As part of the ilOUG (Israeli Oracle User Group) team, I had quite a big part in organizing this conference, and it’s not easy…
This is actually the 2nd time we have held the Tech Days conference in Israel, the first one was 2 years ago. Until then we only held SIG meetings, Oracle Week (which is a week of technical full-day sessions organized by Oracle Israel and one of the local Oracle education centers) and some specific conferences we held or organized, usually featuring speakers such as Tom Kyte.
Two years ago we decided to change Tom Kyte’s arrival to a proper conference, in the format used by OOW and OUG around the world (many short sessions in various tracks and topics). The idea was to bring speakers from all over the world to a two-day all-inclusive overnight conference in Jerusalem. If you are not an Israeli it might sound reasonable, but as Israel is so small, we usually don’t stay overnight (except extreme cases), so it was an unusual concept. and it worked.
So this is now the second time we have done this, and it was even better. We had a very honorable list of 10 speakers from around the globe (list below), a total of 25 speakers in 45 sessions (including keynotes) and 100+ participants. All in all I think it was a successful conference.
The conference was scheduled for June 9-10. We wanted to bring many well-known speakers, and we managed to bring (alphabetically ordered): Melanie Caffrey, Heli Helskyaho, Tom Kyte, Keith Laker, Jonathan Lewis, Bryn Llewellyn, Kuassi Mensah, David Peake, Joze Senegacnik and Shay Shmeltzer.
On June 8 we took most of the overseas speakers (all except Tom, Melanie and Shay) on a guided tour with our regular local guide. It was very hot as we had a heat wave that day, but it was great fun and I think our visitors enjoyed it as much as I did.
During the conference itself, I didn’t have a chance to hear many sessions, as I had other stuff to handle. The keynote speakers were Tom Kyte and Bryn Llewellyn and they were great as expected (if you don’t know them, you definitely should). Then we split into 4 tracks, had lunch, more sessions and dinner. I think I can say we ate at least as much as we talked about Oracle. The highlight of this day was a panel that Ami (our ilOUG president) organized. He managed to get Bryn, Shay, Kuassi and Tom on one stage talking about the future of database and development. It was definitely one of the best sessions.
After dinner, we arranged a stand-up comedian, but it was in Hebrew, so wasn’t very relevant to our overseas visitors. Some of them decided to retire to their rooms, to sleep or work. Because the stand-up was in Hebrew, I took the rest (David, Heli, Jonathan and Kuassi) to a nice local pub. We had some drinks and then got tired and went back to the hotel. At the hotel I had a long and very interesting chat with David (I love those Australians) and went to sleep quite late.
The second day went well, with additional keynotes, more sessions and, of course, more food. I did go into two sessions that day, both Jonathan’s, about selectivity and cardinality of the optimizer. I have to admit that I couldn’t follow all the numbers he calculated on the fly during the presentation. It was amazing to see the knowledge and level of depth he goes into when understanding how the optimizer actually works.
To summarize my experience, it was a very good conference. I hope our participants enjoyed and learned a lot from all the great speakers we had. I also hope the speakers themselves enjoyed Israel and the conference (I’m sure they did, just put a mic in their hands and place them on a stage in front of a bunch of people and they’ll love every minute). But it was not easy. Organizing such a conference requires a lot of work, which is obviously outside of my day-to-day work.
Again, I’d like to thank all the participants and the speakers who joined us, hope to see you all in the future.