IOUG Member Spotlight
Join IOUG each month as we shine the spotlight on one of our members. Learn fun facts about what inspires our members, what they do for fun and how they got started in their careers.
July 2017 -Arjen Visser
What's your current job and title?
I am Founder and CEO of Dbvisit. My background is an Oracle DBA and developer. Dbvisit specializes in real-time replication software for Oracle databases. We have two software products. Dbvisit Standby is the world leader Disaster Recovery solution for Oracle Standard Edition and Dbvisit Replicate, which can replicate in real-time from Oracle to many other targets to feed BI, Big Data and other streaming platforms such as Kafka. We have customers in 110 countries around the world.
What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
Realizing that my evening and weekend project of building Dbvisit Standby and starting the company Dbvisit from scratch is actually a success and I can quit my daytime job.
What was your childhood dream job?
Like many other boys, I wanted to be a pilot, but I did not want to join the air force and did not want to pay for flight training so did the sensible thing and did a degree in Computer Science. In my late teens, my dream was to be a jazz musician and in my mid twenties, after I had worked in technology for a few years, did a formal study in jazz guitar for 2 years and tried to make a go of it. But I realized that it was going to be very tough making a living as a jazz guitar player and I was probably not good enough. So I went back to technology. And I have not looked back ever since. I got being a professional jazz guitar player out of my system and I have enjoyed having a great career in technology. Things are never stale in technology.
How long have you been a member of IOUG? What's your best experience thus far?
I have been a member since 2012. I was invited to speak at Collaborate 2012. My presentation was called “Perl - A DBA and Developers best (forgotten) friend”. I am quite a fan of Perl but realized that it was not so much in fashion anymore, even less so today. But there is still so much Perl around. So it is a good language to learn, especially for DBAs. My best experience was probably the first time I was at Collaborate. I felt a real thrill and excitement to be there, because all the big guns in the Oracle world were there, and you could talk to them! This conference was the real deal, there were so many great technical presentations and it was not padded with any marketing talk. It was real!
What advice do you wish someone had given you when you first started your career as a technologist?
Pay more attention to the business you are working for, not just the technology. How do they make money, what drives the business? Really understand the business. If you understand the business, you can serve them much better with technology. If you understand what the users of the systems you are looking after or developing are actually doing, you can be so much more effective and make more of a difference. I did not pay much attention to the business side when I started. I thought a database is a database. I just look after the database. But once I understood the business drivers and what issues the business was trying to solve, I was so much better at my job.
What features or products are on your wish list and why?
My day to day job as CEO does not involve playing with technology anymore. I still very much keep up to date with technology and especially where it is all going. I am very interested in streaming technology and especially Kafka. I see streaming technology as another disruptor like virtualization and cloud. Streaming all the companies data together, including the Oracle data, at the same time in real-time will provide new business insights.
What is the biggest technical and/or business challenge you have faced, and how did you overcome it?
Leading a company that is a distributed company with staff all over the world is a challenge. How do we ensure everyone feels connected to the company and how do we ensure that we keep a great internal culture? I am not sure we have overcome it, but it is something that is constantly on my mind. I am very lucky in that I have an amazing team at Dbvisit that is very passionate about what we do.
How do you stay active? How did you discover that activity?
I play tennis once a week, and jog from time to time. I build and fly model aircraft and have recently taken up surfing. I live in New Zealand and that is the perfect place for surfing. We have big waves and small waves. I still listen to jazz music and one day, I would like to pick up the guitar again.
What's your favorite film? Any memorable moments? Any favorite quotes?
I really liked La La Land because the main theme was about jazz and sticking to your dreams. But I also like documentaries. Last year I saw a documentary about Nathan East. He is a US bass guitar player and is considered one of the most recorded bass players in the history of music. And he is such a down to earth and fun guy. He is not only an amazing talent but also a very humble and nice human being. I like that in people.
What piques your passion in technology?
As a leader of a technology company, I come in contact with many other great technology companies. I am just amazed how many technology companies there are and how many amazing solutions are out there that people have crafted. So many people have build amazing technology companies, and that inspires me.