I don’t really care for Oracle but you have to like Larry. I remember at one of the first Java One conferences he followed Bill Coleman’s diatribe and just mopped the floor with him. Coleman is a sharp guy and BEA had its heyday but when it comes to speaking and showmanship – BEA was terrible. Scott Dietzen could usually save the day with a demo and talk but anyway – moving on.
When it comes to the Enterprise software space Larry is one of a kind. I have spent an afternoon with McNealy back when I was working with LVMH and he was cool but as a speaker he spent more time bashing than enthralling. Larry has a magical way of slightly bashing while enthralling. Much more powerful. I was backstage when Chuck Phillips and Larry listened to Coleman rambling on and on while coming up with their retaliation game plan. Larry followed Bill – pretty much everyone forgot what Bill said at that point cause Larry was a showman and he owned the audience.
I was impressed – in my opinion he is the Steve Jobs of the enterprise space.
Stumbled across this article today and loved how he explained Sun’s ponytail years as I call them. In my opinion Schwartz ruined Sun and I was pretty happy that Larry was going to try and save it:
Ellison says he learned that Sun’s pony-tailed chief executive, Jonathan Schwartz, ignored problems as they escalated, made poor strategic decisions and spent too much time working on his blog, which Sun translated into 11 languages.
“The underlying engineering teams are so good, but the direction they got was so astonishingly bad that even they couldn’t succeed,” said Ellison. “Really great blogs do not take the place of great microprocessors. Great blogs do not replace great software. Lots and lots of blogs does not replace lots and lots of sales.”
Schwartz declined comment as did Sun co-founder and former Chairman Scott McNealy.
At the start, Ellison shut down one of Schwartz’s pet projects — development of the “Rock” microprocessor for Sun’s high-end SPARC server line, a semiconductor that had struggled in development for five years as engineers sought to overcome a string of technical problems. “This processor had two incredible virtues: It was incredibly slow and it consumed vast amounts of energy. It was so hot that they had to put about 12 inches of cooling fans on top of it to cool the processor,” said Ellison. “It was just madness to continue that project.”
More infuriating, says Ellison, is that Sun routinely sold equipment at a loss because it was more focused on boosting revenue than generating profits.
The sales staff was compensated based on deal size, not profit. So the commission on a $1 million sale that generated $500,000 in profit was the same as one that cost the company $100,000, he said. “The sales force could care less if they sold things that lost money because the commission was the same in either case,” he said. Ellison added that Sun also lost money when it resold high-end storage equipment from Hitachi Ltd, storage software from Symantec Corp and consulting services from other companies. Oracle is ending those deals.
Larry and Oracle have their work cut out for them but I know that a lot of my ex-BEA friends are there and in powerful positions. Larry just might pull off his grand vision and it is thrilling for me to know that I was a small part of it given that the WebLogic stuff is a huge part of Oracle’s middleware strategy.