Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On Stage and Off Stage

The garbage that comes out of marketing organizations never ceases to amaze me. Not all organizations, but many.

And I am not talking about the content. Content is much harder to nail. Is it the right message for the right audience? Is the content rich enough to get their attention, but not too rich that the audience has no need to contact you?

What I am talking about is the plain and simple stuff. They say the devil is in the details. And spell checking and proofreading is, I thought, the most basic of tasks.

Andy Astor, CEO at EnterpriseDB, uses the terms 'on stage" and "off stage". This is similar to the sayings "inside the box" and "outside the box". But, Andy's terms are more accurate.

After all, you can never really think outside of the box. You are ALWAYS inside a box. This is not a revelation. Others have said this and I am just reiterating it. (I would tell you where I heard this, but I can't remember.) Follow me...

A box has four walls. When you are told to think outside the box, you are being told to be creative, but you must still be "in the box". Why? Well, you have customers who expect something from you. Regardless of what it is, whether it is a certain quality of service, a pricing model, whatever. There are existing expectations. That is Side 1. Side 2 is the market as a whole. Now, you can argue that you can remove this barrier or alter its parameters, but the market as a whole perceives you in a certain light. They also have placed expectations on you. Side 3 is your inside team. You only have so many people with so much talent. You must work within those confines or change the team. And changing the team puts up against the fourth side of your box: time. Time and money combine for the fourth wall. Every company has limited time and money. You have to learn to work inside this box.

So, being "on stage" is more accurate. It is Andy's mantra. Whenever you do anything that will be seen outside of the company, that is "on stage". Whether it is sending an email or conducting a webcast, or simply giving your elevator pitch to an acquaintance, you are "on stage".

But, in the last three weeks, I have seen (and honestly, been a part of) so many "on stage" screw-ups that it gives me pause. Are we moving too fast? Is there no attention to detail? Or, are we becoming so dependent on spell checkers that we don't read the words to make sure they are accurate.

Some are just dumb. Today, I received an email from, of all places, a marketing services company. The subject line of the email read "Invite - Arpil 30". Come on people. That is the subject line for crying out loud!

Last week, I received a post card in the mail from a financial services company that was inviting me to a free gourmet meal at a local restaurant for listening to their pitch on IRAs and retirement planning. On the back of the postcard were all the details and fine print of the free meal at the Brickside Grille (a very good restaurant with a great raw bar) located in Eagle, PA. But, on the front the advertisement read: FREE Gourmet Dinner at the Backside Grille. Now, seriously. Do you think I want to eat dinner at the Ass Grille?

My advice is proof read and spell check, people.

You are "on stage".

Have a grate day.


Friday, April 18, 2008

A week in Recap

I have so many things to write about, but not the time, so I am combining my past week into a single post.  Hopefully, everyone finds something beneficial in here.

Southwest Airlines

First of all, my flight to Austin was indeed canceled on Thursday.  Luckily, I was smart enough to have a backup plan.  I booked a flight to Austin via Southwest Airlines late Wednesday night.  This was my first flight on Southwest.  I always avoided it because I heard people bash it so much.  The reality for was totally different.  Their new seating assignment process is very cool.  I was the 6th one on the plane and got my exit row aisle seat.  Even my buddy who got on much later in the process got his coveted window seat.  The flight bounced through Nashville on its way to Austin.  I have to tell you, they load a plane faster than USAirways.  Way faster.  And the luggage comes out quickly as well.  All in all, I have to say that I am now a fan of Southwest Airlines and will make that my new first choice for flying.

Austin Allergies

This was my first trip to Austin and it did not completely disappoint.  However, it seems to me that all this town does is drink and listen to live music.  I got to tour the capital building and see some of the sites while I was there.  Unfortunately, work called, so I spent most of Friday working and missed out on seeing my buddy's house and his rental properties.

I also learned that just about everyone who goes to Austin gets allergies because of the cedar there.  They call it the Austin allergy or the cedar sickness.  Cute, huh?  But, what a pain in the ass.  I was loaded up on Sudafed or allergy medicine the whole weekend and went through a box of tissues. 

On to Denver

By Sunday morning, I was back on the clock full-time, flying to Denver Convention Center Denver for Collaborate 2008.  The weather on Monday and Tuesday was fantastic.  It was 80 degrees both days.  I was shocked.  But, reality crept back in Wednesday and by lunch time it was snowing again.  The Denver air cleared my allergies from Austin but left me so dry that I felt like a walking lizard.  Even the blue bear wanted to come inside.

Collaborate 2008

This was the third year that EnterpriseDB went to Collaborate and the The EnterpriseDB Team at Collaborate08 first time we did it right.  There were 7500 people at this show and we had a 20x20 booth.  Granted, the booth was in the back, but we nailed it.  The magician got their attention and we wowed with a laundry list of customers, awards , demos and free books (autographed by Lewis Cunningham).

