These are just my opinions, and I don’t speak on behalf of my employer.

On the Facebookers this morning, noticed one of my friends was contemplating coming out to San Francisco this year to join approximately 50,000 other Oracle and Java-heads for Java One and Oracle Open World.

The mission: to have fun!
The mission: to have fun!

I’m not going to try to sell you on this event – the location alone should be enough to get most of you excited. San Francisco is an amazing city to visit. The technical content, networking, and after hours social events are just bonuses.

That being said, here’s some advice on how to make the most of your time – not to mention your employer’s investment!

Use the Schedule Builder

Find 2 sessions a day that you MUST attend. Do your best to make it to these sessions. For the rest of the day, leave it to chance. You’ll stumble your way into many more sessions than just two, based on the advice of others or just what catches your eye at the time.

Build your own presentation.

This is the only homework I’ll be assigning you. When you get back to work, I want you to present to your group something that you learned at the conference. This is your chance to make sure it’s a ‘no-brainer’ decision in 2016 when it’s time to register for Open World.

You don’t have to parrot back things you heard. Maybe there’s an ongoing technical or process pain beleaguering your team or product. Make it your mission to find the experts at the conference that can give you some insight for improving the situation, or even fixing it.

Meet an Oracle Product Manager

We should be pretty easy to find...
We should be pretty easy to find…

We won’t bite. We like to talk to users, that’s why we’re there even. Introduce yourself, send us a LinkedIn invite, and follow-up a week to 10 days later with an invite for us to engage you further. It could be a demonstration or presentation to your group, or maybe you want to work closer with us as a trusted partner. Developers can be pretty cool too, so feel free to meet a few of those as well 🙂

Bring a backpack

To haul all of your stuff, all day. Here’s what to put in it each morning:

  • Sandals or comfy footwear to change out of if you HAVE to be formal at the show
  • a shirt or even a change of clothes – you might not be able to make it back to your room from conference time to ‘after conference’ time
  • water – bring a good sized water bottle. Fill it up. Drink a lot of it. You’re gonna need it. Trust me.
  • Lozenges or something for your throat – I go hoarse after the first day or two. You’re going to be talking a lot more than usual.

Dress in Layers

It can be hot or cold. Expect cold. But if you’re walking around a lot outside, you’re gonna get warm. Bring a hoodie or something you can easily take on or off. The conference is a month later than usual, so it will probably be on the cooler side. Definitely bring sunglasses and really, really good walking shoes.

If you don’t have a good jacket, bring a few extra dollars and buy one – lot’s of great shopping to be had. And they have a nice Oracle ‘mall’ setup in the Moscone to get your branded jackets, hoodies, shirts, and yachting accessories.

Don’t pay for food if you don’t have to.

You can probably find an event each evening where food or at least appetizers are gratis. Save those dollars, and again, make it much easier for your trip to get approved the next year.

Oh, and eat a good breakfast each morning. You might look up and notice it’s already 2 in the afternoon before you get a chance to eat again. Mel’s across from the Moscone is GOOD and CHEAP. And you can get a milkshake for breakfast if your your throat needs some medicine. They’re also really fast.

Coming out early, get active!

Get out of the Moscone and/or your hotel. Take a bike tour, walk/run across the Golden Gate Bridge, or jump into the bay for a swim!

These are also good ways to network and meet other database nerds. If you’re a blogger, then the Pythian Blogger party on Wednesday before the Customer Appreciation Event is always really fun.

Speaking of the Customer Appreciation Event…

It’s a great show

Free food, free drink. The venue is great. Just be ready to queue up to the buses to get over and back. So that change of clothes in your backpack will come in handy. And it’ll be chilly over there, so have a good jacket.

Some Apps for Your Phone

Yelp to find places to eat. Uber to get around. Google Maps for walking directions. A good Twitter client for staying in touch with others at the show or making others back home jealous. Instagram for all of those great San Francisco vistas. Untappd to track good beers you find. Oh, be sure to get some Pliny the Elder on tap if you can find it, it’s one of the best beers in the world, and really hard to find outside of Northern California.

Speaking of beers, there’s tons of breweries in San Francisco to check you. And if you have a free day, get a car and drive over to Santa Rosa to visit Russian River Brewing Company.

All for me?
All for me?

The Movie

Someone thought this would make a good video. So here.


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. Blake Argo Reply

    This is great info! Thanks for posting it. I had a blast at OpenWorld and everything you wrote about is pretty spot on. I have found that my success in the business world is due to the fact that I follow the careers of those who are more successful than myself. I have been following the career of Mark Hurd for the last few years now, since he has taken over at Oracle. I have also been impressed with this leadership and ability to turn a company around. I have closely following his statements at OpenWorld 2016 and I am excited for what he has in store. Here is a link to am article about OpenWorld 2016:

  2. Jeff, thanks for the tips. I am returning to Oracle OpenWorld in 2015 after learning a lot at my first OpenWorld in 2014. You are right about having a bag spacious enough to carry lots of conference materials.

  3. Great post! One thing I would add – full conference attendees get a new backpack with water bottle and generally some other goodies – you get it when you register on site. Do you have inside info – are they not providing that stuff this year?

    • The backpacks last year were REALLY nice. But I don’t know for sure that they are giving them out this year. Plus, you’ll need a backpack to pack your new backpack in?

    • A backpack for my backpack – yes, you’re absolutely right!

      Some years have seen better backpacks than others. I have a larger-than-average laptop and it doesn’t fit in just any backpack. I’m currently using a larger-than-average OOW backpack to lug my backpack around, I think it’s from the 2012 OOW issue, but I’m not sure. HEY – that’s an idea for a blog post or even its own website, a museum of all the tchotchkes from OOW’s past – backpacks, notepads, water bottles, etc.

  4. Your advice for Open World is spot on – thanks from an OOW veteran. I’m a big fan of breakfast in San Francisco, and Mel’s isn’t bad. But I loved The Grove at Mission and Third Streets for something near Moscone. If you’re at JavaOne at the Hilton, the Taylor Street Cafe is good too – if a bit small and crowded.

    The last couple of OOWs have been quite warm but I always carry a sweater – some of the meeting rooms can be chilly. San Francisco weather is rarely too hot or too cold, but a sweater or jacket is often a good idea, especially at the event on Treasure Island.

    • last two years have been unseasonably warm, hot even

      I like Mel’s just because I go there at least once each OOW, it’s a tradition now I guess. I like walking down to the Embarcadero and eating breakfast near the shops, forget which pier it is, but across the way from the Vitale on Mission St.

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