There’s been a bit of back and forwards over the last couple of days around an influencers/analysts/bloggers event that Oracle is holding at the end of June. Basically Dennis Howlett came out claiming that Oracle had attempted to muzzle his right to tweet or blog about what is discussed at the session. He then went on to challenge invitees to “say no”; to refuse to attend the event on those terms and to send a strong message back to Oracle about freedom of speech. The post left some room for maneuvering however with an endnote saying;
the person who reached out to me is trying hard to find a way of getting Oracle to be a tad more open. I admire their efforts in doing a tough job. It’s unfortunate that I have to take this position.
In the other camp we have Vinnie Mirchandani who is also invited to the event. He doesn’t directly discuss the request for radio silence, but does make a general comment about the thawing he sees at oracle in terms of engaging with the commentators.
I have a perspective on this myself. A couple of weeks ago Oracle SVP Rex Wang was in Australasia presenting round the traps, I was invited to meet with Wang (and yes, Oracle footed my travel bill with no qualms) and advised the Oracle PR folks that I would be filing the session for later upload. I half expected some pushback from Oracle, worried about what a renegade blogger might say, or what I might coax out of Wang. I was very impressed however that there was no issue with filming the event, and everything discussed was full, frank and very much on-record.
So I’m backing Vinnie on this – I’m seeing a real that and believe that Oracle is seeing the gains that companies like salesforce.com and NetSuite are making by being more open and engaged. So a hat tip to Oracle – keep up the good work (but don’t let up, there’s still room for improvement).