Oracle Mix: OOW11 voting, Australia speaks up through votes

Jun 21, 2011 / By Yury Velikanov

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I’ve been so amazed by the community response to my requests over the past few days that I just HAD to blog about it.

In this post:

  • Oracle MIX and Suggest-a-Session voting
  • My very first experience and approach to the event
  • I ask for an APOLOGY (I was short on time)
  • Special thanks to those who showed their support

Oracle MIX and Suggest-a-Session voting
As some of you are aware the whole world (including Australia) has been allowed to propose and vote for their favorite presentations for Oracle OpenWorld 2011 on Oracle MIX over the last two weeks. The voting is closed now and it is time to share the experience (results not in, yet!).

According to FAQ – “after voting closes the Oracle team will take the top voted sessions across OpenWorld tracks and include them in our program”. The coveted prize for the race is participation in Oracle OpenWorld 2011 as a speaker.

People around the world were allowed to SUBMIT and VOTE starting from June 3, 2011 until June 19, 2011. Submissions were accepted until the very end of the voting time given. This plays an important role in my story. Folks who submitted their sessions suggestions early around June 3 had 2+ weeks to advertise their topics.

The FAQ mentioned above says – “Please note that Oracle reserves the right to reject any session that is not appropriate for the conference.” So there is no guarantee what so ever that even if your sessions are close to the top rating that they will pass through the final cut.

So … with rules acknowledged and prize known, let me outline my strategy….

PS: Are those rules fair? This is another BIG question from today’s blog post. There are a lot of “gray” areas in the way it was defined this year and I am sure there will be more “gray” areas in the future. Post a comment with your thoughts at the end of this post. I’d love to hear them.

My very first experience and approach to the event (note it was the 16th of June 2011, 4 days before voting closed)
After my 5 proposals weren’t chosen during the Official Oracle OpenWorld 2011 call I was very skeptical about the Oracle MIX option. In one of my emails dated 16th of June I respond the following to “Why didn’t you submit?” question:

I didn’t submit as I lost hope for this year OOW submission. I know, I know, that this was the wrong attitude. We should still try + it is a good way to touch base & test our networks.” Besides, they were good sessions and so they’d have just as much a chance as anyone else’s.

I did understand that just submitting a suggestion 4 days before voting ends would not bring much if I didn’t call for help around the communities that one way or another know me for their support.

17th of June 2011, Friday (3 days before the voting closes) – My race started I do receive another email from a person I know:
Hi Yury, thinking about this again, can you submit the abstract?  We have three days left, perhaps there is still a chance?

I love a good challenge so I opened my Oracle Mix account (I voted for others therefore I had an account already). And posted all 5 Session proposals. I must admit that the submission process took me a very short time. Well done Oracle MIX team (@oraclemix)! I wish all conferences would have such an easy to submit form :)

PS I know, I know the Profiles creation process was a pain for many people. I am guessing that the rational part here: only humans could get though all those errors and email validations LOL :)

1 working day + 2 weekend days – Just want to mention another challenge here. The time left included 1 working day – when most people have an access to their emails and 2 – weekend days, when most of the people don’t. I thought, at this stage that this task is from MISSION IMPOSSIBLE area. However most people who work with me know if I decide to do something I do it well and give it my full attention, passion and energy.

— My Networks —
This is the right time to mention 4 groups of people I was hoping for support from:

  1. I started my Oracle career in a small (2m population ) but very proud country – Latvia. An interesting fact from Oracle perspective about Latvia is that it probably has the most highest density of Oracle Certified Master for each 100 000 population :). Anyway the fact is the Oracle community there (LVOUG) is strong and friendly.
  2. Where else would you find 100 technical geeks ready to dig/troubleshoot/research and drink beer 24×7 (the beer part is a joke ;) ? Of course there is just one such place in whole universe and it called PYTHIAN GROUP. Please feel free to join our FAN club as we like our fans just as much as “data” :)
  3. Strong Sydney Oracle Meetup community! This is a gathering of Oracle fans and Oracle related people in Sydney, Australia area. We meet face to face on regular basis to network and discuss anything related to Oracle technology. This group has been established by SOM’s founding Father Alex Gorbachev at the time he lived in Sydney.
  4. Last but not the least: Other people who know me or/and I know them and they are not part of any community mentioned above :) – this is much smaller group of people

— Email blast to networks —
I think this it where the “gray” area starts. This maybe a bit brighter “gray” area than others. The question is – is it a fair competition if some competitors use/have it and some don’t/have not. My opinion is: if we are strict enough and want to get as fair results as possible this wouldn’t be necessarily fair. However under conditions given there is no way organizers could restrict it. Therefore it could be used. From my experience I do remember the only place I’ve seen a relatively close voting system to an “ideal” voting system is presentations’ elections for annual UKOUG conference where oracle fans and professionals invited to participate in the voting process and they asked to evaluate each and any session. I am guessing Jonathan Lewiswas involved in that system creation and IMHO it works very well.

