It has been a whirlwind of a ride. I got a call from a colleague in Massachusetts in the spring of 1992; this is when it all started. It was Mike Corey, whom I had met at ECO 1991 in Rockville MD. The IOUG (Independent Oracle Users Group) was looking for a new Chair for the fledgling Affinity Board group of individuals. Mike and the IOUG tried to toss me the baton and, unlike a handful of others who had been contacted, I did it enthusiastically and actively. For the next 3-5 years, the Affinity Board members had regular meetings with Oracle personnel, all the way from enthusiastic techies in the trenches to the very top of the company.
It was a torrid relationship, and we met the who’s-who of Oracle two to three times a year – LJE, Mike Fields, Ron Wohl, Gerry Baker, Ray Lane, Zach Nelson, Terry Garnett, Ken Jacobs, Geoff Squire, Mike Evans, Ken Jacobs, Ian Thacker, Randy Baker, Kate Mitchell, Jeff Henley, Richard Barker, Craig Conway, Chris Ellis, Leith Anderson… The list is endless. Held mostly at the CVC on Oracle Campus in Redwood, the meetings were educational and eventful. The exchange of information was dynamic and robust during the two to three days we had together. The Affinity Board expanded, an already fluid communication vehicle fostered by the wide array of user group programs. By 1995 (or so), the IOUG and Oracle no longer “needed” a Board of this nature and the co-operation between the two had matured for the mutual benefit of both. The groundwork laid by Affinity and a handful of other user communities wrote the book and set the tone for the coming years’ co-operation between vendor and user community.
I received a huge amount of satisfaction in those embryonic days and received the prestigious Chris Wooldridge Volunteer Award in 2008. Chris and a handful of IOUG Board members and Affinity personnel worked together for years on building relationships. Chris was employee #7 (or maybe #9) and was strategic in the port of Oracle to the IBM mainframe (CICS and TSO :)). He died as he lived – on the edge. During my professional career, I have keynoted at 6 events, presented or authored over 100 papers at vendor and user group forums, and written 18 books in the Oracle Press series. Mike Corey and I alongside another author put together the first Oracle Press offering in 1994 – Tuning Oracle. In its heyday, our books, alongside Ian Abramson and others, sold over 700,000 copies.
I have just received notification of my acceptance into the Oracle ACE program and will enthusiastically support and continue to be an evangelist for the Oracle offerings, though most of my heart lies in the same place as many current and previous personnel at this fine company – the CORE database technology. Pythian has secured a huge following at many user group and vendor shows, and the name of this fine company is up there with the giants in the Oracle tech space – traditional and emerging technologies.
Alongside others, Pythian will be appearing at the UKOUG forum starting next Sunday in Birmingham England. You can catch Pythian’s newest ACE at RAC’ing Up the Miles and Do it Right; Do it Once: A Roadmap to Maintenance Windows on Tuesday and Wednesday at the show. As they say in that beloved land … B R I L L I A N T.