January 21, 2024

A Visit to Oracle Headquarters in Austin, Texas


A Visit to Oracle Headquarters in Austin, Texas

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 21, 2024

We had an arctic chill coming to Minnesota so I thought it was a good idea to get out of Dodge for awhile.  Little did I know that the cold weather extended all the way down to my destination deep in the heart of Texas.  It was 23 degrees when I stepped off the plane which I found crazy.  I almost didn't even bring a coat, but am sure glad I did.  It was freezing everywhere!

I arrived in downtown Austin on Tuesday night and stayed there until Friday.  Although I did have one day where it was warm, it was pretty cold for the duration of my stay.  At least the pool and hot tub were still open and heated.  That doesn't happen in Minnesota in January.

I stayed at the Fairmont Austin.  It is one of Oracle's preferred hotels for their employees to stay and I found it to offer quite wonderful accommodations.  

The reason for my visit was for a quarterly business review with my team.  We decided to do it at Oracle's headquarters in Austin as our group is spread around the country living in Minnesota, Washington, California, Utah, Colorado, Georgia, and New York.  Texas seemed like a nice central meeting place for all of us.

This was my second visit to Oracle Austin, but my first since it was dubbed the new headquarters for the company after we moved our HQ from California a few years back.  I asked Chat GPT to give me a few facts about the Oracle campus and the F1 racecar sitting in the lobby and really liked what it came up with for me:  

Strutting into Oracle's Austin HQ for a redux rendezvous, it's like stepping into Tony Stark's living room—if he traded his Iron Man suits for cloud services and a caffeine addiction. Dropping a cool $110 mil back in 2018, Oracle didn't just build a campus; they built a techy playground where the Wi-Fi is as free-flowing as the artisan coffee. And smack dab in the lobby? A Red Bull F1 speed demon, lounging like it's waiting for a green light. This isn't just decor; it's a flex. Oracle's dalliance with the Red Bull Racing team isn't just a sponsorship—it's a high-octane marriage of tech and turbo, a testament to their 'speed or bust' philosophy. And the campus? It's not just eco-friendly; it's where Mother Nature and Silicon Valley had a love child, complete with a gym that could make a CrossFitter weep. This place isn't a mere office; it's where your laptop can bench more than you. Welcome to Oracle Austin—where work is fast, the code is furious, and the only thing not moving at lightning speed is your desire to leave.

I started working for Todd Johnson in July of last year, but this was my first time meeting him and most of the rest of my team in person.  Zoom is nice for getting to know one another, but nothing beats having the chance to spend time together face to face.  At least that's the way I feel.  My team may not agree with this sentiment as I have a tendency to spit a lot while I'm eating.

We had the chance to spend a few hours with Todd's bosses boss, Chris Gandolfo.  If you've heard about any Oracle success stories over the past couple of years with companies like nVidia, Uber, or Elon Musk's X.AI company, it was most likely an opportunity ran by Chris's org.  I enjoyed listening to tales from the whole team, but listening to some of the hunting stories by Todd and Chris made me feel like a boy among men.  All I'll say is if we ever have a zombie invasion, I'm going to Todd's house.  That guy would be an incredible survivalist based on some of the things he's done.

Speaking of hunting, we had a meat feast at Salt Lick which is one of the more famous BBQ joints in Austin.  It was all pretty good, but I most enjoyed the sausages.  The brisket was pretty good as well, but I have to say I'm not a huge fan of the Bison Ribs.  A little too gamey for me.

Breyon Jones has been my mentor since I returned to Oracle in April of 2022.  In addition to be an incredible enterprise salesman whom with I enjoy collaborating, he's also one of the greatest football minds I've ever met.  My NFL picks have greatly improved since I've started taking his advice.

He also introduced me to a new drink.  The Carajillo!
@toddswank Having a Carajillo with my good friend Breyon at Estancia in Austin, Texas. #carajillo #estancia #brazilian #licor43 ♬ original sound - Todd Swank

When I came back home to Minnesota, we had the honor of taking out the kids and Abby to celebrate her birthday.  Her birthday was actually a week and a half ago, but her and Avery were in Hawaii so we couldn't celebrate it together.  Poor kids.

Hawaii is nice and all, but there's no way it could compare to a hibachi chef at Benihana shooting green lasers out of his mouth onto simmering vegetables!  Right?

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