A colleague of mine invited me to an Oracle event that was held yesterday (Apr 23) in Tampa. There were two events going on - a SOUG Tech Day at the HCC, the noted speaker was Tom Kyte (asktom.oracle.com) and I was looking forward to seeing his presentation. A second event was held concurrently at the Ruths' Chris Steak House in Tampa, titled "Oracle Business Intelligence Briefing". I agreed to meet my colleague at Ruth's Chris to listen to the new, updated Oracle Warehouse Builder presentation.
For some background information, I have a book about OWB on my bookshelf and the first version of the tool never really took off, and I very rarely get inquiries about it, but they do come from time to time so I thought it would be a great opportunity to give the tool another look.
The meeting was from 11 AM to 3 PM and I arrived at 10:30 AM. There were about 20 cars in the parking lot. For reference, last month Information Builders held a lunch at the same location going over their new BI product, there were about 50 cars and a good 60-70 people in attendance, and it was a great lunch and good information. Back to the story.... I walked in the door and went to the registration table. There were a couple suits walking around eying everyone but not saying much. The lady at the table didn't have my information, but took my card and gave me a nametag and directed me to the breakfast area. I noticed about 20 people sitting at tables.
The whole place had the feel of a funeral. It was quiet and no one was saying much except two guys talking about flying a lot between Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa. My goal was to hear about the product and make at least 3 contacts, so I decided to join their conversation. A great segway was about flying. One guy mentioned that he was flying on that route 2-3 times a week on Southwest; I often did the Tampa-Miami run on American, sometimes 2-3 times per week. My record was 5x in one week last year. So this is a good point in common so I walked up, recounted my story, they laughed and sympathized with me and introduced themselves. The guy said he worked for Oracle and asked me what I did, I told him BI consulting. What he said next astounded me.
"You have to leave". I laughed and resumed the conversation but he just looked at me. I said "Is this some kind of joke?" He said "No, serious I need you to leave you can't attend the meeting". No one else was really saying anything and the Oracle guy wanted me to walk to the door with him so we could talk. After we walked outside, I asked him why Oracle would have listed on their website a BI briefing and then ask people to leave. He replied that this event was paid for by a consulting firm and they instructed that anyone not a client or potential client be asked to leave. He said that it's a sign of the times and the client paying is afraid of other companies stealing clients. Fair enough, I left just kind of surprised by the whole deal.
Interestingly, my colleague (a friend in the business, not a co-worker) was sitting at the table talking to people enjoying his breakfast when he was asked to leave.
This was definately an interesting impression on the Oracle BI product, and not the one I expected to receive.
The good news was that I was able to attend Tom Kyte's presentation at HCC and ran into some former co-workers and it was good chatting and listening to them.