Making Data Migration to the Cloud Easy with Ricardo Gonzalez
Ricardo Gonzalez, Senior Principal Product Manager at Oracle, joins Corey on Screaming in the Cloud to discuss his approach to Product Management and cloud migration. Ricardo explains how a chance conversation landed him a role at Oracle, and why he feels it’s so important to always bring your A-game in any conversation. Corey and Ricardo discuss why being a good Product Manager involves empathy for your customers and being able to speak their language as well as the language of your product and development team. Ricardo also explains how he’s seen the Oracle product suite grow, and why he feels more and more companies are seeing the value of migrating their data to the cloud.
Ricardo is a Product Manager at Oracle, in charge of Database Migration to the Cloud, and the ZDM and ACFS products.
Ricardo is a native Costa Rican and has lived in Mexico, Italy and currently resides in the United States.
He is passionate about technology, education, photography, music and cooking. He loves languages and connecting with people from all over the world. In a future life, Ricardo wants to own a taco truck, and share taco happiness with everybody.
- Oracle: https://www.oracle.com/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardogonzaleza/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/productmanaged
Announcer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.
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Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud, I’m Corey Quinn. Some wit once said that 90% of life was just showing up. And I’m not going to suggest that today’s guest has only the fact that he shows up going for him, but I do want to say that when I first met him, it was at a drink-up that I threw here in San Francisco. And he kept turning up to a variety of community events, not just ones that I wound up hosting, but other people, too. By day, Ricardo Gonzalez is a Senior Principal Product Manager at Oracle. But in the community, he is also much more. Ricardo, thank you for joining me today.
Ricardo: Thank you so much for having me, Corey. It’s a great pleasure to be here with you today.
Corey: So, it is interesting watching you come to what I can only describe as the other side of the tracks. Because you work at Oracle. I make fun of AWS all the time, so yes, I suppose our companies do have that in common, but I digress. You also work in the database world, which is, I guess you could say I do and that I misuse things as databases, mostly for laughs and occasionally for production. And you’re over in the product manager side of the world, which for me, has always—may as well be a language that I do not understand, let alone speak. Yet you have consistently shown up and made great contributions to every conversation you’ve ever been a part in. Where did you come from? How did you start doing this?
Ricardo: Well, I’m originally from Costa Rica, right, which is I wouldn’t say uncommon, but then again, there’s just a few of us. And I was doing my master’s degree in Mexico when I showed up to a recruitment event dressed up like a business student and realize all of my peers were actually developers—although I’m a computer scientist by trade—looking for a job at Oracle’s Development Center in Mexico, right? And by showing up, something magical happened. I stayed at the session, they made a raffle with numbers. I didn’t win, but they asked us questions nobody answered, and as you can see, I talk a lot.
I raised my hand, and they said, “Okay, answer these questions.” And then it became, like, a competition, and I won. And back then I got, like, a tablet. I think it was an iPad; it was great. I thought, okay, no job for me because I wasn’t working—looking for a job in development.
And then this person, which is now an SVP in my company, which has been my mentor in many ways, approached me, and he said, “I really liked what you did. It seemed you do have some technical background. We need somebody that can talk like that with customers, but at the same time, understand the requirements for a technical product and work with engineers. Do you want to come to the office tomorrow?” And a week later, I got an offer my life change in ways, like, we’ve never foreseen.
Corey: This is a hard thing to talk about because it’s the way the world works, but when you say it, people love to come back and tear you down, like, “You just got lucky.” Or it—“Well, yeah, that works for you, but it doesn’t work for other people.” But I’ve found invariably that the seminal moments that happened in the course of my career have all come from conversations I had with people I didn’t need to be talking to at events I didn’t need to be attending, but one thing leads to another. Instead of sitting at home and brooding, I put myself in situations where I could, for lack of a better term, make my own luck. Sure, if only one conversation in a thousand winds up turning into a career opportunity, okay, but that means you need to have a thousand conversations to get there, so time to get started. And you are probably one of the best living embodiments of this that I’ve ever met.
Ricardo: Well, it’s interesting. You’re right. I mean, the luck part plays a factor, I guess, but you have to change your own luck. And it’s complicated to talk about that because there’s also privilege in both, and being part of—like, I was in college. I had the privilege to go to college, although, I mean, there’s a whole, like, list of things that made me get there and the sacrifices from family, et cetera.
And not everybody has the same level of field, right? But what I can say though, is that I heard somebody said something that really resonated with me, which is, “For some of us, right, we won’t be the main player in the game.” [reading 00:04:25 ], like, so imagine you have, like, a sports event where—whatever sport you want—and there’s a game of playing, right? The coach will not call you. But they might call you over the last five minutes, but when they do, you have to be there and score a goal, touchdown, whatever you want to call it, be the best player because that’s the opportunity you have and you have to make the most out of it. Some people were born and they have the opportunity to be in the starting lineup. Some of us will be just called at the last minute. But when you do, your A-Game has to be there on top and you have to be the best you can because that’s the only way you have to shine.
Corey: I think that you’re right. There’s a tremendous amount of privilege baked into all of this. And privilege is one of those things you can’t just set aside. It’s something that we wind up all manifesting in different ways to different degrees. But it’s a, “Oh, just be like me,” is fundamentally what a lot of advice comes down to, regardless of whoever it is the me in question that’s talking about it.
But there seems to be just certain things that lend themselves to better possibilities of success. One of the things that has always impressed me is that you just show up and start great conversations with people, left and right. That’s a skill that I honestly wish I had. I have to be noisy and public to get people to approach me, whereas you, ah, you don’t have the time for that. You just walk up and start talking to them. I’ve never been good at that.
Ricardo: I guess part of my upbringing—also, you know, my home country has a whole history of [horizontalness 00:05:47 ], but that’s a different discussion. And we are, I guess, not shy to just talk to people, right, which sometimes can bring into interesting conversations with management and, like—because if I disagree, I will let you know, right? I will be completely candid about things. But I think it’s important, right? Because like, we’re all human beings trying to do the same thing, right?
We all wake up in the morning with the same set of problems and then get to share moments in between each other. Why don’t make them as pleasant as possible and try to see how can we actually grow together? It’s important that you’re not only getting things and growing yourself but also see how can with that help others grow as well, right? So that’s, I think, part of what conversations can be—I mean, starting conversation with anybody just it’s really important to say, “Okay,