In recent days I’ve been thinking of JavaOne, as we kicked it around and decided we just couldn’t send speakers; and of Oracle OpenWorld, to which JavaOne will now serve as an appendage. It reminded me of a conversation I had last year about Oracle.
[Update: I reported this conversation, which I thought was instructive, carefully avoiding any conclusions. The commenters on the piece, however, drew lots of conclusions, which I enjoyed reading, and you might too. In particular, I thought some of the guesses as to my un-shared opinion on all this were quite illuminating.]
The conversation involved myself and a person with a convincing title who, as they’d say in the paper, was “familiar with the situation”.
My question was: “OpenWorld is this totally all-about-business conference. The Oracle Develop meeting is just a second-rate sidebar. Where does Oracle go about building developer mindshare?”
I’ll try to reproduce the answer in full as best as I can remember it:
“You don’t get it. The central relationship between Oracle and its customers is a business relationship, between an Oracle business expert and a customer business leader. The issues that come up in their conversations are business issues.
“The concerns of developers are just not material at the level of that conversation; in fact, they’re apt to be dangerous distractions. ‘Developer mindshare’... what’s that, and why would Oracle care?”