Some folks don't even have the horse part figured out yet!
People are always asking me, ‘Jeff, what’s going to be in the new version of X?’ or ‘Jeff, what’s new in X?’ or ‘Jeff, what’s wrong with you?!?’

If I’m feeling particularly chippy, I’ll reply something along the lines of ‘How well do you think you’ve mastered the current version of X?’

If you haven’t seen something before, that means it’s new for you, right? I think that was a NBC promo ad back in the day…it’s been stuck in my head for years, so I know if must have come from TV.

While my sarcastic response may have been inspired by a really annoying set of TV commercials, I think it’s still a valid answer. People are asking me questions because they think I can help them. If they ask the ‘wrong’ question sometimes, I’m more than happy to help.

When Tom Kyte or some other Oracle guru promotes the latest and greatest feature of Oracle RDBMS version XYZ, I wonder how many of the people listening have actually already mastered DBMS_PROFILER, Session Traces, V$SESSION_LONGOPS, Flashback, DataPump…

It’s very common for me to engage an Oracle user who has never tried DataPump. I’ll pick on @bigjim for a minute because he’s nice and won’t run me over the next time I’m in Texas –

IT folks tend to stick with tried and true methods. Not broken, don’t fix it. Thankfully there are people out there that get paid to play with the new stuff, and when it’s ready for primetime, can promote the heck out of it so the rest of the gang can jump aboard.

Jim was following me and quite a few other people on Twitter and we happened to strike up a conversation on the merits of DataPump. I think he was quite pleased with the results after he went have gave it a spin! Did he read about this in the ‘What’s New in Oracle 10g’ press release? If he asked an Oracle rep ‘What’s new in Oracle 11gR2?’, would they have brought up DataPump? Probably not.

I propose a new question to replace ‘What’s New in X’?’

What Features Should I Know More About?

While I look forward to what Oracle has cooking up in the next version of…gosh they own the entire stack now, don’t they?…I really, really need to bone up on the stuff that’s been out there for almost 10 years now. That’s why I follow ‘smart Oracle people‘!

Now, if you’ve done your homework like a good little boy or girl and STILL want to know about then new fancy, sexy features, then we can talk about too 🙂


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. Erin Stellato Reply

    Yes! In order to understand the new features, how you can take advantage of them, etc. you have to have the foundation…master the basics first, then you can learn how to run. Great point!

    • JeffS

      The point that I kinda rambled to while writing this is, most people need help coming up with the right question to ask. We need to be better listeners, get to really know the audience and subject matter, then we can direct them appropriately. They might think up front that you are dodging the question (and sometimes I am!), but at the end they will be better served.

      It’s like playing cards with my sister’s kids… — my 2nd favorite Tombstone quote

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