JavaOne - Confessions of a Booth Babe

My initial plan was to blog each evening after the show and keynotes were over. But I had booth duty and by the end of that each day I was exhausted. Being "on" all day long in the booth, answering attendee's questions, showing them our software, etc. is exhausting. So I'd head back to the hotel, collapse for an hour, get up and go have dinner, then go back and fall asleep. Oh the exciting life of working a booth.

I was able to hit a couple of the talks and I think the quality of the presentations was as good as ever. I also talked to a lot of Sun Oracle employees and they all were talking about what they are working on now and what comes next. So Oracle does appear to be very committed to Java. And a lot of talk on the floor was bringing Java up to match C# - which I think is a very healthy look at where Java is and what it has to do to stay competitive. There were even a substantial number of people discussing having breaking changes in Java 9 - which I find unlikely but is a useful discussion.

One funny note - I talked to a couple of Oracle developers who work in the St. Petersburg, Russia office. I listen to Russian Pop music and so along with some Java questions we also discussed the various Russian Pop groups and which ones we each like. When I mentioned that to my marketing VP she replied that I was truly "among my people."

The exhibit hall, where I spent most of my time, was 1/8 the size of last year's JavaOne. This was on balance a positive thing I think. A lot of the floor reduction was all the really big vendors from Oracle (in terms of their selling booth), to IBM, to everyone else who is not a Java vendor was over in the two Oracle World exhibit halls. Those were gigantic - I don't think anyone actually looked at every booth there. Over in the Java exhibit area it was just the primarily Java vendors. And everyone attending JavaOne could easily walk through the entire floor in under 5 minutes. I think most JavaOne attendees did go through and stop at the booths that were of interest to them.

So how'd I do as a booth babe? Well on the good news side there were quite a few people I talked to who would have otherwise skipped past us - but it turned out they do need a solution like our reporting software. In some cases need it very badly. What's really interesting about this is about 90% of the people looking at us are looking for a better system. I think a lot of companies are focusing on making their existing systems a lot more efficient. This is a really good sign for our industry because companies have to increase efficiency to free up money to go solve the other problems they face.

On the bad news side, the booth next to us had two very pretty models and they did a lot better than I did. It's amazing how a smile from a pretty girl will cause almost any guy to stop and talk to her. I asked the marketing manager from that company how it worked and he says the models talk to them for a minute and just swipe their card. Then they bring them to the booth and for about 3 minutes the guy is basically not thinking and they can ask them a bunch of questions to qualify them. We've never done this because we aren't wild on this approach - but it was really interesting to watch how well it worked from a couple of feet away. Anyways, I couldn't compete with that and it is a little discouraging to see lots of people blast by me, but stop to talk to the models. (Do I need to unbutton my shirt more?)

Best news of the show? My youngest daughter goes to Harvey Mudd College and when I called her up to ask if she wanted the show backpack & t-shirt, she told me that would be really cool. It's neat to be able to find something like this in common with one of your kids. Especially as I'm normally "the most embarrassing dad in the world" (something I think all fathers of kids in high school share).