Meeting up with a bunch of highly energetic, smart and (mostly) young people, free beer, finger-food and a chance to win some nice prices: there is no reason not to love this small yet awesome event. Martin Nash – who gave up a career in snowboarding to become a dba – and I arrived quite early at Jillian’s after they kicked us out of the exhibition hall and started tearing down booths and ripping out carpets. Waiting for us were the usual suspects Alex Gorbachev and Vanessa Simmons of the event’s sponsor and organizer Pythian. Instead of thanking Vanessa for putting this evening together, I enquired about her hair color since both Chet Justice and I noticed that she had abondoned the blonde and went way darker now. She claims that this actually is her natural color and last year’s style was simply the result of ‘bad highlights’. Also, to prove that she was not cheating in the contest, she switched out the shirts for bandanas this year.
So there we were looking like database pirates looking to loot signatures from as many people as possible. And while most of us were happy introducing themselves to new people and getting the occasional signature or two, it was Tim Hall who took this contest to the next level. We only counted one half of his bandana, but that were already 36 signatures, more than runner-up Kellyn Pedersen, the only person in the room brave enough to even challenge Tim and hand in her bandana for counting. I personnaly doubt that there were that many people at the meeting and I think Tim also approached any bypassers that just got lost at the bar. But who knows, random people might also have blogs, so I guess it counts. Tim even gave the price (iPod touch) to Kellyn as he was only interested in showing the rest of us that he can easily win the contest. Arup Nanda had also arrived quite early. He was the one who received a push notice about Steve Jobs’ death, so that is how this news hit our little group. Pythian’s CEO Paul Vallee shared his thoughts in a small and impromptu but very appropriate toast.
The second contest for an apple TV was a double-drawing. First, we drew a number that represented one week of the year and the second round of drawing was between everybody who had blogged in that period. I had not posted anything in the week around February 14th but I was briefly thinking about just faking a valentine’s message to Alex. I did not and the Apple TV went to Pythian employee, blogger and founder of the Sydney Oracle meetup Yury Velikanov. I have met him several times earlier that week and he was pretty beaten up because he said he had some sort of black-out during his first presentation and was very nervous about getting at least his second session. Unfortunately, I did not make it to any of them but it sounded like he was very happy with how the second one worked out. Karl Arao was another one of the guys I met at last year’s blogger meetup and I had already met and talked to him a few times on the previous days. He is a very smart and energetic guy and it was fun to talk to him about triathlons since he is not just another desk nerd but very active outdoors. Oh, and of course his real first name is Kristofferson after the famous country singer because his dad is a huge fan. Odd name for a Filippino.
Debra Lilley showed up with Stanley. This was good since I have not seen that cute little guy at all this year. I guess it must have something to do with his new girlfriend. I hate it when guys abondon their friends like that. “Bros before fusion app vests” is what I am saying.
Gwen Shapira helped out big time with including the one oraclenerd who could not make it out to the conference. She let me record a short message about faxing which I sent out to Florida immediately.
The great Jeremy Schneider was also there. And I say great because he truly is. He set up and ran the RAC Attack lab at the OTN lounge all week and not only does he know an awful lot about Oracle RAC but he is also very good at explaining things to others and insanely patient. At the same time, he is very humble and will propably hate me for calling him great.
Having worked as a bike courier before, Andy Klock decided to reside away from the city, rented a bike and rode it all around town. All week, I was sure that I had already met him last year but when we talked about it at the wrap party, he said that this was his first OpenWorld. oops. These things tend to happen to me a lot these days.
Another OpenWorld virgin was Ido Ben-Ze’ev from Israel. We managed to get him passes to the appreciation event and I hope they enjoyed that.
I met Frits Hoogland but did not manage to talk to him too much because he and Martin would always drift off into exadata nerd-talk. I really have to get my hands on one of those machines just to keep up in conversations. Same thing with Martin and Kellyn Pederson. They just would not shut up gossipping and name dropping about people that I have never heard of. Or maybe I have heard about them but never met.
Øyvind Isene from Norway is in the pictures that I took at the event but I did not speak to him until a day after that. Also from Norway was IPA-lover Espen Barroso-Gomez. A habit that I can not understand and even have trouble tolerating. He, Martin and Vit Spinka joined for dinner at the Tadich grill. He does not get to eat fish a lot but was brave enough to order a seafood platter and enjoyed that.
Now I am just dropping a few names of people that I have met or recognized at the meeting but do not have anything exciting to share about at this time. There were Fuad Arshad, Tim Gorman, Mogens Nørgaard, Cary Millsap and Connor McDonald. Wait, I do have something to share about Connor. But it was big enough to warrant a post of it’s own. Most of the OOW nights ended at the bar of the W Hotel, and this one was no exception. This was also a nice way to meet up again with the people who went out to treasure island. My cab was riding smoothly and taking us back to the hotel when just as a last memory of the night, I heard the fading voice of a groupmember who yelled at a policeman “please don’t taser us!”.
The last contest of the night is still going on and is about the most creative blog post mentioning as many people as possible. It looks like nobody else has put anything together just yet, so I might have a chance here. But then again, it does not take too much to name more people than I did. OTN is sponsoring the price, a free pass to OOW12 which I hope to not need since I am hoping to get invited to speak again.