IT-Leaders and Rulers from the Past: Parallels of Success You Could Have Missed. Pt.1
Do you aspire to conquer the whole world? Great! You are almost fated to succeed. How about analyzing the bricks that make the victorious foundation of great and world-famous achievements?
At all times, purposefulness was the main driving force. However, to build a powerful empire, you should have some other traits – by developing them, you can repeat the success of your predecessors, creating something of your own, something unique!
In this article, you will find out what personal traits of renowned rulers of the past and outstanding IT-leaders of the present helped them build their great empires.
While some predict the future, others create it. The first are called prophets, the second – successful businessmen.
Queen of Security
We decided to start with a woman in charge of security in the Twitter empire. We are talking about Del Harvey, the head of the company’s Trust & Safety. She can be compared to the Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut: Del Harvey has played the same role in Twitter, as Hatshepsut did in the evolution of Egypt.
In the digital age, Twitter (along with Facebook) has become one of the most ambitious public platforms, and its censors, as constitutional scholar Jeffrey Rosen said, “have more power over the future of privacy and free expression than any king, president or Supreme Court justice”.
Pharaoh Hatshepsut was a wise and peace-loving ruler of Egypt, like a loving mother, she cared for her country; her reign was remembered as an era of prosperity.
Hatshepsut sought to restore Egypt after long-drawn wars, to spread peace and develop culture. Del Harvey, in her turn, aims to make Twitter the most comfortable and safest place to communicate.
Del protects the rights and security of Twitter users, she believes that users need to be protected not only from each other but sometimes even from themselves. In this case, Del Harvey notes that the activity in Twitter is mostly safe and she sees a lot of positive communication.
Hatshepsut was a creator and a peacemaker by nature, a wise, far-sighted politician, and diplomat. She discovered new lands, contributing to the growth of economy and trade. She was actively engaged in construction, inviting best architects of her time.
In her work, Del seeks to anticipate and prevent worst-case scenarios, without limiting people’s capability to express themselves to the max on the Twitter project. Like Hatshepsut, Del is also actively engaged in construction – of strong and friendly relations between users.
All efforts of Hatshepsut were directed to restore Egypt after consequences of Hyksos invasion. Hyksos were a mysterious Asian people, nomads, and destroyers who did not create a civilization of their own; nowadays they can be compared to evil Internet trolls.
“I have restored what has been destroyed, what has collapsed, I have driven them away…” Hatshepsut said about Hyksos.
Del, in her turn, tries to clear Twitter from any toxic speech that scares off both users and advertisers. Del Harvey and her security department work hard to handle this very, very difficult task.
According to statistics, the probability of malicious tweets is 1: 1 000 000; such tweets can lead to very sad consequences. At first glance, their probability is extremely small; however, this is an illusion, because every second there are hundreds of thousands of new tweets. To the mid-2015, Twitter blocked more than 125,000 accounts, as their activity was related to spreading and propagating terrorism.
Interesting fact: given the scale of Twitter, one chance per million happens 500 times a day.
For Del Harvey, who heads the security department in Twitter, this is a high percentage. As a security expert, she thinks how to prevent worst-case scenarios, while giving an opportunity to people all over the world to express themselves. She manages to maintain the composure of 240 million users.
For example, on Del Harvey’s advice, Twitter made a decision not to display users’ locations when they work with the photo service, because this can be used by an attacker to find the location of a victim, and thus, can lead to very deplorable results.
When Twitter users, for example, travel and publish photos with geo-tagging, cyber-criminals can use this information and break into their houses, while the owners are on vacation.
According to a Chicago police officer Michael Anton, providing your current location on the Internet is a simple way to become a target of bandits: “We have literally hundreds of predators that we have arrested. We have uncovered over 100 victims and they became victims because of the internet usage and not being monitored”.
Every few months Twitter Inc. makes a series of changes to keep being a snug place for friendly conversations, unattainable for evil Internet trolls – the Hyksos of modern times.
Of course, it is impossible to ensure the safety of your project if it has bugs in it, so next, we will talk about one of the most famous QA.
QA Grand Duke
James Bach is an enthusiastic exploratory tester, the son of an amazing writer Richard Bach and the brother of Jonathan Bach, who is also a renowned software tester.
James’s work is mainly related to Silicon Valley companies, such as Apple and Borland; James’s methods are designed to be used in tight deadlines, rapid changes, component technologies and low specification.
At the beginning of his career, James was a programmer, but later he realized that analyzing and improving software quality were more interesting than software development.
James can be compared to Solomon. King Solomon ruled around 965 – 928 BC and became famous for his wisdom, he believed that “there was nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his own works…” Just like Solomon, James did not crave fame or money, he chose wisdom.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding”, Solomon.
Let’s recall one of the most famous parables of Solomon:
Once two women dwelling in the same house came to Solomon to settle their argument. A baby of one of them died at night. One woman claimed that the other laid a dead baby in her bosom instead of her living son, while the other claimed the opposite.
Solomon patiently listened to their unceasing argument and simply asked to bring a sword. Then Solomon ruled to cut the baby in two and divide him among the women.
One of the women immediately agreed to the cruel decision of the king, but the other begged not to kill the child, asking to give him to her neighbor. Thus, Solomon revealed a real mother – one who was willing to give her child to another woman, in order to save his life.
