Thursday, 31 January 2008

Last day of Sun-MySQL Integration Kickoff starting in MPK

"What will happen to us now?" That's the usual question for most employees in any acquired company, and MySQL AB is no exception. And given that less than 10% of MySQL AB is at the integration kickoff here at Sun's headquarters in Menlo Park, more than 90% are probably also asking "what is that small group of people deciding?".

Judging from the feedback I've got, those questions are of relevance not just for MySQLers, so let me re-state a couple of "old truths" and come with a few observations from MPK. (Do note the lingo -- MPK is Sun speak for Menlo Park; I'm trying to learn...).

First thing, it's "Business as Usual". We're just making plans for actions that can follow upon closure. Closure is planned (as announced earlier) in late Q3 or early Q4, where the Sun quarter numbering should be translated to mean late Q1 or early Q2 for the rest of the world.

Second thing, the atmosphere is very positive. Jonathan wants to pull a Hippocrates, doing no harm when integrating MySQL into Sun. And the way Jonathan explains it, not believing it is impossible.

Third thing, the positive atmosphere permeates all meetings. I have yet to meet a Sun employee who doesn't live and breathe the attitude that Sun wants to do what's best for the MySQL user community, the MySQL employees or MySQL as a company. That ranges from engineers over lawyers to marketing people, from executives to assistants.

Fourth thing, we have concrete issues to solve. Take IT systems, for instance. While we'll be very happy to finally get a company calendar and systematic expense reporting, and while we likely won't mind changing some administrative systems, there are systems that are near and dear to us, and that embody a lot of the value of MySQL. Such as Eventum, the support ticketing system. How shall the tasks solved by Eventum be mapped upon Sun, and Sun's other systems?

Fifth thing, questions still outnumber answers. In the very beginning right after the acquisition announcement, the number of questions grew sharply. Every answered question uncovered another, still larger set of questions. Now, it's getting slightly better. While we still have more questions than answers, we're preparing for the closure (remember, late Q1, early Q2) when plans can turn into actions.

Sixth thing, it really is "Business as Usual". So while some of us are busy planning the integration, most MySQLers have a real job. Answering customer support requests. Coding MySQL enhancements. Fixing bugs. Out on sales calls. Training MySQL users. Keeping the MySQL administration working. Clearly, we don't want to disturb that.

So in a few hours, the last day of the integration kickoff will start, we'll handle yet another set of questions, and the breakout teams will give their debriefing sessions.

For myself, it's back home when the day is over -- flying home to Munich. And next week, it won't be "business as usual" for me. It will be "holidays as sometimes", as I'll be off climbing the Wildspitze (3772 m) on skis with my son.

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