Happy Father's Day, everyone! I got up early this morning to write about my recent experience traveling the world on Oracle's behalf. I got to attend the first annual Oracle Technology Network tour of Africa and the Middle East. It made 2 stops in North Africa (both in Tunisia), 2 stops in Saudi Arabia, and the final stop was in Dubai, UAE.
Tariq Farooq first mentioned the idea of doing a MENA (Middle East & North Africa) tour to me in Beijing last fall. He asked if I'd be willing to travel half-way around the world to speak to people in English that primarily spoke French and Arabic, and I - of course - said "yes." Here's Tariq being interviewed by Lillian Buziak at Collaborate 2014 (audio is a bit difficult to hear):
I had two reasons for wanting to go: I do love educating/evangelizing for Oracle EPM, BI, and Business Analytics. The possibility of reaching new audiences for the first time was exciting. My other reason for going was that I wanted to experience totally different cultures than I ever have before. I've spoken on 5 continents (now 6 after this tour and I'm anxiously awaiting the OTN Tour to Antarctica) before and have seen presented everywhere from a women's college in Mumbai that was 95F with no air conditioning in the presentation room to a ballroom in the Philippines that had 3 simultaneous English sessions going on (in one room!) all happily observed by smiling Filipinos. From China to India to Australia to Germany, I have seen some amazing slices of life, but nothing prepared me for the differences I saw on this tour.
In each of the sections below, I have linked the header to a blog from my new best German friend, Bjoern Rost. He blogged after every stop and unlike me, he actually understood all the Oracle RDBMS sessions on the tour. Visit http://portrix-systems.de/blog/author/brost/ to see his entertaining blog posts. (Warning: though I think Bjoern is hilarious, being German, you may find his posts to be 'not funny.' German humor is an acquired taste.)
I left for the first stop, Tunisia, on Memorial Day (in the USA), May 26, 2014...