Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Mark Hurd Oracle

On Friday, October 18, 2016, Oracle founder and chairman Larry Ellison introduced that Mark Hurd had handed away at age 62. He had been ailing and was compelled take a depart of absence from his job as CEO of Oracle final month, a task he shared with CEO Safra Catz.

“Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague,” Ellison wrote to the announcement posted on Hurd’s private web site. “Mark leaves his beloved wife Paula, two wonderful daughters who were the joy of his life, and his much larger extended family here at Oracle who came to love him.”

In 2016, Hurd invited Enterprise Insider’s chief tech correspondent, Julie Bort, to spend a day with him watching him work. Bort ran after him throughout considered one of his largest days of the yr, when he met with prospects, analysts and gave keynote speeches at Oracle’s annual, huge tech convention. We’re republishing that article, unedited, in its entirety. 

Oracle had $37 billion in income that yr. It has since grown its high line to $39 billion. 

With $37 billion in annual income, Oracle is likely one of the world’s largest tech corporations. And yearly, tens of 1000’s of consumers, companions, business analysts, and journalists descend upon San Francisco for the corporate’s OpenWorld tech convention.

It’s a pinnacle week for the corporate’s high execs — its two well-known CEOs, Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, and its much more well-known founder, Larry Ellison, who stepped down from the CEO position in 2014 to grow to be government chairman and CTO, although he is nonetheless very a lot the chief of the chief triad.

Oracle invited me to spend a full day shadowing Hurd final week at OpenWorld as he met with prospects, analysts, and others on the largest day of the convention.

Through the week, Hurd met with almost 500 individuals both in one-on-one conferences or in small teams, answering their questions, fixing issues, issuing reassurances, and explaining the corporate’s plans and technique — all at a surprisingly exhausting tempo.

It was a uncommon close-up take a look at the exhausting work a CEO does to run world tech firm., “

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Our day collectively began at eight a.m. at an area Starbucks. Hurd had been up for hours already (since about 4:30 a.m.), working. He all the time wakes up that early. He warned me to put on snug footwear.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

See: The reality behind Oracle CEO Mark Hurd’s Starbucks dependancy

Hurd surprisingly doesn’t journey with an entourage of assistants. He is well-known for his reminiscence, and would not want a number of hand-holding on his schedule. This present day, it appeared as if he had an entourage, however the crowd was largely a PR consultant and me. We had been generally joined by the highest Oracle exec chargeable for the entire occasion and an Oracle exec chargeable for a selected roundtable or assembly.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Assembly with prospects is clearly considered one of Hurd’s favourite issues to do. He was in excessive spirits, completely satisfied and joking with me and others all day. He was humorous. He is additionally a singularly centered man: gross sales and operations. He is so oriented towards that, that at one level, I discussed the singer Adele, and he quipped, “Now that’s productivity! She had one bad breakup and she turned it into a dozen songs.”

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Our first cease was the opening keynote for a particular program referred to as Leaders Circle. That is an invitational program for a number of hundred Oracle prospects, and it is for enterprise individuals fairly than technical of us. Hurd’s keynote and Q&A session was the kickoff. The group additionally heard from Safra Catz and Larry Ellison, and has its personal particular observe of classes and meet-ups.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Earlier than the Leaders Circle keynote, Hurd noticed his pal Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, who was additionally talking on the present and on the Leaders Circle convention. They chatted earlier than the occasion kicked off.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

One of many funniest moments of the day got here early. The room stuffed with about 150 Leaders Circle individuals, and Hurd, ever punctual, began his keynote proper on time. He observed a row of empty seats reserved for Oracle staff and commented on the lacking staff. In his greatest CEO voice, he stated: “Don’t worry, we’ll find them.” The room of managers laughed. Shortly after, these seats had been dutifully stuffed. It was truly a packed room.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Hurd gave the gang a mini model of his main public keynote after which did a Q&A. The keynote included predictions of how cloud computing would eat the world inside 10 years. This perception is why Oracle is hurling itself into cloud computing as quick as it could, spending billions to construct new knowledge facilities, launching new cloud companies, changing all of its software program into cloud choices, and pitching all of it closely to its prospects.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

