Larry Ellison Hearsay: "We Can't Be Successful if We Don't Lie to Customers"

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Long before Mark Pincus talked about making revenue any way he could, there was Oracle’s Larry Ellison. Brash, funny, ladies-man-playboy and intensely competitive, they don’t make tech entrepreneurs like Ellison anymore. Bloomberg’s Game Changers series is taking on Ellison in a special airing tomorrow at 6 pm pacific time on Bloomberg TV. It sounds like it’ll be a juicy send up of my favorite eyebrow-less mogul, and I’m setting my TiVo now.

They wouldn’t send me a transcript before it airs, but I did get a few teasers out of them. Here are some quotes from the show by some of the people who worked the closest with Ellison:

  • Bruce Scott, the co-founder of Oracle says, “I remember him very distinctly telling me one time: Bruce, we can’t be successful unless we lie to customers.” And adds: “All the things that you would read in books of somebody being a leader, he wasn’t.  But he was tenacious; he would never give up on anything.”
  • Stuart Feigin, Oracle’s fifth employee says, “There was no version 1 [of Oracle software] because everyone thought, well, no one buys version 1, it’s buggy. So we started with a version 2.  Well, our version two was at least as buggy as anyone’s version 1…And I describe those early versions as the roach motel of databases. The data went in, but it didn’t come out.”
  • Gary Bloom, one of Ellison’s many heir apparents that didn’t quite work out, says, “I have a theory that Larry’s succession plan for Oracle is he is trying to figure out a way that when he’s six feet under in a grave, he can still run Oracle.”

Sadly, it doesn’t look like Ellison himself was interviewed, which isn’t surprising given how media-shy he’s been for much of the last decade. Your chair is always waiting at TechCrunchTV, Larry.

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