Earlier this week V3 spoke to Deepak Patil, vice president of development at Oracle, who joined the company from Microsoft where he worked under Bill Gates, and then Steve Ballmer, for 16 years.
We asked Patil what it was like to work directly with such well known giants of the technology world, especially as they are famed for their very different, but equally tough, management styles.
Patil said that between Gates and Ellison at least, there are four characteristics they both share.
“The most striking thing about the first conversation I had with Larry [Ellison], was the similarities he had with Bill [Gates],” he said, before explaining more, as outlined below in Patil's own words.
1. The first is they are both phenomenally smart. Just ridiculously smart. The time it takes them to internalise and process very complex concepts is just ridiculously short.
2. Second, they have disdain, a strong disdain, for mediocrity or risk averseness. Both of them share that in spades.
3. They both also have a fair degree of bluntness, almost an uncomfortable bluntness, in their conversations.
4. And finally, there is the sheer ambitiousness that you get after a life-long track record of making massive bets and succeeding.
However, Patil added that, while both are "direct", there is a "big difference between being direct and being disrespectful" and that both remain respectful, even when being direct.
But perhaps he has to say that, as Ellison is his boss. Ballmer was never mentioned. Make of that what you will.
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