Wednesday, October 13, 2010

OOW Blogging: The Older I Get, The More Behinder I Get

The last time I went to Oracle OpenWorld was, I think, the first year that Oracle called this huge conference Oracle OpenWorld. So, I'm thinking, maybe more than 10 years ago. I hated it. There were a kajillion people thronging around, and every session that I tried to go to was filled past capacity. So, I spent most of my time sitting on the floor outside of rooms, contemplating my database, thankful to at least be away from it, but a little put out.

So I have to say, I never wanted to go back.

But this year, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that I wanted to see hands on demonstrations of some of Oracle's products. So I cast about for a way to attend, and got permission to attend as an Official Oracle Blogger. So first and foremost, let me just say that I appreciated the opportunity very much. Thank you to Oracle and to Larry Ellison. I wouldn't have been able to come without the free pass.

So now I'm writhing with guilt, because I didn't blog. I didn't blog about what I intended to attend before the conference started. And I didn't blog about what I was seeing while I was there. And I didn't blog about what I saw afterwards. Well, now I'm blogging.

I have many excuses, of course. Before the conference, I was working very hard on preparing for the conference (getting all my work done). And during the conference, I was staying in Oakland, so I had to ride the BART every day, which is a big deal for someone who lives in the countryside and never rides these modern forms of transportation. And then there were the cats. Yes, I stayed with my brother and sister-in-law, and so all my non-blogging during the conference was their fault. They have these three cats, who loved me very much. And I forgot to prepare for the cats, so I arrived without a bag full of antihistimine. So one day, I fell asleep on the couch, when I should have been blogging, and one of the cats decided to hunker down with me, and that was the end of any blogging potential during the conference.

On the way home from the conference, the influence of the cats was so great that the man sitting next to me on the plane offered to pray for me, as I was clearly in distress, with my head in my hands, and my hands full of Kleenex. I took him up on it, and afterward he asked if it had helped. And I had to say, "Err... no, not really, but I thank you very much anyway, because it certainly didn't hurt."

For two + weeks after the conference, I did my level best to hack up an extra cat for my brother and sister-in-law. Finally, I am still coughing, but "not so much". My mother has skipped church for two solid weeks because she doesn't want people to worry that we will give them tuberculosis (she has a wee chronic cough herself). When I cough, I sound like a seal, or maybe a donkey braying. You cannot help but feel sorry for me.

Before I move on to my official recounting of what I learned, I wanted to say that the conference itself, in terms of organization, is sooooo much better than it was the last time I attended 10+ years ago. Attendees are strongly encouraged to sign up for sessions ahead of time. So I carefully went through the list of presentations and signed up for all the hands-on sessions I could find. And, although there were tens of thousands of people at the conference, I never had that standing room only feeling, so somebody must have handled the room selection very carefully. I was not overly fond of all the walking I had to do, but it's hard to complain, since walking from Moscone South to Moscone West to the Marriott meant there was a vast quantity of sessions. There wasn't any time when I couldn't find something interesting to attend. And, as for the walking, I needed it, and once I had proper walking shoes (courtesy of my sister-in-law), I managed just fine.

So, if you're wondering if it is worth it to attend OOW, in my opinion, it definitely is. I still like the smaller Collaborate conference better, but that's primarily because my focus is on the E-Business Suite of Applications, while OOW has a much broader focus. But if Larry invited me back next year, I'd go without hesitation.

So, Larry, thank you again for letting me attend your conference. It was a wonderful experience, I learned lots of things, and now I'm going to blog about what I learned.