Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Meet (See) the Oracle Database Evangelist Team

We are all out at Oracle Headquarters for meetings this week and yesterday at the BIWA Summit, I was fortunate enough to:

  • Do a YesSQL presentation for the NoCOUG user group.
  • Have Tom Kyte share his thoughts on NoSQL -> SQL -> Not Only SQL -> Maybe SQL -> NewSQL -> YesSQL!
  • Enjoy 30 minutes of stories from Andy Mendelsohn, Executive Vice President, Server Technologies (most notably, Oracle Database).
  • Introduce the evangelist team.
We will publish a video of the session ASAP. Andy wowed the crowd with both thoughts on Oracle history and the current state of relational database technology. 

Bryn Llewellyn, PL/SQL Product Manager, was in the audience and took a nice shot of my team as offered quick introductions.



From right to left:
  • Todd Trichler - Community Manager
  • Natalka Roshak - SQL evangelist
  • Chris Saxon - SQL evangelist
  • Dan McGhan - Javascript/HTML5 evangelist
  • Steven Feuerstein - I forget what he focuses on. Oh, right: PL/SQL
Bryn also offered the following hilarious commentary:

Todd explains the evangelist's stance for an enthralled NoCOUG audience, and Chris demonstrates:

Eyes forward, shoulders back, and hands physically (and who knows, metaphorically too) covering the nether regions. Steven pulls his trousers up, eager to join in. But Dan is not yet convinced. Natalka is captivated by the delivery but bemused by the content.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Looking for one more evangelist: Oracle Database for Open Source

The Oracle Database Evangelist team currently has two evangelists focused on SQL, one on PL/SQL, and another on Javascript/HTML5. 

Overall, our mission is to show how powerful Oracle Database is as a foundation for application development. And with so much energy and application creation happening in open source communities, we are now looking to hire one more evangelist who has experience with Oracle Database, but is also active in two or more open source developer environments. 

You will find below the description of this position and our ideal candidate, who would not only evangelize Oracle Database into open source communities, but advocate for the needs of those communities back to Oracle development. 

You can apply for this position by following this link.

Oracle Database Evangelist for Open Source

This Oracle Database Evangelist position is first and foremost dedicated to helping open source developers succeed with Oracle.

Each Oracle Database Evangelist is responsible for the creation of high quality and highly entertaining resources for training and education; building a vibrant, engaged global user community; channeling user requirements back to Product Development to enable new generations of developers to fully utilize our technology.

You will be part of an evangelist team responsible for helping users fully utilize the Oracle Database and to promote the use of Oracle Database technologies, including SQL, PL/SQL, Application Express, Oracle REST Data Services, and more.

The ideal candidate:
  • Has a proven track record working with open source developer communities.
  • Has experience working with several of the following communities PHP, Python, Ruby, Node.js, JavaScript (or related libraries, frameworks, ORMs, CMSs etc for these technologies). 
  • Can explain things in ways people understand and by which they are    inspired
  • Enjoys performing in front of a crowd – and a camera.
  • Likes meeting new people and learning new technologies.
  • Is a user evangelist, representing user needs and issues to Oracle Development teams.
The successful candidate should expect to:
  • Stay current with trends and technologies in their respective communities.
  • Work with development to make sure that there are optimized technologies for using the Oracle Database.
  • Maintain an active online and physical presence within the developer communities.
  • Attend key PHP, Python, Ruby and other open source developer conferences, to present, listen and learn.
  • Act as a router / bridge, between the community and Oracle Product Management and Development.
Location and Travel

The team is distributed geographically; a driven individual could perform this job from home or out of the local Oracle office.  You should expect 25% travel, though the amount of travel will be largely up to you.

If you've been around the Oracle technology community for a while and are looking for a way to contribute more, to have a greater impact, then consider this position.  If you want to help ensure that people in open source development communities can make the most of their investment in Oracle technologies, if you like to help others do what you have learned to do, then apply for this position.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Latest Addition to Oracle Database Evangelist Team: Chris Saxon, focus on SQL

Last year (well, last month to be more specific), I announced three new members of the Oracle Database Evangelist Team: Todd Trichler, Natalka Roshak and Dan McGhan.

Today, I have the pleasure of announcing a fourth: Chris Saxon.

Chris Saxon, SQL Evangelist


Over the past ten years Chris has worked as an Oracle developer, DBA and architect. During this time he's built up a passion for interacting with data using SQL and helping others do the same. 

Combining this with a love of games and quizzes, Chris started the design quiz on the PL/SQL Challenge in 2013. 


He's looking forward to helping spread the word about SQL so that people get the most out of their data.


Check out Chris's announcement on his SQLFail blog as well.


As I said in my previous team-expansion announcement, I will make a more "formal" announcement of our team and our plans in Q1 2015, but for now, I did want to share the joyful feeling I feel.


Welcome, Chris! I look forward to a very busy and productive year with you on the team.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Handwritten Message or Why It Paid to Write a Book (and homage to Richard Bolz)

A month ago, Miguel ordered a signed copy of my book from my website. So I wrote him a message, signed it, and shipped it off.

I soon after received the following handwritten letter:

Dear Steven,

I spent last week on vacation, and right before leaving, I put in an order for the newest "Oracle PL/SQL Programming" book. I was happy to get back home and find the book package on the front porch. Yeah!!!!!

