Sunday, August 19, 2018

Thoughts on the Oracle ACE Program

Four years ago during ODTUG KScope14, I was designated as an Oracle ACE in the area of Database Development. Vikki Lira, who ran the ACE program at the time, surprised me on stage during the General Session. I could not have been more shocked.  I think my actual response was "You gotta be _hitting me!". While I wish at the time I'd been a touch more eloquent, I'm still not over the shock and remain indebted to Tim Gorman (and anyone else who had a part in it).

Truth is, while I really appreciated the recognition, I had a serious case of survivors guilt. Why me when there are thousands of qualified Oracle professionals more deserving?? I mentioned it to Deborah Lilly and she said something that has stuck with me ever since. She said "It's not what you know, it's what you share"
In ten words or less she made me feel deserving. She made me feel like I belonged.

Did Groucho Get it Right??

We've all heard the famous quote from Groucho Marx.

"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member"
                                                                             Groucho Marx

Funny enough, I found a notable Oracle personality who had this to say about the ACE program.

"By and large, they tend to be people with low self-esteem who can be easily flattered into promoting Oracle for free.  These ACE Directors are sometimes "legends in  own minds" and they are the perfect fodder for this unpaid army of Oracle evangelists."

Really?? I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Since I'm entitled to one too, let me say I couldn't disagree more with that assessment of Oracle ACEs. That doesn't describe me, I assure you. Trust the amount of Oracle gear, free meals, etc. is nowhere near worth us prostituting ourselves as was contended. We do it because we've bought into the sense of community. We view it as a way to "pay it forward".

Yea, we all have different personalities. We all have different Oracle skillsets. Some of us are more introverted...more extroverted. But the resulting nerd gumbo is really something to behold. I've found the ACE community to be welcoming and I look forward to the social times Jennifer and Lori carve out for us at the various conferences.

What's It All Mean Really?

I guess it means different things to different people. Anyone who tells you they don't care about recognition isn't, in my opinion, being entirely honest. Recognition taps into basic human emotions. Some crave it more than others, but we all need it at some level.

Receiving Your Oracle ACE Should Be The Beginning

It's always been my understanding that the "Oracle ACE is recognition for past deeds and accomplishments, while Oracle ACE Director is recognition for what you will do in the future." I want to challenge that. Receiving your Oracle ACE should in no way be viewed as reaching any mountaintop. Even if you don't strive for Oracle ACE Director, you should continue to do those things that brought you the ACE in the first place.

I will close by encouraging those who aspire to be part of the ACE program to not be dissuaded. Always remember... it's not what you know, it's what you share.

...our journey continues

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