On September 24th, Larry Ellison committed a major customer experience faux pas. He was an unexpected no show for his final keynote speech at Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle’s annual meeting of the faithful (developers and customers). Customers were left sitting for 45-minutes until an embarrassed Chairman of the Board admitted that a communications error had occurred. Where was Larry? A few miles away in a boat on San Francisco Bay, watching his America’s Cup contender win yet another race against the New Zealand boat. Tom Kurian, EVP of product development, tried to fill Larry’s shoes, but many annoyed customers walked out. And those who did remain were not impressed.
The next day, Wed, Sept 25th, Oracle Team USA won the America’s Cup series in a decisive and stirring victory. As a multihull owner, I was thrilled to watch the compelling final race. But, as a customer advocate, I find it too bad that Oracle’s management team couldn’t have parlayed their CEO’s obsession into an inspiring presentation about real-time access to big data in the new Oracle Cloud, punctuated by racing footage, with Larry making at least a brief appearance.