Welcome to Spring

As I write this, it’s clear that spring is here.  From the calendar it may appear that spring started a few weeks ago.   For me, since the Major League Baseball season opened last Thursday, I can now officially celebrate the arrival of spring.  [It opened on a good note, with a Seattle Mariners victory!]

In January, I wrote about a number of random things that I’d be tracking and watching throughout the year.  Since the first quarter of the year is over, let’s take a look at what has happened so far.

BI Industry

There haven’t been any earth-shattering changes here.  The new BI platform releases from Oracle and IBM Cognos are in the market.  SAP BusinessObjects is expected to release theirs in May.  Meanwhile, QlikTech, Tableau, and others continue to advance.  Stay tuned here.

Oracle

Oracle announced its fiscal Q3 financials and the results were impressive.  Revenue increased by 37%, profit was $2.1 billion (41 cents per share), up from $1.19 billion (23 cents per share) a year ago.  Most significantly, sales of new software licenses rose 29% to $2.2 billion.  Although Oracle’s hardware sales increased (mostly selling products they got when they acquired Sun Microsystems), many analysts found those results disappointing.  Still, overall, the quarter was a good one for Oracle.

On the acquisition front, Oracle has been uncharacteristically quiet.  There was just one acquisition in Q1: Oracle announced that it was buying the assets of NDevr, a small Australian company that does environmental reporting.  

Musical Theatre

Catch Me If You Can (the musical my son is working on) is currently in previews, with opening night scheduled for April 10.

Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark continues to be plagued by delays.  There’s been a big shake-up in the creative team.  The show’s director (and visionary), Julie Taymor, has been fired.  [Oops, I’m sorry – she left because of “previous commitments” that were unavoidable because of all the delays.]  Here is a funny tongue-in-cheek (and totally irreverent) view of why she was removed from the show.

Speaking of irreverent, one of the surprise new hits of the Broadway season is The Book of Mormon, written by the creators of South Park.  The show follows a pair of Mormon missionaries who travel to Uganda.  Sounds like a fun topic for a musical, doesn’t it?  It’s satirical, cynical, and mocking, taking aim at the Mormon religion, AIDS, The Lion King, and more.  Still, Broadway’s most respected theatre critic, Ben Brantley of The New York Times, gave it a rave review.

Sports

Back in January, the Seattle Seahawks, the worst team ever to qualify for the NFL post season, didn’t embarrass themselves – in fact they won their first round playoff game before losing to the Chicago Bears.

The big sports questions for 2011 are still unanswered: Will the threatened labor disputes in professional football and basketball result in cancelled games (or even entire cancelled seasons)?  Things look grim for the NFL, where the players union has decertified (as a negotiating tactic) and the owners have locked out the players.  The NBA dispute won’t really begin to simmer until after the playoffs end in June.

Finally, part of the reason I didn’t make any real predictions in January is that, when they don’t come true, I end up looking silly.  As a perfect example, a few weeks ago I did make predictions about the NCAA Final Four:

My picks for the Final Four: Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, and Florida with Ohio State defeating Kansas in the championship game.

That sure went well – a perfect zero for four!  In my defense, very few prognosticators saw Kentucky, Connecticut, Butler, and Virginia Commonwealth.  Still, in the future, I would probably be wise to avoid going public with my predictions!

On Monday night, Connecticut defeated Butler, 53-39, to win the tournament.

For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:

Enjoy the baseball season!

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