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Break New Ground

I Don't Get It

Guest Author

A fairly good sized-crew of my colleagues attended the Web 2.0 Conference in SF last week and returned to the office with a treasure trove of information. (Unfortunately, I was locked in the Mandalay Bay Conf Center in Vegas for IOUG Collaborate at the time.) We have some very interesting new ideas to look into this summer.

What I find personally discouraging, however, is the complete lack of Oracle mindshare in this area. Even SAP was mentioned several times at the Web 2.0 conference for its endorsement of social media - which surprises me greatly, because I find SDN to be a rather pale imitation of OTN (but hey, I'm biased). (Some inside baseball on this point: I happen to know through personal experience that some of the top leadership at SDN didn't even know what RSS is as recently as a year ago.)

In particular, Oracle gets zero credit in this community for its rather aggressive support of blogging (by employees and nonemployees), despite the fact that a rather large blogging community exists and has for some time. There appears to be the perception out there that either this community does not exist, or that if it does exist, it must be "centrally controlled" by some evil PR mastermind - and neither assertion is even remotely accurate. (Caveat: Yes, executive blogs do get scrutiny from PR, as executives have special fiduciary responsibilities.)

OTN has also been on the sharpest of cutting edges in terms of podcasting, integration with del.icio.us, and Semantic Web. Again, this fact goes completely unrecognized by the Web 2.0/social media cognescenti.

Please forgive the rant, but you can probably imagine my frustration. Obviously, we're doing a poor job of marketing in this area - or perhaps the Oracle brand is simply not "wired" this way. Or maybe I shouldn't even care!

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Comments ( 7 )
  • Zoli Erdos Thursday, April 26, 2007
    Justin, look at blogger coverage of one single SAP conference:
    http://www.technorati.com/search/sapphire07
    They invite independent bloggers, give them access to Execs, customers..etc, instead of (only) spreading the gospel themselves, which would always be looked at as biased.
    (Disclaimer: I was also invited, but had to pull out)
  • Amar Thursday, April 26, 2007
    You guys need to do a better job of integrating blogs into your various Technology center sites. Today, Blogs is just a separate section with no visibility from any of your product/technology landing pages.
    If you start showing relevant aggregated feeds from your employee blog posts onto your product sites, you will start seeing your community interacting more with your employees via. blogging.
  • Justin Kestelyn Thursday, April 26, 2007
    A valid comment but user-blogger interaction isn't really our problem here (although we could always have more) - several Oracle bloggers are stupendously popular. Rather, the issue is a lack of recognition of this rather large community in the marketplace.
  • Jeff Nolan Thursday, April 26, 2007
    I used to track many of the OTN blogs when I was doing competitive strategy for SAP but it struck me that most of the blogs were highly technical and middleware or database centric, which didn't really interest me. The appcasts are well done but the exec blogs at the time (Wookey, Kurion, etc.) were sales pitches with a lot of common messaging, not bad in itself but it did seem like they were written by the marketing staff.
    Lastly, I actually really like OTN but I think you are selling SDN short, there's a lot of really interesting stuff going on in there and Oracle would do well to focus less on the artifacts of community and more on building out the actual community beyond geeks. Look at BPX for an indication of what I am referring to. Oracle has a database community and a Fusion middleware community, SAP has the SAP community.
  • Matt Moore Thursday, April 26, 2007
    So Justin, how many comments do Oracle bloggers post on other people's blogs? How many trackbacks do they leave? How many conversations do they have? Are they P2P or are they still broadcast? If they are doing all that then I want to hear about it. I ain't having a go, these are all genuine questions.
  • Dennis Howlett Monday, April 30, 2007
    Oh dear...I'm sorry you feel that way Justin. As I said at ZDN, absolute numbers may mean nothing...
    I'm not questioning the credibility. You raised that issue through the title of this post. I'm questioning the visibility with a community *you* clearly think matters.
    Addressing attention, do you honestly think it does you (or Oracle) credit to go on the attack about a single point and instead avoid the more substantive questions I raised about community engagement? Quoting and showing comparative examples along the way.
    This is about conversation, good, bad or indifferent. It's about recognising that others' points of view 'might' have validity. It's about engaging to help everyone in the ecosystem see different perspectives and then judge for themselves. It's about learning there are others far smarter than one self. Cliched I'm sure but absolutely bang on the money in my experience.
    Oracle is an important voice in the market but if it chooses to remain largely isolated from those you presume have some importance (otherwise this post would not exist) then Oracle should indeed maintain that position.
    In the meantime, companies like salesforce.com, SAP and the new wave of startups like Zimbra, Zohoh. DabbleDB etc are commanding the lion's share of attention. And getting customers to buy in to their offerings.
  • Matt Penny Wednesday, May 2, 2007
    Re: Oracles aggressive support of blogging
    Just a thought on this - I'm a very low level blogger/del.icio.us user/Oracle DBA and this is just my opinion.
    OTN is a great resource both in terms of the information and in the ways its presented - the problem from a blogging point of view, I think, is its disconnect from Metalink.
    I think opening up Metalink would make Oracle more blog friendly. If you could freely quote from, and directly link to Metalink notes, then the more technical blogging would work better.
    I know this raises a whole hatful of corporate issues, but these seem to have been solved by the Sybase and Microsoft equivalents - you don't need a support contracts to see their Tech support sites. You can easily save to del.icio.us, link to them in your blog, find them in Google etc
    This isn't to disparage OTN - as I say, I think its really good - but the things I most often want to blog about tend to be more related to Metalink stuff.
    HTH.
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