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Oracle Open World 2015, Survival of the Fittest!

So I’m about to depart for one day in San Antonio, Tx. to present at the International Performance and Capacity Conference, but I wanted to try to get another blog post out, this time regarding my survival at the 2015 Oracle Open World.

I’m not sure if it just that the schedule was a month later than usual or that it was just more demanding this year, but I left on Friday, feeling utterly exhausted and judging by the tweets and posts from others on social media, I don’t think I was the only one!  I always regret what I didn’t get to do or those I didn’t get to meet, but this year, there were even events that I was supposed to attend that I wasn’t able to!  There were just too many demands on my time-  I’d get up at 5-6am each morning and collapse in bed at 11pm to midnight each night thinking about what I still had to get done!

Demo Time!

Some of my favorite times were at the demo booths. I really enjoyed talking to everyone and getting the chance to introduce the attendees to Enterprise Manager 13c was a joy.  The great new interface and features were impossible not to get excited about!


I’ve always tried to get everything prepared before I leave for the event and outside of anyone’s control, my poor co-presenter for Oak Table World, Stewart Bryson, had to go in for emergency surgery on his knee.  Rather than do my well-known AWR Warehouse presentation sans the great OBIEE tier from Stewart, I chose to build out something new.  My mistake- I chose to decide on the topic after drinking out with Alex Gorbachev on Friday evening.  I really should know better than this, but instead attempted to build a Raspberry Pi project with missing hardware until I finally had to admit to Alex that I’d coded my way into a hardware corner without the time or resources to get out of.  Needless to say, I found myself without slides or a technical topic on Sunday for my presentation Tuesday morning.

Running Amok

I ended up having to skip the bridge run, (in my arthritis case, walk) and got down to building out a new project after seeing the stuffed bears in the Oracle retail store. I knew I wanted to inspire the attendees to get involved with the younger generation, but what could I quickly build out without too much demands on my time that would do that?  After purchasing one of the bears, I went over to Central Computers and added a PiCamera to my already purchased Raspberry Pi investment.

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Thanks to some jumper wires from Mark Vilrokx and, a few misc. buttons, safety pins and such from stores downtown, I was ready to start operating on the bear.  The amount of odd comments as I sat in the OTN area, cutting open the bear and pulling the stuffing out to insert the Raspberry Pi was pretty humorous.  I had to warn my husband as he went into our room much later in the day, that no, I was not building a bomb and to hide the hardware from the poor maids before they freaked out upon cleaning our room!

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The end product was pretty cool though- The RPI_OracleBear is a picture taking, tweeting  stuffed bear when you pushed the button on his paw!  You can check him out on Twitter, as he was a guest to a couple of the parties and locations throughout the conference week.  The session at OTW went well and I was very happy with the response, especially considering I’d just put it together the last 48 hours between booth duty and other demands.  The worst part was that in the middle of coding the python piece for the project, I lost track of time and missed the Enterprise Manager SIG meeting on Monday evening!  This is where hyper-focusing is more of a liability than a gift.

I was able to make all my other commitments throughout the week, including publisher meetings representing my group, meeting with many customers and getting the word out about Oracle Management Cloud and even demoing Enterprise Manager 13c!  I really noticed just how busy I was when I’d finished having a lunch debriefing with Oracle Education Foundation on Thursday afternoon and the realization hit me that I didn’t have anything to do for the next three hours.  I’d been running non-stop for so many days that I just didn’t know how to handle any downtime, but ended up going back to my room to mail out RPI Oracle Bear, (no one wants to know what would have happened if I’d tried to take him through TSA scanners…) and packed my bags to gladly go home the next morning. All and all, it was a great year, but looking forward to the event next year to be a bit earlier than the end of October! :)


Things we learned this year:

  1. Don’t go shopping with Kellyn- You’ll leave with great Doc Martens and Doc will be sending thank you emails to Kellyn to come back anytime and bring more of her friends.  Just ask Danny and Bobby.
  2. Plan out WIT events well in advance- once you get to OOW, it gets to crazy to get plans together.  We’ll get it together next year, really.
  3. Don’t bring Bjorn where he doesn’t want to go.  It’s like taking a three year old to the dentist and he’ll drive my husband right over the edge…:)
  4. Check all meetings in calendar and make sure people have set them to adjust for your timezone.  Nothing like finding out that it’s still on Mountain time and I’ve migrated to Pacific!

Last but not least-  Kudos to Oracle not just for putting on a great conference, but of all things, the backpack attendee gift this year.  I know it sounds strange, but I give away these bags or turn them down.  This year, I talked my husband out of his in less than a day and will be using it on my trips for quite some time.  Its compact, attractive and stays on my small shoulders.  I expect conferences to cater to the majority of attendees and let’s be honest, it’s men, but this bag is something that both men and women found very functional and appealing.  Great job on a small but cool detail for the attendees.



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