When I opened the book I noticed your handwritten note on tyne first page and I felt very special. Not even my mother sends me handwritten messages anymore --- your message made me feel special, and I am still happy to this day when I think of it.

Thanks for the message and for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. Your enthusiasm, views, attitude and energy makes me think about the most important mission every software developer has - do what is right, with responsibility, quality and respect to others.

When I moved to the United States in February 1999, I was lucky enough to join a team that was taught PL/SQL by Richard Bolz. His teachings, not only the language, but life in general, made me think differently, and pushed me to design and implement solutions that I as and am still proud of.

Because of Richard Bolz, I started studying PL/SQL, read, studied and practiced with your book, attended a few seminars where you were the presenter and had the opportunity to meet you in person.

So it is my turn now to write you a message - a handwritten one - to say thanks for impacting and changing my life through PL/SQl. I have been living in Indianapolis, Indiana, for the past 15 years, and have been successful doing consulting work for clients, using PL/SQL, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, and sometimes supporting Oracle Enterprise Business Suite Solutions, thanks to the Knowledge tI have acquired ion PL/SQL.

Thanks for everything you do for PL/SQL developers!

You are most welcome, Miguel, and I am honored that my message meant something to you.

Now, as for the sub-title for my post: Why it paid to write a book.

I have been paid big time for writing Oracle PL/SQL Programming (1st edition 1994, now in its 6th edition) and (a few too many) other books. Now, certainly, I mean - in part -  that I have received a decent amount of money from royalties on sales of those books. But the real payoff for my writing comes when I hear about how my work has improved another person's life.

For one thing, that probably means that I have indirectly help bring more happiness and health to lots of kids (children of my readers). I really like that idea. Beyond that, well, I don't know, call me un-American or old fashioned, but I don't think that corporations are people, too. I like helping people more than I like helping corporations.

But, don't worry, I'm OK with helping companies, too.

I also wanted to publish this letter so that more developers can be introduced to the name Richard Bolz.

I've known and worked with Richard for years, sadly (for us, not him) he's retired now. Richard was involved deeply with the Ada language. In fact, back in 1978, as Associate Professor of Computer Science at the Air Force Academy, Bolz taught the very first course on the Ada programming language. He also did a presentation on Ada to the folks at Oracle when they were deciding which programming language would serve as the model for PL/SQL. So it is likely that we can, at least in part, thank Richard for the wonderful decision to build PL/SQL based on Ada.

Richard was one of the finest trainers I have ever met. The level of professionalism he brought to both his training materials and his presentation of them shamed me with their quality and polish (I hate to prepare. There, finally I've admitted it). He was totally devoted to his students and co-workers, which was reflected by their admiration for and loyalty to Richard. He received the ODTUG Best Speaker award in 2002 for his presentation titled "An Overview of PL/SQL".  

If any of my readers ran into Richard or was trained by him, I'd love to hear from you!



Thursday, January 1, 2015

Four Secrets for Success

More than a few people think that I am pretty good at what I do, that I am successful. I respect their judgement and thought about what contributed to my success. I came up with four that form a foundation for (my) success. Since it is possible that others will find them helpful, I have decided to share my Four Secrets of Success (book in the works, film rights sold to Branjolina Films).

Follow these four recommendations, and you will be more successful in anything and everything you seek to accomplish.

1. Drink lots of water.

if you are dehydrated, nothing about you is operating optimally. By the time you realize you are thirsty, you are depleted. You are tired and listless. You think about getting another cup of coffee but your stomach complains at the thought.

No problem. Just get yourself a big glass of water, room termperature, no ice, and drink it down. You will feel the very substance of life trickle into your body and bring you back to life. Then drink another glass. 

Couldn’t hurt to try, right?

2. Work your abs.

What they say about a strong core? It’s all true. Strengthen your abdominal muscles and you will be amazed at the change in your life. I vouch for it from my own experience. 

I’m not talking about buying an Ab-Roller or going nuts with crazy crunches. Just do something every day, and see if you can do a little more every day. 

Couldn’t hurt to try, right?

3. Go outside. 

Preferably amongst trees, in a forest. 

We did not evolve to sit in front of a screen, typing. Our bodies do not like what we force them to do. Go outside and you will make your body happy. And seeing how your brain is inside your body, it will make you happy, too. Then when you get back to the screen, you will be energized, creative and ready to solve problems.

Couldn’t hurt to try, right?

How do I know these three things will make a difference? Because whenever I stop doing any of them for very long, I start to feel bad, ineffective, unfocused. 

Oh, wait a minute. I said “Four Secrets of Success”. So there’s one more. This one’s different from the others. The above three are things I suggest you do. Number Four is, in contrast, something I suggest you stop doing:

4. Turn off your TV.

By which I mean: stop looking at screens for sources of information about the world. Rely on direct experience as much as possible.

Not only is television bad for humans physically, but you essentially turn off your brain when you watch it. If, instead, you turn off the TV, you will find that you have more time (objectively and subjectively) to think about things (and go outside, and work your abs, and...).

Couldn’t hurt to try, right?

Well, actually, you might find it kind of painful to turn off your TV. It depends on how comfortable you are living inside your own mind. 

And if you are not comfortable, well, how does that make you feel?

Wishing you the best in 2015,
Steven Feuerstein