All in all, we brought home over 400 leads and gave away 200 books.  These books are great viral marketing tools.  Every book will go back to an office and sit on a desk or bookshelf.  Every time someone sees it, they will ask about us or, better yet, grab the book and read it.

We will not miss this show again!

MySQL Goes Closed Source... Thanks for nuthin, Sun

Wow, I get on a plane to come home yesterday and I land in Chicago (layover) and my cell phone goes ballistic.  Sun just closed MySQL's source code.  I couldn't believe it, either.  So, I had to dig a little deeper.

First, this was, I believe, the plan for MySQL all along, so don't blame Sun.  This started when MySQL split between a Community Version and an Enterprise Edition.  That was over a year ago in my book.  Second, MySQL is NOT closed source. 

What MySQL is doing is becoming a lot more like EnterpriseDB, actually.  Its the hybrid model that actually allows open source businesses to make money.  Though you can succeed with a product that is completely open source, you are limited to support and services dollars only and only from those who need it.  The potential revenue in that model is modest and does not favor long term success or fast innovation.  But, by keeping some of the product closed source, like MySQL's online backup module, or EnterpriseDB's Oracle Compatibility, you create a way to generate revenue from the software itself.  This allows the company to grow faster, to add more to the product more quickly, etc.  And, eventually, this stuff will more than likely make to open source sooner or later. 

Of course, what I find funny about this whole thing is the module itself.  MySQL says that Online backups are so cool and important that it is closed source and available for enterprises only.  It just goes to show you how immature and lightweight MySQL really is.  Online backup is a staple of any REAL database and has been a part of Postgres for years.

I can just see MySQL's next "hot" (and obviously closed-source) module now: data integrity.  LOL

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

American Airlines

As I posted earlier today, I am doing a lot of flying starting at 6am tomorrow.  My first flight starts at 6am tomorrow and goes from Philly to Dallas to Austin.

And guess what?  I am flying American Airlines (MD80). 


We'll see what happens, but right now, I can not get through on the phone to AA and my travel agent says that they are showing the flight on-time.  But, she also said that AA does not know how long it will take to inspect all the planes or how long flights will be affected.

Collaborate 2008

Tomorrow is the beginning of a very busy 8 days for me.  I am off at 6am tomorrow to Austin Texas.  One of my best friends (all the way from 6th grade) is getting married and I am in the wedding. 

Then, on Sunday, I fly to Denver for Collaborate.  Collaborate is the largest independent Oracle Users Conference with over 75000 attendees.  The show floor is huge, much bigger than LinuxWorld (but nowhere near the size of Oracle OpenWorld).  Collaborate combines the IOUG, OAUG, and Quest user groups into one massive show.

Jonah Harris, Senior Architect for EnterpriseDB, will be giving two talks:

As for EnterpriseDB as a whole, we will have a 20x20 booth at the show and Lewis Cunningham, Oracle ACE and EnterpriseDB Senior Architect, will be on-hand to answer questions and sign his book, "EnterpriseDB:  The Definitive Reference".  We will be giving the book away for free, so get there early.

In addition, we have a little entertainment scheduled for you as well.  Scott Tokar will be on-hand to do some very exciting tricks for you.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, April 4, 2008

2 Years and Counting...

I am happy to announce that I have now been with EnterpriseDB for 2 years (and a day)!

So far, it has been an amazing ride.  And, I have to say, I am just as excited today as I was two years ago (if not more).  The opportunity is huge.  The market has been validated.  The company is firing on all cylinders.

Now, its all about innovation and execution. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

EnterpriseDB Makes Tender Offer to Oracle

Instead of providing color commentary on our press releases (as I usually do), I thought I would let this one speak for itself.

April 1, 2008 (Edison, NJ) - Following the successful launch of Postgres Plus and the recent influx of cash from IBM(IBM), EnterpriseDB today announced that it had made a tender offer to purchase Oracle Corporation (ORCL).  

Currently trading just below $20.00, EnterpriseDB offered $.30 per share.  When asked to comment on the ridiculously low number, Derek M. Rodner, EnterpriseDB's Director of Marketing responded, "We had to account for many factors when preparing this offer.  It was a complicated process.  Once you account for the future value of money and the expected value of Oracle's database business in 5 years, the numbers came out to be staggeringly low." 

Larry Ellison was not available for comment, however an inside source at Oracle claims that the database business is the only part of the business that makes money today and the profit margins exceed what he called "morally ethical".

Though Oracle does not see their database business declining significantly over the next 5 years, analysts tend to be mixed.  Some see open source databases disrupting the proprietary market, taking significant market share from Oracle and forcing Oracle to dramatically lower their prices.

EnterpriseDB's offer expires at midnight tonight and it is unclear whether Oracle will accept or not.