JavaOne was fun... a twisted way. I didn't attend any of the sessions, I just wandered around in an obnoxious t-shirt. JavaOne attendees were friendly and chatty. OpenWorld attendees were confused. Oracle employees behaved like there was an invisible force field around me: they did their best to keep their distance. I didn't run into anyone else wearing one of the shirts, but I talked to lots who said they had them but couldn't bring themselves to wear them. Apparently one exhibitor had a box of "Just Free It" shirts that they started to give away at their booth, until the thought police descended. Mostly I went to bars and receptions and had chats with reporters. Lots of entertaining conversations.

Most of the folks I talked to who attended the keynotes were struck by how little of substance was said by anyone. The LPOD's 180º turn on the topic of cloud's was pretty amusing. The generally wooden presentation style of most of the senior executives was also amusing. Several folks commented on the body language of the audience. Mostly apathetic, but for Mark Hurd's talk, it was pretty tense.

At one point I was chatting with a crowd of folks from HP. Their general consensus was "Oracle's gain is our gain" :-) He's famous for over-the-top cost cutting. One person I know well worked in the HP HQ building, where Hurd's office was. Like most offices, they had break rooms sprinkled around the buildings with coffee machines in them. He discontinued the coffee service, but he didn't just set the coffee supply budget to zero: plumbers actually came out and removed the coffee machines and the plumbing to them (which had to be expensive). This caused all employees to have to hike over to the cafeteria whenever they needed a cup of coffee. Huge loss in productivity. Nutty. One of the formerly Sun, now Oracle, folks asked roughly "Larry hired Hurd, saying that fudging his expense report wasn't grounds for dismissal; does that mean that all Oracle employees now have permission to fudge their expense reports?".

One of the more entertaining lines I heard was at a cocktail party held by some 3rd party partners. "We love the Oracle sales force!" (what?? surprised look on my face) "They're so nasty, their prices are so high, and their tactics so obnoxious that all we have to do is be credible and treat the customer with respect - then the deal is ours!". Yow.

September 28, 2010