Archive for the ‘Percona’ tag
At the MySQL conference, a person who used to hold an important position in an important sales organization told us something like the following: “You know, you guys at Percona are great, but you have a big problem. You don’t have any $500,000 customers who only file one support incident per year. Those customers are where you can really make big money.”
We were well aware of the investigations this person did into which customers are the most profitable, and we had decided a long time ago that chasing huge sales without delivering matching services is flawed. I told this person as much: “that model is fundamentally broken because it doesn’t align cost with value delivered.”
Actually, we do have customers who rank in the top 50 of the Fortune 500. I’m thinking of one right now. They filed only one case so far. And they’ve paid us for exactly the amount of hours we spent on that case. And far from being a problem, this is exactly where we’re doing things right.
Some people may see us as shrinking the pie by billing just a few thousand dollars for “huge jobs.” They might think we’re silly for telling the customer that a few hours on the phone and remotely is going to be better for them than a week onsite. They may consider us small peanuts because we don’t have 10-million-dollar deals. What they are missing is what the customers see clearly: it’s good to write win-win contracts and leave something on the table. If it looks like table scraps to Mr. Million Dollar Salesman, that’s okay. Those bloated “profitable” contracts are short-term thinking, and they’re actually a serious weakness. Don’t celebrate our “problem” too much. Keep an eye in the rearview mirror. Is it a problem, or is it our secret sauce?
One problem I think we might actually have is how to get a good sales person with our model. You see, we don’t actually have any sales staff at all right now. I am not sure the math would work out the way a traditional sales person would like. But that’s because a traditional sales person is used to being rewarded for “earning money for the company,” which I think is really broken, at least in the way it’s traditionally implemented.
I’ve said before that I think one of the reasons MySQL was unable to create an open-source business model is that their sales folks pushed the company in the direction of closed source. I’m honestly not sure what the best open-source sales model is. I know that I really feel good about our services delivery model and our pricing model; right now our sales model is nonexistent. We are passive; we just answer inquiries and sign contracts. As things stand now, nobody’s doing any sales.
Still, I think this is a good problem to have, and I trust that the right person will come along and see the opportunity to create a good salary at the same time as really providing a service to Percona and the customers. That person will explain to us how cost (salary) and value (service to us and customers) can be impedance-matched too. And that will probably be an innovation, or at least unconventional. With all the other ways Percona is unconventional, I don’t expect us to create a conventional sales model either.
Having written about what I think is cool about the upcoming MySQL Conference and the MySQL Camp, now I want to finish up with what I’d like to see at the Percona Performance Conference. Just to recap, this is a conference we created to serve those who want to learn about performance — not “learn about MySQL,” not “learn about database performance,” just learn about performance, period.
I want to see everything. I think this is going to be the single best conference I’ve ever been to. Even the way the conference is organized is exciting. For example, it’s running from early morning till late at night, nonstop. The sessions are also (mostly) only 25 minutes. This means if you decide a session isn’t all that interesting, you didn’t spend much time on it, and you don’t have long to wait for the next one.
So here is a small sample of the sessions:
- CouchDB: Behind the Buzz (Jan Lehnardt)
- Performance Instrumentation: Beyond What You Do Now (Cary Millsap)
- Hive: Distributed Data Warehousing with Hadoop (Ashish Thusoo and Prasad Chakka, Facebook)
- High Performance Erlang (Jan Henry Nystrom)
These are not just people who’ve learned about something and want to talk at you. These are the inventors, the originators, the gurus. It is truly the who’s who, and that’s just a few of them. If you aren’t familiar with those names, Google them and see. And after that, why not Google Theo Schlossnagle, Eric Burton, Monty Widenius, Andrew Aksyonoff, and a few others.
I hope to see you there. Bring your business cards and introduce yourself to me!
What’s going on at your favorite open-source database developer mailing list? Non-scientific memory of what I’ve been seeing lately:
- The Drizzle list is talking about test coverage and completeness, and schedulers.
- The MySQL internals list has recently been dominated with talk about coding standards.
- The PostgreSQL hackers list is talking about a ton of stuff. I don’t even try to keep up.
- The Percona launchpad list is talking about bugs, xtrabackup, and more bugs and patches for them. There’s also a Percona Google Group that is not very active. In fact there are several Percona lists; it looks a little confused.