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Fortune Magazine Profiles MySQL AB

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the distributed-working dept.

63

hdtv writes "Fortune magazine profiles MySQL AB, a midsize company with a fairly large footprint. Fortune magazine popped in on another corporate party, which just happened to take place online across countries and continents." From the article: "'When a company is as spread out as this one,' Basil explains, 'you have to think of virtual ways to imitate the dynamics of what goes on in a more familiar employment situation.' That neatly sums up the broader challenge that many companies are confronting: how to nurture a bond among workers who rarely, if ever, meet. Few businesses are as spread out as MySQL, which employs 320 workers in 25 countries, 70 percent of whom work from home."

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Ha (4, Interesting)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455119)

"I have a very low opinion of human nature, which is that people are both greedy and lazy," declares Michael "Monty" Widenius, co-founder and chief technical officer of MySQL, which is based in Cupertino, Calif. "Of course you have noble people, but they are a small fraction."

Now that's how to gain customers! Insult them in FORTUNE magazine!

Re:Ha (2, Insightful)

dougsyo (84601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455192)

Well, it's hard to disagree with the opinion that many (perhaps most) people are both lazy and greedy. But on the other hand lazy and/or greedy are not always negative characteristics (where would perl be if Larry Wall had not been "lazy" ?)

Doug

Re:Ha (4, Funny)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455252)

where would perl be if Larry Wall had not been "lazy" ?

If Larry Wall wasn't lazy, he probably woulda created Perl to be more like Python

Re:Ha (2, Interesting)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455529)

Readable?

Naw, that's too easy.

Sensible?

That's just a dream. After all, what good is a language that doesn't provide 6 ways to do everything? Everyone should have their choice of syntax for common operations. That's what freedom is all about!

Perl's popularity is entirely predicated upon the fact that it was the only thing available. The alternative languages are so much better now that only CPAN saves the entire thing from falling into obscurity (and even that won't last forever.)

Larry Wall Quote (2, Insightful)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455919)

"We will encourage you to develop the three great virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris". -- Larry Wall, Programming PERL

Its not clear that Michael and Larry are using the same definition of lazy. Larry is clearly talking about the fact that better automation results is less effort.

As for other comments about languages where the coder does not even put in the "{}"s... well go figure.

Re:Ha (1)

jsight (8987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456776)


(where would perl be if Larry Wall had not been "lazy" ?)


Perl 6?

Re:Ha (1)

gsurbey (715956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455212)

Now that's how to gain customers! Insult them in FORTUNE magazine!

He wasn't directing that (IMHO realistic) sentiment toward MySQL customers. He was making a generalization relating to how employees would like to behave if given a managerial reprieve as a result of their obvious distance from the main office.

Re:Ha (1)

JakeX (978243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455312)


I'd also agree, most people are lazy and greedy, especially the ones I've met climbing the ladders in the corporate world. I was just discussing with a friend of mine, if it wasn't for the people below, the people on top would be lost & confused on a daily basis even with things like checking their email :P

Re:Ha (1)

jesuscyborg (903402) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455541)

Except for the fact that most people who read Fortune are business men who feel the same way. I wonder if Mr. Widenius is a Demotivator [demotivation.com] ?

Re:Ha (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456071)

...he forgot "ingorant and stupid"...

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15469625)

...and apparently you forgot how to spell "ignorant". Kind of ironic, no?

Re:Ha (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456271)

Now that's how to gain customers!

Well, being that people are greedy and lazy, that is why they use MySQL. This is not a troll, but MySQL is a fast, cheap, and a lazy man's DB.

And, yes, I'm lazy and an MySQL user/admin. I'm not that greedy though. Sorry.

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15456380)

This coming from the people who think their entire wire protocal is GPL.

Re:Ha (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456730)

"I have a very low opinion of human nature ..." [snip]

Now that's how to gain customers! Insult them in FORTUNE magazine!

See, now, if this guy read Slashdot, he'd know that unpopular comments are a big no-no, doesn't matter how insightful they are :-)

yes.. quite the model company (1)

JakeX (978243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455201)

MySQL's Mickos says, "Avoid young men without a wife or girlfriend or dog or parents."

