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Showing entries 1 to 29

Displaying posts with tag: Virtual company (reset)

Communication in a distributed company: Choose your weapons!
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Everyone has their preferred method of communication, which they tend to overuse at the cost of other methods. At MySQL AB, email was preferred in many situations where picking up the phone would have saved loads of work, frustration and distractions. SkySQL Ab as a company is equally distributed across continents and time zones. Not surprisingly, we have inherited some of MySQL's bad habits, and created a set of new habits, good and bad. The purpose of this write-up is to take a step back and reflect upon which tool fits which purpose, focusing on a virtual company with colleagues spanning many time zones.

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Freedom to work anywhere
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You remember our slogan “Freedom to work anywhere (http://www.mysql.com/about/jobs/" target="_blank)“, meaning that MySQL doesn’t require you to relocate to Uppsala, Cupertino, München or anywhere, to join the company? And that you sometimes can work even far away from home? Sun continued this policy, more or less. Now, Dups is taking the policy to extremes.

Background: As a colleague and fellow mountaineer, I had heard of Dups wanting to do some mountaineering in the Andes well before hearing that he would want to join the Community Team. And hence, it was an easy thing for Dups to convince

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Now I’m blogging in Russian, too!
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To understand a bit of Italian, I just need a comparatively small amount of vino bianco. By contrast, to get any information flow going at all in Russian requires larger amounts of … preparation. That doesn’t have to be vodka, it can also be interesting discussions with Russians, or the opportunity to give a speech.

Now, a blog is the scalable way to interact with the rest of humanity, and I’m trying to increase my fluency in all things Web 2.0. So, here goes, may I present my Russian blog:

Like in the case of presenting my Italian blog, let me quote Google Translate’s automatic translation of some of my


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Recommended Reading (Business, Engineering)
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As part of an internal programme at Sun, I am a “SEED mentor” for another Sun employee (not a former employee of MySQL, but what we Sun Dolphins call Sun Classics). He is called Alok and lives in Bangalore, and sadly, our schedules crossed so that I couldn’t meet him when I was at our Bangalore offices in July. So I am mentoring someone I’ve met only over phone — but we’re getting along just fine.

Two of the topics we’ve discussed recently are blogging and books. So after hanging up after our 9 CET 12:30 Indian time mentoring session, I got the idea to combine the two: write a blog entry about the books I recommended Alok.

One thing Alok is contemplating at the moment is the


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EVCA: MySQL as a VC success story — Lessons Learned
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Today at the Venture Capital Forum in Hilton Arc de Triomphe, Paris, I received the EVCA “Hall of Fame” Award on behalf of MySQL AB. What a timing, to meet with investment bankers and venture capitalists now!

In these times of a deep finance crisis, of no credit handed out by banks and of general doom and gloom, it felt great to be somewhat of an “everybody’s darling”. In the VC community, MySQL is seen as a great success — and in particular, we’re seen by European VCs as a European success story (despite over 50 % of our personnel and most of our Management Team being US-based, at the point of time when the VCs exited).

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Ivan Nikitin is feeling better and better
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Good news: Ivan Nikitin is feeling better all the time. He has gone through insightful treatment in Heidelberg, and he is responding very well to it. The best part is that while the donations aren’t yet sufficient for a transplantation, it does look as if a transplantation may not even be necessary; the German doctors give Ivan’s body a chance to regenerate by itself, and it worked. And the generous donations from MySQLers, from classic Sun employees and also from the MySQL user community have made Ivan’s treatment in Heidelberg possible, something for which we are all very grateful.


Ivan Nikitin in Georg Richter’s lap (in Georg’s boat)

Ivan’s father Andrii allowed me to publicly quote his email to MySQL employees:


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Thank you, Véronique Loquet and Al?x Communication!
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In October 2003, Mick Carney (the first MySQLer in Sales in France) convinced us to choose Véronique Loquet and her company Al’x Communication as MySQL’s French PR agency.

And what an excellent choice it was! Véronique and her Paris team have been with us now for nearly five years. Her contacts are excellent, as are her organising skills. She practically embodies PR for les logiciels libres (Free and Open Source Software) in France.

Véronique has visited the MySQL Users Conference in Santa Clara several times, and of course introduced us to numerous French journalists, fixing plenty

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MySQL-Sun integration articles in Forum för Ekonomi och Teknik
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Anthropology: Sun studies MySQL
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“We didn’t acquire MySQL to change it, but to learn from it”, or something to that effect, was a line used by Jonathan Schwartz very early on in the Sun acquisition of MySQL. And this seems to be taken seriously. So Sun has appointed teams studying MySQL: our culture, and our way of working from home (70 % of us don’t even have a desk at an office, i.e. permanently work from home, such as me).

