The biggest event of the year for San Francisco is not Halloween or even the Gay Pride Parade. It’s JavaOne, the Oracle Developers Conference. The city rolls out the red carpet for 60,000 nerds. They take over several blocks around Yerba Buena and the Moscone Center. All downtown hotel rooms are booked. They spend a lot of money and the city needs it.
So when I drove a young woman who works for Oracle South Africa and her client from their lunch in Sausalito to their hotels in the city, I got to hear just how much cash was involved. She’d taken the gentleman over on the ferry for a meal at the chic Poggio restaurant. “Tonight, I take 17 people to The Slanted Door (in the Ferry Building)”, she tells me. I figure that’ll be a sizable but effective chunk of change from Oracle’s promotion budget. “Tomorrow night, I host another group at Kitsho.”
She’s pulling out all the stops. “Can you take us down the curvy street,” she asks. I tell her, “There’s probably a line all the way up Lombard Street being Sunday and all”. “It’ll be okay", she answers. “Will it?”, I have to wonder. I do my tricky left onto Filbert then another left onto Hyde, which puts us right at the top of Lombard, with no waiting. The she does her photo op thing, standing out the window, as we slowly descend the hill.
After that I cruise down to Market, I drop her client at the Marriott Hotel on 4th St. then I take her to the Omni Hotel on California. “Are we liking Larry (Ellison, her CEO) these days,” I ask. Her response (almost defensively), “You’ve got to respect him for what he’s done, despite what people say. You know his yearly salary is $1. But he does have a $28 million credit limit…more than Bill Gates.” “Really”, I say.
I let my client out at the Omni and she spends $82. on me. Thanks Larry.