In all of his keynotes, Hurd gleefully reported that Oracle was the “fastest growing” huge cloud participant, referring to its income development (not the entire {dollars} of latest income). It is on observe to be a $2 billion enterprise, and most of that is from corporations which have by no means used Oracle’s enterprise functions earlier than, Hurd says. Two billion is not nothing, though it is nonetheless a small fraction of the corporate’s $37 billion in income.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Hurd has spent the previous 4 years revamping the gross sales power to promote cloud computing. His huge guess: hiring 1000’s of current faculty grads and creating a brand new coaching system for them (a program referred to as Class Of). It was a controversial choice on the time and angered some, who nervous that he was attempting to interchange skilled gross sales professionals with lower-paid children. Right now, the Class Of program is working extraordinarily properly in bringing entry-level salespeople to Oracle, Hurd tells us. And he is happy with the entire gross sales staff for embracing this system.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Nonetheless, Oracle’s prospects, and the tech neighborhood at massive, usually are not able to crown Oracle the cloud chief. Throughout Hurd’s foremost convention keynote, after telling attendees many occasions that Oracle was the fastest-growing cloud, Hurd did a stay ballot with the viewers. At the least one-third of them stated they thought Amazon Net Providers was the quickest rising. The numbers had been nonetheless coming in, with AWS hitting 30%, when Oracle pulled this ballot off the display.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Aside from that polling query, Hurd was proud of that keynote and considerably relieved it was over, he informed individuals the following day. It was a sophisticated factor — stay polling mixed with movies and on-stage appearances from prospects, together with a number of pleasant jokes about Larry Ellison. Executives fear about Murphy’s regulation throughout their huge stay displays.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

After the Leaders Circle keynote, we actually ran to the following occasion: an invitational roundtable breakfast for human-resources execs. Somebody has mapped out the shortest routes between every room the place Hurd is scheduled to speak, which just about all the time entails chopping by way of a again kitchen …

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

… or dashing by way of some secret-passage-like again hallway. (These footage are blurry as a result of I am operating to catch up. Hurd strikes quick, and nobody was ready for me.)

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

At one level, we had been whisked to an occasion at one other venue by employed chauffeured vehicles. I did not experience with Hurd; the PR rep and I rode in a second automobile.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

The second roundtable of the day is clearly considered one of Hurd’s favorites: a Q&A with HR execs. Oracle sells a number of HR software program, however this speak — led by Oracle’s head of HR, Joyce Westerdahl — was about how Oracle hires, manages, and trains its staff. Hurd lights up when he talks about managing and motivating individuals. The viewers requested a number of questions, every thing from how Oracle handles worldwide hiring to easy methods to hold good individuals, and he overtly answered every thing.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Hurd’s huge recommendation: Deal with coaching direct supervisors, particularly offering incentives that reward them to nurture all their staff, not simply their stars. If staff have a very good supervisor, they love their jobs. If they do not, they depart, he says. Oracle’s Gretchen Alarcon, who heads Oracle’s HR product staff, additionally informed the room how Oracle makes use of its personal HR software program to trace worker satisfaction.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

As a lot as his schedule allowed, Hurd stopped and talked to staff as he noticed them, whether or not they had been attending a roundtable speak or manning the cubicles within the hallways. When you had been an Oracle worker within the room with him, he appeared to find out about it.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Earlier than every roundtable or keynote, the chief accountable for that assembly would transient Hurd. Simply earlier than a Q&A with market analysis analysts, he talked to the VP of analyst relations, Ricarda Rodatus. She joined Oracle from SAP a few years in the past. She informed him which analysts will probably be within the room and the questions they’re prone to ask. As a substitute of detailed product questions, this group has grow to be within the tradition change wanted for Oracle to promote and help the cloud, she informed him.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Hurd would not do a lot of an introductory spiel for this group. He simply takes questions. He is a bit cautious of this crowd and tells them so, joking to them that analysts are all the time a “tough crowd” and {that a} 50-minute grilling “is exhausting,” which will get a giant snicker.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

