Improv 101

Three peers on brainstorming without judging, failing, and swapping techno for tech

By Blair Campbell

July/August 2015


Edelweiss Kammermann

How did you get started in IT? My dad bought me a TRS-80 computer when I was 14 years old. I started programming simple things in BASIC and liked it so much that I decided on computer engineering as a profession.

Peer Specs

Company: Rittman Mead, a technology firm focused on Oracle business intelligence solutions

Job title/description: Training materials specialist, developing new material and delivering training
Location: Montevideo, Uruguay
Length of time using Oracle products: 19 years
Oracle ACE Oracle ACE

What’s your favorite technique on the job? After the initial research phase of a project, I take note of all the ideas that come into my mind without judging them—sort of like brainstorming with myself. I think my background studying musical improvisation has a lot to do with this approach. When I had to create arrangements, I’d play a song on CD and do improvisations on my transverse flute over the song—without searching for a specific sound. I’d record this process and then listen to the recordings to discover what worked best. With tech projects, something similar happens. After brainstorming, I analyze my ideas to determine which ones have real value for the project.

Which new features in Oracle Fusion Middleware are you currently finding most valuable? The thing that I like most is the seamless integration between the tools that belong to the stack and the centralized management and security configuration.

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Kevin McGinley

Which new Oracle technologies are you currently finding most valuable? Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service has the opportunity to really transform how people think of business intelligence and analytics, both from a time-to-delivery and a data architecture perspective.

Peer Specs

Company: Red Pill Analytics, an analytics products and services company

Job title/description: Owner and cofounder, running the organization and delivering value to customers through analytics
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Length of time using Oracle products: 10 years
Oracle ACE Director ace-director

What advice do you have about how to get into web and application development? Build something and fail—you’ll learn so much in the process. Early in my Oracle Business Intelligence career, I tried implementing the new-at-the-time write-back capability in Siebel Analytics. The requirements were ambitious, and I continually hit brick wall after brick wall—not because the feature didn’t work, but because there wasn’t much information available on how to make it work. That trial by fire taught me how to push the feature to its limits and the value of truly applying myself to a challenge.

How are you using mobile computing in your work these days? As a complement to regular computing. I liken mobile computing to transactional reporting—it’s most useful for whatever I need to know right now. My traditional computer is still that big monster that processes everything.

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Klaas-jan Jongsma

Name one unique way Oracle technologies are currently in use at your company. I’m working on our Oracle Exadata Database Machine to set up a proof of concept with our internally developed Oracle Application Express application for academic DNA research. Our software leverages all the Oracle Exadata features, such as Hybrid Columnar Compression, to speed up DNA analysis.

Peer Specs

Company: VX Company, an IT service provider focused on developing enterprise infrastructures and applications

Job title/description: IT architect/engineer, helping customers get the best out of their Oracle solutions
Location: Almelo, the Netherlands
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Professional (Oracle Database 10g), Oracle Certified Expert (Oracle Real Application Clusters), and Oracle Exadata Certified Implementation Specialist, with 20 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE Associate Oracle ACE Associate

What’s your go-to Oracle reference book? Optimizing Oracle Performance [O’Reilly Media, 2003], by Cary Millsap and Jeff Holt, is the book that has made Oracle Database performance a snap for me.

What’s your favorite thing to do that doesn’t involve work? I have a passion for electronic music. Back in the day, I used to record a lot of Detroit techno records, and I played at parties all over the world. I still love that type of music, but my sound has evolved—nowadays it’s way less dance-music oriented and more of an abstract nature. I’ve also swapped performing on stage at clubs or parties for presenting at Oracle conferences.