Wouldn't that exclude most of /. readers? too? hehe
"We have people with lots of tattoos," notes Widenius. "Some of them I would not like to be with in the office every day."

They really seem to like their workers spread out don't they?

Re:yes.. quite the model company (4, Funny)

castoridae (453809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455227)

Assertions:

Nerds make good software engineers.
A defining characteristics of nerds is that people don't like them.
Nerds are people too.

Conclusion:
Nerds don't like other nerds, and are happier with distance between them.

Re:yes.. quite the model company (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455383)

MySQL's Mickos says, "Avoid young men without a wife or girlfriend or dog or parents."


Wouldn't that exclude most of /. readers? too? hehe


Actually, in the US, it might violate some hiring discrimination laws. I think. Maybe. Any lawyers reading this?

Re:yes.. quite the model company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15455508)

Lucky for them that MySQL AB is a Swedish company...

Re:yes.. quite the model company (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456146)

Yeah, but they employ people in 25 countries, so I presume that they do not all adhere to Swedish law :P

However, I'm fairly certain that requiring people to have wives to hire them would be illegal under swedish law. IANAL, but i'm pretty sure.

Re:yes.. quite the model company (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15456119)

I already had a tainted view given their partnering with SCO. . Reading this stuff is definately not helping.

"MySQL's Mickos says, "Avoid young men without a wife or girlfriend or dog or parents.""

I guess I'm SOL if I loose my parents, wife, dog, AND girlfriend in a tragic accident.

At least the guy has his priorities!

I work in a distributed organisation (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455218)

Last weekend, I met the vice-president of the organisation I work for for the first time. I've been working there over a year. I think I've met my boss 5 times.

We try to go to free software [compsoc.com] conferences more than normal so that we all bump into each other.

Other than that, it's pretty much email all the way, with a little irc.

The next big free software conference in Europe is the 3rd international GPLv3 conference [fsfeurope.org] in Barcelona, June 22/23.

Before that, I saw my boss in Manchester, England, and before that we met in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Re:I work in a distributed organisation (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15458517)

I read the title of your post as "I work in a disturbed organization".

You know what they say about companies with big... (3, Funny)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455223)

You know what they say about companies with big footprints.

They wear big shoes.

Are you listening, Bwadlee? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15455232)

Brad Jesness FAQ 7.0

Brad Jesness FAQ last updated January 12, 2006.

Disclaimer: The Brad Jesness FAQ is being hosted by the owner of WilHelp.Com, Taylor Jimenez. This FAQ is about a USENET abuser and Internet stalker named Brad Jesness. He achieved initial notoriety by abusing the newsgroup sci.psychology.psychotherapy, but has expanded his abuse to many other groups, including, ironically, groups devoted to discussions of Internet abuse. This FAQ was not created by the current host and there are many individual contributors who have provided information in the hope that the more people know about Brad Jesness, the greater the likelihood that he will realize his internet abuse is not achieving the desired result. Make no mistake: If you publicly (on the Internet) confront Brad Jesness without some measure of anonymity, Brad Jesness will not hesitate to call your employer or even law enforcement to harass you. As time goes on and this FAQ is seen by more and more people, Brad Jesness will become less and less a threat. But vigilance must be maintained. Brad Jesness has shown for many years that he becomes utterly obsessed with anyone who dares confront him in public. His obsession is well documented. By the time you finish this FAQ you should have all the information you need to protect yourself from a genuinely dangerous person.

Brad Jesness has claimed to have worked in the psychology field yet it is not clear exactly what it was that he did. From 1995 to the present Brad Jesness has attempted to represent himself as a reputable authority in the field of psychology. At one point Brad Jesness had claimed he was a "certified professional" but was forced to retract such claims. The Minnesota State Board of Psychology, the Minnesota Board of Teaching, Post-Secondary Education and Higher Education boards/agencies all say that Brad is neither licensed nor certified by them.

