In this issue, Peer-to-Peer meets a baseball-statistics fan who made the connection between home base and database. Today, he's the IT industry's version of 'free agent.'
As a college student, Ari Kaplan hit a homerun, making a move that would help him earn a living doing what he loved best: analyzing baseball statistics. Kaplan wrote a paper on baseball-statistics methods that assist scouts and managers when assessing players' abilities and presented his research at a meeting of the California Institute of Technology's board of trustees. In the audience was Orioles owner Eli Jacobs, who subsequently hired Kaplan for the Orioles in 1990. Kaplan then worked for the Padres and later built a database system for the Montreal Expos.
Today he has developed databases and decision-support systems for numerous Major League baseball teams. In 1997, he received a California Institute of Technology Alumni of the Decade award—putting him in the company of film director Frank Capra.
Kaplan, age 30, spends half his time creating database applications for baseball teams and the rest working as an Oracle database administrator for Fortune 500 companies.
How many hours a day do you work? Twelve to fifteen. Usually I work a regular nine hours for my main job, and then I work on my various jobs in the evenings, such as baseball-team support, speeches, and adding Oracle tips to my Web page.
How has the internet changed your job? I can work from almost anywhere in the world with a team of people from all over the world. I co-authored some books without ever meeting the other authors. I do my work for baseball teams on my laptop from anywhere and then send in the results over the internet—from a beach in Jamaica to the grand ballroom of an Oracle conference in Madrid, for instance. The scouts send their reports from all over the United States, Canada, and Latin America over the internet.
What's your favorite tool or technique? SQL*Plus can do more than any other tool if you know your data dictionary. I also like using Platinum's TS-Reorg to save me time reorganizing my tablespaces.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Of all the places in the world, I love floating in the Dead Sea in Israel. It is beautiful and peaceful, and it's the lowest physical point in the world. Plus, the supersaturation of salt leads to fun science experiments. Most objects float—especially the human body. You can sit on the surface and read a book or stand upright with your feet never touching the bottom.
With whom would you like to be stuck in an elevator? Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust and then disappeared into a Russian gulag. I would listen to his tales of heroism and let him know that the world has not forgotten him.
What advice do you have about how to get into Web and database development? Take a class or learn in your own home by obtaining the software and some good books. Once you have a good understanding, get a junior-level position by going to job fairs, user groups, and conferences.
Name: Ari Kaplan
Kaplan is co-author of Oracle8 How-To: The Definitive Oracle8 Problem-Solver (Waite Group Press) and has contributed to Oracle8 and Special Edition: Using Oracle8 (Que Corporation). Kaplan's Web site offers hundreds of free Oracle tips, downloadable white papers, and Oracle links.
roup Press) and has contributed to Oracle8 and Special Edition: Using Oracle8 (Que Corporation). Kaplan's Web site offers hundreds of free Oracle tips, downloadable white papers, and Oracle links.
Back to Ari Kaplan's Home Page