• In the 1990’s Cisco Systems promoted the idea of having a “URL for everything we do” (p. 4), an idea that is also popular at GitHub
  • As Jim Barksdale liked to say, the two ways to make money in business are bundling and unbundling. The tick-tock between “integrated solutions” and mixing solutions from different vendors is no different (p. 6).
  • “Gardens last for hundreds of years, companies don’t. That’s because people love and take care of gardens.” — Larry Ellison (p. 8)
  • The idea that enterprise software should be as user-friendly as consumer software was once novel (p. 14)
  • Product naming makes a big difference (p. 40). Ellison applied this lesson with his company’s first database product: “The first version of our database was called Oracle Version 2. I didn’t think anyone, not even the government, would buy Version 1 of a database from five guys in California.” (p. 62)
  • Ellison went through the challenge of disrupting his own company multiple times. “[G]etting Oracle to change direction was not just a question of articulating a new strategy and expecting people to get on with it. The efforts of the entire company, from the the developers building the applications to the sales and consulting teams who were selling and installing the software, were dedicated to making client/server a success.” (p. 41)
  • Ellison’s aspirations began as what we would today call a “lifestyle business” (p. 56)
  • Software projects are never truly “finished,” (p. 63) but releasing a buggy version too soon can substantially damage a company’s reputation (p. 74).
  • Ellison is an engineer at heart, and applied an engineer’s mindset to the sales process at Oracle (p. 172-3).
  • “We pick our enemies very carefully. It helps us focus.” (p. 263)
  • Ellison decried Microsoft’s lack of innovation and choice to acquire or crush competitors instead. There are many parallels between this and discussions of Facebook today (p. 264ff.).