back to article Haha, good times: Larry Ellison regales noobs about when Oracle staff almost didn't get paid

Oracle staffers were about a week away from not getting paid, founder Larry Ellison has said of the firm's early days. Ellison reportedly laughed off Big Red's initial financial troubles at a cocktail-and-schmooze session he hosts for startup founders each year. According to eWeek, which got an invite to the event, Ellison …

  1. DougS Silver badge

    Sage advice

    Just because he foresaw the usefulness of a transaction processing database when IBM didn't doesn't mean he's all seeing. There are a lot more people who foresee (and stumble into) one thing than those who truly see where tech is going in advance well enough to be in the right place multiple times. In fact other than Jobs, I can't think of anyone who qualifies on the latter basis.

    So Ellison overlooking cloud isn't surprising - or at least wouldn't be if he hadn't spent the 90s talking up network computers which required what we would now call a 'private cloud' to function! Maybe because those failed he figured 'been there done that' and that cloud would fail too. Maybe he did see the future to some extent, but his vision was clouded (sorry)

  2. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Re: Sage advice

    Agreed.

    He got very very lucky once.

    Then brutal time and time after again.

  3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Re: Sage advice

    Just because he foresaw the usefulness of a transaction processing database when IBM didn't doesn't mean he's all seeing.

    Ellison's foresight is somewhat exaggerated in any case.

    Oracle is widely credited with having the first commercial RDBMS product, shipping the first Oracle product in 1979, if Wikipedia is accurate.

    However, IBM was only two years later with its first commercial RDBMS, SQL/DS for DOS/VSE. And DB2 appeared only two more years after that.

    More importantly, while IBM's System R was never properly made a product, it was used at some customer sites. It was installed at Pratt & Whitney in 1977, two years before Oracle had a customer.

    And the canard that "IBM didn't recognize the value of relational databases" is unfounded, too. Certainly Codd and his team understood why the relational model was important; that's how System R and SQL got developed in the first place. They were part of IBM. IBM's a big organization - there isn't a singular "IBM opinion" on every subject.

    And even if some in IBM management recognized the commercial potential of relational databases, they had to make a case for them, taking into account the value of IBM's non-relational database business. SYSTEM 2000 (a hash-based database, something of a forerunner to today's KVS NoSQL DBMSes) and IMS DC (a hierarchical database) were significant IBM products, and IBM also made a lot of money from mainframe customers using ISAM and VSAM indexed files in lieu of DBMSes and paying for storange and CPU for them. Dedicating development, support, and marketing resources to Yet Another sort of DBMS was not an easy sell.

    Oracle, on the other hand, was a startup with no other products. There was no internal case to be made - it was RDBMS or nothing.

  4. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Mine doesn't fit on a dick pick.

    Louder and wider, I reckon it's less than a 1/5th of the global population. #basemetal

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Get a float, or sink.

    > Oracle staffers were about a week away from not getting paid, founder Larry Ellison has said of the firm's early days.

    Many years ago I worked for a large blue organisation. We heard stories there that a while earlier the UK operation had to be baled out by the parent so they could run the payroll. And that was not during their "early days".

  6. ma1010 Silver badge
    Alert

    Getting paid

    ...about when Oracle staff almost didn't get paid.

    So something like what they do with some of their salespeople nowadays?

  7. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    systems

    IBM, and quite a few other companies had transaction-processing systems before Oracle was founded. Oracle was first to the market with a relational database, to be sure.

    IBM was then a place where good ideas went to die. John Cocke's early work on RISC went nowhere, at least until Hennessy and Patterson had popularized the idea out west.

  8. ST Silver badge
    Devil

    Re: systems

    > IBM was then a place where good ideas went to die.

    Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Today's IBM - it's totally different.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: systems

    That's appropriate since Ginny looks like an extra from The Walking Dead

  10. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Trollface

    Re: systems

    Nahh she failed the auditions - too scary even for TWD

  11. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Re: systems

    John Cocke's early work on RISC went nowhere

    Untrue. The 801 itself went from a research experiment to being used in 370 channel controllers and other embedded applications, and eventually the new core for the 3070's CPU. The 801 design was picked up as the basis for the ROMP, which was the CPU for the RT PC. The RT may not have been a big seller, but it was a commercial product and did enjoy some success.

    Meanwhile, Hennessy and Patterson picked up Cocke's work at IBM Austin and created RIOS, which became POWER. That happened in parallel with the use of the 801 and ROMP. Cocke's work didn't languish in a closet somewhere at IBM; it was used more or less continuously following the first successful iteration of the 801.

    IBM was then a place where good ideas went to die

    IBM was then a place with a huge research organization. Much of the research did not become product, but a great deal of it did. Little things like relational databases (which IBM did, in fact, develop before Oracle), RISC, and virtualization. And a few non-computer things, such as electron microscopy.

  12. HmmmYes Silver badge

    It wont have been a real fire, with logs n stuff.

    Just a pile of customers money, burning in the hearth.

  13. Ima Ballsy
    Flame

    In other words:

    Quote:

    "The Oracle founder also warned his disciples to be wary of new technology that would offer a new solution to their customers' problems.

    "The old solution to customers' problems may no longer be the best solution. When you see that, it's an opportunity – or a threat," he was reported to have said."

    Translation:

    If the bastards have found better solutions, at a lower cost, you best put the FEAR of god in them so our revenue stream will not be impacted ...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018