October 05, 2011, 10:42 AM — OK, admittedly I made up the second part of the headline. Well, I didn't make it up as much as I tried to predict what Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison would do if he were in "evil genius" mode (i.e. awake), which is a long-winded way of saying I made it up. Happy now?
No matter! The first part really is true. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, a former Oracle sales superstar and mentee to Evil Larry, was scheduled to deliver a keynote Wednesday at Oracle OpenWorld 2011 in San Francisco's Moscone Center.
(Also see: Benioff trash-talks Oracle 'cash cows')
But late Tuesday night Benioff tweeted to his 20,500 followers:
Larry just cancelled my keynote tomorrow! Sorry #oow11! Join me @ St. Regis AME Restaurant at 10:30AM! The show must go on! Sorry Larry!
I'm guessing "Sorry Larry" means the Oracle founder will not be invited to dine on Eggs Benedict or whatever else it is that billionaires have for breakfast at the St. Regis AME Restaurant at 10:30 a.m. Either that or Benioff plans to charge the entire tab to Larry. If it's the latter, the mentee has learned well!
By the way, as long as Benioff is handing out apologies, he should tell his Twitter followers he's sorry that he tweeted the cancellation news five times in a row. We get it, Marc. You got cancelled.
So what's going on here?
Well, it could be that Ellison was peeved about Benioff's trashing of his Sunday night keynote. The New York Times reports:
If Mr. Benioff is looking for a cause, he might turn to comments he published on Twitter and Facebook on Monday, which included pointing to other Internet stories panning Mr. Ellison’s Sunday night keynote.
That strikes me as ill-advised, especially this tweet from Benioff: "A low bar has been set. See you Wednesday at 10 a.m.!"
You can see why that might get under Larry's skin, being dissed by a guest and all.
Maybe it was Benioff's way of getting his $1 million back. According to the Times, quoting Benioff, CEOs routinely pay seven figures to keynote major trade shows. Now, Benioff tells the Times, "They are giving us our million dollars back."
So Benioff gets publicity in the major media and a $1 million refund. All for a little moonlighting on Facebook and Twitter.
Oh, and the title of Benioff's cancelled talk? "Welcome to the Social Enterprise."