Last Monday evening we had the first Singapore Oracle Sessions - an informal meetup of Oracle professionals thrown together at the last minute by a few of us.
Morten Egan (or as I believe he is called in Denmark now - The Traitor ) mentioned to me months ago that if there was no user group when we arrived in Singapore, then we should start one. At the time he was the current (now retired) chairman of the Danish Oracle User Group (DOUG, strangely enough) and, as I've presented at and supported various Oracle user events over the years and am an ACE Director, it seemed fitting that we should try to build something for the Singapore Oracle community.
The fact that the Oracle ACE Hemant Chitale works for the same company and that the ACE Director Bjoern Rost would be spending a few days at my place before continuing on to the OTN APAC Tour was too much of an opportunity. After a short chat on Twitter we decided to bite the bullet and I started researching venues and contacted some of the locals. We only had 6 days to arrange it so it was either brave or stupid!
As it came together and (through a few very good contacts) we had more and more attendees registering it started to seem like a reality and eventually Bjoern, Madeleine and I found ourselves walking along to the Bugis area on Monday, hoping for the best. Despite some initial problems finding the venue, we arrived to find the extremely helpful Sean Low of Seminar Room who took excellent care of us.
Within the matter of 15 minutes or so, 33 of the 36 or so who had registered were safely settled in their seats (including my other half Madeleine who *never* attends Oracle stuff!) for my brief introduction during which Sean insisted I try out the hand-held microphone.
My big Sinatra moment (not).
First up was Bjoern Rost of Portrix with "Change the way you think about tuning with SQL Plan Management" which, as those who've seen me present on the subject at Openworld, BGOUG or UKOUG would know is a subject dear to my heart. However, Bjoern seems to have had much more success with it than my failed attempts that were damned by literal values and Dynamic SQL. (I've since had a little more success, but mainly as a narrow solution to very specific problems.)
As you can see, the room was pretty full and the audience very attentive (except for a few people who appear to be mucking around with their phones!). They weren't afraid to ask some interesting and challenging questions too, which I always find very encouraging.
Early in Bjoern's presentation we suffered what I would say was the only significant disappointment of the night as both the drinks and the pizza turned up early! It was nice of the delivery companies not to be late, but my stupid expectation that 7pm meant 7pm ensured that I was standing at the back of the room surrounded by obviously gorgeous pizza that was slowly going cold, not knowing whether I should stop Bjoern in his tracks or not. Manners dictated not (particularly as there were so many people in a small room) but the pizza experience later suggests I was wrong. Lesson learned! (Note that I had to ask others about the pizza as it's on my extensive list of things I don't eat.)
What obviously didn't go wrong at all was the social interaction between all of the attendees and speakers. It probably helped that there were a few attendees from some organisations and that people from different organisations had worked with each other in the past but it's a *long* time since I've felt such a vibrant energy during a break.
I was on next, presenting on "Real Time SQL Monitoring" and apart from a few hiccups with the clicker I borrowed from Bjoern and a couple of slide corrections I need to make, I think it went reasonably well and people seemed as enthused by SQL Mon reports as I've come to expect! With that done, and a quick smoke (I *love* organising an agenda ), it was time for Morten with his "Big Data Primer"
I think this might have been lots of peoples favourite presentation because it wasn't just about Oracle and Morten packed in plenty of the humour I've come to expect from him. Better still, it seemed to work for a quite cosmopolitan audience, so good work!
Afterwards he said a few words asking for people's feedback and whether there was a desire to setup a local user group or just continue with these informal sessions (sponsors permitting) and all of the feedback I heard later showed that people are very keen for a repeat run.
Overall, Monday night felt like a great success.
The passion and enthusiasm of the attendees was very encouraging and reflected in the subsequent feedback which has been consistently positive but also thoughtful so far. There's no question that a decent minority of the local Oracle community are looking for regular opportunities to hear decent speakers on subjects that interest them, meet and discuss issues with each other and also offer to present themselves, which is a great start for any Oracle User Group.
Strangely, I discovered a day or so later that there are already plans for a User Group and the Singapore launch event is next Wednesday. Coincidentally this is only 9 days after SOS! You can look into the APOUG website here and a number of colleagues and I will attend the launch event. I suppose it's a small shame that it's an APAC-wide user group, rather than specific to Singapore, which the number of attendees at such short notice would suggest Singapore can justify, but I'll be interested to see what APOUG has planned.
Big thanks for Alvin from Oracle for endless supplies of fine pizza and Bjoern Rost of Portrix Systems for the room hire (I bought the drinks, which some would say was appropriate but I couldn't possibly comment) and thanks again to all the attendees for making it a fun night!
I didn't notice until I was about to post this that Bjoern had already blogged about the evening and I think he's captured it perfectly.