Thursday, May 28, 2009

What is MySQL?

It's been an incredible journey coming from the Oracle world (which I love) and having the privilege of joining MySQL and watching MySQL be on the verge of going public and then being part of the Sun acquisition and now watching the Oracle acquisition move forward. To say its been one of the richest experiences in my professional career would be an understatement.

Which makes me think, what is MySQL? If you asked 20 different people you would get 20 different answers. Some of the most common I believe would be:
  • A small open source company that wanted to disrupt the IT industry and did!
  • A company with incredible leadership that had a vision that every single employee was committed and dedicated to that vision.
  • A free open source database that helped redefine the database industry.
  • A very successful database product that has incredible scale out capability that leverages open source and the LAMP stack.
  • A product that opened up more options for organizations during a time of an economic down turn.
Today and twenty years from now, when I think of MySQL I do not just think of a database software product that has disrupted the IT industry. I think of:
  • A culture based on sharing, teamwork, commitment to a vision and love of open source.
  • A community that is entirely team based with an incredible sense of loyalty to each other and the goals defined by the leadership.
  • A leadership team that believed in speaking to the employees and not at them.
  • An environment built on empowering individuals to make the sum greater than the parts.
  • The incredible dedication and selflessness of the employees.
  • An environment that cultivated incredible talent and was able to define a vision that people believe in.
The spirit, dedication, belief in the vision and camaraderie is as strong in the MySQL community as it was over a year and a half when I joined MySQL. The culture, Qua, karma, kismit or what ever you want to call it, is I believe growing stronger.

I'm a big reader of business books and I believe we will see some successful business books on the MySQL story. Yet if these books talk about the MySQL success story or the MySQL product they will be capturing a small part of what MySQL is. To me, the MySQL story has to include the vision, the incredible culture and the unique group of people that have come together to disrupt the IT industry.

I write this blog entry because I always find it interesting the people that like to tear down our heroes, spread Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) and scare people with worse case scenarios. I on the other hand believe we should believe its okay to have heroes, believe that good things can happen and never underestimate what individuals that believe in a vision can accomplish.


GN said...

As a MySQL-alumni ... Amen!

Morgan Tocker said...

I always though the work-from-home thing was what they'd be writing case studies on.

When you look at a company like MySQL, they need an insane amount of high-tech skill. By offering a few more freedoms back to their staff, they limit themselves from having to compete head on for talent with other companies that can presumably outbid them in salaries.

I'm not sure if there is a Google office in Clarksville, TN, but MySQL have/had staff there ;) A lot of people I knew were very skilled but lived in a location where they had few other employer options.

What I liked was that even if you were officially a "contractor" (working from a country where MySQL didn't have a business entity) you were still made to feel equal.

- Morgan

(Another MySQL Alumni - having worked in the same team as George).