Brad Jesness has redefined internet stalking for the 21st century. He has attempted to bully, extort, threaten and harass people who dare speak out against his failed logic or outright, dangerous advice. With over 1078 known aliases and his abuse of anonymous remailers, Brad Jesness has managed to become a one man harassment army. Never in the history of the internet has there been such an arrogant and shameless abuser. Several thousand USENET postings over an almost ten year period can be attributed to Brad Jesness or his "supporters". Almost 100% of those posts were mean spirited and/or defamatory.

Many in the field of psychology believe Brad Jesness suffers from acute Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Brad Jesness' demonstrated method of internet abuse would support such a theory. Brad Jesness' intense hatred and distrust of most psychologists will unfortunately prevent him from getting the help he so desperately needs. Apparently Brad Jesness has developed some kind of home-grown, half-baked theories regarding psychology. At the heart of this snake oil is the notion that conventional psychology is completely wrong and only Brad Jesness' radical approach is valid. This type of belief structure and worldview are consistent with most people who suffer NPD. This is really unfortunate for the internet community because Brad Jesness believes he is normal and will never seek help on his own.

The typical M.O. of Brad Jesness is to enlist the help of a "Supporter Of Brad", (SOB) to actually post the offensive material. These posts always speak of Brad Jesness in the third person and are written in such a way that Brad Jesness could perhaps try to deny his authorship. The interesting thing about these posts is that the SOB author frequently has really positive things to say about Brad Jesness. To date, no one other than Brad Jesness has been identified as an SOB and Brad Jesness has offered no hard evidence that any other people are responsible for the SOB abuse of USENET. Posting anonymously cuts both ways. The mechanism that provides his deniability (anonymous remailers) also makes it impossible for him to prove if someone has ever impersonated an SOB to discredit him. The irony that an anonymous poster is so well known and *anything but* anonymous is not lost on those who know about Brad Jesness.

Brad Jesness will also threaten legal and criminal action for those who associate, post or talk about his FAQ too. Those who stand up to Brad Jesness do so at great personal risk. Brad Jesness has threatened legal action against all involved with the FAQ since September 4, 2001. To date, Brad Jesness has not made good on his threats. There is documented evidence that Brad Jesness has been investigated for alleged internet stalking. Let this be a warning to all of you. Brad Jesness is a ruthless and mean-spirited person. He attempts to destroy people's reputation out of jealously or spite and if you stand up to him, you could be the focus of endless defamatory yet anonymous USENET postings. The best thing to do with Brad Jesness is ignore and avoid him.

InnoDB fulltext in 2018? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15455233)

MySQL says "Don't get too excited."

Buy your employees online games (2, Interesting)

w33t (978574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455241)

Here's a novel idea: when you hire someone give them a headset and a free copy of World of Warcraft and subscription. Hold weekly "meetings" where everyone logs on and you discuss talking points while you slay rats and such. I think that even if you are not a gamer, this could still be fun.

Or you could more closely emmulate a real-world meeting with a sandbox game like Second Life and actually create a meeting area. With Second Life you could even show slideshows and stream a video presentation (given that you have the bandwidth for the video since it streams from you and not second life's servers).
--
Music should be free

Re:Buy your employees online games (2, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455303)

Or you could just hold a webconference and not have to worry about everyone being distracted by slaying rats.

I work for a large, global company. Most of the people on my team are in foreign countries. Time zones can make it difficult to find good meeting times, but web conferencing and IP telephony make actual communication fairly painless.

Re:Buy your employees online games (1)

w33t (978574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455474)

That is certainly a tried and true method. Nonetheless, I would view the gaming meetings as the virtual world equivalent of the "company barbeque", or maybe "hawaiian shirt fridays".

You know, a once a week or bi-weekly team-building thing.

I think it could be fun.

Of course, as you point out it would depend heavily on business type and employee demographic as well.

