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John Olson

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Top Stories by John Olson

Sybase is back in the news, having once again posted gains in both revenues and profits. In fact, their latest quarterly announcement indicates they had the best quarter in the history of the company. That caps a truly amazing turnaround. In the last several years many technology companies successful in the '80s weren't able to keep up with the markets, went out of business, or were consumed by other companies such as CA. Sybase is in good company. Oracle, Microsoft, and Sun all faced that challenge and beat it by making innovative and somewhat risky moves. A classic example is Sun. It was declining until it bet its future on Java. A brilliant marketing campaign made Java the language to compare all other languages against. Now Sun is more successful than ever. Sybase's remarkable database success in the late '80s waned in the mid '90s, and the company struggled for... (more)

A Nose For The Essentials, Interview with Yakov Werde

Though I spend most of my time consulting on software systems, I also have the pleasure of teaching a variety of courses on Sybase Tools. As a Certified Sybase Instructor, I was able to attend a recent conference in Santa Fe that Sybase put on for its instructors. While there, I sat in on a Java course taught by Yakov Werde. Yakov is a very talented teacher, skilled in communication and humor. It's a good mix. I always enjoy the opportunity to learn from him. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak about his job and get a small glimpse of Yakov after hours. Olson: Briefly tel... (more)

Running a Tight Ship, an Interview with Brian Wesselink

A few years ago Brian Wesselink took over as director of Sybase's North America Education. Brian received a B.S. in mathematics from Central College in Iowa in 1969 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Florida State University in 1973. He was an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at the College of Charleston until 1983, at which time he joined Wang Laboratories, holding various management positions within customer education. He joined the customer education organization at Sybase in 1995, and became its director in 1999. I recently had the opportunity to speak wi... (more)

Avoid Being Outsourced

Products and markets have well-defined life cycles that vary in amplitude and length, but follow historical patterns. As Bob Hendry described in his editorial in last month's issue ("Is IT Outsourcing Worth It?" [Vol. 10, issue 10]), the IT outsourcing craze is in full swing. Certainly the heads-down programmer jobs are rapidly flowing out of this country, but for two centuries the backbone of American success and industrial might has not been labor but rather innovation. During the industrial revolution we made great innovations in industrial technology and went from a small col... (more)

Shifting Sands

Recently I was contemplating a situation at one of my company's projects and a parable that Jesus told came to mind. The parable goes like this. There are two men, one wise and one foolish. The wise man carefully chose a rock to build his house upon and the foolish man chose to build his upon the sand. When the rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew, the wise man's house stood firm because it was built upon the rock. The foolish man's house, built on an unstable foundation, fell and "great was its fall." Details about the structure aren't told though it's plain that the f... (more)