The Final Countdown

August 19th, 2011 29 Comments

T-minus 7 days (August 26th)… until my final day at Oracle, that is.


On January 6, 1997, I launched my career in enterprise software with PeopleSoft. I spent my early days traveling around the US, Canada, and Australia as a PeopleSoft consultant, implementing PeopleSoft HR/Benefits/Payroll. I even wrote some COBOL, however, you won’t find that on my LinkedIn profile. After a few years as a nomad, I landed in various product development roles. I led a team that built a royalties and billing system for several major franchises, created a module for PeopleSoft HR/Payroll that allowed companies to terminate mass amounts of people (not one of my proudest projects… although most customers use(d) it for terminating seasonal workers), and helped build and ship the first versions of PeopleSoft’s EPM and Workforce Analytics products.

After helping build several products, I moved to an internally focused job and managed PeopleSoft’s internal web properties along with a team of talented web developers. Together we worked with the PeopleTools team to bring to life PeopleSoft’s Enterprise Portal. We ate our dog food (which turned out to be rather good). The success of our portal implementation landed me a job in our Sales Support team. My primary responsibility was to make PeopleSoft’s products demo **really** well. We did that by making our products work well and look **really** good so that customers can imagine how a real PeopleSoft implementation can function inside their organization. We were quite successful.

About a year after Oracle acquired PeopleSoft, Paul Pedrazzi approached me about starting up an innovation lab within Oracle. At the time, it seemed like a pipe dream. I was skeptical, but deep inside I had ideas burning holes in my brain that needed to be pursued. So, I agreed to do it. With that, the AppsLab was born. And from then until now, I’ve had the best time in my professional career.

The last 4+ years in the AppsLab was an amazing ride. We built highly successful products grown organically out of desire. Oracle Connect (Oracle’s internal social network) grew as rapidly as it was written. It was a great lesson for how to grow a community and how to connect a diverse set of people within an 80k+ employee company. Oracle Mix was also an excellent project that proved that it’s possible to bootstrap a top level web app within 5 weeks without hardware, support, and many other things — a major accomplishment within the confines of Oracle. I only wish we could have finished building out the vision of Mix before we had to hand it off.

The AppsLab is what every large company needs. Take a few passionate people who have a burning desire to build products that people love to use everyday, put them together, and see what comes out. Prior to the AppsLab, most of the software I wrote never got used by me or my friends (except for the PeopleSoft Portal). It’s difficult to build software you don’t build for yourself. It’s difficult to fall in love with software you don’t use. So, if you write software, make sure you can fall in love with it, otherwise, don’t write software. The ‘Lab will continue it’s marching orders and will continue to rock within Oracle. Jake runs a great team of dudes that still have that burning passion. Their latest product will again satisfy many users within (and possibly outside) of Oracle… stay tuned for that.

So, after 14+ awesome years, it’s time for me to end this chapter of my career. I’ve met hundreds of wonderful people over those years and will likely work with many of you again someday — it is a small community we’re in.

As for the next chapter — on September 6th, I start my new gig at Atlassian as a Developer Advocate — you may have heard of them through their awesome products, JIRA, Confluence, and a few others. I’ll be playing a role similar to what I did in my sales engineering days mashed up with what I did in the lab.

Atlassian is a small software company headquartered in Sydney, Australia and driven by two wildly amazing dudes who have that passion I wrote about above. I’m extremely excited to be joining them.

As for keeping in touch, you can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Please do keep in touch.

UPDATE: Just in case you didn’t see the name below the title above, I, Rich Manalang, am the one leaving, not Jake. Also, several people have asked if I’m relocating to Sydney. Nope. I’ll be working in Atlassian’s San Francisco office.

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29 Responses to “The Final Countdown”

  1. Giri Senji Says:

    Good Luck Jake. You will be missed. Please continue to share & blog

  2. Hassan Schroeder Says:

    COBOL?!  Hey, I’ll see your IDENTIFICATION DIVISION and raise… oh, never mind  :-)

    Seriously, props for all you’ve done at Oracle, and have fun with your new gig.

  3. Russ Grabowski Says:

    Rich – Good luck with the new position.  Congrats.

  4. rmanalan Says:

    Thanks Russ.

  5. rmanalan Says:

    Heh… I never intended to be a COBOL programmer… it’s just that no one else would do it. So, I volunteered. Take care of Mix, ok?!

  6. rmanalan Says:

    Hi Giri. The problem with group blogs is that sometimes it’s hard to tell who wrote the post. In this case, it wasn’t Jake. If Jake were leaving you can repost your comment :-)

  7. Gary Myers Says:

    So will you get to travel down to Sydney much ? It’s nice down here !

  8. jpiwowar Says:

    Aw, man. Classic good news/bad news scenario. Good for you, a bummer for the ‘lab. Best of luck at the new gig! :)

  9. rmanalan Says:

    Yep, I’m sure I’ll be getting down there again soon.

  10. rmanalan Says:

    Thanks, John. I’m sure well run into each other at oow or javaone.

  11. Raimonds Says:

    I wish you luck in your new position – Atlassian is great company and I have been using JIRA and Confluence and Bamboo for many years. If I will have any issues with their products I will know whom to contact :)

    BTW will you still attend Oracle OpenWorld or JavaOne?

  12. Paul Pedrazzi Says:

    Super excited for you Rich.  Passionate people, powerful products – you’ll fit right in!

  13. rmanalan Says:

    Thanks man. And thanks for bringing me into the ‘Lab! It was a great run!

  14. rmanalan Says:

    Thanks Raimonds! I’m not sure about OOW/JavaOne this year. If I get the opportunity, I’ll come for the unconf.

  15. oraclenerd Says:

    I ditto John’s comment. 

    All that I have read about Atlassian has been exceptional. It can only get better now.

    Good luck.

  16. rmanalan Says:

    Thanks Chet.

  17. tmoore Says:

    Hey, congratulations, Rich! This is news to me, but very welcome news! Welcome to Atlassian!

  18. John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises) Says:

    Rich, good luck in your new position, even if your post title resulted in bad images of makeup and hair extensions. :) I guess an AppsLab by definition has to have some turnover, and I hope that new people are coming in to help Jake create bigger and better things.

  19. John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises) Says:

    Rich, good luck in your new position, even if your post title resulted in bad images of makeup and hair extensions. :) I guess an AppsLab by definition has to have some turnover, and I hope that new people are coming in to help Jake create bigger and better things.

  20. oraclenerd Says:

    Rich, do you have one of these yet?

  21. rmanalan Says:

    One of what?

  22. rmanalan Says:

    Thanks John. Incidentally, I started my movember project (way early of course) a few weeks ago. I should try to grow my hair out too.

  23. rmanalan Says:

    Thanks Tim. Are you going to AtlasCamp?

  24. Jake Says:

    Angry Nerds shirt. This CSS doesn’t do links very well.

  25. rmanalan Says:

    Ah… shitty CSS… who designed this site?! ;-)

    No Angry Nerds shirt yet. @oraclenerd, I’ll try and get one for you.

  26. Jake Says:

    I really wanted to point that out, but you’re off the hook. It’s Disqus’ CSS I think, not yours :)

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Rich.  Congrats on your new role.  Wishing you all the best of luck.  We’ve been a big fan of your work in the AppsLab team here in EMEA.

  28. Peter Reiser Says:

    Hi Rich
    All the best and greet my buddies @ Atlassian:-)

  29. Christopher Jones Says:

    Good luck Rich!

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