as a child that prevented her from even climbing stairs. After 2 heart operations before age 30, she led the first women's expedition to climb Mt Everest. As I am a rock climber, it fascinated me to hear the story she had of climbing within 300 feet of the summit of Everest only to turn around due to impending severe weather conditions. She did, however, make the right decision and her entire team did make it off the mountain successfully. The OPN meeting ended, of course, with more swag (a long sleeve t-shirt with OPN logos and the sturdy, insulated lunch bag that contained our 'bag lunch').
The next event was the Larry Ellison keynote entitled 'Sunday Night Live'. It featured skits by 3 former and current Saturday Night Live cast members, Kevin Nealon (who I met in New Orleans after a similar performance at Microsoft Tech*Ed '95), Victoria Jackson and Darrell Hammond. Larry then took the stage and told the story of how Oracle started (in much detail). He was followed by the Oracle Pre sident and CFO Safra Catz who highlighted Oracle's community outreach and philanthropic efforts. The general session ended with a Seattle band, GearDriver, whose drummer is Oracle's senior vice president of alliances and channels. I thought the keynote was entertaining although some people I talked with didn't care for it as much. One thing you can say about it is I don't think I have ever been a mere 50 yards from a 'thirty or so' billionaire in my life.
Following the keynote was a welcome reception that looked like it could be a good time but I had an Oracle ACE dinner to attend. There were about 100 Oracle ACE's there and I sat at dinner with a few Oracle JDeveloper experts and with one of the ACE program directors. One of the things we discussed is how to fill out the ranks of the Oracle ACE's in the Hyperion world. Next year, I hope to sit at a table with some fellow Hyperion-oriented people. The dinner ended with, you guessed it, more swag. This time, it was a nice fleece vest. It is, however, Oracle red trimmed with black and has a 9 inch black ACE logo on the back. When I wear it, people will certainly not miss the fact that I am a geek!
That was enough for one day. I will report again tomorrow.