Maybe it's a bad idea, I can accept that possibility - I'm pretty experienced with bad ideas. But I think it's important to try new things. After all, if we only ever stuck with that which has been "tried and true" we would still be plowing fields with horses and in fact would never have held the first teleconference.
--
Music should be free [myspace.com]

Re:Buy your employees online games (1)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455538)

Well now, as a team building event I think you might be on to something. I would just object to it being used as a place to hold actual important business meetings. As a place to build camraderie between coworkers, though, I would be all for it. While companies with everyone in the same place can go out for a company paint ball trip, companies that are spread out can do the same sort of thing with a WoW outing, or a outing.

If you expect actual business to be conducted at something like that, I think you would be disappointed. However, it could prove very valuable as an overall team-building thing to improve cohesion and employee retention.

Re:Buy your employees online games (1)

w33t (978574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455588)

Hehe, I think you've swayed me. Now that I envision it I can see how it would be hard to take your boss seriously as a Dwarf fighter with an oversized warhammer! It's doubtful any work could ever get done in an environment like that.

But yes, undeniably it would be fun. :D
--
Music should be free [myspace.com]

Re:Buy your employees online games (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455671)

better yet, make WoW your business model and farm the gold like 13 year old chinese boys. Then you could have effective business meetings online and play WoW, while team-building. It's a win-win.

Re:Buy your employees online games (3, Interesting)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455742)

What a bloody GREAT idea. "Hey, why don't you start using your computer for something non-productive DESIGNED to be addictive."

Been there. At my .com experience, the first thing they had me do was install Half-Life. And the rest, as they say, is history. This kind of attitude is silly - Skype is a better idea, IRC is a better idea, even Google Bloody Talk is a better idea.

MMORPG's can build teams, yes, but they are designed to suck people in so fast and hard that they don't even realise it when they don't come out. I have no problem with this post if it was meant as a joke, but "insightful" is the worst moderation I've seen in years.

And you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15493711)

And you are posting to Slashdot.. why?

Re:Buy your employees online games (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456847)

Actually this is similar to an idea that actually has merit: You could use Cube [cubeengine.com] (which, although I haven't used it yet, seems kind of like a small-scale graphical MUD that allows building) and you could use it to do presentations to people. It would work best for demoing buildings and such of course. However, you would absolutely have to combine it with voice conferencing (Roger Wilco?) :) in order for it to be a useful environment. Plus it would be hilarious watching HR try to navigate, and extra special to be able to push them into the lava.

To commute or not to commute that is the ... (4, Informative)

packetmon (977047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455255)

Telecommuting is huge and is obviously growing... I telecommute from home and enjoy it most of the time, but I also despise not going into a noisy office, seeing others, etc. It can be more profitable and beneficial for companies that allow employees to telecommute as well. Costs on infrastructure is saved, equipment costs, etc., Avaya is huge on telecommuting as well: According to the Avaya commissioned IDC Asia Pacific Business Mobility Survey, an overwhelming 70 per cent of Malaysian managers surveyed trust their staff to telecommute, as they feel that the ability to work in various environments encourages employee creativity and consequently productivity. The survey revealed that more than 50 per cent believe that allowing employees to telecommute improves their productivity. The other major benefits of telecommuting cited include enhanced customer service and seizing new business opportunities. source [avaya-apac.com] . I also recall reading about their domestic (United States) operations and how much money they've saved and become more productive.

Anyhow back to the article... spot talent among the company's army of volunteers - a minor league for software programmers. I wouldn't agree with that statement in the article. Most software programmers who do open source programming often have professional programming jobs. Calling them "minor league" is off the mark... There are a few other issues with the article as well: Civilians are being enticed to work free. MySQL owes them nothing for their efforts. Contributors are doing work for enjoyment, for getting a good product they can use. MySQL should and probably does show them via acknowledgment appreciation via mentions. I mean think of placing "MySQL Developer" on a resume. It holds weight...

How long can that last? Eventually, it would seem, these hard-working geeks are bound to feel exploited - or migrate to another product's fan club. Even Widenius acknowledges the possibility.
For those that do go, others will pop up in their place. Many choose to support this environment because it is beneficial in the long run to them. If I started a SOHO company, why wouldn't I contribute if I'm getting the program for free as opposed to dishing out for Oracle.

