Five Questions For Mike Olson, Oracle VP - InformationWeek

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6/22/2006
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Five Questions For Mike Olson, Oracle VP

Olson is the outspoken former president and CEO of Sleepycat Software who helped build the open source Berkeley DB project into a multimillion-dollar business. Oracle bought the database company in February. Oracle PR accompanies Olson when he meets with the press, but unlike many of the company's plain-vanilla VPs, he's still talking.

Photograph by Jeffery Newbury
Mike Olson
VP at Oracle

Interview by Charles Babcock

Mike Olson, Oracle VP
1
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
"There's always some concern among the staff about how it will work out when one company acquires another. But there's been no thinning of the Sleepycat staff. We're pretty much working on the same stuff as before the acquisition. The integration of the two companies is going well."

2
FUN AT WORK
Olson is happy with his new job at Oracle. "I can concentrate on the skills I like the best. I help customers adopt Berkeley DB, and I walk around talking to people on the engineering team and in the field service organization. I talk to many more customers. Oracle has staff to read the balance sheet and do the other infrastructure stuff I used to do."

3
NEW HORIZONS
Olson doesn't contribute to open source projects as much as he used to. "I was one of the architects of the Postgres database. You can see my fingerprints on it. But I haven't driven a keyboard for a living for a good eight years."

4
FAVORITE GADGET
"I'm not a BlackBerry or Treo user. My favorite device is my Motorola Razr phone. I get excited by the prospect of Web 2.0 apps in my browser window. Mash-ups of Google Maps blow me away."

5
NO IPOD HERE
"I bought an iPod, but my 14-year-old son commandeered it--a testament to Apple's crushing mindshare in his generation. I've got an older MP3 player I still use. When it stops working, I'll probably buy whatever Apple's selling."

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