by Matthew Symonds

Softwar was a 528 page dream. But not in the good way.

In the moment, it felt like there was some incredible insight within the dense pages of the book. Whether it was Symond’s own recounting or Ellison’s footnotes, some rare piece of knowledge was being imparted. But afterwards, nothing stuck. It felt like I had read 528 pages of nothing and the harder I try to grasp onto the skirts of my memory of Softwar, the quicker it disappears.

Published as Oracle’s stock made a steady climb, Softwar was meant to be an indepth look into one of the wealthiest men in the world. Flashier than other software billionaries, Ellison’s personal and business life had always been in the news. Through the book, Symonds truly documents the relentless sales process that Ellison and his company followed. The accomplishments at Oracle were most technical. The sales effort was top notch. And then there were efforts such as stack ranking employees that rarely are good ideas.

Perhaps the most telling piece about Oracle is that it’s the second most valuable enterprise software company in the world, behind only Microsoft. I’m not sure if that’s more of a statement towards the power of enterprise sales or the innovation coming out of Oracle. But regardless, the 500+ pages of Softwar left me with no better of an understanding of Oracle than before.


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