"These users have their own needs to satisfy," he says. "Their main motivation is that they are lazy, and once they fix a problem, they want the fix to be in the next version of the software so they don't have to make the same changes again." I wouldn't call the users lazy by reporting problems. I would call them content with getting a good stable product and contributing to the product.

Fortune + F/OSS. And we expected....? (1)

jthill (303417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15458568)

Calling them "minor league" is off the mark... [etc]
They don't understand the motive. It shows in their writing: it seems they perceive how the ordinary business part works quite well, and they're impressed, but the open-source part they just don't get at all. It baffles them, it angers them, that people will behave in ways the cash-profit motive doesn't predict.

And if the notion that MySQL's customers actually acknowledge their own laziness — that they know quite well they're paying MySQL to do work they could just as well do themselves, and in some cases actually did — is alien, the fact that a MySQL founder can actually say, in front of all his employees and current and potential customers, that he sees greedy lazy people, absolutely infuriates them. That, and he can still make money? Of course they're going to try to undermine that.

I wouldn't call the users lazy by reporting problems.
That wasn't "lazy" in the pejorative sense, and that's what they don't get.

I mean, you can just hear the tune underneath his words:

gree-dy la-zy cus-to-mers have S-Q-L at home! EEEee!.

Parthenogenesis? (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455259)

> He is also wary of hiring "young men without a wife or a girlfriend or a dog or parents. They are at risk because they can get so immersed in their job that it drives them crazy. We don't want the type who read e-mails on their way to brush their teeth. They need a life."

I can understand existing without a wife or girlfriend. (This is Slashdot.)

But without parents? The last young bachelor who claimed to be the product of parthenogenesis wound up nailed to a tree.

These days, that's bad for business. Can you imagine trying to explain it to his HMO three days later?

Re:Parthenogenesis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15455750)

They need a life.

I wonder if we can get "having a life" added to the list of things that employers aren't allowed to discriminate over. Why should I be required to spend $thousands trolling for a mate in order to hold down a job?

Oh well, I've got cats and parents, so at least I have sufficient life-ness for this guy.

Wowsers (5, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455266)

"Few businesses are as spread out as MySQL, which employs 320 workers in 25 countries, 70 percent of whom work from home."

That's a lot of employees! They need an Oracle db! ;-)

what some fail to understand (3, Insightful)

observer7 (753034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455281)

the idea here is not profit for greed or pay a ceo millions but to have a job that pays the bills , offers productivity , reward for work and the real face of what socialism will look like as we evolve toward that model . The big corps will not be able to compete and will through evolutionary business practeces cease to exists . True socialism is without a central control head and this gives one an idea how even a country could govern in a true social environment

Re:what some fail to understand (3, Interesting)

redneckHippe (744945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15457459)

I assume you are talking about the open source community and business model. This is probably true for software, but try refining oil, mining iron or making chips with workers and volunteers spread out all over the world.
That said, there is no reason why smaller plants couldn't be built providing they were close to the raw materials. Personally, it really bothers my that we have all our refineries clustered together. It really makes them vunerable to attack or natural disaters.
I think as the world becomes more globalized smaller companies will be more adaptable to changing demands( Think China, India, global warming, shrinking resources, etc.) and the larger corporations will find it more difficult to compete.
I think we are building toward major crises as the general public becomes disillusioned with big business and the whole Capitalist Idealology. The profit above all else mentality of many CEO's and the total disregard for the middle class is really starting to get more airplay on the news channels.
This probably won't cause a revolution as such, but a drift toward more conciensess companies. I'm not saying that there won't be an awaking like we had in the 60's(enviormentalists,civil rights activists, anti-war activists and a general distrust of the status quo) but I think that spending habits, loyalties and personal beliefs will have the main impact.
R.H.

MySQL is the exception to the rule (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15455316)

I bet you that they are also, down to an engineer, a company of very experienced engineers. This sort of organization would be nuts if they had a number of young engineers working for them, the types that would need more experienced people around to help them learn. Or would it make perfectly good sense to a business graduate? If they can't sink or swim, it's just that they really suck, not that they're young and inexperienced!

