From OpenWorld to ‘How in the world did they do that?!’—It should be Larry’s week, but is it?
I was one of many San Franciscans, and fans around the world, on the edge of my seat watching the final race of the America’s Cup on Wednesday. Winner takes all. The first time the Cup has come down to one final race since 1983. And Oracle killed it. One of the greatest comebacks ever.
While the sailing was a technological feat in itself, San Francisco was also abuzz this week with Oracle OpenWorld taking over the Moscone Convention Center and much of downtown. There were big announcements from Oracle about its Cloud Marketplace and Cloud Database Service, Dell announced that it will be integrating its OpenManage with Oracle’s Enterprise manager, and Microsoft announced its expanded partnership with Oracle to run Java and WebLogic Server on its Azure cloud. Sounds like a successful show.
However, has this week resulted in positive or negative press for Larry Ellison? As I’ve been following the news and listening to the chatter over the past few days, it seems to be leaning towards the latter.
Of course there is the 60,000 people who paid big bucks to attend OpenWorld, only to have Larry Ellison ditch his final keynote speech to watch the Cup. There was even a ‘#waitingforlarry’ hashtag on Twitter. PCWorld quotes Michael Krigsman from consulting firm Asuret, “While Oracle asks customers to prioritize its products over competitors, Ellison made the decision that racing, his passion and hobby, is more important than customers.”
But really, can anyone blame him? I understand the frustration, but my opinion is that they should have all been down at the shore watching the race with Ellison. And he should have delivered the final keynote after the race on the numerous jumbotrons that lined the San Francisco bay.
When I posted on Facebook how excited I was during the race on Wednesday, someone commented, “amazing what a gazillion dollars will buy you.” Not exactly a positive response. In this New Yorker article on the topic, @vauhinivara says, “People who are extraordinarily rich—and their slights, real or perceived, against the rest of us—have long provided a target against which we can unite.” It is sort of like gossip, like something you might see on the Real Housewives of Orange County. I believe this is what is happening to Ellison. People love to focus on negative gossip, instead of focusing on the fact that he just won the America’s Cup for the United States for the second time in a row. My question is, where will he have it next year?
And that leads to my final point. According to an article in SF Gate about whether the city should host again next year, “Former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin thinks hosting the event came with too high a price tag.” Another SF Gate article by Carl Nolte says that the “city commissioned a “conservative” study by local economists in the summer of 2010 that showed the America’s Cup was three times bigger than the Super Bowl. The races would mean a $1.4 billion jump in the Bay Area economy, generate 12,000 jobs and attract 2.6 million additional tourists.” I will say from being local, my guess is that this did not occur.
I would love for everyone to give Larry Ellison a break. @jswatz of USA Today says “Ellison, 69, amassed a personal fortune of $41 billion by treating tech as a form of sport – and the America’s Cup is no different.” The spirit that made Larry a “gazillionaire”(technical term from aforementioned Facebook comment) is the same spirit that kept the America’s Cup in the U.S. for another year. Where will it be? I’ll keep you posted.