Re: Designing database tables for performance?

From: Bob Badour <>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 18:18:45 GMT
Message-ID: <9C_Eh.1995$>

Walt wrote:

> "joel garry" <> wrote
Do you realize I was awarded "Go Oracle
user of the month" for standing up to him 15 years ago <END QUOTE>

> Actually, I agree with a lot of what Date and Pascal say, I just have
> problems with Pascal's elitism and anyone who says Larry Ellison has
> brainwashed people like me.

I am going to ignore my own best advice and indulge in just a little armchair psychology. As Dr. Phil would say, "I am going to put the dots really close together"...

Social status, status hierarchies and community are important, strong reinforcers for human beings. Social status ranks right up there with sex and food--frequently trumping both.

In the first quote above, Joel basically says: "Look at this. See? I have status and authority!" Where did he get this status and authority?  From a vendor community. Which of his actions triggered this reinforcer? He attacked Fabian Pascal. Clearly, the reward of status was significant to Joel because he consciously remembers the reward 15 years later. (He even suggests that others remember it too.)

I appreciate Joel's candor sharing the first quote above.

Take note: the status reward mentioned in the first quote above works by identifying Joel as a member of an elite group within one of his chosen communities. Yet, in the second quote, Joel claims to have a problem with alleged elitism.

Contrary to Joel's claim, elitism is not the problem per se. Note in the first quote above, actual elitism is an acknowledged positive reinforcer for Joel while in the second quote perceived elitism is a claimed negative reinforcer. If Joel decides to get real, he will have to accept that the problem for him is not elitism per se but his perceived relative position within status hierarchies.

One perceived status hierarchy, let's call it O for oracle, makes him feel good because he perceives high status. Another perceived status hierarchy, let's call it R for relational, makes him feel bad because he perceives low status.

Humans respond to perceived low status two ways: 1) by seeking higher status within the hierarchy or 2) by devaluing the hierarchy. There is an excellent essay on the latter phenomenon that has been around forever. One can find it under the somewhat obscure title: _The Fox and the Grapes_.

Knowing a thing or two about 1) the relational model, 2) sql and 3) oracle in particular, I say anyone who can achieve high status in R can achieve high status in O and vice versa. The same goes for any vendor community V in {Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Microsoft, Borland, Gupta, SAP...} Normally, one would expect individuals to seek high status in both types of hierarchies or to devalue both types of hierarchies. In the early days, as one would expect, that was the normal outcome.

But Joel's motivations are not the only motivations.

All the vendors are corporations or businesses. As such, they all share a common interest: to return value to shareholders. As a shareholder myself, I have no problem with the profit motive. I merely acknowledge the motive for businesses. To achieve the goal of shareholder value, corporations evaluate employee and executive performance on a quarterly or annual reporting basis and use various reinforcers to achieve desired outcomes.

While the broader relational community considers profits and shareholder value important, it also considers the interests of other stakeholders including customers of the vendors and customers of those customers as well as employees of all the above and any third parties potentially affected by the actions of any the above.

Sometimes those broader interests conflict with shareholder value. In fact, sometimes long-term shareholder value conflicts with the short-term perception of shareholder value on a quarterly report or even on the investment horizons of typical investors.

As a result, vendors and specific actors within the vendor communities have incentives to persuade their community members to reject the R community and to devalue the R hierarchy just as they have incentives to persuade their community members to reject the vendor V communities of other vendors. Predictably, these actors create positive reinforcers to alter behaviour. Every vendor has a "Most Vociferous Person" program or a "Team Borgmind" program to enhance the status hierarchy and to reward desired behaviour. This creates a self-reinforcing system where the group rewards itself for specific behaviours.

As explained above, some of the rewarded behaviours relate to devaluing the R status hierarchy, dismissing or attacking the highest status members of the R status hierarchy (ie. "levelling") etc.

I would not go so far as to say Larry Ellison personally brainwashed Joel. However, without any question or doubt, Joel's behaviour has been modified specifically to benefit the shareholders of Oracle Corporation including the interests of the largest shareowner, Larry Ellison. Hence my original observation of irony in Joel's post.

Over the past decade and a half, I have seen Fabian tear more than a few new ones. I have never seen Fabian malign anyone unfairly as Joel claims, and I have found Fabian about as anti-elitist as anyone I can imagine. Without question, Joel's own post demonstrates Joel is far more elitist than Fabian could ever be.

Over the same timeframe, I have witnessed thousands of instances where vendor communities rewarded people like Joel for mindlessly attacking Fabian, dismissing Chris Date, disparaging the relational model ("Oh, that's just theory") etc. Certainly well over 10,000 specific instances by now.

Vendor communities reward people like Joel for projecting their own basest flaws onto high status members of the R community. Joel's post is just the latest reminder in an endless stream of reminders how vendor communities foster ignorance, intellectual dishonesty and denial.

For anyone who wants to learn more, I suggest RTFM. One can find the operating manual for human beings (and other wetware) under the ISBN 9780553380392 Received on Tue Feb 27 2007 - 19:18:45 CET

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