What would make working in an office a much more enjoyable environment is if there were fewer protections for thin-skinned people and you didn't have to feel like you had to "watch yourself" or an employee could complain like a toddler about hurt feewings to management and get you fired to avert a lawsuit. If people could be themselves more easily while working, that would help a lot.

Re:MySQL is the exception to the rule (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456799)

It would be even more enjoyable if you didn't need to be IN the office. The only people who ought to be in an office are the technical staff and really, the hardware ought to be colocated and they should just visit the colo occasionally. Obviously for some kinds of work you need people to be together, but I think most businesses who do their work through phone and email (and shares) would be a lot more efficient with a 100% telecommuting model.

Re:MySQL is the exception to the rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463686)

I bet you that they are also, down to an engineer, a company of very experienced engineers. This sort of organization would be nuts if they had a number of young engineers working for them, the types that would need more experienced people around to help them learn. Or would it make perfectly good sense to a business graduate? If they can't sink or swim, it's just that they really suck, not that they're young and inexperienced!

I think the article answers this question; MySQL hires on skill alone.

Offer flexibility and european style (5 weeks!) holidays, and you manage to attract the attention of a lot of highly skilled engineers that don't want to work in the Bay Area or big cities.

I've thought about what I have at MySQL, and if it can be replicated in other organizations... I agree, I'm not sure if it can easily be done. Perhaps this is similar to how there is only space in the market for one Dell.

320 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15455365)

MySql AB has 320 workers. What do they all do?!

Re:320 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15455435)

I've been reading some of their source code over the past few days, and I'll tell you what they do: they spend hours upon hours making it suck as much as possible. 2-space tabs, reused variables, awkward constructs, 10-level-deep nested brackets (I felt sorry for the indent program, trying to fit everything into 80 columns)... it's horrible. And they didn't even fuck up where I needed them to - I followed a user-controlled unchecked buffer through 5 or 6 functions and by sheer dumb luck they never overwrote anything - I was crushed, I needed that buffer overflow.

It's all about the sheep! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15455791)

(Granström, a 50-year-old former veterinarian, has his own management problems. During our phone conversation his 13 sheep escaped and were last seen charging toward his garden.)

Awesome. Just awesome.

Management problems? (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456054)

Granström, a 50-year-old former veterinarian, has his own management problems. During our phone conversation his 13 sheeple escaped and were last seen charging toward his garden.

Man, I hate when managers refer to their direct reports as sheeple!

--Rob

sounds like my old co. (2, Interesting)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456074)

We had about 60 staff spread out across US, Asia, and Europe by the time I left. When I started, it was just 5 people (including myself).

We mostly all telecommuted, except for the partners who all worked in their main office 2 steps from the beach. They would even buy lunch EVERYDAY for in-house staff, or staff who happened to be in the office that day. It was a great group of people and a great company to work for, even though it was small and on a (somewhat) tight budget.

I worked via telecommute (phone, IM, IRC) for 3 years, and enjoyed every minute of it in my home office, listening to music as loud as I want, and maximizing my creativity/productivity due to minimal distraction.

The only draw back was it consumed my entire life. I became unable to seperate my work life from my home life, and i was working 10-16hrs a day, sometimes all night long (literally). I felt like I was cracked out on code! hehe

Now, I'm a cubicle farmer, and try to work from home when at all possible, but my present employer isn't as flexible when it comes to working from home (although it is allowed).

I've learned to enjoy working in an office, although it really goes against my beliefs. *Think Kunta Kinte*

why why why (0, Redundant)

stewie's deuce (953163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456165)

ok.. i quickly read throught the article, then i stopped to think: Why is this article here? What purpose does it serve?
Yes the article is littered with buzz words of the late 90's dot com boom, with sexless geeks up all night sweating/masturbating over code, but seriously. Is this to promote mysql? who gets the brownie points? But then why mysql, really?

i don't undestand mysql's popularity. Open source? yes. Free? hell no. Unless your in the open source business, this thing just costs money like any other commerical product. Forget about features/speed/open etc. none of that really matters, when from the corporate looking glass, its just another "$ per seat" database product.

