Choosing Your Release Number

Bloomberg Game Changers. An episode on software giant Oracle.

A toxic corporate culture exposed, a despotic founder hellbent on being number one. A place where lying to customers was encouraged, if Sales didn’t make 200% of quota you were discarded and release after release of its core database product was riddled with holes (until number 7, at any rate).

The show didn’t hold back. Yet the world needed a database where it was easy to both store and search planetary reams of data. “Relational” became the buzzword.

So eventually Oracle bestrode the world wide web. Powering every household name online. Remember the goldrush? It’s never the diggers that make it big, it’s the people providing the picks and shovels.

Beginnings were inauspicious. As was often the case for the time, IBM labs invented, yet Big Blue themselves had no idea how to exploit.

In stepped Oracle. Named after a prototype CIA driven project for keeping foreign intel.

But what to label the release?

Oracle Version 2

It couldn’t be called version one. No-one buys the first release, right? Put off by it inevitably being far “too buggy”.

There’s an interesting solution parallel here.

Let’s take first software.

Nowadays, you don’t have software. Many of us, Oracle founder included, saw the future a couple of decades ago. Anything you may use gets updated and delivered in your sleep. All happily in-cloud.

Looking at my app store update history, I see a Google product which begins 1.2015.50203… Instagram’s latest appears as 7.13.1 and WordPress as simply 4.2.

So you may suppose each began “1” once upon a time.

And it hardly matters these days. As a product is enhanced, debugged and developed on a daily basis. 1979 it ain’t. Yet when does “1” become “2”?

Well, traditionally when a big shift occurs. From a back-end revamp that you don’t necessarily see as a user, to a new UI you cannot escape. But again, who looks at the version number anyway?

The same cannot quite be said of physical ware. Who’d drive the very first new car model off the forecourt? Fly the breakthrough rocket? Install the 3D printed printer?

Way fewer want to try the newest than naturally shy away from it.

Your release number can help reflect this. So long as you don’t quite do an Oracle. With alpha and beta client testing, soft launches and partner development, your number can I’m sure provide prospect comfort of where you’re truly at.

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