It’s been over a year since I leapt into the void.
OK, more than a little melodramatic. In many respects, I was leaping from the void by joining a promising and exciting startup company like Delphix.
Business was still brisk as an independent consultant at EvDBT, but for the past several years, I was experiencing what I called “just-in-time engagements”. That is, new consulting engagements were just mysteriously showing up at the right time just before the current one was ending. Frankly, it was getting a bit spooky, and I had been on pins and needles for a couple years watching it happen, wondering like a farmer if the day would come when the rain did not appear on time. That day had shown up previously, during the recession of 2001 – 2002, when I experienced about 2-3 weeks of no work early in 2002, but that was the only dry spell I encountered in almost 16 years at EvDBT. However, I wasn’t eager to see another one…
So a little over twelve months ago, on 01-May 2014, I left the world of Oracle technology consulting that I had first entered on January 15, 1990. Well, I haven’t really left Oracle technology, but I’m no longer making a living at it. Oracle is a big part of Delphix, but only a part.
What have been the highlights during my first year at Delphix?
- learning data virtualization
- learning how to tune virtual databases for Oracle and SQL Server
- learning VMware and earning my VCA certification
- carving a personal niche within a small company
- became proficient at Windows Powershell <- no kidding! true!
- continuing to present at Oracle conferences, often traveling and presenting with my brilliant wife, Kellyn Gorman
Yes, Kellyn and I got married during the past year! It took us each a few tries at marriage, but we each hung in there, and got it right this time. They say that remarriage is the triumph of optimism over experience, and I’m delighted to say that optimism trumps experience. We did the deed in grand style, spending the week at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, coming home on Friday and getting married that Sunday in a tiny ceremony with immediate family only. We finished up the RMOUG TD2015 call-for-papers on Wednesday and Kellyn publshed the agenda on Thursday, and then on Saturday we flew to Europe to do a joint-keynote and present at the Slovenian Oracle Users Group in Ljubljana and the Croatian Oracle Users Group in Rovinj. After spending time with Joze and his lovely wife Lili, we blasted out of Croatia and scooted over to beautiful Venice for a quiet, blissful week-long honeymoon, meeting with Lothar and his lovely wife Birgit during the week as well.
Then, it was back to reality through the end of the year, getting swept up in the preparations for the RMOUG conference.
Delphix had a spectacular Q4 ending on 31-January 2015, where that financial quarter alone equaled the earnings from the entire previous fiscal year. Lots of celebrations, victory laps, and high fives at the company all-hands meeting in early February, but what none of us in the Professional Services division saw was the looming tsunami of freshly-sold new deployments cresting just over our heads. That wave crested and crashed down on us, and I found myself buried in work. Just now, four months later in the new fiscal year, I’m finally able to look up and look around to find that winter and spring have passed and summer has arrived.My second year at Delphix has begun, and I’m curious as to what it will bring.
I’m continuing to heed the advice of Tim Minchin, who counsels against pursuing one’s Big Dream and instead suggests passionate dedication to short-term goals, in short that one be “micro-ambitious”. That is say, that thing that is right in front of you right now? Do it the very best you can, and put your back into it. Whether it is a blog post, cutting the lawn, an email, or a new wax ring for the toilet in the basement. Especially the new wax ring – don’t bugger that up! And then do the next thing the same way. And the next. And the next. Before you know it, you’ve climbed a mountain and have made a pretty good career besides.
Not unexpectedly at a small fast-growing company, hints have been made of a transition from the technical track to the managerial track. This would finally reverse the track switch I made over 20 years ago while at Oracle, when I stepped off the managerial track in favor of the technical track. I’ve never looked back on that decision, but should I be “micro-ambitious” here as well, take the new task right in front of me, and work to excel? Or stick to my guns, stay with the technical track?
I’ve learned that it is a mistake to just “go with the flow” and bob along with the prevailing current. If one is to succeed at something new, it must be a whole-hearted plunge accompanied by a full-throated war cry.
So, if you hear a strange noise rather like a cross between a “Tarzan yell” and someone choking on an avocado pit, don’t be alarmed. Just listen a little longer to find whether you hear the “splat” of my corpse hitting pavement, or the “whoosh” as I learn to fly again.
And rest assured, that wax ring in the downstairs toilet? Nailed it.