Joining 10gen

Hi, my name is Max Schireson and I recently joined 10gen as President. I’m writing to share some thoughts on the industry and why I joined 10gen.

Why am I joining 10gen? I feel the database industry is changing. During the 16 years I have worked in the industry, developers have intermittently battled DBAs, with developers wanting data stores that map more closely to their programming models. Usually the developers lost. Now, with open source, I think the balance of power is shifting.

Don’t get me wrong, I worked at Oracle for 9 years and I believe that relational databases are great solutions for some problems. They work just fine for an accounting system or a payroll system.

But while normalizing data in an RDBMS helps keep relationships straight, it also creates massive complexity. Here’s a simple example: want to enter the information on a stack of business cards into Oracle Applications? No problem, there’s a bulk import interface - with 40 pages of dense documentation describing the 11 interface tables you use for storing people, companies, and addresses. (Details available here.)

There is a better way. My 10gen business card shows my info in JSON. You can store that JSON directly in MongoDB. Its simple. It doesn’t need to be defined up front, and it doesn’t need 11 tables with 40 pages of documentation. This is the type of solution developers have been asking for, and because MongoDB is free to use, lots of people can try it and experience the agility it offers.

Now, back to me choosing 10gen specifically. As I explored the space, I thought early adoption trends were important for two reasons:

  • I think users are smart and will initially pick the best technology;
  • The technology that develops the strongest user base will tend to stay ahead: users, especially corporate ones, feel safer in numbers and like to adopt leading technologies, and companies with larger user bases tend to have more resources with which to develop their technology
While I couldn’t find public data on users counts, Google insights let me see search interest, which was very helpful - it showed me that MongoDB was emerging as the leader in the space.

As more and more developers use MongoDB, more applications have moved into production. I was also very impressed with that list, found here.

I think the database world is changing, and I believe that 10gen will be a big part of that change. I look forward to working with the 10gen team and the MongoDB community to extend MongoDB’s leadership in the market and ensure our users are successful.

How can you help? I’d love to hear why you’re using MongoDB, what you’re using it for, and, if you’re in production, information on your deployment and your experience with our support. Email me, my first name at