Friday Night Writes

My primary reason for starting this blog was to discuss issues customers asked me a lot at about at Open World and on various forums. My rationale being that if I blog about our products we might help people understand them and a) Make informed choices implementing them, get more value from them and maybe log less support calls and bugs for us to look at; b) Learn how people use our apps, or why they can’t use them and be in a position to engineer better apps. What I didn’t have in mind was being able to sound off about whatever I want to on a Friday night and people actually read it and link to it from other blogs, which is dangerous because it just encourages me. I was also encouraged this week reading Meg’s girl on a rant, nice to see other people getting things off their chest too. The last few days I’ve been thinking about what I wrote about Google last week. Why? Because on Monday I was asked by Terrance if I could go to the Google office and talk to them about Intercompany. Doh! My first question was, Did you see what I just wrote in my blog about Google? My second quesiton was what time do you want me there?

The popular conception of product development teams is that we like to build a product, chuck it over the wall and then get back behind the wall and try to avoid hearing from anyone who has to use our product, we’re already too busy working on the next version because already we know what you need. I have seen some of that attitude, once I heard a development team remark that all these service requests clearly showed that consultants just had no idea what they where doing implementing their product – nice job, you built something unintuitive and apparently you are too arrogant to help people understand it. Thankfully that is not the pervasive attitude where I work, hence my trip down the 101 to Google.

I have talked to many Customers and Partners in the past but in general they have been coming to the Oracle Offices or to Open World. This time I was going to their patch a few days after saying their company was an Oracle Wannabee on my blog – maybe they hadn’t ready it. I soon discovered they had been reading when Leslie introduced herself asking if I was David from the Blog. I was pleased that rather than exact some sort of revenge for my tongue in cheek dig at Google they wanted to talk AGIS, which I know a little about. They didn’t want a slick demo and we didn’t go through my PowerPoint slides, it was much more interactive. This made me think about what Marian Crkon said about leaving Open World disappointed.

Every time a presenter asked for someone’s email to answer a question or provide more details later, I kept wondering, where is your blog? Every Oracle product manager should have one.

I take his point that lots of powerpoint heavy presentations to a large audiences in’t always ideal, but there are many opportunities to interact more with Oracle people. The demogrounds are a great place for one on one interaction, most of my time there wasn’t spent showing my demo but answering questions and discussing customer issues. One of the sessions that I left disappointed was the Financials Meet the Experts Session, I was there for 2 hours and there were more experts than delegates most of the time. Meet the experts is a really good chance for anyone to show up and grill the product owners and managers to get insight and have one on one discussions and ask the tough questions – on the whole we were let off the hook.  Next year come and give us a hard time.

There wasn’t really a point to this post, just sounding off that I am putting myself out there a bit with this and I might cause myself some mildly uncomfortable moments. What makes it worthwhile s when I get interaction on my blog or feedback from readers, I know I could get a lot more on here, but I do have a day job, a family, friends and I’m also getting my snowboard out tomorrow too. I will get more content up there, but it will take some time.

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