In reality, he is feeling good about Oracle’s cloud technique and its development, and may simply reply their questions on its merchandise, plans, and tradition change.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

One huge shock for me: CEOs aren’t given any time to eat or take bio breaks. At almost 1 o’clock, with no actual breakfast (I grabbed a small muffin on the HR panel), I am hungry so I sneak a chunk of rooster from the analysts’ buffet. However which means I am consuming when he finishes his speak …

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

… they usually all run out of the room instantly to get to the following factor. I used to be left scrambling to seize my stuff and operating to catch up. Hurd has not eaten something all day. I am fortunate I have not been consuming an excessive amount of espresso, so I do not want my very own bio break.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

The massive occasion on at the present time is Larry Ellison’s keynote. About an hour earlier than it begins, we head backstage the place a military of Oracle individuals are working behind the scenes, similar to these individuals dealing with the net streaming of the convention. Backstage safety is tight. At one level, I fall just some steps behind Hurd, and two safety individuals cease me. My badge would not give me entry to backstage. My PR companion has to fetch somebody with authority to let me by way of.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

A great deal of individuals are working again right here. There is a crew that works on graphics and crews that monitor all of the tech …

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

… and there is an IT staff. Streaming a stay keynote to hundreds of thousands of individuals world wide is not any small feat.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

There’s additionally a backstage workplace for executives, their help workers, the advertising staff, and some VIPs.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Meals and snacks for the execs are on this room, however Hurd would not get an opportunity to eat instantly. Folks want to speak to him earlier than he heads on stage to introduce the pre-keynote speaker, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

All the highest Oracle execs have a devoted area on this room the place they will plug in and work if they should.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Ellison has his personal personal dressing room subsequent door. It’s arrange with every thing he must apply his keynote and his stay demos. I by no means noticed him backstage, though I caught a fast look of Hurd’s co-CEO, Safra Catz, as she dashed out and in of the chief places of work.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

We bumped into Sikka backstage earlier than his keynote. Some individuals are nonetheless shocked about how shut a associate he’s with Oracle nowadays. He led the event of the HANA database at Oracle’s arch competitor, SAP, earlier than taking this CEO job a number of years in the past. He is identified industrywide as a pleasant man, and he is pleasant with the parents at Oracle, together with CMO Judy Sim, who’s posing with him right here.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

I get a sneak peek of the principle stage. This is the view from the stage as individuals begin to filter in. 1000’s of individuals will quickly fill this room for Ellison’s keynote.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Nonetheless, a few of them desire to observe it on big screens arrange outdoors and begin to line up on the market.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Behind me on stage is the world’s largest LCD display. It is so huge and spectacular that when Ellison rotated and noticed it throughout his keynote, he stated, “Cool! I’ve got to get one of these for my house.” The group laughed.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

As a result of I am with the CEO entourage at present, I am within the reserved seating within the entrance rows. They even printed an indication with my title.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Backstage, I even have my “own” workplace the place I can plug in and work quietly. I strive that for a couple of minutes …

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

… nevertheless it’s far more enjoyable in the principle backstage workplace, the place I can watch the stay keynote …

