I'm not sure if I have written about this before or not but it is something that I keep coming back to on a regular basis. What makes someone successful? Is it power? money? fame? fortune? To be honest I don't care how someone judges being successful. I have my own definition that probably is different from the average person. To be brutally honest it is something very personal that I don't share with many people and I don't talk about very much. What I do talk about with as many people that I can is how you become successful. How do you start a new job and contribute, make a difference, and make the group that you work for meet it's goals? The two key elements that are consistent with everyone that I talk to is a little luck and picking something that they can become very good at. Part of the luck is picking the right thing. For example, I think that I make a really good bread pudding that is better than most resturaunts. Does that mean that I should open a place of my own? Does that mean that I should be a chef or go to cooking school? No, I am smart enough to know that this won't make me happy and won't make me successful. I also know that I would not keep my job very long since cooks aren't something that Oracle typically hires.
I really don't have control over luck. I know that I can prepare myself to take advantage of luck but I can't make luck happen. If I could I would have become a professional card player. That leaves only one thing left to do and that is be good at something. If I pick the right thing and get lucky in what I pick I can be successful. Ok, looking at what Oracle has been successful in might help. Oracle has done well in database. Oracle has done well in acquiring companies that require database. Given that I don't have enough money to acquire companies I should probably focus on something that surrounds a database. When I was at Sun I started becoming an expert in identity management. It seemed important and was something that everyone wanted to talk about (as well as Java). I did ride the Java wave for a while but realized that I was not very good at producing code. I tend to overanalyze things and take too long to get a product into production. So the question that is difficult to ask is where should I spend my time? Analytics? Business Intelligence? Security? Compliance and Audit? Database? Management and Performance?
Lately I have been looking at specific markets and how our software can be used. Law firms, real estate, oil and gas, and retail. Somehow it seems like my Computer Science and Electrical Engineering degrees didn't prepare me for any of this. I learned how to use tools and how to create things but I never learned why. Focusing on specific markets has made me aware that I haven't learned why things are done. I think I know how. I think I need to focus on why.
good luck figuring it out, let me know if anyone figures it out.