As the world's most skilled procrastinator I have been in San Francisco for 28 hours and still not written my 'what am I up to' post.
So I looked at last year's pre event post and if I simply updated the session names it would work, although I don't get the post event holiday to Hawaii I had last year (why not? I ask myself).
Is Oracle Open World stale, and is it just a series of repeats, or is it something to look forward to?
It certainly comes round too quickly, especially this year it is only 11 months since the last one!
So I have analysed the components of my experience and determined that each element falls into a number of buckets:
- "Its just the way Oracle do it" - stuck with it then
- "I've always done it that way" - something I should look at changing
- "the way I like to handle it" - more of a tradition, that I enjoy, and look forward to.
OTN generously fund my trip to Oracle Open World as part of my ACE Director credentials; my travel and my overly inflated hotel room during the conference. Hotels in San Francisco, at the OOW preferential rate are in most cases double what you would pay this week. They are guaranteed full occupancy so basically can charge what they like, criminal.
OTN ask in return that I attend briefings in HQ the Thursday & Friday before. This is not a chore, and if I had to chose between the briefings and OOW itself, I would chose the briefings. If I could only chose one session, it would be Thomas Kurian's. He answers questions, he is honest and his passion for the technology shines through. I like the way he treats us as experts and doesn't give us the marketing spin.
I am very proud that several years ago I suggested to the User Experience (UX) team in development that ACEs would be interested in what they do, and they in turn created an offshoot from the ACE program to teach those interested more about what they do. Over the years that program has grown to a wider audience but the training takes place on the Wednesday before at HQ. So I used to travel over on the Tuesday, however I have found that if I travel Monday I can arrange any meetings I need with Development for the Tuesday before the last minute rush kicks in for them.
One of the traditions is to have dinner on the Tuesday with Misha Vaughan from the UX team, a chance to catch up with my thoughts on their direction, customer feedback and simply as friends. We have a traditional restaurant as well, a Thai restaurant I have actually just left.
So that is the week before OOW covered:
- Monday travel
- Tuesday Dev meetings
- Wednesday UX
- Thursday, Friday ACE Director briefings.
Hang on, Ive just remembered, I think it is a tradition, or perhaps a habit but there will also be Chi Gung with Kent Thursday and Friday early.
Friday evening we pack up and move out to the city. This year I can online check in and use my phone as a digital key, Im excited, not by the technology but by the idea I can bypass check in when I arrive. Another tradition I have, and not just for OOW, is that whenever I plan to stay 5 or more nights in one place, and this includes my home; I buy flowers. In San Francisco that is normally at a stall by the Cable Car terminal.
One of my favourite traditions, probably second, is my Open World Triathlon; well cycle, run & swim. There are organised cycle rides on Saturday but I like to do my own at my own pace as I am so unfit. This year Fiona Martin my UKOUG 'partner in crime' and I are tackling the challenge. Fiona is much fitter than me but did her first half marathon last weekend and recovering from that, so hopefully will not put me under pressure. We are doing the 'gentle pedal, lunch with wine and ferry home' cycle option. Aiming to arrive back at the hotel before the Partner Reception which marks our start to the main
Sunday morning OTN have a run across the Golden Gate Bridge and providing we completed our cycle across on Saturday we will join in. My 'traditional' approach is to arrive early and start walking, and the runners will catch me up.
Sunday is user group day which punctuates this triathlon nicely. It is also my absolutely top tradition is the EMEA DBA quick fire talks, where we give speakers just 5 minutes to tell us something about the database. It has been confined to release 12 but this year we are taking a 2hour walk through database history with their favourite features. I have 22 DBAs speaking and it will be a hoot. If you haven't signed up then do so now. Session IDs UGF2630 & 2632
Then I am in a joint session with Lonneke Dikmans from eProseed, where we will share our approach and achievements so far with our first commercial PaaS application. It is all about Immunisation but I promise you there are no needles to be squeamish about. Come along and see how you can use PaaS to build out from Cloud Apps. UGF2706
It is sad but this session clashes with a new initiative an OTN WIT panel. I was asked to take part in the panel but had to turn it down. I would encourage you to attend but actually I want you to come to our session (at least I am honest).
Then Sunday evening it is the ACE social, a chance to catch up with friends.
Back to the Triathlon, Monday starts with the last element, the swim. This is normally not much more than a dunk as the water is not warm. however I normally try to swim at least 50 metres. This is after all my dominate discipline of the 3 (and it still isn't pretty). This year I have to swim even faster as my first meeting of the day is very early and I will need to hotfoot it and hope no one notices the 'eau de bay' fragrance as there won't be time for anything more than a beach side shower.
Lunchtime Monday there is a User Group appreciation lunch for UG leaders and then in the afternoon Lonneke and I team up again to demo PaaS in the UX expo. This is on a booth so you never know which way the conversation will go or who your audience is. Last year we had analysts which added another level to the nerves.
Tuesday is my quieter day although my dance card is already full of meetings, and in the evening there is the traditional SOA community event. However our leader, our Papa Smurf is not actually here this year and will be missed. I will also try and make some of the Oak Table World sessions over at the Children's Museum, and stop by the OTN lounge to support my sponsors.
Wednesday I have analyst sessions first thing and at lunchtime I have another session to deliver, a shared customer presentation with England Rugby, the RFU. Their story is about their implementation of not only HCM & Financials Cloud but also best practice and how this is transforming their business. If you like Sport and Rugby is the fastest growing sport in the US then this is a great customer case study even if you are not interested in Cloud. It will be a great session and I even plan on wearing a rugby shirt. It is also a combined Finance and HCM implementation and we will share the challenges and considerations that presented. Digital Transformation in Sport [CON2721]
Wednesday evening is the party. I like the fact it is somewhere new, not sure if I will be disappointed we don't have Billy Joel or excited we have Gwen Stefani and Sting instead.
Thursday as the event winds down I have another series of meetings.
It is also my tradition that I stay the night of the last day, by then I have been living on adrenalin for over a week, and need to come down before i strap myself into an aircraft seat for 12 hours. I am buzzing and would be crawling up walls. Instead I will have a quiet dinner with those friends still in town, breakfast with the Dutch contingent and then send off many emails to get follow up tasks kicked off and find a little shopping time for me (although Brexit has made shopping in the US a lot less attractive financially) and fly home that evening much more relaxed.
I always arrive at OOW with too much luggage, spilt equally between the many hats I need; ACE, Certus, User group leader, UX advocate, etc, etc and the x Pat shopping supplies; tea, chocolate, marmite etc. I tell myself I will have almost empty cases to take home and then I go shopping.
I love Oracle Open World and yes many things could be improved; the rush of last minute invitations, some of the booking process, the mobile app (which was only launched today) but overall it works.
Most of my tasks are the same as last year, and the year before but it defiantly a much loved recipe I will continue to use. If you see me, say hallo, an please come to my sessions, if only for my wonderful english accent.