I hope to soon share some of the results from the Culture studies. Today, co-founder Michael “Monty” Widenius and I were the interview subjects of the “Virtual Work at MySQL” study group under Edel Keville.

We had lots of things

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Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Green at the MySQL Community Pre-Conference Dinner party
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The very first UC related parties are over, and the Users Conference hasn’t even started!

The first one was Mårten’s traditional and well-liked MySQL staff party in his garden. The coolest and most community significant one was the MySQL Community Pre-Conference Dinner party, though, as advertised on MySQL Forge Wiki. So we dropped out of Mårten’s party at six, to meet with the community.

There were 48 registered people, and I think even more turned up. And some of the guys who turned up unregistered were from Sun.

Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz crashes the party and is surrounded

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Meeting Sun KK in Japan on Community ? however it?s defined
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My Japan trip was full of meetings, as trips to Japan usually are. One of the most interesting ones was at Sun Microsystems K.K.’s site, with a number of people engaged in building Japanese communities for Sun.


Takashi Shitamichi, Yoko Suga, Natsuki Wakabayashi, Jim Grisanzio,
Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Satoshi Kawai, myself, Toshiro Umetsu, Takanobu Masuzuki

From Jim Grisanzio and others, I learned that Japan is Sun’s most active blogging country outside the US, on blogs.sun.com. And I got reminded of the messages heard many times at numerous Sun meetings: That Sun has Community experts both in



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Tech At Sun
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Twice a year, Sun invites their Sun Fellows, Sun Distinguished Engineers and many Principal Engineers, Sales Engineers and Consultants to an offsite meeting, usually in California and this time in the Chaminade in Santa Cruz. For the first time, we now had MySQLers present — and over 20 of us.

The purpose of the meeting is to share new trends, new technologies, and new ideas across Sun’s wide spectrum spanning everything from the bare metal of the Niagara system through other aspects of system all the way to software.

I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to describe MySQL the Product, MySQL the Business and MySQL the Culture, in a long 90 minute day session in front of all the audience. Our Product, Business and Culture were described by a six-headed panel, with

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Hamburg & Munich: Vicarious tourism, Lufthansa and Community
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Yesterday, we concluded the Sakila Express World Tour, more aptly named “Sakila Tour of Seven Top European MySQL AB Sites Using Decadence Airlines“. The last two were in Germany: Hamburg in the north, in Sun’s offices, and Munich in the south, in Hilton am Tucherpark.

In Hamburg, we went directly into the meat with three hardcore developers. Onboarding, intellectual property, and contractors were the hardcore topics.

Ulf, Jan and Kay experienced Izhevsk and Kiev vicariously through the blog

The discussions added plenty of colour to the picture for Julie and Dave. Julie has a great metaphor for explaining the purpose of Sakila Express: To understand how the integration message comes out in the other end, in the

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Kiev: Eventum, contractors and ten more churches to go
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Today in Kiev, we had a great time with MySQLers in Engineering and Support. And I got competition in the area of photography from Oleksandr “Sanja” Belkin. Other than that, this blog entry is again of the sit-back-and-relax type, not going into lots of MySQL detail. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t have gone into detail, though, although we saw more churches under the leadership of our Kiev team than we had seen in a long time.

This is how much I like my Sigma 8mm lens

We started the day by looking at Sun’s on-boarding procedures for MySQLers in the Ukraine, sipping tea and coffee at the Hotel President. And we went through Sun’s business model, through the importance of

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Izhevsk: A royal welcome and a shoot-out ends up in an orthodox visit
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Today in Izhevsk, we had the best welcome a group of Sun-MySQL integration people could ever imagine. “As you’ve been flying a Corporate Jet, you now need a corporate car”, our reception committee said.

And, we travelled in style. After some shampanskoye, we were shuttled into the white limo (somehow exported from the US into Izhevsk) fixed by the local MySQLers.

Today’s Tip #1: If you look for meaty MySQL stuff, look elsewhere. If you look for travel tips for Russia, read this report of one of the most exciting day trips I’ve had in my life.

