Before working for Oracle on the EM team, I was a DBA. I got the chance to go to OpenWorld twice in that role. My first time I was a newbie. I spent a lot of time going to sessions and trying to learn. I walked the demo grounds and came home with lots of junk, but didn’t really get involved or talk to the technical people there, or anybody really!
Having worked OOW for the last 4 years, I have a different perspective. I still enjoy going to sessions (when I can) and learning about new features or products that I don’t have much experience in. There’s so many sessions you could stay busy all day long! While some folks complain about sessions not being technical enough or deep enough, I disagree. I find the quality of sessions to be pretty equivalent to other conferences I’ve been to. I think you have to take a look at the abstract and speaker, and make a decision based on that, not all Oracle people are sales. You also have to realize it’s about 40 min +/- with time for questions. The idea is to introduce a new concept or idea, and give you the background to research further and implement. There’s very few sessions that are going to be an step-by-step guide to implement a feature in 40 minutes.
If you feel the sessions are too general, and you haven’t signed up for one of the Hands-On-Labs, you’re missing out. The HOL are designed to showcase common use cases and allow you to walk through a feature, such as DBaaS or Middleware Diagnostics. The rooms are usually limited to 40 or 50 participants, and again, there really bright people there ready and willing to help you out and answer questions.
One thing I feel most people don’t take advantage of is the tremendous number of technical resources that are standing around on the demo grounds! Yea, Oracle booths are boring because we don’t give away blinkie martini glasses, or iPads or anything. We expect you to just want to talk tech. I know first-hand that some of the brightest, technical minds are standing at those Oracle booths waiting to talk to customers. Maybe you want to see the demo on the feature they’re talking about, or maybe you want to talk about what your company is doing or needs to do. The product managers and developers are there, all day long… for you – the customer. Now don’t come up with your list of SRs that you’re stuck on, but think about the use cases that you’re stuck on, or that one thing that the product is missing to make it complete in your world. Reach out, meet the people who create and code the products you’re using. Get involved, introduce yourself. If you follow Oracle people on Twitter or LinkedIn, or follow their blogs, say hi and thanks. Then you can move on and find the free FitBit.
Also, get involved with a Users Group or SIG while you’re there. Most SIGs will have a meeting or event. This is a great way to network with fellow technologists and users, share your ideas and just be in the presence of smart people. Attend the IOUG sessions on SIG Sunday for more great speakers and sessions.
Visit the Oracle Support Stars bar! You know there’s actual people on the other end of that SR you’re working? You’ve probably dealt with the same people over and over again, go say hi. Talk about how you can help your issues move faster, what tools do they recommend, how to use My Oracle Support better…
Oracle University also offers full day events on Sunday, maybe you want to prepare for your DB 12c Certification, or you want to learn about EM High Availability, these options are additional cost, but you can register for a class while registering for Oracle OpenWorld.
Oracle OpenWorld is more than just presentations and marketing and giveaways and parties. Take advantage of being in the same spot as some of the brightest technical minds in the industry, and get as much as you can from it! Oh, and wear really comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking a lot!