There were partners in my session, and I had no problem at all with it. After all, this was a conference open to anyone and I am a firm believer that when people learn more, the whole community benefits. This is what motivates me to write all of my books, cause believe me, it's not for the money (Google "Starving Authors" before you ever think to make money writing). I also speak at way too many events around the world each year from tiny user groups to massive conferences like Kscope, Collaborate, and OpenWorld with no concerns that my sessions are primarily filled with Oracle partners looking to improve.
After my session was over, there was one more timeslot for the day and since I didn't want to sit in the hall for 90 minutes, I went to Huron Consulting Group's (they're the company that bought Blue Stone) session on the future of Planning. It sounded more interesting than Hackett's session which was my other possibility and I saw that one of the speakers was Mike Nader who is a great presenter. If nothing else, I would get to hear Mike's engaging take on the world since he joined Blue Stone. I sat in the room in the back row (there were plenty of extra seats, but I wanted to leave the good seats for potential customers).
Right as the session was about to start, Rick Schmitt from Huron (Blue Stone) came over to me and asked me to leave. I was curious why since I was an official attendee at the event and he said that they were going to be talking over "some proprietary stuff." I assumed he meant his slides at the beginning on the Blue Stone acquisition or "why Blue Stone is the best at XYZ," so I offered to leave for the first few slides. I don't need nor want competitive info and I certainly didn't want to make him nervous during his sales pitch. He said that no, they were going to share lots of proprietary info throughout the session and he didn't want competitors in the room during their session at all.
Rather embarrassed but more bemused, I smiled, gathered my things, and walked out of the room. I sat in the hall for a while wondering what cool things I was missing and feeling jealous of the 50 clients that got to hear from Blue Stone. (There's nothing like being excluded from something to make you want it more.) As I sat there, I pondered my own stance on information sharing. Personally, I believe that if the community as a whole gets better - if the community learns more - the quality of Hyperion implementations will rise. Satisfaction with Oracle EPM will rise, and as the reputation of Hyperion gets better, the Hyperion market will grow which benefits the entire community: customers, Oracle, and partners.
And it made me ask what I could be doing better.
So starting effective immediately, all of the public webcasts interRel does (and we did over 100 webcasts last year) will be open to everyone. That's right: competitors, please come join our webcasts and we'll share all the information that we spend months putting together with you. You've always had access to our books, our sessions at user groups, our presentations at conferences, and now you have access to our webcasts too. I hope that this starts a trend: I strongly encourage our competition to open up their sessions and webcasts to anyone who wants to attend. Don't be afraid: if you're good at what you do, you shouldn't be afraid to help the competition get better too. Information is meant to be free and to point out the obvious, if the Hyperion market gets bigger from happier clients telling everyone they know to buy Hyperion, your potential customer base gets bigger too.
Our next webcast is Thursday, October 31. It's on how Smart View is finally an awesome replacement for the Essbase Excel Add-In and I hope to see a ton of our competition on the webcast. Visit http://bit.ly/iRWebcasts to register.