7. Never stop growing
Ellison drove Oracle to be the world’s biggest provider of database software, then he moved on to dominate the business software industry, conducting one of the nastiest hostile take-overs in tech history to do it, with his purchase of PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion.
A few years ago, he pushed Oracle again into new areas, the hardware business, by buying Sun Microsystems (a company that didn’t figure out how to reinvent itself).
Ellison taught the Valley that no matter how big you get, you only survive through reinventing yourself.
6. Know how to break the rules
Ellison doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but his own.
The latest biggest example was the 2013 America’s Cup.
After winning it in 2010, he was allowed to dictate the kind of boats to be raced in the next championship. He chose an extremely fast, expensive but dangerous design. And a sailor died during a training run when the boat capsized: British sailor and gold medal Olympian Andrew “Bart” Simpson.
Ellison’s team was also penalized for cheating.
None of that mattered in the end. The world held its breath as Ellison’s team won in spectacular televised comeback.
5. Competitive spirit is the greatest motivator
Ask Ellison why he still comes to work every day — what drives him after all he’s achieved — and he’ll tell you the same answer: he loves to compete.
“I’m addicted to winning. The more you win, the more you want to win,” he says.