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Safra’s Top 10

Posted by Marcie Van Houten on May 12, 2010

Several of us from Oracle attended the 21st Annual Professional BusinessWomen of California conference today in San Francisco along with about 3,000 other business women.  While I knew Safra Catz, President of Oracle, was a keynote speaker, it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the day.  I now not only feel like I know Safra better, I have new insight into Oracle’s DNA based on her Top 10 things she wished someone had told her at the beginning of her career.  They really give you a sense of what Oracle is all about. 

#1 – You can never be #1 by chasing #1

  • You cannot run fast enough
  • You must do something different and think differently
  • Change lanes and make them react to you
  • You’re an idiot until you’re a genius

#2 – Scale matters

  • The more customers you have, the more you can spread your costs out
  • Scale is the key, not just size

#3 – Focus on what your real business is

  • Bigger is not better when it doesn’t add to your core business

#4 – If it doesn’t make sense… it doesn’t make sense

  • Don’t just sit back and believe that because it’s in a pretty powerpoint it must be true
  • Ask questions

#5 – Don’t stand still

  • You can’t beat the competition without moving
  • No motion — no progress
  • Make decisions and take actions
  • Even if you make a few mistakes along the way

#6 – Don’t chase fashion

  • While not standing still, don’t just change your strategy
  • Stick to your core competencies
  • You’ll become fashionable when you’re right

#7 – If you don’t ask, you don’t get

#8 – Just because everything can be put online doesn’t mean it should be

#9 – Integrity is key

  • You can recover from being stupid
  • You cannot recover from being a liar

#10 – Difference between her standing up on the podium and all of us in the audience is luck

  • Business is a team sport
  • And while often times the team is made up of mostly men…
  • Get in there!!!

Thanks Safra.

7 Responses to “Safra’s Top 10”

  1. Christine Yokoi said

    These are great – thanks for sharing, Marcie. I especially like #4, 5, and 6 and I also love the sub-bullets for #9 … nice take on Integrity :).

  2. Vivian Wong said

    A great list indeed. I also like what Safra said about being #2: #2 is the first loser to #1. 😉

  3. Meg Bear said

    thanks for blogging this Marcie! I love the team sport part.

  4. Great stuff! Thanks for posting these. Although you actually can recover from being a liar if you call it changing your strategy.

  5. Hey Marcie,

    I ran across a link to this blog while reading Vinnie Mirchandani (http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/2010/05/safras-top-10.html)

    What a gem of a post you wrote..thanks for taking the time to share the info.


  6. Veeresha Javli said

    I like Safra’s #7 – If you don’t ask, you don’t get
    This is true. Unless we ask and pursue our efforts, we never get.

  7. […] been at the helm of Oracle through its ups and downs. In 2010, she revealed in a keynote speech the top 10 things she’d wish someone would have told her at the start of her career, and her words are inspiring stuff. She represents a challenge to […]

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