Why did Ellison apologize? He’s not sorry

100114blog ellison

Larry Ellison addressing OpenWorld audience.

Oracle boss Larry Ellison issued a classic non-apology apology yesterday at his company’s OpenWorld conference. Here's what he said.

“A year ago, I was a no-show at this conference on Tuesday. So I’d like to take an opportunity to apologize to everybody, but we were desperately trying to come back from an 8-to-1 deficit in the America’s Cup and every day was sudden death but somehow we made it. So, again, apologies.”

Apologies for what?

It would seem that he is apologizing merely for his inability to be in two places at the same time.

He’s certainly not apologizing for having chosen to watch the sailboat race over speaking to his customers; that’s what miffed those who had paid good money in part to hear Ellison speak. If he had come to regret that choice, he certainly gave no indication of it in his remarks.

Sure, he used the word apology … twice. But the retelling of his racing team’s epic comeback – and the smile on his face – said Ellison is super-duper sure he did the right thing.

And I agree with him. The America’s Cup is a big deal (within a certain crowd). The sailboat has Oracle printed on the side. It’s Ellison’s boat, for crying out loud. I’d have gone to the race, too.

Then I would have straightforwardly explained why to my customers – they’re adults – and apologized for disappointing those who were disappointed.   

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