We caught up with RavenDB’s CEO, Oren Eini, to find out what makes him tick…
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
I am a programmer at heart and I am proud to say that I know every corner of our database offerings.
One of my most memorable achievements is when we developed automatic indexes for RavenDB. Automatic indexes are where your database sets up an index before servicing a query. Either it will set up an index, use one already there or update one that is already in existence. The more you use your database, the more efficient your indexes will become as RavenDB learns from your usage patterns to develop better indexes for you.
One of our long term users gave us the specs for how to make one. This is one of the best advantages of having an open source project. Some of the ideas for our best features come from our community of users.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
To be honest, I don’t remember specifically, although I can say it was at a very young age.
It was probably around the time I got my first computer. It was an XT with a keyboard connected as part of the computer’s case. If I remember correctly, this computer had an iridescent green screen and only 128 kb of memory. At the time, a good friend of mine got a new computer with 192 kb of memory and I remember thinking that he was the king of the world.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
My approach to management is that everyone is an adult and should behave this way.
This means that I am comfortable in most situations to hand over responsibilities to others and expect that everything will get done. Typically, you may need to provide direction, but ongoing oversight should not be required. This gives people the chance to grow quickly as they are forced to find real solutions to real problems.
With this approach, my developers become really good, really fast.
Along these lines, as a manager, I expect that developers will own their own problems and be independent about solving them. This builds a lot of confidence.
What do you think will emerge as the technology trend of 2019 and why?
Simplification. My opinion is that we have gotten to the point where the level of complexity you have to deal with is explosive and untenable. This complexity definitely needs to be reduced and by a large amount. Kubernetes is an example of great technology that has so many spinning wheels and moving parts. As a result, it is difficult to manage and operate unless you have a large number of staff dedicated to the technology.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
It is really difficult to say. Like most technology sectors, there is a great level of marketing buzz in the database space. A lot of money has been invested in this which is creating a lot of movement, although it is not clear in which direction or for what benefit. We are focused on continually developing and expanding our offerings for the benefit of our user community, which is the source of our growth.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?
Over time, I think I am getting better at leaving my work at the office. I certainly have not perfected this, although I can say that most of the time I succeed in separating myself from work when I go home at the end of the day.
I enjoy reading and taking long walks with my dogs. I also enjoy spending time with my family.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
Like many entrepreneurs, at the beginning on my management career I made some decisions that led down the wrong path. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to correct many of these early decisions.
One example is when we created the first version of our RavenDB database product. At the time, we had a handful of highly talented and dedicated developers. Instead of taking our time and relying on internal resources, we rushed the development by using outside parts to make the database work, which didn’t turn out to be the best decision.
A few years later, we developed the fourth version of our database product. Before beginning the development, we made a long list of nearly 100 improvements that we wanted to incorporate in the new version. We properly planned the development activities and for a period of nearly two years, our sales failed to grow as most of our internal resources were dedicated to building the best database product possible. The outcome was a new version that we were really proud of and it exceeded my personal expectations.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe?
GDPR is the obvious answer to this. This topic is covered so widely, there is really no need to elaborate or to explain further.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
As our company grows, I find myself doing less coding and more managing. Last year, we achieved 30% growth and as a result I have had to spend more time on sales and marketing. However, my priority will always be developing the best database on the market and serving our growing customer base.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?
Technical qualities are great, although people skills are more important at C-level. It’s very common to see people who don’t invest any time in this area. They take the approach of ‘I know my technology. I know how to make things work so I can make things happen automatically.’
To succeed at C-Level, your people skills need to match your technical abilities.