Dear Larry (Ellison)

Dear Larry (Ellison)

Summary: I hope this finds you fit and well and that sales of your products and services are barreling along.I know from past dealings that there is nothing you enjoy more than the rough and tumble of a press conference.

TOPICS: Oracle

I hope this finds you fit and well and that sales of your products and services are barreling along.

I know from past dealings that there is nothing you enjoy more than the rough and tumble of a press conference. You come on stage, take the only seat and ask: 'What do you want to know today?' I've always felt that was brave for a leader in an industry often characterised by massive marketing and PR spend. Do you remember for instance the time I asked when you'd be organising refunds for all those people to whom you apologized for selling the wrong software? Maybe not. It was a long time ago.

This time I'm asking when you might let some of your people out into the world and blog about issues of importance to the Oracle community. I've tried to entice a few with no success. I've even pilloried Justin Kestelyn's efforts. Most recently, Simon Griffiths, a blogger in South Africa suggested: Oracle blogs need to be more human.  As you might imagine, this drew some interesting comments:

Jeff Nolan, who is no stranger to controversy said:

This has been a topic that some inside of Oracle have been trying to bring change on. The challenge is that Oracle is about controlling the message and unstructured blogs don’t fit well with that ideology. Also, Oracle is much more antagonistic toward independent voices than my former employer, SAP.

Chris Selland takes a different if dismissive view:

Why do Oracle blogs ‘need’ to be human? Oracle isn’t human, and it’s pretty obvious they neither care nor try to be. You can disagree with the policies and ideologies Jeff describes, but you can’t say they haven’t been successful.

Your very own Anshu Sharma doesn't think the 'personal' and the company specific should be mixed. These are all good points and the conversation that continues is well worth the reading.

I must admit these voices are all friends (to use the Facebook parlance) who share a common interest in figuring out what's happening in enterprise computing. As you can see, we can be like a bunch of unruly cats. We're all passionate about the enterprise and care very much what happens as technologies evolve and impact people's lives. As I am sure you are. Surely at least some of your people could 'come out' and enunciate what it means to be part of the phenomenon that is Oracle?

Or is Chris right and that Oracle doesn't care because it's not human?

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Topic: Oracle

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • Heck with tech talk...

    Next time I see Larry I want to talk about his Edward Green shoes and his Italian suits

    because if we talk business it will deterioate quickly -)I dont need to show up - there are plenty of unanswered questions on the Deal Architect blog...
  • Not really what "Simon says"

    What Simon said is that he doesn't find Oracle blogs "interesting". because he is unfamiliar with technical subjects. This comment says more about Simon than it does about Oracle.

    So if I don't like jazz because I have no familiarity with it, does that make jazz "inhuman"? I think not.
  • Change Takes Time


    Thanks for bringing this up. I don?t see the situation as black and white as a company caring or not caring. No entity of 60,000+ individuals can be summed up so succinctly. As a company, we are certainly very interested in the future of how enterprises use software and work every day to help companies be more productive. However, like all large organizations there are some among us who are excited about what is going on in the new web and others who are more content with the status quo. Nothing special about Oracle on that front.

    The good news is that change is afoot. More and more people inside our 4 walls are spending time living and breathing all things 2.0, and when that happens, those ideas are bound to show up not only in blogs, but more importantly, product as well. Would I like to see more blogs out there? Sure, but there is certainly no corporate conspiracy to keep people from blogging, just human nature.

    On the topic of our blogs being ?human? - In the context of communications, I view ?human? to reflect things like tone and message. So do our current executive blogs lean towards the stuffy party line? No doubt, but just because a communication is without controversy doesn?t mean the information is without value. Realistically, we will never adopt a tone as casual as say Flickr, but I can?t think of a company our size who does, at least not at the corporate level. Will it happen in pockets? Sure, just see our AppsLab blog (link below) for a recent example. And truthfully, as much as I like the attitude of Flickr, 37 signals and others, I am not sure that a casual tone directly relates to revenue. If it did, I?m sure we?d be all over it.

    At the end of the day, we are all after the same thing. Trying to make everyone's day job a little easier, productive, and hopefully more fun. In time, you?ll see more and more people talking about what we are doing internally, but change is slow. If you ever want to see what we are up to, feel free to drop me a line. Consider it an open invitation to share how we view the world.

    • And we are doing a good job so far

      I agree with Paul. An enterprise software company will probably never seem as much fun as a web2.0 widget factory startup but the impact we make on real businesses by simplifying their work lives is hard work, and interesting. On the blogging front, I continue to maintain that its unlikely that you will see blogs featured on the company website talk about personal lives.

      Another small point- the example in Simon's post of Vendorprisey blog is actually not accurate. Thomas Otter's blog is not a company blog - its a personal blog much like my personal blog.

      You should definitely check out Paul's blog - there is lots of neat stuff there.