OpenWorld 2008: A Few of My Favorite Things

Now that Oracle OpenWorld is history, I wanted to recount a few of may favorite things/experiences. Sadly, I don't have much time to enjoy the actual content of the show anymore, so I will have to live vicariously through others for that experience. But a few things really jumped out at me:

1. The Cloud Computing support announcement.
Although plenty of SaaS/Cloud purists have quibbled about this (the announcement did not include utility-based licensing), 95% of humanity will agree that the new ability to provision supported Oracle Database/Fusion Middleware instances in the Amazon cloud is very, very positive. If you're a developer, your prototyping options on Oracle just expanded considerably: Instead of taking the time and expense to procure and manage boxes or database access for hot or short-term projects, you can now be and up and running very quickly, with little ongoing administration required. Or, if you're simply interested in evaluating Oracle products, you now have a nice, hardware-free alternative to doing an install. We're already looking at ways to take advantage of this new capability for workshop purposes, for example.

2. The Oracle ACE experience.
It's getting to the point that for me, the entire purpose of OpenWorld is meet and greet ACEs, and I know that the ACEs themselves relish the opportunity to interact in person. (For an interesting perspective from an ACE outsider, read this post from Robert McMillen.) The number and quality of new ideas that fall out of these meetings is just staggering, and we've barely scratched the surface.

3. The Unconference.
No surprise there, I loved the unconference. By opening the agenda up early this year via wiki, we succeeded in attractive some great presenters, and great content. Unfortunately, the sessions themselves were not well attended in general, for various logistical reasons I expect. For 2009, we will press for integration with the Session Builder tool, and consider moving the venue to Oracle Develop (where most of the attendees will be). I welcome any other thoughts or ideas you have.

4. The community content network.
Every year, an ad hoc online community forms around this event, with YouTube, blogs, Twitter, flickr, and this year Oracle Mix and Qik serving as the chief content creation and networking tools. It's almost more fun to vicariously participate via this network, as opposed to actually being there ("almost" being the operative word).

Those are a few of my favorite things. And yours?

BTW, during the conference I spoke with Michael Kastler about OpenWorld goings-on for his TechTalk radio show; you can hear the results here.

Comments:

Hey Justin Opening the UnConference slots before the conference was a double edged sword IMHO. Yes, you got some great presentations, folks had some time to prepare (I did not prepare enough :) but you also lost a little of the 'unconference' feel. Its spontaneous, a little unscripted and a chance for folks to get up and talk about a subject they know real well or are passionate about or to have some fun. I saw a fair few 'commercial' slots on the agenda filled by Oracle partners et al. Not necessarily a bad thing, the two I got to see from partners were not complete marketing blitzes but is that what the unconference was for? Its a fine line, you want a spontaneity but you also want the ability to promote it so you need folks to sign up earlier. Definitely need to promote it somehow but keep the spirt of the Unconference. With so many regular sessions it needs to go into the main session builder. But you run the risk of it all becoming main stream - I had about 15 die hard BIPerati come to my session - that was more than enough for the questions they had :0)

Posted by Tim on October 06, 2008 at 06:36 PM PDT #

I think what we need is integration with the Schedule Builder, so that attendees can formally include the Unconf in their schedule. Combine that with wiki sign-ups (and remember, we did reserve one room each day for onsite sign-ups), and we may get the best balance of speaker quality + attendance. As for "commercial" or otherwise useless presos: that's the price you pay for unconference-ness. Fortunately the community will vote with its feet. I am now disinclined to move the Unconf to Develop, but we could do a much better job of promoting it there.

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on October 06, 2008 at 09:03 PM PDT #

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