It should have been beautifully coordinated. The plan was as follows:
- Oracle TeamUSA are victorious and hold onto the Cup with the last race no later that 21st Sept
- OralceOpenWorld starts on 22nd with Larry Ellison keynote holding the Cup aloft
What has actually happened is the racing has dragged onto today – 25th Sept. This has mostly been due to high winds preventing the 2nd race each day to be run. And secondly, the racing has run to the full 19 races. Oracle performed so badly at the beginning of the regatta allowing the Kiwis to take an 8 – 1 lead. But they have clawed it back to 8- 8, with 2 more fantastic wins yesterday.
So here’s the problem. Larry Ellison was due to give a keynote speech at 1:30 yesterday. Many of the 60,000 attendees had stood in line to be able to get into the auditorium to hear him speak. But he blew it off, preferring to spend time on the water cheering on his team. Jeffrey O. Henley, Oracle’s Chairman, explained Mr. Ellison’s absence, saying that “he’s out on the boat.”This has created a storm of indignation in both the tech blogosphere, local news (SF Chronicle) and national press (Wall Street Journal). Slightly cynically, the big screens around the conference stopped broadcasting the race, 5 seconds before the start of race 1, and replacing it with Oracle Customer ads, presumably so that there was no footage of Larry on board a boat in the Bay.
And is no chance that Larry will be at OracleWorld today. He will be on the water hoping that Team USA can continue their run or wins to lift the Cup in the most dramatic turnaround that the sporting world has seen.
Perhaps now is the time for Larry to retire and spend his billions. The view from many is that his priorities are no longer Oracle customers or partners. One more radical view I overheard was that Oracle should buy Salesforce.com and make Marc Benioff Oracle CEO.
Now that would be a radical thought. Perhaps it is worth asking him at Dreamforce, which is the Salesforce conference in the same venue as OracleWorld in a couple of months time. Marc is so passionate, there is no chance that we will miss his keynotes.