It was February 2012 when I was meant to take a flight from a foggy Treviso Airport direction London Stansted. The fog created several problems, all passengers were taken by bus to Venice and we had to wait 3 hours before boarding on the plane. The flight 🛬 landed with an overall 4h of delay, not great if the scheduled arrival time was 8PM! I then caught a bus to Liverpool street and finally got lost while trying to reach my hotel. I finally managed to arrive in bed at 3.30AM.
This series of disasters marked my baptism with Rittman Mead. The following day I had my first face to face interview with Jon Mead during lunch, followed by a phone interview with Mark Rittman a couple of days after. In May I became one of Rittman Mead’s Principal Consultants and started helping clients from all over the world with their analytical platforms. I can’t be grateful enough to Jon and Mark who gave to me, an unknown young Italian, the opportunity to start working for one of the best consulting companies in the Analytics ecosystem.
Being the only (and later on one of the few) Italian 🤌 in the company had some pro and some cons… The cons were the lack of English background which made difficult initially (and even now sometimes) to understand most jokes and the very complex set of laws which regulates how an employee of a foreign company needs to declare taxes which took more than one year for me to understand.
But…on the bright side, being an Italian in an almost 100% English company was really good in days like the below
Learning and Sharing 👨💻
The first set of years passed by really quickly: I was learning tons of new stuff, putting my hands on complex projects in very different environments, facing a variety of clients coming from a multitude of different cultures which enriched me technically and as a person. My colleagues had tons of experience and helped me a lot along the way.
I’ve been an atypical consultant, I spent nearly 80% my time in Rittman Mead following various project run by a unique client in the Netherlands. I really enjoyed working with the client, facing complex problems, gaining a really deep understanding of the business and its datasets. I worked with several RM colleagues in the process, with the main two being Mark and Mike. We were a great team and, when Mike left us few years back, we felt we lost an incredible man and very good friend.
One of Rittman Mead’s missions was, and is nowadays, the public sharing🎤. RM website is the source of an incredible amount of technical blogs explaining and giving examples of a number of different technologies. I was initially afraid of writing, mainly due to myself being a non-native english speaker, but was encouraged and helped to do so by a lot of colleagues (Hi Robin, Becky, Andrew and Waveney!).
I then started blogging🖌, about solutions to problems I was facing and about the news that were happening in the Oracle Analytic space. I immediately discovered that blogging wasn’t only useful for the readers, but was also an activity that I enjoyed performing and that was improving my understanding of topics and my writing skills!
Trying new things, breaking them down, explaining how they work and how you can set them up: all these activities were entertaining for me and adding a bit of salt to the day-by-day routine that typical consulting work creates. After few blogs I wanted to try the next step: Present! At the time Rittman Mead was organising a fantastic public event called the “BI Forum” as well as internal seminars. In one of them I had my first speaker experience, talking internally about a Zendesk integration written in Java.
Later in the same year I had the opportunity to co-speak with Mark Rittman at BIWA Forum in the US. Magnificent experience despite the fact that I was really really sick and buried in the room for the whole conference apart from the 45 min when I delivered the talk.
That first experience was the start of a long path, that took me to present at almost all the major Oracle conferences worldwide. I still remember how much I was worried and shaking the first time I presented at UKOUG, Kscope, OOW… and how much relief after the talk, discussing the feedback with people I deeply respect and with strangers which then become friends along the way.
The more conferences I was experiencing the more I was realising that it was the part of the job I liked most! Learning new concepts, trying to put them down in words and slides, creating connections with people and trying helping them in the content discovery, receiving feedback were all parts of the process that I loved.
Of course there is (apart from this year) travelling, and airports, and time off from the family but that, for my experience, that is a de-facto if you want a job that is rather appealing and that keeps you motivated every day.
Rittman Mead has been great in supporting me on this level too. Giving me the time to study, funding my trips and allowing time off from client work is not something a lot of consulting companies do.
Speaking is only part of the deal. I loved conferences also for other aspects… I was going there to give my talk, but also to listen other’s people one! Grab new ideas, new aspects or points-of-view about known topics and learn completely new tech from people experiencing it on the day-to-day job.
The #1️⃣ items in my conference-❤️ list, however, are Networking and People! Being able to talk 1-1 or in small groups about topics, over a beer or a meal, until late at night. Discuss about technical solutions, having direct honest feedback about your work from people, colleagues, friends… even if they are competitors (hi Stewart, Gianni, Christian!) meant, and means today, a lot for me.
Being part of a tech community makes everyone equal, no difference in origin, culture or habits, everyone has the same chances to speak and be listened. This is also why I started participating more actively in communities, especially in ITOUG: giving people a change to speak, listen, have a contact with other people that otherwise they could only see on video. Make people realise that Maria Colgan or Connor McDonald are not only Gods in the Oracle world, but also real people you can chat with, exchange ideas and ask questions!
A Quick Look 🕶 into the Future
So… what now? So far I told you about my long journey from an unknown young Italian to a little-less unknown and little-less young Italian has been and how a great company like Rittman Mead supported me.
The future for me takes now a different direction. Rittman Mead is not to blame, they were and still are a great company to work for! But I started feeling some time ago the need of something different.
A new experience, a new reality, a new world to explore, make mine, and share with others. Discovering new exciting tech and trying to clear the fog from my and other people minds about it. This is what I like doing and what will represent my new role starting in 2021!
Funny how the fog 🌫 is present at the start of my every carrer adventure! Keep in touch to see where my journey will take me next!