On Your Marks, Get Set …..

Posted in: Technical Track

A mere week away from the excitement of another Oracle OpenWorld (OOW). I had the pleasure of working Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest this summer. I was on a crew that spent a lot of our time in the pit–the area between the crowd and the front of the stage. I did not work the night of the stage collapse, but had I been there the pit is probably where I would have been. While working a shift, a colleague mentioned to me that working Bluesfest for 12 days was like being a kid and going to camp. That reminded me … going to a software convention is the same thing. It’s a complete turnaround from our normal day-to-day lives. We also get to stay up late (ya right late for me now is 10pm) and tell stories and hang with people whom we mostly see once a year if that. It’s like a little family.

This is my first Oracle OpenWorld in a few years. I have not changed (I don’t think), but the show must have grown significantly. With the huge number of acquisitions over the past few years, I am sure I will not recognize some of the solutions mentioned in many presentation billboards as I pass through all the conference venues. I am pretty much a CORE database guy. The Server has made me tick since the 80’s, and put a lot of groceries on the table.

For any first time attendees who stumble into this post, my advice as an OOW veteran:

  • visit the site where you can make your agenda EARLY; if you are reading this post at the end of the week of September 26, most of the sessions you want to attend may/will be full
  • drink lots of water; there’s a lot of walking at OOW-not a bad thing and, for me, it sure beats going to the gym
  • don’t force yourself to eat conference food at lunch all week; Moscone is so central that by mid-week, treat yourself to something closer to the chow you probably eat at home
  • User Group Sunday is a hidden gem for conference attendees; if you have the luxury of being at the show by Sunday, check out the agenda for presentations, shmooze with fellow attendees, and you could end up making some new acquaintances that may last a lifetime
  • if you are a t-shirt bunny, get to the exhibit hall early; it’s funny how some people get impatient if they have to stand in a line at an ATM for more than 5 minutes but will happily queue for 30 minutes for a free t-shirt
  • if you see a guy with a badge that says “Abramson”, it just could be the guy who won a BMW at OOW one year in LA … he’s from Toronto
  • Tom Petty or Sting … I will choose the latter, and expect his encore to be Message in a Bottle or Walking on the Moon (if his fellow ex-Police comrades and he have not bickered over royalties as so many successful bands have done in the past)

The Pythian gang and I will be at the show very late into Thursday. I would love you to stop me in the hallway if we have ever crossed paths before or if you would like us to meet one another. The neat thing about a show so big is I know I will end up running into (maybe literally due to the size of the event) many people I will be excited to see again after many years … the only thing I may miss (I think it’s too late in the season this year) is Sam Adam’s summer.

To quote Scott MacKenzie, “if you’re going to San Francisco …”.

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