Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Apparently Lorne Michaels Has Nothing To Worry About

One of the advantages of all the coverage of Oracle OpenWorld 2007 is that it allows you to catch up on things that you missed.

For example, because of an excellent dinner on Sunday evening, I was unable to hear the "Sunday Night Live" presentation.

I'm just now (it's Tuesday) getting a chance to catch up on the coverage.

From CRN:

With Oracle (NSDQ:ORCL) turning 30 this year, CEO Larry Ellison kicked off this week's Oracle OpenWorld conference Sunday night by recounting the company's early steps -- and often-comical missteps -- through its three-decade history. "We had no adult supervision whatsoever," Ellison said, speaking before this year's 42,000 registered attendees....

The evening, dubbed "Sunday Night Live 30" in a takeoff of the long-running NBC comedy show, included sketches by several Saturday Night Live actors, including Kevin Nealon and Victoria Jackson, making fun of Oracle's early database development work for the CIA and Oracle's penchant for acquiring other companies.

Ellison and Miner, who worked together at Ampex in the 1970s, started Software Development Laboratories in 1977 to develop database software for the CIA under the code name "Oracle." The Silicon Valley company had $2,000 in funding from Ellison, Miner and co-founders Ed Oates and Bruce Scott. And the startup had a cardboard sign in front of its first office.

Some of the anecdotes related by Ellison: The company bid $300,000 for the CIA project with the next biggest bid hitting $2 million -- an example of how little the founders understood finances. The company kept no real financial books for its first two years and Ellison and company had no idea what a balance sheet was. When they discovered that the man who delivered pizza to the company every night was a Berkeley accounting student, they convinced him to quit school and become the company's first CFO.

The speech was also covered by IT Business:

If a billionaire entrepreneur has to narrate his “rags to riches” story, when better to do it than before a gargantuan audience, and on a big anniversary.

Both those elements were present on Sunday when an unusually ebullient Oracle CEO Larry Ellison reminisced about the early days of Oracle, laughing heartily at some of his own jokes and anecdotes.

Forbes, pretending to be Variety, was less impressed:

Proving that actors will do anything for a buck, several former and current Saturday Night Live cast members helped software giant Oracle kick off its annual OpenWorld convention Sunday night.

In front of a packed hall at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, comedian Darrell Hammond portrayed Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison responding to a series of flip-card images of the McDonald’s...golden arches, Mt. Rushmore (“I would look good up there,” said Hammond, playing Ellison) and other icons.

A cute opener. And then Ellison took the stage. Dressed in a gray suit, the acquisition-hungry Oracle founder tried to keep up the humorous beat but mostly rambled and missed....

In a Saturday Night Live-style mock newscast skit, comedian Kevin Nealon reported that Ellison received a letter from BEA Chief Executive Alfred Chuang right before OpenWorld.

The crowd laughed, but the tenacious Ellison, who had already left the stage, might not have found it so funny.

Dan Norris apparently wasn't impressed either:

I wanted to see the Sunday Night Live event which I anticipated to be entertaining and funny as some Saturday Night Live cast members were on stage. Turns out I was wrong–was not entertained and endured a long monologue by Larry recounting how Oracle got started 30 years ago. There were also two deaths mentioned either by Larry or on screen in one of the videos they showed that really made for a fun mood-killer. I bailed out before the band started and headed to the final resting place for the evening.

IT Convergence, however, reviewed the evening positively.

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