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.
August 2017 -Simon Pane
What's your current job and title?
I am an Oracle Database Principal Consultant working for Pythian. Also, a member of the IOUG Board of Directors and an Oracle ACE.
What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one single favorite moment. Every time I start a new opportunity it’s an interesting challenge, and every time I successfully complete a customer project, it’s rewarding. I think that overall some of my favorite moments have been with community engagement: successful speaking events and networking in the Oracle community. From a client project perspective, some large database migrations where I overcame some limitations of the Oracle tools with my own custom solutions was my technical favorite.
What was your childhood dream job?
As a child, I always dreamed of being an airline pilot. I love the technology of thousands of pounds of metal so gracefully flying in the sky. As well as the logistics of fleets, routes, and airports. Plus of course the travel opportunities. However, as I grew up and learned how difficult jetlag can be to people like myself and as my eyesight deteriorated to requiring glasses and contact lenses, I eventually refocused on Engineering which then led me to where I am now.
How long have you been a member of IOUG? What's your best experience thus far?
I don’t recall exactly how long as I’ve had both individual and corporate IOUG memberships. But what I do remember is my first involvement with IOUG which was as a speaker at the IOUG Live! Conference in 1998. That was both challenging and rewarding and I like to think back on that nowadays to reflect on how far I’ve come as both a professional and as a speaker. And overall the conferences such as IOUG COLLABORATE are my favorite experiences.
What advice do you wish someone had given you when you first started your career as a technologist?
To just go with the flow as “you don’t know what you don’t know”. In the world of technology, things change so quickly that it might be too closed minded or even naïve to think that you can accurately predict what you’ll be doing in 5-10 years and where.
What features or products are on your wish list and why?
There’s not much on my “wish list” but what I find really interesting right now is how automobile technology is changing. Most people will think that comment refers to self-driving or autonomous vehicles. However, even before that becomes mainstream, I think there’s a lot of interesting auto-tech that’s currently evolving for the driver. Within the vehicle, things like Head-up Displays, driver assists, and other adaptive driving and safety features. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for things to evolve and standardize in that area before autonomous vehicles.
Plus, there’s the real-time analytics side to consider. Right now the technology can collect traffic data, show congested routes, and suggest alternatives. But I’d like to see that go a step further into actually alleviating some of the congestion in an active fashion. For example, I’m sure we all know of a set of traffic lights in our area where we often wait with maybe 5-10 cars sitting at the light in your direction and the opposite direction but absolutely no cars going through the cross-direction. The traffic systems should be smart enough to analyze the real-time driving patters and adjust the light sequencing accordingly. I think technologies like that should be around the corner.
What is the biggest technical and/or business challenge you have faced, and how did you overcome it?
There’s been so many technical problems that it’s hard to narrow it down to one project, one performance issue, or one recovery. But the technical issues are just that – technical meaning they’re bound by rules (code, hardware, etc). The harder challenges are usually dealing with the people: convincing people why a certain decision truly is in everyone’s best interested. Machines are a lot more predictable that people.
How do you stay active? How did you discover that activity?
I like to mountain bike in the Canadian Rockies with my son when I find the time. Finding that time (and appropriate weather) is the biggest challenge.
What's your favorite film? Any memorable moments? Any favorite quotes?
My favorite movie is “Contact” (1997). I think people who are critical of that movie only see the surface layer. However, it was adapted from the story by the late genius Astronomer Carl Sagan and hence there are many additional layers or messages beyond what you see on the surface. One specifically is that no matter which end of the spectrum you’re at, if you’re at the far end you’ll be destined to fail. Everything involves some level of compromise and moving some degree towards the middle.
What piques your passion in technology?
What piques my passion in technology is that what we think is completely impossible easily becomes a reality through technology. For example, we now all have a little glass rectangle in our pockets from which we can almost instantly get just about any piece of information about anything in the world. We have all of the world’s knowledge at our fingertips (literally). For most of us, if we were told when we children that one day we’d have this, we’d find it completely unbelievable. Yet today it’s a reality. And past generations had similar revolutionary technical improvements in their lifetimes.When I was in school we learned about major revolutions such as the agricultural and industrial revolutions and how they changed the world. And those were hundreds of years ago. But since then I’ve lived through three more (arguably as significant) revolutions: the PC revolution, the internet revolution, and the mobile revolution. And who knows what’s next? Augmented reality, medical Nano-bots, who knows – the sky’s the limit.