Short takes: Oracle investors dissent, Wunderlist raises $30M, and Aaron Gignan on ‘lean, mean, learning machines’

Oracle investors voted down the proposed compensation plans for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and his executive team. The dissent included investors like the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and labor group Change to Win. At issue is the slowing rate of Oracle’s growth, which was 7.9% in the past year compared to 25% for the S&P 500. Change to Win and others would like to see a new director on the board to oversee compensation plans.

I hardly see any news about Oracle’s efforts in the social sphere, despite their 2011 launch of Oracle Social Network, which has been reconfigured as an element of the Oracle Social Cloud, along with social relationship management and analytics. Last quarter’s results showed new software license and cloud subscription revenue ranging from -4% to 6%, and they don’t break out at a fine enough granularity to get a real sense of social sales.

6Wunderkinder, the company behind Wunderlist, has reported a Series A round of investment of $30 million, with Sequoia joining earlier investors Atomico, Earlybird, and T-Ventures.The German company will be Sequoia’s first investment in that country. The rumor is the company has over 6 million users.

I recently reviewed the company’s new release of Wunderlist (see Wunderlist Pro adds sharing features but falls short) in which I concluded that those that want socially shared todo lists might be better off with other solutions, like Asana. However, $30 million is a lot of dough, so it’s clear that Wunderkinder is going to be adding functionality at a fast clip.

Note also that Sequoia is also an investor in Dropbox, so a closer integration between the two may be in the offing. Wunderlist already plays nicely with Dropbox, but deeper integration might be interesting.

Aaron Gignan wrote a great piece on Medium, The Operating Model That Is Eating The World, in which he wrote

Today’s fastest growing, most profoundly impactful companies are using a completely different operating model. These companies are lean, mean, learning machines. They have an intense bias to action and a tolerance for risk, expressed through frequent experimentation and relentless product iteration. They hack together products and services, test them, and improve them, while their legacy competition edits PowerPoint. They are obsessed with company culture and top tier talent, with an emphasis on employees that can imagine, build, and test their own ideas. They are maniacally focused on customers. They are hypersensitive to friction – in their daily operations and their user experience. They are open, connected, and build with and for their community of users and co-conspirators. They are comfortable with the unknown – business models and customer value are revealed over time. They are driven by a purpose greater than profit; each has its own aspirational “dent in the universe.”

A great piece, showing again how much all businesses can learn from agile start-ups, the ones that get bigger, and then grow to monsters, but never losing that bias toward action and learning. (See What top performers do, and how to do it.)