This Oracle Open World (2009), was a much more serious event compared to previous events. Although the crowd size felt the same, the quality of attendees was different. There appeared to be more decision makers, and most attendees had a sense of purpose and were focused on finding out information relevant to their area of interest. Conversations with attendees were more engaged and detailed and you came away with a sense of having had a serious discussion, versus water-cooler talk.
This may have been a direct consequence of the economy, as everyone's expense budgets are limited, and only those who had a quantifiable reason to be at OOW were approved to come. Another incidental observation was that there were no freebies this time around. No stress balls, blinking pens, giveaway toys and the like… definitely a serious event.