The Royal Welcome in Izhevsk

Today’s Tip #2: If you want to

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World Tour in Uppsala and Kista
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After Dublin, our next stop on the World Tour was Sweden. While several MySQLers were out on travel (in Dublin, amongst other places!) related to the Sun-MySQL integration, we had the opportunity to meet with Swedish MySQL employees from various parts of the organisation, including Sales, Engineering, Support, and Internal IT.

Yesterday’s dinner at Domtrappkällaren was a memorable one, with an opportunity to share war stories and anecdotes with our Sun colleagues Dave Douglas and Julie Ross. They got their fair share of tales from past MySQL Developer Meetings (ah, Prague! ohh, Sorrento!) and Staff Meetings (you wouldn’t believe what happened to this new guy in Sales on his first day, when arriving at his hotel room in Cancùn).

Equally important, we took time to look at what will happen next.

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The World Tour on Jet has started
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If you’d like to get out of the aircraft quickly, and we’re not around to help you, grab this red handle on the door and pull it up.” Our friendly pilot just gave us his friendly security instructions at take-off from Dublin airport, on the way to Bromma in Stockholm. Dave Douglas, Julie Ross and myself are heading on the first leg of our trip to meet MySQL personnel across Europe.

I’ve been frequently teased about using “Sun’s Corporate Jet”. Flying around on that one is certainly perceived as glamorous, and perhaps not compatible with the humble roots of MySQL. Well, glamorous or not, here we are, three people, three empty seats and two pilots up in the sky. However, it’s not exactly “Sun’s” jet. It’s Netjets, more

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Lunch with Mayflower
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Since well before I joined MySQL in 2001, I have had contact with now-members of the four-headed management team of Germany’s top-notch PHP experts and solution providers Mayflower GmbH.

Mayflowers and MySQLers frequently pop into each other at PHP conferences and other Open Source events, and meet informally under various circumstances ranging from Christmas parties to Biergarten discussions. It’s always interesting to exchange thoughts on virtual companies, Open Source, business models, IRC, scrum, and finding developers (some of which have worked for both MySQL and Mayflower, incidentally). And by sheer coincidence, Mayflower’s Munich headquarters is now about 150 metres from where I live, in the same

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MySQL is officially part of Sun
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Now we have The Real Thing: MySQL joins Sun Microsystems!

On 16 January 2008, less than six weeks ago, Sun announced their definitive agreement to acquire MySQL AB. That “definite agreement” was still subject to government approval in the US, Germany and Austria, and to the signing of the legal transfer documents by MySQL AB’s current owners.

Those hurdles have now been passed, and the acquisition is thus official. MySQL is part of Sun!

Many community members and customers have surely thought of Sun’s acquisition as a Done Deal already. Perhaps there never was any real uncertainty about it, but at least theoretically, there still was a risk of the deal not closing. That uncertainty is now removed.

This is very exciting for us at MySQL.

The last

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MySQL Culture
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As part of planning our integration into Sun, we surveyed all MySQLers on their opinions regarding Sun, their concerns and ideas. Amongst concerns, “retaining the MySQL Culture” ranked second.

MySQL Staff Meeting in Budapest 2003; time off in the Gellért Baths

But what exactly is “The MySQL Culture”? That’s never been written down, and defining culture is usually a matter for anthropologists, not Open Source companies.

So we decided to ask. Instead of engaging field anthropologists, we just added a question to the survey. And did we get answers! This is what the foremost experts, i.e. our employees, think constitutes MySQL Culture:

  • A diversified and
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Preparing for the Sun-MySQL Integration Kickoff
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The last few days before the Sun-MySQL Integration Kickoff happening 29-31 January 2008 at Sun’s headquarters in Menlo Park, quite a few European MySQLers have approached me with concerns related to the potential danger of a skewed focus on the US in the integration discussions. After all, MySQL AB originates in Scandinavia and almost a majority of our employees work outside the US, so some aspects of MySQL AB should remain Scandinavian or European, even though we’re been acquired by a Silicon Valley based company.

While this geographic concern will remain on my agenda, yesterday evening provided some peace of mind on this account. Summoned by our Scandinavian CEO, a group of MySQLers (American and European) met at the Ikea restaurant in East Palo

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Sun Finland picked for the inaugural ambassador visit
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Two employees of Sun Finland, Margot Wik (whom I studied French with in the 1980s at the Helsinki University of Technology) and Thomas Branders (another fellow HUT student, from whom I tried to learn how to sing Helan går while having fun at HUT’s Swedish language student corporation Teknologföreningen, but don’t blame him for the end result on YouTube) invited me to Sun Finland’s Friday Coffee Meeting 25.1.2008 at about 14:00. I was happy to accept. It’s only natural to do the inaugural ambassador visit in my native country.

