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Fortune Magazine Profiles MySQL AB 63

Posted by Zonk
from the distributed-working dept.
hdtv writes "Fortune magazine profiles MySQL AB, a midsize company with a fairly large footprint. Fortune magazine popped in on another corporate party, which just happened to take place online across countries and continents." From the article: "'When a company is as spread out as this one,' Basil explains, 'you have to think of virtual ways to imitate the dynamics of what goes on in a more familiar employment situation.' That neatly sums up the broader challenge that many companies are confronting: how to nurture a bond among workers who rarely, if ever, meet. Few businesses are as spread out as MySQL, which employs 320 workers in 25 countries, 70 percent of whom work from home."
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Fortune Magazine Profiles MySQL AB

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  • by packetmon (977047) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:52AM (#15455255) Homepage
    Telecommuting is huge and is obviously growing... I telecommute from home and enjoy it most of the time, but I also despise not going into a noisy office, seeing others, etc. It can be more profitable and beneficial for companies that allow employees to telecommute as well. Costs on infrastructure is saved, equipment costs, etc., Avaya is huge on telecommuting as well: According to the Avaya commissioned IDC Asia Pacific Business Mobility Survey, an overwhelming 70 per cent of Malaysian managers surveyed trust their staff to telecommute, as they feel that the ability to work in various environments encourages employee creativity and consequently productivity. The survey revealed that more than 50 per cent believe that allowing employees to telecommute improves their productivity. The other major benefits of telecommuting cited include enhanced customer service and seizing new business opportunities. source [avaya-apac.com]. I also recall reading about their domestic (United States) operations and how much money they've saved and become more productive.

    Anyhow back to the article... spot talent among the company's army of volunteers - a minor league for software programmers. I wouldn't agree with that statement in the article. Most software programmers who do open source programming often have professional programming jobs. Calling them "minor league" is off the mark... There are a few other issues with the article as well: Civilians are being enticed to work free. MySQL owes them nothing for their efforts. Contributors are doing work for enjoyment, for getting a good product they can use. MySQL should and probably does show them via acknowledgment appreciation via mentions. I mean think of placing "MySQL Developer" on a resume. It holds weight...

    How long can that last? Eventually, it would seem, these hard-working geeks are bound to feel exploited - or migrate to another product's fan club. Even Widenius acknowledges the possibility.
    For those that do go, others will pop up in their place. Many choose to support this environment because it is beneficial in the long run to them. If I started a SOHO company, why wouldn't I contribute if I'm getting the program for free as opposed to dishing out for Oracle.

    "These users have their own needs to satisfy," he says. "Their main motivation is that they are lazy, and once they fix a problem, they want the fix to be in the next version of the software so they don't have to make the same changes again." I wouldn't call the users lazy by reporting problems. I would call them content with getting a good stable product and contributing to the product.
  • by martenmickos (467191) on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:12PM (#15457393)
    /. readers,

    The whole idea behind the distributed organisation is an interesting one, and we are very proud to be featured in Fortune Magazine. And we wouldn't be there where it not for the support from our community - so thank you!

    As for the quote that was attributed to me, it is not correct word by word. My point was that if you work from your home, it is important that you have some other devotion too, in addition to the company you work for (MySQL in this case). Otherwise you may lose perspective. That other devotion can be nearly anything. For Erik Granström in Sweden it is his family, his sheep farm (yes, he is also a farmer), and writing books.

    I would be keen to hear how others deal with this. What tricks and techniques do you have for enjoying working from home, for being productive, for being social with colleagues who are thousands of kilometers/miles away? Let us know!

    Marten Mickos, CEO, MySQL AB

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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