As a Former Forrester Analyst, I attended all the software conferences. Now I only attend the ones that I think are really relevant to my clients. What’s nice about being an independent software and business analyst is that I don’t have to pretend any more to say a vendor is great when they are not and I don’t have to be afraid of speaking the truth.
Why Oracle allowed Benioff to speak at previous OpenWorld’s is beyond me, when they are competitors. But they did. Maybe Oracle didn’t see that they were competitors. I think that they looked down on Salesforce and didn’t see what that the world had changed. It’s not the first time this has happened.
Sometimes even the brightest people don’t-know-what-they-don’t-know. In Joel Barker’s book, Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future, he uses the following examples to illustrate how we negate ideas through our own filters or perceptions of the world. When we see the world from our own limited perspective, sound solutions are dismissed or overlooked.
“The Earth is the center of the Universe.” PTOLEMY, Astronomer, 300 B.C.
“The phonograph is not of any commercial value.” THOMAS EDISON, inventor of the phonograph, 1880
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” Harry Warner, WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES, 1927
“There’s no reason for anyone to have a computer in their home.” Ken Olsen, President of DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, 1977
It’s interesting this year that they did what seems to be a last minute change of heart around having Marc speak. What it did is drive all the PR to Salesforce.com, which as we all know, Marc is a master marketer.
I’m not at OpenWorld because there is really nothing new. Oracle’s Fusion has been promised for years. Their customers are frustrated by the user interface, specially when it comes to Customer Service and I don’t think they are leading the social business capabilities that business must have. Their acquisition of InQuira was a good move. I did attend Dreamforce and I spoke on the ROI of social media and had a great panel with real-world experience of transforming their organizations.
But Social Media is the MOST important thing that has happened to business in 100 years. Companies need software to facilitate this. Maybe that’s why Oracle decided to un-invite Benioff? The handling of this leaves lot’s of room for speculation on why they would do this.
What’s difficult in the connected social network world we live in, is excuses like, “We offered Benioff a different time slot and he choose not to accept it” doesn’t fly in the face of the need for companies to be authentic, genuine and human. This event has been set in stone for a long time. The last minute change up of Benioff’s time slot doesn’t hit the mark with respect to honestly.
It’s a new world we are living in. We are all under a microscope that our behavior as brands gets played out on the big stage called life. And social media is the giant megaphone and broadcast system that reaches millions and billions in a nano-second.
What do you think Oracle should do now? Let it go? Apologize and admit that they changed the time slot because they felt threatened by Salesforce? Make up a different story? Love to hear your thoughts!
Here’s my friend Charlie Issac’s youtube video on Larry Ellison’s speech- that speech may have been the tipping point to the change in the Benioff schedule…