I’m looking forward to learning from Margot, Tomi and their colleagues, and telling them about MySQL!

Back from MySQL All-Company Meeting in Orlando
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The MySQL All-Company Meeting in Orlando is now over. Many are already back at home (= back at work), and others are in transition. What a meeting!

One of the mildest surprises of the week were the name tags carrying a flag that represented the country of residence, as opposed to nationality. These matters are emotional. While I happen to like Germany, it’s not as if I were German. Teased by others for deserting my native country of Finland, I spent time retaliating at innocent fellow countrymen for their “even more foreign” flag than mine. Max Mether had a French flag. Birgitta Löfberg had a Swedish flag (OK, that’s the least foreign, but still foreign). And, for the largest distance from Finland, Mårten Mickos carried a US flag.

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Teaching Sun a lesson
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Part of what makes me very happy about our Sun deal is the interest Sun has expressed in learning from us. That has been evident in all the various meetings here in Orlando — be it with the founders, with the individual departments, or in front of the entire audience.

So as a way to teach Sun a first lesson, I had prepared a gig for the end of the presentations during the morning. We have a tradition of singing songs in our company, stemming from our Scandinavian heritage. “We take this very seriously”, I had heard Rich Green comment. And I’m happy he meant it in a very respectful manner: Corporate culture is important. Drinking songs themselves are meant to be purely fun, and not taken seriously, although they are surrounded by plenty of fairly rigid tradition.

In order to make it light for our future colleagues from Sun, as well as

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Talking to MySQL Founders Monty and David on Sun
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An important question for MySQLers and MySQL users alike is: “What do the MySQL Founders think of the acquisition of MySQL by Sun?”

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to explore that question further, in my first personal encounter with Sun. Already before that encounter, I had asked Monty a couple of questions.

Kaj: Monty, in the 1990s, you developed MySQL on Solaris. Why was that?

Monty: In the early years when I worked with Sun products, I was always
impressed with the stability and reliability of both hardware and
operating system. That was the reason why we used Sun Microsystems technology to develop MySQL.

Kaj: You did that development ages ago. What do you think about the Sun Microsystems of 2008?

Monty: In recent times, I have been very happy with Sun’s contributions to the



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Sun acquires MySQL
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This morning, Sun Microsystems announced plans to acquire MySQL AB (http://www.mysql.com/news-and-events/press-release/release_2008_03.html).

After all the industry speculation about MySQL being a “hot 2008 IPO”, this probably takes most of us by surprise — users, community members, customers, partners, and employees. And for all of these stakeholders, it may take some time to digest what this means. Depending on one’s relationship to MySQL, the immediate reaction upon hearing the news may be a mixture of various feelings, including excitement, pride, disbelief and satisfaction, but also anxiety.

Being part of the group planning this announcement for the last

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Germany smells good
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Giuseppe Maxia had a stop-over yesterday on his way to the MySQL Staff Meeting. We met for community discussions, and rounded off with Weißbier and dinner in Munich’s famous Hofbräuhaus.

What a fantastic feeling! The Bavarian spirit of joy and happiness has been decoupled from tobacco stench! I’ve always liked the first and hated the second.

So the German non-smoker protection legislation of 1 January 2008 is good news for anyone considering arranging meetings in Germany. You will no longer be “welcomed” at the airport by an offensive smell. Headaches in German

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MySQL AB meeting in Orlando in a week
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One week to go! Then we’ll have MySQL AB?s biggest internal meeting ever, with some 400 MySQLers being shipped to Orlando, Florida.

Almost four years ago in 2004, the company met in Cancún, Mexico. A year before that in 2003, we met in Budapest, Hungary. In 2002, we met in St Petersburg, Russia. In 2001, we met in Helsinki, Finland. In 2000, they (I wasn’t on board at that time) met in Monterey, USA. As we met last time in Cancún, we were fewer people in the whole company than last September at the Developer Mtg in Heidelberg, Germany.

I’m looking forward to meeting with all my fellow MySQLers. Besides all the working and catching-up, I expect to do

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Navigating categories within my blog
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With 130 entries in the “MySQL” category and no MySQL-related subcategories, my blog had become impossible to search and navigate easily.

And thus I created a number of new categories for the MySQL entries within my blog. They’re listed in the left navigation bar, below the months, as well as below:

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Showing entries 1 to 29

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