I attended Ken Jacobs's departure party at Oracle HQ this evening. A bunch of colleagues met at Oracle's conference center to eat, chat, and say farewell to Ken who is leaving Oracle after 28 years.
A brief video of clips from Ken's early days to recent times was played. Several people (including Oracle co-founder Ed Oates) briefly took a microphone to share anecdotes. On behalf of Ken's InnoDB team, John Russell presented him with a gift basket of stuffed animal toys, each representing a region of the world the diverse InnoDB team works from. Instead of one big gift, the team decided to make it open-source style: "a large number of cheap gifts. If one breaks, throw it away and get another."
Ken, who at various times during the party was described as details-oriented and as being excellent with customers, was about as normal as one could be on such an occasion. He was still talking business, hoping plans laid down with colleagues would come to fruition. In his uniquely warm way he was complimentary of relatively minor accomplishments people (OK, I mean myself here) had made over the years.
I would have liked more interaction with Ken at Oracle. From what little there was, I saw insights into making presentations - what to say and what not to say. I learned from getting a rejection (deservedly at that time) for requesting a book forward. I heard tantalizing snippets about how to do business. And I learned he took every phone call from his wife, even in customer meetings - although I think only Ken could do that and charm the customers at the same time!
Farewell Ken, and good luck.