Editor’s Note: While there was plenty of news, thought leadership and hands-on NetSuite training, SuiteWorld 16 offered plenty of enjoyable distractions as well. From suit fittings to shoe shines to feeding the hungry, it was more than just sessions and keynotes. The blogging team at NetSuite seized the opportunity to take part in an URB-E Derby. Here’s their report.
As your on-the-spot sources for all things SuiteWorld, we felt it was our duty to experience the little battery-powered scooters ourselves and report back to you. And, being the adventurous sorts that we are, we weren't about to settle for a little stroll up and down the concourse. No, we chose instead to head out to the small race track set up outside of the South Hall at San Jose McEnery Convention Center Thursday morning, thinking a little blogger URB-E smackdown sounded like more fun.
I'm happy to report that we were not disappointed. My erstwhile colleagues, Adrian Bridgewater and NetSuite's own Barney Beal, joined me for the 10-lap extravaganza, and a good time was had by all.
Of course, no one had as good a time as Adrian, who managed to wipe out twice, taking out the hay bales that lined the course both times. (To be fair, he was outdone by one of the racers who followed us, who managed to fly over a bale, landing outside the course. Good thing the guy on hand had us all sign waivers.)
As it turns out, the URB-E is a bit tricky to get used to. Having the front wheel directly underneath you makes turning smoothly a challenge, causing you to turn too sharp one moment and then overcompensate by not turning sharp enough the next. Of course, some of us mastered a little quicker than others, eh, Adrian?
All of us were in agreement that before our streets are filled with people riding these things, some serious training is in order. Either that or there'll be crumpled URB-Es and skinned knees everywhere you look.
As for our race, it was nip and tuck. Despite Adrian's foibles, his aggressive approach helped him recover quickly. Barney, who was hampered by the fact that he was wearing a suit (on the last day of the show!?), had a few near misses himself, and all of us came close to getting entangled a couple of times as we hit turns simultaneously. In the end, despite Adrian's comeback and Barney's questionable turn-crowding tactics, I edged both of them at the finish and earned bragging rights until NetSuite 2017.
It was a moment of glory I wouldn't forget until at least lunch.
As anyone who’s been to a software conference knows, the last day tends to be the quietest. A chance to catch up on rest, email and make sure you get that final session before departing. For me, Thursday morning meant shuffling down to the URB-E race track to get a glimpse of Tony and Adrian’s penultimate assignment.
But as Tony and I waited for Adrian to arrive, Tony encouraged me to race as well. Figuring I might as well make some bold happen, I agreed. It wasn’t long before I had second thoughts. After a night of free beers, Billy Idol and Ozzie Osbourne, maybe a morning spent racing motorized scooters with tiny wheels with a tight turning radius in small circles was not the best tonic. Alas, it was too late. I had already signed the waiver.
I mounted up and one trip around was enough to convince me the helmet was a good idea.
The plan for the race was simple, play it conservative, let the other guys get themselves into trouble and cruise in for an easy victory. The plan half worked.
And besides, in a poplin suit and a fitted shirt from NetSuite customer Alton Lane, I still looked the best, helmet or no.
As the only resident Brit on the squad, I needed some extra persuasion to drag myself down for this event and engage with my always-exuberant pals from the ‘new world’ over here.
After innumerable emails and messages from Kontzer and Beal I yielded to their baying calls. I cast aside my copy of Her Majesty’s International Technology Review and left my cup of Earl Grey to go off sadly cold and untouched.
Upon arrival at said racetrack I quickly geared up with an appropriate piece of protective headgear and adopted as sanguine expression as possible once astride this new urban scooter machine.
One doesn’t always appreciate being shanghaied into high jinx, but this piece of boisterous fun did in fact turn out to be rather a good jape.
As is often happenstance in these scenarios, an early lead is not always a good omen for a fortuitous finish. As my colleagues have already detailed, I did indeed come a cropper and was forced to perform a near forward roll on the racetrack during the course of this steeplechase.
One has to surmise though, this really was rip-roaring fun and I heartily await a rematch next year on whatever mode of perambulation we find laid on at SuiteWorld 2017!
Well done chaps, may the best man win, every time.