While the open-source community wrings its hands over Oracle’s intentions relative to MySQL, and while Oracle may be fretting about how to marry the more hippie-esque tendencies of the MySQL open-source software crowd with its need to make the database acquisition pay dividends, both sides can relax. MySQL has long been at the forefront of figuring out open-source monetization, with Zack Urlocker (formerly EVP of Products) and Marten Mickos (CEO) leading the charge.
MySQL, in other words, is a great example of how Oracle can make open source pay. MySQL is much more like Oracle than I originally thought.
Urlocker, now vice president of Lifecycle Marketing at Sun, wrote recently of the science he has been applying to the open-source lead process for MySQL, and how he has been spreading it throughout Sun:
My goal is to take best practices from MySQL, Sun, and elsewhere in the industry and fill the sales pipeline for all of Sun’s products. There’s a large class of products that can benefit from the high-volume/low-touch lead generation, nurturing, and scoring approach that we built at MySQL. One of the goals I set for the team was to increase the “top of funnel” inquiry or raw lead volume for sales.
Urlocker delivered a 13-fold increase in raw lead volume, which is an exceptional number, one that even Oracle would be well-advised to embrace. Yes, through Oracle’s acquisitions it has years’ worth of cross-selling and upselling opportunities, but in its new open-source assets, it also has a way to drive volume of net new leads.
This is the sort of activity one would expect of Oracle: big goals and operational excellence to achieve them. I suspect that it’s just one example of the people value Oracle acquired when it bought Sun and, in particular, MySQL, which has spent years honing its open-source lead generation and conversion models.
In MySQL, Oracle bought much more than open-source street credibility. It bought some of the best open-source business minds the industry has to offer; people that can help Oracle make open source pay serious dividends. People who think like Oracle does.
Someone has suggested that Oracle may scare away MySQL’s brightest minds by drowning its ambition. I now believe I was wrong. A closer analysis reveals two companies with very similar goals: make as much money as possible by serving community and customers.