Photo: Computer History Museum
Here is a photo from 1978 of Oracle’s co-founders celebrating their company’s first anniversary.This was even before the company was named Oracle. At that time it was still called Software Development Laboratories (SDL).
The co-founders couldn’t know that their company would one day become a multi-billion empire, the world’s largest database maker, one of the world’s largest enterprise software AND hardware vendors.
Here they are (left to right) Ed Oates, Bruce Scott, Bob Miner and yes, that tall guy on the far right is Larry Ellison.
Ed Oates retired from the company in 1996. 'I had told Larry, when the company gets to 10,000 people, I'm out of there. I couldn't quit fast enough. I quit when the company had 20,000 people,' he told attendees of a San Jose State University lecture he in 2011.
He then bought a high-end home theatre store, called the Audible Difference which had clients like Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison. He sold it in 1999.
He is currently a member of the board of advisors of big data analytics company Auguri Corp. and is on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Zoological Society.
Here's how he describes the co-founders: 'What we brought to the table: Larry brought chutzpah. Technical wizardry, Bob Minor. Project management and knowledge of how computers worked at their core level, that was me. Notice we didn't have any business acumen. We weren't marketeers. We weren't sales guys. Other than a little bit of project management, we couldn't run a large organisation to save our lives. We had to learn.'
Although Bruce Scott is widely considered an Oracle co-founder, technically he wasn't. He was its first hired employee -- or, if you count the founders, employee No. 4. He was the co-architect of the first three versions of the Oracle database.
Scott was with Oracle its first five years and left in 1982 to help launch Gupta Technologies with another ex-Oracle employee, Umang Gupta. (It was later known as Centura Software). The company created the first client/server SQL database and flew high for a while but eventually filed for bankruptcy, and its tech was sold to investors.
Scott landed on his feet, co-founding another database company, PointBase which was acquired by DataMirror, a company that would later be acquired by IBM. Ironically, PointBase is still being used in Oracle's WebLogic software.
Bob Miner was the architect of Oracle's database and for most of his career at the company he led product design and development.
In 1992, he left that role and spun off a small unit within Oracle that worked on advanced technology.
If Ellison was considered the hard-driving 'brains' of the company, Miner was considered its heart, a well-liked manager that counterbalanced Ellison. He wanted his employees to see their families, not work through the night.
He died in 1993 at age 52 from a rare form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Larry Ellison is still going strong as the CEO of Oracle, the longest running CEO in the history of tech companies. He's also one of the world's richest men with a net worth of $36 billion.
He recently purchased a large chunk of the state of Hawaii -- the island of Lanai. He's also busy organising the prestigious sailing race, the America's Cup, which will take place in San Francisco in 2013.