A year ago I’ve been discussing with some people how unsafe and unsecure is working with small companies like Percona – which are small and bootstrapped, having no venture capital to relay on. The comparison was obviously MySQL which just acquired by Sun at that point.
It is really interesting how things have changed. As economic crisis stroke we see huge companies going bankrupt or having major cuts. I know number of people which lost their job just because their whole department was no more. They were great engineers but this is not enough as in many large companies people just tools.
With Sun/MySQL another thing is interesting – the people who were running MySQL before it was bought by Sun (Marten,Zack,Mark) are gone (Zack is still at Sun but at other position). Many other people from senior management are gone as well – these are the people which you as employee would have relationships and they would give you promises… and now be gone. Now even if you enjoyed Jonathan Schwartz vision about Open Source he may be no longer in position to implement his vision as Oracle takes over.
Interesting enough I think even Jonathan Schwartz has little control here. Sun is the public company and management team is not the major holders – Jonathan himself has well below 1% of outstanding shares. Most shares are held by institutional investors and mutual fonds which have little of romantic nature – the dividents and capital gains are what they care about. If head of the large corporation can’t deliver them he is risking to be replaced and the strategy which does not work be replaced with something which works.
The same applies to Venture Capital funded company – VCs want their money with a great return back first of all. “Being Good” alone is not enough for them. However if Founders/Visionaries and the team own the company they have the luxury of putting their values first and foremost if they choose to.