Learning from mistakes, taking new directions, observations

Alright, so they aren't really new directions. Command Prompt has been submitting features to .Org for a long time, we have also been a large generator of content through activity on the mailing lists, the publicly available (if outdated) Practical PostgreSQL and not to mention all the content we provide through the PostgreSQL Conference site. However, with all of these things it is easy to get lost in the mire and slowly forget doing what you are good at.

As a team I would like to think that CMD is really good at serving the community, serving its customers, and taking care of each other. However, when you reach out of your expertise and try something new it can fail and come back to bite you. CMD for the last two years tried that, we changed our model. We started listening to companies that have a different model than we did. We felt that we could learn from their success and possibly have some better fortunes of our own. What we learned was that although there was some good information to be had (and we have used that information), the model that was being dictated to us was not the model that would allow CMD to be more successful. We also learned that their model, wasn't nearly as successful as they lead people to believe.

One of the things that I love about the .Org business community is that we look out for each other. 2ndQuadrant, Consistent State, PgExperts, Credativ, OmniTI, and CMD (and a host of others, no offense guys). We actively seek ways to work with each other when we can, we lead exchange, we send people to other companies we know are good companies if we can't help a customer, we don't swipe customers (purposely, sometimes things happen) . There is a certain, comfortable quid pro quo. No matter the differences that Josh Berkus, Simon Riggs, Robert Treat, Kevin Kempter or and I may have on list, it is purely professional and at any point we will get together and have beer when we are at a conference or other event. We all have similar goals and they are, grow PostgreSQL, grow our companies and take care of our families (probably not in that order).

Although CMD never stopped working with these community partners, we did lose focus through trying to become a more dominant player. It is natural to see opportunity and be slightly blinded by it. To have someone hold out their hand and say, "We know a better way, wink, wink", and think, "Hey maybe they do, let's see where this goes.". In our case, we found the way wasn't better and the way was really smoke and mirrors. This could very well be our fault. Frankly, we were blinded by opportunity that never arose and like many others in this community I am as stubborn as a mule. I just refused to adjust pace before now.

I am strong in my convictions and I have beliefs in the way business should be done. CMD is going back to that. Those beliefs are founded on well over a decade of running this company in a manner that has assured that no team member has ever missed a paycheck including myself, that our debt has always been minimal if at all and that our communications with customers are upfront, honest and to the point. In case you hadn't noticed, we also don't employ sales teams.

So what does all this really mean? Well for one, CMD has introduced the Google Policy. This means that every technical person in the company can spend 20% of their time on community work and sometimes that will be more. In the case of Alvaro, we have successfully received sponsorship for the rest of the Foreign Key Locks patch and he is currently spending more than 20% time on community work for example. If all goes well, we will continue to be sponsored to write features, modules and other PostgreSQL based software. We have been sponsored to do quite a bit of it lately.

It also means that we will be attempting to reinvigorate our cross community relationships, although most of our relationships are solid I feel that not all of them have flourished the way they should. I would like to see those relationships stronger so we can continue to move .Org forward. With stronger relationships in the commercial satisfies the pre-requisite for future growth of the software community. Companies need to know they have someone to call, someone that will treat them right, someone they can trust to implement whatever it is they need with PostgreSQL. If those relationships are strong, any one of us can make sure we get those needs served, either by doing the work ourselves or handing it off to a more suitable candidate.

In short it means, more patches, more patch review, more sponsored work and hopefully more intermingling of like interests between PostgreSQL companies. That is one of the goals behind PostgreSQL Conference West raising funds for feature development. We want to continue to have PgWest (and PgEast) be a central place where community and commercial can get together and celebrate the common goals of PostgreSQL.