Solomon had never canned replies to solve problems, it always depended on the situation (a person with such a mindset could become an excellent QA in our time!). In his work, James is guided by the same principles.
“Never take anything for granted. Have your own methodology” James Bach says
James Bach often uses the term a sapient process. He believes that skilled humans should deal with sapient processes, and without dumbing down these processes they can’t be automated.
When preparing a document for print, you can, for example, teach a graphics editor to cut edges of an image, but this process can’t be called sapient because it is impossible to explain to the editor, which edge should be cut more and why. Thus, human factor can’t be avoided.
James never strained after recognition; success came to him by virtue of his skills, diligence and the desire to constantly learn new things. As a result, James became the head of Satisfice Inc. that conducts test training and QA consulting. James Bach’s blog is one of the most popular ones in the world.
To be a successful tester, a person should have an out-of-box vision of the world and a very broad outlook. It is noteworthy that James calls automated testing fact checking, for him real testing lies in exploration.
Solomon claimed that knowledge was much more valuable than the finest gold, for James Bach, the life of a tester is an endless process of cognition and self-development. James is convinced that the most important thing is to constantly and relentlessly collect resources materials and tools.
James appreciates quality in everything, it is very important for him to see and feel that his work is really good. Money is only a consequence; it is not essentially an end in itself.
In one way or another, any project is related to information. A simple and convenient database allows revealing potential opportunities to the fullest, to surpass competitors.
Some companies have built a successful business on this. We will tell you a little about the leader of one of them.
One of the greatest emperors
Bright, brilliant, always in the limelight, shining like a multifaceted diamond. This way he had been in his childhood, the same way he was years later. This is about Larry Ellison, the founder of the Oracle empire.
Since childhood, Larry was imbued with the spirit of adventure. When a student, he started working as a programmer. Soon, his favorite occupation began bringing him a good income. Larry knew that he was destined to be a winner and bravely walked towards his fate.
Larry Ellison is a man with a powerful inner core, possessing the gift of persuasion. In this regard, he can be compared to Gaius Julius Caesar. This character trait helped Larry achieve tremendous success, and eventually, he became one of the most influential people in the world. Larry Ellison will defend his point of view until he wins!
“Great beginnings don’t need to be pondered over, you should spring into action, otherwise, when you face any hardship, you will retreat”, Julius Caesar.
Gaius Julius Caesar is recognized as the greatest commander of all times and peoples, this man consistently sought rank-and-file positions, making a name for himself in the struggle against conservative senators. Caesar was an excellent speaker, his speeches were recorded, and later many of his phrases became quotes.
Caesar was passionately enthusiastic about oratory, he even visited the island of Rhodes to learn this art from Apollonius Molon, the mentor of Cicero.
Larry Ellison, in his turn, traveled to Japan to improve his sales strategy. Japanese culture influenced him greatly. According to Larry, it is the most aggressive of all cultures on Earth, but at the same time the most polite.
Larry was struck by contrasts, which he saw with his own eyes, and later tried to implement something similar in his company Oracle.
“And I think, in building our company, we tried to, as much as possible, replicate that culture: to be very aggressive on the one hand and humble on the other”, Larry Ellison said in one interview in 1995.
Larry believes that if you find a balance, you can multiply your competitiveness, and success will not keep you waiting.
Japan had a tremendous impact both on Larry himself and his Oracle company. If you want to make sure of this for yourself, we suggest you read the book of Kenichi Ohmae “The Mind of the Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business”. You will find many similarities between the models of Japanese business and Oracle.
Gaius Julius Caesar and Larry Ellison were taught by the best specialists, who enriched their experience and knowledge; eventually, each of them built a great empire.
“Veni Vidi Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered)”, Gaius Julius Caesar.
Just like Caesar, Larry always looked for his own way, not trusting either experts or established public opinion, this man did not crave authority, he became it – he came to the IT-world, saw new opportunities and won by building an amazing empire!
“In fact, the only way to get ahead is to find errors in conventional wisdom”, Larry Ellison.
Larry brilliantly presented his products to potential consumers. His databases are simple, convenient and universal, they are unique and continuously improved.
People trusted him, moreover – the CIA and the US Air Forces became Larry’s customers, the fact he later often mentioned to his potential customers. As of 12 January 2018, Larry’s net profit amounted to $59.7 billion.
Like Caesar, Larry always aimed at new victories. Larry perceived any possible failure as a challenge and got down to work with a vengeance.
“When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts”, Larry Ellison.
Julius Caesar said that experience was the teacher of all things. Larry’s way perfectly illustrates these words – his company endured very hard times, but he never gave up and always achieved what he wanted.
Currently, Oracle is the largest supplier of data management software; the company offers innovative ways to efficiently use and manage data, thus contributing to the prosperity of its customers. Oracle products are used by hundreds of thousands of companies around the world.
Perhaps, many of you haven’t even known or thought about it, but each time you shop online, you most likely use the technology developed by Oracle.
According to Larry Ellison himself, Oracle has become the fastest growing company in history, doubling its sales annually.
Once Caesar challenged the existing system by crossing Rubicon, just as Larry Ellison did in our time, because “databases are the basis of the future!”, and nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Build your great empire and remember:
- to create a peaceful space;
- to aim to foresee and prevent worst-case scenarios;
- to establish sapient processes;
- to learn new things, expand your outlook, not for the sake of being recognised;
- to learn from a guru, but search for your own way.