Top 7 Reasons Why Oracle Database Conferences Are A Waste Of Time

Posted on 15-September-2014 by Craig Shallahamer,

Want to turn a lame Oracle Database conference experience into a great one? You may not believe this, but I think Oracle conferences are a waste of time. That is, unless I take action. I've been to hundreds of Oracle conferences, so I'm kind of an expert in this field.

Here is my "Top 7" list about why Oracle conferences are time suckers AND how you can turn them into a GREAT educational, social and networking experience.

Number 7. Sleeper Presentations. You forgot to read that session abstract before you sat down? You're not alone! Here my secret: Sit by the door. But when you walk out, remember that the speaker probably knows how you feel but is doing they best they can. Out of respect for them and the poor souls who are actually enjoying the session, be quiet when you leave.

Number 6. My System Is Bigger Than Your System. How many times have we all heard someone talking about their, "50 node RAC global system with 5 million active users." Really? Is that even possible? Here are four proven options. Option 1 is to ask a question to shut them up. For example, "So how do you deal with the enqueue contention?" Another option is to simply walk away. If you feel that's rude, then Option 3 is to suddenly grab your phone to answer "that" call and walk away...never to return. If you're feeling feisty then combining Option 2 and 3 is wonderful. Ask the question "So how do you deal with upgrading 50 nodes?" AND THEN suddenly grab your phone and walk away.

Number 5.Not Another New Feature Presentation! Oracle Corporation and their marketing minions love to talk about futures. If you're depressed from hearing about new features you won't get to touch for the next five years, here's what to do. First, remember that Oracle Corporation user group sponsorship is important to user group conferences. Without the help from Oracle, most conferences would not occur. Second, the more Oracle sponsors an event, the more they influence the content. The money source always drives the content. The solution is to look at number of presentations given by non-Oracle employees versus Oracle employees... before you register.

Number 4. Can't Afford It Unless Oracle Sales Pays. Yes you can! I know training and traveling budgets have been cut. What you need is a free pass, right? I figured this one out while still working for Oracle. Submit an abstract to speak. If speaking freaks you out, click HERE. If you won't speak, then volunteer. Believe me when I say, EVERY CONFERENCE NEEDS VOLUNTEERS.

Number 3. Boring Conference. I totally get that. Want to know the secret about boring conferences? Avoid them...unless you take action. My conference of choice is Collaborate/IOUG. I love that conference... because I'm really involved, have been for years and look forward to working with the conference team and seeing them each year. It's kind of like family to me.

Number 2. I Feel Like A Dork. Because I speak a lot, people don't realize that much of the time I feel like a social idiot. Strange, but put me on stage or in a mentoring situation and I'm fine. It's taken me 20 years of conferences to figure this one out. Here's what to do: Go with a colleague or volunteer so you'll always have someone to hang out with. If that doesn't work and you're a guy, look for the stupid games because that's where you'll find DBAs just like you (and me).

Number 1. Stupid Drunks. I get so tired of drunk people yelling in my face! Especially when I can feel the spit from their mouths poke me in the eye. It only took a few years to figure this one out. The solution? Step back a couple of feet. And if that doesn't work, then walk away. Don't worry about offending them, because they won't remember you anyways.

Make It A Great Conference!

There you have it, my "Top 7" list about why Oracle conferences are time suckers AND how you can turn them into a GREAT educational, social and networking experience.

See you at IOUG this April in Las Vegas!.

All the best in your Oracle performance work,


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Craig Shallahamer is a long time Oracle DBA who specializes in predictive analytics, machine learning and Oracle performance tuning. Craig is a performance researcher and blogger, consultant, author of two books, an enthusiastic conference speaker a passionate teacher and an Oracle ACE Director. More about Craig Shallahamer...

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me directly at craig at

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