Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Softwar is a book about Oracle and its main man, Larry Ellison. Ellison is an outspoken guy, and in this authorized biography he devotes a good chunk of space towards disparaging his rivals (e.g. Bill Gates), and praising his best friends (e.g. Steve Jobs). I came away from the book thinking Ellison and Jobs are rather similar.

I found a lot of the book interesting, as it delved into Oracle's history as it battled it out with its database competitors when relational databases were a new concept. I also enjoyed following Ellison's evolution from a guy who didn't know a whole lot outside of his field (programming) but had to learn a whole lot of stuff in order to create a public company that wouldn't trip over itself. It was also interesting to see how Ellison's visionary predictions played themselves out over time as the company executed on its goals.

On the other hand, I think some parts of the book would have been better named Snoracle: I didn't enjoy the repetitiveness of some of the book's themes. Also, there was a lot of space devoted to some sailing competitions Ellison is involved in, for which I cared very little. Finally, you won't learn a lot about how databases work or the path on which Oracle took to improve upon them technically in order to leave the competition in the dust, as the book is mostly focused on Oracle's sales, marketing and applications departments, which is disappointing considering Ellison's background.


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