Wednesday, October 5, 2011

#oow11 or #oww11? When the message gets crowded out

Oracle OpenWorld 2011 was scheduled over a year in advance of its actual date, with the hope that news from the conference would be all over the tech press during the week of the gathering.

However, no one can control what actually happens during the week of the event.

Or can they?

I'm not in San Francisco, but I have a sneaking suspicion that attendees were somewhat distracted on Tuesday morning. And Oracle really couldn't do anything about it - how could Oracle have known that Apple would schedule a major announcement on that day?

But there will be a distraction on Wednesday morning - and this distraction is entirely of Oracle's own making. All Things D:

The quietly simmering feud between Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and the former employee he once invested in, CEO Marc Benioff, has just erupted into a new public spat.

Benioff tweeted ... that he’s been bounced from the speaker’s roster at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, and he’s blaming the decision directly on Ellison.

If anyone thought that Benioff would slink away quietly, they were wrong.

Oracle Cancels Keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2011
Join Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff at the Ame Restaurant in San Francisco to experience the power of the cloud

SAN FRANCISCO – Oct. 4, 2011 – [NYSE: CRM], the enterprise cloud computing ( company, today announced that Oracle cancelled’s keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2011. Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff will now speak on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. PT at Ame Restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco, CA. Immediately following Benioff’s talk, at approximately 12:00 p.m. PT, he will host a press Q&A. Both events will be streamed live on's website at

“Oracle just cancelled my keynote tomorrow. But the show must go on! Everyone is welcome to join me at Ame Restaurant tomorrow to hear about the social enterprise. Sorry Larry, the cloud can't be stopped,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO,

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• To watch Benioff’s session and the press Q&A live, go to
• A live audiocast of Benioff’s session and the press Q&A will be available at
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Negative news always triumphs over positive news, and this turn of events brings unwanted attention to Oracle OpenWorld. Loic LeMeur summed it up as follows:

Benioff vs Ellison: 1 - 0

It's one thing when your message gets muddied because of non-existent product announcements. But it's another thing entirely when you shoot yourself in the foot.

And no, the #oww11 hashtag is not original with me. Here's what Mike McGrath tweeted:

Putting the ouch into #oww11 Marc Benioff tossed from Oracle World keynote. #wtf

And no, McGrath was not referring to the Wisconsin Tourism Federation.
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