I joined Oracle UK in 1997 when Oracle 8 was just out to a lot of buzz. I had written a College paper on Designer 2000, which in 1995 sounded futuristic; automatic code generation and reverse engineering of code was a hot topic around then. All in all it felt pretty good to be joining Oracle and many of my college friends were impressed, especially as I was joining product development. Things went well, I learned a lot, 8i came out, I was involved in building 11i which was on the latest tools and then I moved out to the US in 2000 at the height of the dot com boom. I got a cool loft in San Francisco, did some DJ'ing around the city, watched the NASDAQ soar and observed at close quarters some of the excess of the dot com years. At this time I was offered a lot of jobs, with high salaries and options, but my visa was an L1 which cannot be transferred to another company; people would joke - Q: How do you spell Company Loyalty? A: L1 (get it?). When I would tell dot commers at parties I worked for Oracle, it was perceived as a cool thing, all our products had an i in them and the internet was changing everything.
Fast forward a few years, Oracle is gobbling up competitors and that is all anybody talks about when you mention you work for Oracle, nothing about our products or new technologies, it's just who we bought or who we will buy next. These were turbulent times for Oracle itself too, we were getting used to the regular injection of new talent, new products, new ideas and new cultures. As a legacy Oracle employee in Apps development I have witnessed this first hand, I reported to a director from Peoplesoft and I have recruited a number of employees that joined Oracle from Aquisitions - I feel I have a real Fusion team and we're stronger for that.
This year at Open World people were talking about cool things we are doing again, some of the highlights are Oracle Mix, Oracle Wiki, The No slide zone, The unconference. It feels like we're trying new things and pushing the boundaries taking some risks. We even hosted a lunch 2.0 at Oracle HQ recently. Oracle Mix is a great example of risk taking, it is a beta, yet open to all and that means anyone can road test it, suggest new features and vote on others ideas - these ideas are being implemented fast too and the whole thing is pretty exciting to watch(I created and Intercompany group there). On the other hand there were a lot of grown up things at Open World, for example the whole Apps Unlimited message is about being responsible custodians of products which our customers run their business on.
So where will all of this take us, what will we see at next year's Open World creating a buzz? I'm not sure we can predict that yet, which is also very cool.
So now I've convinced myself that I work for a cool company, I can head into my weekend mixing with new people and feeling good saying I work for Oracle 2.0. Now let me check my upcoming events, I have a kids birthday 2.0 to attend Saturday and play date 2.0 on Sunday - not quite the same as 2000 when I was doing the DJ thing at loft parties full of beautiful stock option millionaires until the sun came up; but hey we all, grow up, get more responsibility - that doesn't mean we can't still be cool some of the time.