Re:why: because its powerful and cost-effective (1)

Jamesday (794888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463565)

The article is looking at business transformation and evolution, part of a collection on that subject in the same Fortune issue.

MySQL is completely free of charge for all companies, commercial or not, provided the company isn't redistributing MySQL outside the company, notably as part of its own products. Support contracts are per-server (except for the MySQL Cluster engine), not per-seat and are optional (though recommended for any serious business, of course).

Those who do get to pay are those who distribute non-open source applications with MySQL and/or its libraries outside their own company.

If you do want to compare on cost and performance:

  • MySQL with Network Silver support for four years delivering 712 java operations per second: $5,985
  • Oracle 10g EE 8 core delivering 15% fewer JOPS, three years maintenance: $531,200.

Source: SPEC jAppServer2004 results [spec.org] and licensing fees from the companies. Please see the SPEC page for full disclosures and system descriptions.

That translates to massive savings coupled with tremendous real-time load capacity, particularly with multiple servers in a modern cost-effective scale-out architecture, and is part of why MySQL is so popular.

Lawsuite invitation (2, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456314)

He is also wary of hiring "young men without a wife or a girlfriend or a dog or parents. They are at risk because they can get so immersed in their job that it drives them crazy. We don't want the type who read e-mails on their way to brush their teeth. They need a life."?
Is this guy spoiling to get some discrimination law suite? And why does he diss checking emails? What about checking /. postings? Is that good or bad?

Not a lawsuit invitation but an empowering company (1)

Jamesday (794888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463433)

He [slashdot.org] probably read your post. He pointed out this Slashdot discussion to everyone in the company. :)

MySQL's Support group includes:

  • men and women
  • heterosexual and homosexual
  • single and married
  • with dogs and without dogs
  • one with a large tat collection, probably the one Monty was referring to
  • those who read Slashdot and have a 100% article submission acceptance rate and those who don't
  • those who seem to read emails even while brushing their teeth and those who don't.
  • those who are nocturnal and those who aren't
  • people in about a dozen countries

It also includes a couple of Wikipedia (also mentioned in the Fortune story) DBAs with experience designing systems to scale MySQL from a single box to multiple handling a couple of billion queries a day, among others with excellent real-world experience.

One of the things that makes it a good company to work for? I've met Monty in person a few times. On the occasions where we talked a lot about technical issues, he and I disagreed quite strongly at times. I still work for the company. I've done the same with other senior people in the company, communicating messages they were really unhappy to hear, with the same result. Make good arguments and you can dissagree with anyone from the CEO on down and still do well. As Monty said a few days ago [mysql.com] : "Our support people are very pragmatic. They don't recommend things they don't believe in." You can tell the truth. Even unpleasant truth.

That's also part of the reason for MySQL's success.

MySQL grew from about 180 people to about 300 in the year I've worked for the company. It's still hiring [mysql.com] anyone from database gurus like Jim Starkey through sales people, teachers and administrators. If you like open source and overturning established business models, it's a company worth working for. One thing it isn't: a high-paying company. If you don't value working form home and the other attributes of the comapny, you can probably make more money elsewhere. If you think this is just a sales pitch, read what Monty wrote about MySQL Support people two paragraphs back. :) He's right.

Re:Lawsuite invitation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15476421)

I think you are missing what he is saying here. When working from home you really need work/life balance. Being single can sometimes make it hard to pull away from work. I know that even with a wife and a child I sometimes find myslef spending too much time in my home office. If there were not there to tell me it is time to go for a walk, or to have dinner, I would be at it much longer.

There is never a bad time to check a /. posting by the way..

Avoid the men, look for the women... (1)

mikalveli (978602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456431)

MySQL's Mickos says, "Avoid young men without a wife or girlfriend...

I bet he looks for young women with a wife or girlfriend instead! At least I would. ;-)

Fortune profiles MySQL (3, Funny)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15456580)

They found that 80% of wall clock time was being spent in wait states in about six functions. Redundant lock checking code was also found to spike CPU utilization when loaded with over 100 users. Fixes are expected in CVS shortly.

