Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gearing Up for San Fran, #OOW11, and Picasso

Less than a week until the first sessions of Oracle Open World. As I mentioned in a blog last week, it has been six years since I attended this massive and overwhelming convention. How many companies has Oracle acquired since then? Twenty? A hundred? Yet some things never change: the sessions I’m most excited about pertain to this mysterious thing known as “Fusion” (cue ominous music).

I have never had the chance to play the “tourist” in San Francisco, and by the looks of the packed agenda for Open World, there won’t be occasion for it this year. My Thursday-morning presentation will hang over my head all week, as will the worry that I will choose poorly among the hundreds of concurrent sessions. I aim to strike a balance between learning tangible things that will help my team immediately with seeking serendipity—stumbling across something novel and innovative that could make a real difference for the institution 2-3 years hence. My example of the latter from six years ago was a session on XML Publisher / BI Publisher which was still shiny and new… (I’m a big fan, and still trying to gain traction with this tool at my institution, but that’s another story for another day…)

San Francisco has a special place in my heart—I spent the first six weeks of my post-college career there, with a cubicle on a mid-teens floor in the Transamerica Pyramid. We were sixty fresh-faced college grads, with aspirations to fly high in corporate finance, psyched about the fancy Motorola SkyTel pagers that for those few weeks served to coordinate bar-hopping rather than signal a crisis. My favorite memory was kayaking in Sausalito, where we basked in sunlight and watched the fog darken the streets of the city.

Thanks to Virgin America—far and away the cheapest direct flight option out of Logan—I actually have a full afternoon on Saturday to relax and enjoy San Francisco beyond the Moscone Center and environs. What shall I do? (Other than put finishing touches on my presentation!) I had been considering Alcatraz, until I saw that the de Young Museum has a Picasso exhibit that was just extended to October 10th. Perfect. (Even better since my wife doesn’t particularly care for Picasso, which means I don’t have to feel lousy that she’s missing it!)

I wonder which will prove more serendipitous, the Picasso exhibit or the random eye-opening Oracle technology or applications session I plop in the 2pm slot on Wednesday afternoon?

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