Anyway to make a long story short and keeping in mind that I did start 3 days before the final count down I wrote my first email to the communities with links to my sessions and an a short instruction on how to vote.

18th of June 2011, Saturday (2 days before the voting closes)
I had to ask for forgiveness from all my friends and people from the 4 groups mentioned above. At this stage I had to use any chance to make sure that each person who would vote for me see my message. I hate SPAM myself and to some extent my second email was close to that area. However some of my friends told me that they voted because of the second email. As the first one wasn’t noticed or went to “to do it later or most probably never” folder :).

— Additional efforts —
TWITTER: Most probably I tweeted more than ever during those 3 days. I must admit it was a good experience and I think I found many people to follow on and some people started to follow me. I loved that TWITTER experience.

BLOG: I wrote a blog entry Oracle 11G SCAN: RAC SIG webcast FOLLOW-UP post! where  I asked people to vote for my sessions.

IM: This I think was another less bright “gray” area. I must confess I used it anyway :( I did contact some of my Oracle friends directly via Instant Messenger and asked them to vote. I am sorry to my friends for that, but I know that if you would have had 2 weeks time you definitely would have voted for me anyway ;) And besides, you know I’d do it for you.

19th of June 2011, Sunday – The last day
This is when Marco Gralike published his Oracle MIX unofficial statistics. It was a lucky moment to see unlucky number 13. At this stage one of my top scored presentations (SCAN) was scored as 13th :) and this meant that from distinct presenters point of view I am 5th.

What a great achievement!!! To get to 13th place in 2 days from 400+ sessions. When others had 14+ days to for advertising ;) Once again I apologise for the gray methods I used but I know you all understand that it was in the interest of a good cause. At this stage I just sent a follow up email to the communities to share the statistics with them.

Plus I got in touch with people I know didn’t vote but I was sure would vote if they saw my message. Yes it was possible to see who voted for one or another session, via people faces on the right top corner. It wasn’t that difficult to extract data from HTML test anyway.

Final Results
Thanks to Wilfred vander Deijl the unofficial final results are available here.

My top scored session took 6 place and I finished 2 from distinct speakers point of view.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE – COMPLETED

This is what you my friends and supporters liked the most:

126 – VOTES – Oracle11G SCAN: Sharing successful implementation experience

119 – VOTES – AWR Performance data mining

109 – VOTES – Oracle11G Direct NFS – Better, Faster, Stronger

104 – VOTES – Oracle e-Business Suite upgrades downtime optimization

99 – VOTES – How EBS R12 makes possible to implement fully Automated Cloning!

NOTE: Please note that the final order isn’t the order I used sending information to the communities. This means that communities made their own choice of order. Thanks for that.

Again, a last apology given the fact I was short on time
I am sorry for those emails (i don’t think that I sent too many emails tho). I am sorry for contacting you directly via IMs – you would vote for me anyway right :). I am sorry to those people who looked at the next email received from me during those few days and thought “Ahhh! Not again. Go away Yury. you – ….”. And finally I am sorry to the other Oracle Professionals who submitted their Sessions Suggestions  (I am sure there are much brighter minds out there than mine. I honestly didn’t expect the result I got).

Special thanks for people who voted for my presentations I can’t express my appreciation enough to all of you!

THANK YOU – proud LVOUG people!

THANK YOU – Sydney Oracle Meetup community for all your support given and comments you left!

THANK YOU – PYTHIAN people! You are the best technically advanced company I’ve ever worked for!

THANK YOU – Oracle MIX (@oraclemix) team for the experience I never had before. I learned a lot during those 3 days. And have got in touch with old friends I didn’t have a chat for some time now.

THANK YOU – all other people who helped me in this endeavour
SPECIAL THANKS – to MY FAMILY: My beautiful wife – KARINA and two little “devils” Max and Nik. I Love you!

May the best sessions make the final OOW11 agenda!

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