Monday, January 18, 2016

Exiting x86 at Sun Oracle

Cyndi displays the plaque
I can have my cake and eat it too since I get to stay at Oracle!
Thanks to all of my coworkers at Sun Oracle for the last 12 years! I had a wonderful send-off on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 at a spacious conference room at the historic Oracle Santa Clara campus. Special thanks to those who organized the event: Denise O'Dell, Christopher P. Johnson, and Ralph Woodley.

I was delighted to have so many well-wishers in the room. When I heard that 1740 was reserved for the event, I told Denise that I wasn't sure we would need to have such a large room, but she said it was all reserved and "that's that." We had scrumptious mocha cake from Bon Appetit, a large and enthusiastic crowd, and even our  executive attendance! At one point, my senior VP, the humble Ali Alasti, embarrassed me by getting on his knees and pretending to beg me not to leave. (Wish someone had taken a photo of that!)

Cyndi, Kevin Wiramihardja, Mark Stanton
Ralph presented me with a special plaque that was custom engraved for my years of service. They also presented me with a blue phalaenopsis orchid with a card that said they'll be blue without me.

Cards and custom chocolates decorated with service labels
Denise Silverman from the Human Factors, User-Centered Design group gave me a customized box of chocolates, decorated with x86 service label snips! Very clever.

I remarked that I joined the Solaris group as an employee in 2003. I also had at least three or more previous stints as a contractor at Sun Microsystems as early as 1984 when the hot start-up was headquartered in Mountain View. I transferred to NSG (what did that stand for? network systems group, I think) in 2005 after the product I documented, Sun Management Center, was transferred to India.
Ralph Woodley, Cyndi, Mark McGothigan 

Fortunate for me I had met George Salem (now at Google) at a Harvard alum event and had told him that I wanted to look for a job as a program manager. He told me that Ada Chiang had some openings for program managers so I applied. But Ada took a look at my resume and saw "tech pubs" all over it and said she needed a tech pubs manager/writer and wanted me to apply as a writer with the understanding that I would most likely become the manager.

I interviewed with seven people in NSG and I recall clearly that six of the seven said thumbs up and one person said NO. I can guess who the NO came from. That person was laid off soon thereafter so I got my just desserts!?

I had many highlights over my ten years in NSG, now called x86, including two trips to the Shanghai engineering office which Ada opened. I begged her to send me and she approved after I justified my trip with many training sessions for the engineers, including leadership training from Toastmasters. So off I went in 2008 and again in 2013.

My other supportive x86 managers included Thomas Yu and Christopher P. Johnson. Chris was especially encouraging when I initiated a video and animation program. Over the years and not without plenty of ups and downs, my stellar team (Ralph Woodley and Ray Angelo, in particular) created dozens of animations and videos of technical procedures and concepts.

In addition to my work projects, I also cherish the fun and excitement of organizing the Oracle contingent to the SF Pride Parade with Sujesh Sundaram, Vincent Coville, Cathy Melior Benoit and others.

Here are groups at Santa Clara are dear to my heart (apologies as I know I've missed people):

Sue Young, Pam Parrish, Nancy Moreno, Sujesh Sundaram, Neng Xue
  • Speakeasy@Sun Toastmasters Club (formerly in the Menlo Park Sun campus) with many of the members present like Cornelia Koch-Stoschek, Salomon Chavez, Neng Xue, Sujesh, Becky Xu, Sumit Jyoti
  • Oracle Women's Leadership (OWL) with Nancy Moreno, Joy Lee, Sue Young, Pam Parrish, Jeewika Ranaweera, Beth Beasley. We put on some fantastic events including International Day of the Girl, Women's right to vote, mentor circles, and many more.
  • Pubs and usability people: Shripad Patki, Anathea Lolen, Barb Jugo, Anne Juan, Alta Elstad, Mike Bechler, Andrea Marra, Sharon Veach, kristin Travis, Ralph Woodley, Mark McGothigan
  • Engineers and managers: Paul Ryan, Prafull Singhal, Albert Lau, Tamra Smith-Wasel, Dan Benefiel, Todd Creamer, Chad Amsler, Jim Vasquez, Yi Cai, Tony Huang, Obehi Ukpebor, Ali Vahedi, Helen Liu
Thanks to all of you who came and those who sent me your wishes. I appreciate your kindness, cards, and gifts. One executive wrote to me:

I can easily say you have done far more for our x86 team and I than I have ever done for you. I appreciate all of our years together. I wish you the very very best. I know you are very smart, passionate and caring. It is a hard combination to come by. Any team would be lucky to have you.
Santa Clara campus by Ray Shr