Re:Fortune profiles MySQL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15460553)

You're kidding, but it would have been interesting to see such a profile of their business process: how much time do they spend on e-mail, estimates of how much time is lost on waiting for replies, how they respond to high load, and what kind of fixes they're intending to roll out...

Distributed Organisation (4, Informative)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15457393)

/. readers,

The whole idea behind the distributed organisation is an interesting one, and we are very proud to be featured in Fortune Magazine. And we wouldn't be there where it not for the support from our community - so thank you!

As for the quote that was attributed to me, it is not correct word by word. My point was that if you work from your home, it is important that you have some other devotion too, in addition to the company you work for (MySQL in this case). Otherwise you may lose perspective. That other devotion can be nearly anything. For Erik Granström in Sweden it is his family, his sheep farm (yes, he is also a farmer), and writing books.

I would be keen to hear how others deal with this. What tricks and techniques do you have for enjoying working from home, for being productive, for being social with colleagues who are thousands of kilometers/miles away? Let us know!

Marten Mickos, CEO, MySQL AB

Re:Distributed Organisation (1)

andykuan (522434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15457707)

I work in a small company with employees in both Boston and New York City. We used IM to link the two offices together when we first started six years ago. Logging into AIM in the morning became the equivalent of showing up at work. A few years ago one of the devs here in Boston moved to New York and started working in the sales office there. For the fun of it, we picked up a couple web cams and fired up an RTP reflector at our datacenter to redistribute a video feed of each office. We now have two cameras in each office running continuously. Amazingly we've come to rely on these video feeds. We originally toyed with video conferencing but found it to be pretty useless; once you're already on the phone with someone, you don't need the extra visual cues that come with looking them in the eye. However, having the feeds going 7/24 provided presence detection and opportunities for incidental communication. These little interactions have a huge impact on office culture. When I have a stupid question to ask someone in New York I can take a quick peek at the video feed to see if they're busy and decide on whether to question them now or later. If I get a package of nifty hardware for my workstation, I can wave it in front of my cam to make the dev in NY jealous and our CFO cringe.

Re:Distributed Organisation (1)

mikalveli (978602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15459896)

I am a software engineer for a defense contracting company and last Fall I began telecommuting. I worked in the local office for about a year before deciding that I don't like living in a city, but that I prefer a rural environment. I talked it over with my boss and he agreed to allow me to work from home. So, we picked up and moved to the country. It has been the best decision I have made (other than to marry my beautiful wife ;-).

Now, I completely understand the importance of having a life outside of your work because it really does make you much more productive. When I was working at the local office, I didn't have time for a life outside of the office because I was spending 2 hours a day in traffic, 8 hours working, 2 hours at the water cooler talking about crap, and the other 12 hours was "my life."

Not only do I spend more time with my family, but I also feel that I am much more productive in my profession. Granted, I feel like I have to make more of an attempt at having a social life since I don't see coworkers at the office everyday. So, instead of going to work to meet people, I go to the local gym to workout and play basketball for my social life.

To keep in touch with my coworkers we use Google Talk. If I need to talk to someone at work, Google Talk offers both IM and VOIP.

So I guess the "secret to my success" is Google Talk and playing basketball at the local gym, while for some people it is raising sheep on a farm.

Re:Distributed Organisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463122)

Why do you claim the MySQL protocol, not the spec, is covered by the GPL?

Hybrid (1)

bloobamator (939353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15458027)

My employer is kind of a hybrid, at least for those of us in I.T. We do a lot of work from home because that's where we happen to be after-hours. Even when we're in the office, we're spead between east and west coast ops. We use a lot of the same IRC and email and teleconferencing as described in the article. Works well for us.

Wasn't MySQL AB recently purchased by Oracle? Just curious...

caught again? (1)

lon3st4r (973469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15460972)

how to nurture a bond among workers who rarely, if ever, meet.

this gives a whole new twist to the "not in the same state" excuse ;)

* lon3st4r *

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