Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ellison Strikes Again

Is it just me or does it seem like Larry is starting to become a little unglued?  Maybe he spends too much time sheltered from the real world, I don't know.  But, it appears as if the BIG news coming out of Oracle OpenWorld this year is not a major new product offering (a la Unbreakable Linux) or another major acquisition. 

The news, in fact, is that Larry became a bit unglued during this Q&A with the 40,000 or so CUSTOMERS in attendance.  Yes, I said that right, CUSTOMERS.  He berated many individuals who stood up to ask questions.  Is Larry so arrogant that he doesn't think he needs his customers anymore?  Does he think that he has too many customers and wants to dump a few?  Who knows, but here are few snippets of what happened, courtesy of The Register out of the UK.  The full article is located here.

First, it turns out the "open standards" SOA architecture of Fusion is not so open after all.  Besides some negotiations with IBM on supporting DB2 in financial services, Fusion users are forced to use Oracle as the underlying database...  So much for "open".  Sounds more like XVL to me (eXtreme Vendor Lock-in).

Then came licensing. A customer asked "will you reconsider licensing, because with every feature Oracle is becoming expensive"?

The problem, according to Larry, is not Oracle's per-user or per-processor charging - it's you, the customer, who's stupid for having lots of little licenses and for not buying in bulk with one license.  Larry would like everyone to go to the ULA (Unlimited License Agreement) no matter what size company.  He has no intentions of fixing his licensing model at all.  But, isn't that the same ULA that Gartner warns their customers about? 

The low point for Larry, however, was not related to any of Oracle's products, but a comment from a customer that at least he felt like when he gave money to Microsoft, a small portion might end up in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and help fight disease.  Larry's response?  He cut off the customer comment mid-sentence with:

"Let me respond.  Bill Gates was very generous. He gave a lot of Microsoft stock to the foundation a long time ago and they sold the stock... If you think, when you buy a copy of Microsoft Office tomorrow, that the money is going to some guy in the Andes you're very much mistaken."

Kudos, Larry.  I hope this trend continues.  Because every customer that Larry alienates is another potential opportunity for EnterpriseDB to demonstrate our excellent customer service and plug-compatible database.  Take it from Jason Weiss, senior architect at who said,

"When someone comes in at a sixth the cost and 500 times the customer service that makes it very easy.  I need someone who's going to step up and not just reach into my pocket book. I'd definitely reach out to as many Oracle users as possible to get this [EnterpriseDB] on your system and prove it out".

You can read more from Jason here.

You may still need Oracle, folks.  But, a little EnterpriseDB Advanced Server sprinkled into your infrastructure will go a long way towards gaining some leverage with Oracle.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Hawk Will Never Die

Today begins yet another exciting season of college basketball for the Saint Joseph University Hawks.  I graduated from SJU in 1994/1995 and have had season tickets since that time.  I have suffered through the hard years of John Griffin and got to bask in the glow of "The Perfect Season" in 2004.  I even managed to make it to the almost-final four game when Jameer missed a last second shot and we lost to Lucas, Jr and Oklahoma St. 

Each season is a new beginning, a clean slate, an opportunity for returning players to show improvement and new players to impress us.  I love the beginning of the season.  All the hopes, all the dreams. 

Many of my fellow Hawk fans do a napkin schedule before the season starts.  They realistically look at every upcoming game and figure out which ones we should win and which we should lose.  Not me.  Every game is a potential victory. 

Just like work.  Every sales deal is a potential win.  Every new employee is a rookie and every once in a while, there is a restart that allows everyone to refocus and show their A-game.  We are just entering the final days of this "season".  4th quarter is upon us.  Big wins on the horizon and a new season starts January 1.

For now, though, its the beginning of the basketball season and I am just going to enjoy that for a little while.

The Hawk Will Never Die!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Executive Advisory Council

I am off to Lansdowne, VA for the next 2-3 days for our annual advisory council meeting.  This is a 2 day event that brings our key customers together to discuss the future roadmaps for our products and get their feedback on a number of topics.  Last year was an excellent event and we gained a lot of insight into our customers' selection and usage of EnterpriseDB Advanced Server. 

This is a larger event this year, spearheaded by Garland Hall, our Chief Customer Officer.  Garland's job is to make sure that all of our customers' needs are met and to ensure that they remain our number one focus inside the company. 

I hope to share some insights upon my return.