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Jake Kuramoto 29 February 2008

Jake Kuramoto

Recovering product manager, enterprise software apologist, lover, fighter

Jake Kuramoto is a sometime product manager, software architect and technologist working for Oracle, currently on a small, disruptive team called the AppsLab. Jake serves as a community evangelist and product manager for AppsLab and its internal and external communities. The AppsLab runs like a startup within the giant entity that is Oracle, and pretty much anything that is not writing code makes Jake’s list of to-dos.

Jake is in his second tour of duty and tenth year with Oracle, most of which he has served in Applications Development as a product manager and architect for public sector and international financials products. During this time, he designed exciting products such as the Central Contractor Registration integration with Oracle Financials and the Advanced Inter/Intracompany Balancing UI and API. He is happy to be working with New Web technologies and helping customers connect to Oracle.

In his first tour, Jake saw duty as a sales consultant, as a server admin/PC support flunky and as a technical implementation consultant, writing extensions and customizations to Oracle’s applications. Between tours, he did a quick stint at Hyperion and bounced around the Valley with several managed service providers, helping to answer the question “We have power/ping/pipe, now what?”

Jake lives in SE Portland with his lovely wife Shanna, with whom he shares a birthday.

What are you up to?

For about a year now, I’ve been lucky to have a unique position at Oracle, working on a small, agile team whose job it is to evangelize new technologies and make them relevant to Oracle as a whole.

We build internal and external tools that introduce people to stuff like blogs, social networks, social bookmarking, the stuff that falls under the “Web 2.0″ umbrella. Our goal is to help them to find value so they can translate what works into our products, versus the “just add a wiki to it” approach, ultimately improving our software.

I’m also trying to get more involved in the Portland tech scene. I worked with Dawn Foster on the first Lunch 2.0 here in Portland, held on February 27 at AboutUs, and I’m hoping to keep this phenomenon going. Anyone want to host one?

What are you into?

I love animals and fighting, but hate the two together. I love animals, have done animal rescue for several years and find it both rewarding and hearbreaking all at once. My wife is a pet sitter/dog walker, so in addition to my animals, I get to visit lots of new dogs and cats whenever I want. Maybe yours.

I also really like to practice combat arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and boxing, There’s a strange respect between two people who have just finished wrestling or boxing. Plus, it’s fantastic exercise and functional skill all rolled into one. I work out at Straight Blast Gym in NE on MLK. If you see me limping or with a black eye, no worries.

What do you like most about Portland?

It’s not California. Having lived many years in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles, I’m totally done with that scene. Portland is the best of the West Coast vibe, combined with a small town feel, where people are happy, satisfied and nice. Locals may not agree, but try living in CA for a while, then let me know what you think.

When we moved here, it was a huge shock to see smiles on people’s faces, to go into stores and have people genuinely interested in helping us, to have people wave us into traffic and smile. The weird thing for me was the adjustment; I had to strip away my hard California shell for fear of insulting all the nice Portlanders.

Oh yeah, and the greenery, mountains, hiking, waterfalls, and on and on. What’s not to like?

What would you say you do here?

My wife thinks I surf the Web all day long. That’s not far from the truth, and people get paid good money to do that. Who knew?

I’ve never held jobs that can be easily summarized to parents. When I used to consult, I wrote code, but no one got what that meant. Then I moved into design, and now people ask me if I write code. Oh well, it’s only a job.

You saved how many cats?

My total is probably nearing 100 by now, many of them from the 2003 wildfires in San Bernadino. As people evacuated, the shelters did mass euthanizations to make room for pets. It was pretty chaotic, and we pulled dozens of cats and kittens out of there, all on the kill lists.

Los Angeles has such a transient population and clement weather, which makes for cats left behind when the Hollywood dream doesn’t materialize. These cats form feral colonies all around LA; estimates say that homeless cats in the LA area number in the millions.

I’m glad to say that Porltand seems more responsible and less populated with feral cats, and no, we didn’t keep all those cats, only one. They all found homes with no-kill animal rescues.

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