PeopleSoft Users Party in New Orleans

By Tom Steinert-Threlkeld  |  Posted 2002-08-26 Print this article Print

Online exclusive: Pyrotechnics and dancers ushered in PeopleSoft Connect 2002, which the company said featured representatives of 20 percent more companies than last year's edition.

NEW ORLEANS—When the boss is away, the kids come out to play. Or at least party.

PeopleSoft, the Pleasanton, Calif., marketer of enterprise software, was happy to note Monday that 20 percent more companies sent attendees to PeopleSoft Connect 2002 than they did to the 2001 version. But companies on average sent fewer attendees each, with attendance of 11,000 only slightly exceeding the numbers reached a year ago.

Those 11,000 visitors were treated to modern renditions of Crescent City entertainment. Before conservatively dressed CEO Craig A. Conway stepped out for his keynote, the stage was filled with scantily clad women and men dancing in everything from Bourbon Street jazz band garb to glittering masks topped by feathers.

Firecrackers, fire and streams of sparklers falling from the ceiling tried to establish an upbeat beginning to the week's customer interactions.

When his keynote was over, Conway noted that company founder David Duffield was elsewhere because of another business commitment. Then, he had a stage crew push out a multi-tier cake on wheels, to celebrate the company's 15th birthday.

A sort-of scantily-clad physique did pop out. Duffield's assignment, it turned out, was to bust through the top of the cake, clad in Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts and sandals.

Duffield congratulated Conway and other PeopleSoft executives for their "terrific work" in the last three years.

So far this year, Conway noted, the company's revenue is down, compared to 2001, a record year. But profits, he said, will increase again.

The company reported operating income of $252 million on revenue of $2.1 billion. Revenue is likely to fall to $2 billion, according to J.P. Morgan H&Q analyst Adam Holt.

Tom was editor-in-chief of Interactive Week, from 1995 to 2000, leading a team that created the Internet industry's first newspaper and won numerous awards for the publication. He also has been an award-winning technology journalist for the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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