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

… and the place I run into Oracle luminaries like longtime board member Ray Bingham and Chief Company Architect Edward Screven, who reviews to Ellison. If Ellison did not have the title of CTO, Screven most likely would. Each of them are very good and chat with me.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Bingham tells me the story of how Ellison acquired him to hitch the board in 2002. Within the early 1990s, Bingham labored for Cadence Design Techniques. Ellison was on Cadence’s board, and the Cadence CEO was on Oracle’s board. However after two exhaustive critiques by consultants, Bingham’s IT staff really helpful that Cadence purchase SAP’s monetary ERP software program, not Oracle’s. Every CEO give up the opposite’s board over it. However Ellison apparently held no grudge — a number of years later, he reached out to Bingham to hitch Oracle’s board. Bingham was so impressed by the olive department that he accepted.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Bingham additionally tells me this little-known truth about Ellison: Regardless of his industrywide repute for being hard-nosed, he by no means loses his cool, by no means yells — even throughout delicate conversations like government compensation — and is all the time calm and respectful.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Screven tells me one other little-known truth about Ellison: He is an excellent listener, even when somebody disagrees. So long as the opposite particular person’s viewpoint is backed up with info, analysis and knowledge, Ellison will hear it out. Screven additionally mentions that Hurd is understood across the workplace for his legendary reminiscence for figures. In conferences, Hurd will rattle off all types of related stats from months or years in the past.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

When Ellison’s keynote is about to start, the members of everybody’s entourages discover seats. Hurd and Catz are within the entrance row, they usually share a fast second earlier than Ellison comes on stage. Catz as soon as stated that the three of them have “so much fun” working collectively.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Ellison delivers a keynote that’s largely about why Oracle thinks its cloud is best than Amazon’s. Amazon has been attempting to get Oracle’s database prospects to dump Oracle and transfer to Amazon’s personal database. Ellison’s keynote is one huge “game on” to Amazon.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

See: Larry Ellison says Oracle’s new cloud will crush Amazon — however the remainder of the world is not so certain

When the keynote is over, Hurd has extra buyer conferences. This small roundtable is a gaggle of consumers from Latin America, the place Oracle’s cloud gross sales are going properly. They ask him about Oracle’s merchandise and the corporate’s dedication to the area given Brazil’s weak financial system and the political meltdown in Venezuela. Hurd visits varied Latin American international locations each few months and assures them of the area’s significance to Oracle.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Hurd additionally tells prospects little tidbits of what it is wish to run the corporate. For example, he and the advertising staff had been panicked two weeks earlier than the convention when the get together headliner, Billy Joel, canceled. Oracle would’ve had greater than 10,000 individuals at a celebration with no music. However as a result of Oracle books these stars for a number of reveals, they think about Oracle an excellent buyer, and Joel helped Oracle land Sting and Gwen Stefani to interchange him. They even agreed to sing a duet.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

The afternoon schedule included about 20 minutes of downtime, when Hurd answered my questions. We largely talked about how he revamped the gross sales power with the Class Of program.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Keep tuned for extra on Hurd’s Class Of program, publishing quickly.

Then we sprint off to a roundtable with Oracle’s International Enterprise Unit prospects. These are US prospects in varied vertical industries like retail and banking. It is after 5 o’clock, and it is a wine-and-cheese factor, however Hurd is speaking and neither eats nor drinks.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Robert Weiler, the vp of GBU, joins Hurd at this assembly. Prospects ask them for product roadmaps for particular apps and about choices for financing cloud purchases. And — like all the opposite prospects all day — they need assurances that Oracle is admittedly dedicated to the cloud and would not shut it down in the event that they moved their apps there. Hurd insists that this is not a “head fake” from Oracle — that Oracle has already spent billions on knowledge facilities and on revamping its functions, with extra R&D to return.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

This roundtable ended at almost 7 p.m. Hurd went on to extra conferences that night time, largely to prep for his subsequent day’s schedule. Lastly, he had time to eat — a steak dinner with an worker. My day with Hurd ended right here. I used to be lots drained and hungry myself. Hurd met a complete of 496 individuals in these small, personal conferences this week, Oracle tells me. Whereas OpenWorld is the largest annual Oracle convention, this was a typical day for him. Hurd tells me he does particular occasions like this each few weeks all around the world.

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations
Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations
Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations
Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations
Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

Secret passages and skipped meals: Oracle's CEO Mark Hurd gave us a uncommon peek at what it actually takes to run one of many world's most vital tech corporations

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