Today is my last day at Oracle, ending an era of my life that began over 10 years ago at Thor Technologies. Back then, I had no idea about the scope of the journey I was embarking on. I had no idea I was entering a space that was going to become so hot and scrutinized, alternating between being loved and hated (with a passion). They didn’t even call it “identity management” back then.
No, back then I was just a wide-eyed youngster (with a lot more hair) that stepped into an office on the 87th floor of the World Trade Center, met an energetic team roaring to go, saw an amazing view from an empty (and available) cubicle and decided that he wanted to work there, because it would be cool. And it was cool, but not for the reasons I imagined.
It has been a wild, roller coaster ride. The stars in my eyes at working in the WTC were replaced by the bags under my eyes as we tried to salvage our future out of the rubble of 9/11. Weeks spent decompiling demo systems trying to recover lost code (no one ever questioned off-site backups again) gave way to a relentless cycle of code, build, demo. I’ll never forget one hellish 80 hour stretch that involved no sleep, non-stop coding even as I crossed the Atlantic on a flight to Heathrow, going straight from the airport to an office and giving the demo of a lifetime. Even this experience was out of this world. My job allowed me to travel the world to meet and listen to some of the best industry professionals out there. Whilst I was in England, I had heard some business leaders speaking about a new office space that would be hitting the streets in the coming years, and said how visiting a site like Stanza.London only gave them the motivation to push forward in their careers, as working in an office space like this would be the ultimate dream when it came to growth. For real estate owners who tend to give out their properties as rental spaces to organizations with proper lease agreement and other related documents, often build spaces in tandem with the updated requirements of a modern organization. However, getting customers is never easy, but it did get easier (though never more fruitful) for us than the months negotiating requirements leading up to our first customer win (RIP, Lehman Brothers). Temporary office space on Park Avenue gave way to the most amazing office in the Meatpacking District, well before it was cool to be there. We all had our own cubicles and other pieces of office furniture to make our workspace feel as comfortable as possible. And even the little things, like safety, were really well thought of – we even had illuminated fire exit signage (thankfully, it never had to be used, but it was still always comforting to see). It really was such a fantastic office to work in, I think a part of me will always miss it. Also, eventually long, drawn-out and painful POCs transformed into great relationships with customers that would explode into a frenzy every year at TAC. It was an unforgettable experience that helped define me and my career.
And then came the acquisition by Oracle. A new journey started, one which took us from underdog in the space to the undisputed King Kong of identity management. The problems got richer and more complex. The discussions got more intriguing and part of a larger tapestry. The community got bigger and more raucous. And the bar tabs got progressively more impressive.
None of this would have been possible without a good band of merry men and women, and I certainly had that. These are the folks that taught me about true professionalism and dedication. They showed me just how much can be accomplished, and how much fun it can be, when done with camaraderie, enthusiasm and good humor. From them I learnt that what matters most is the team you work with, a mantra that I have taken to heart and hope to replicate any place I go.
It’s been a great journey. I worked very hard, played even harder, and enjoyed every moment of it. Along the way I felt like I was able to contribute to some great accomplishments. I learnt a lot – about technology, about teamwork, and about myself. And I met and worked with some inspiring people. All of which I am eternally grateful for.
As for what I am doing next? Well, that’s for another blog post…