Who, What, Where ... Why?

Hi! I'm Dean. I have done many very different things in my life, partly due to an unreasonable number of varied interests. I'll spare you my entire life’s story. This is my personal website, containing only my own thoughts, my own opinions, my own experiences. Nothing more, nothing less.

Who, What, Where ... Why?

Who Where?

I’ve spent my entire life to date in the southern USA state of Tennessee, although it is unlikely anyone would describe me as “Tennessean”. Currently, my wife and I live near the city of Chattanooga (See Rock City!) in the tail end of the Appalachian Mountains.

If you put stock in Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, then I am a mostly stereotypical INTJ. Some of the guides to the type read like a “User’s Manual for Dean Ellis”. If you want to be even sillier, I am Enneagram Type 5, my Sun Sign is Virgo, and I almost certainly have undiagnosed ADHD and ASD.


My “professional career” has covered so much ground (especially since portions of it overlapped with the “dot com bubble”) that it’s almost pointless to say anything other than “All of the above except standup comedy”. One thing has been true throughout, however: I am deeply motivated to help others succeed. This manifests in any number of ways, but one remains especially relevant today.

Technical Support

I was a software developer and DBA for several years, then spent over 16 years involved in technical support for open source databases. Whether delivering services myself as a MySQL Support Engineer, building regional and global support teams as a Support Manager, leading the entire support business as VP Technical Support, or focusing directly on innovative business growth as a Support Product Manager, I helped others succeed on a daily basis: my customers, my team, and my company. I very firmly believe that support has by far the greatest impact on customer relationships, but what do I know?

In those varying capacities, I worked at MySQL AB, Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corporation, MariaDB Corporation (originally SkySQL Ab), and Percona.

I began “telecommuting” in 2001, so the challenges involved in “working from home” within a “virtual”, distributed, global company seemed pretty well solved to me long before the COVID-19 pandemic, but I guess the world missed some memos regarding how to do it.


Why this site, specifically? Although a shocking amount of things I wrote in the 1980s and 1990s survives online through no fault of my own, significant chunks are lost forever For Reasons. Huge portions are locked in notebooks that will never see the “light of day”, or are buried in backups and archaic devices I probably cannot access anymore (the IOMega Zip Drive disks still make me laugh). Of course, a disturbingly large amount of content exists only within the walled gardens of antisocial media.

So, I’m using this website once again. Oldschool.

… !? in no special order

  • I am insatiably curious and I absolutely adore learning. It’s a problem.
  • I am rational but not materialist. I am skeptical and critical but neither a debunker nor a critic.
  • I believe everyone has the right to be who they are, provided they extend that right to everyone else, and “universal” adoption of this is the only way for the species to remain relevant.
  • I choose painful truth over comfortable delusion every single time.
  • I wrote fiction and occasionally poetry when I was younger. I adore stories, as I suppose all humans do.
  • I read voraciously. Less today than when I was younger (priorities, available time), but it’s fair to say I have a love affair with books.
  • I love guitar more than almost everything but stopped taking it seriously in my mid 20s, which is the one thing in life I acknowledge as a regret and a mistake. I still play, occasionally.
  • My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20, sometime around 1982. (Ignoring the earlier Atari 2600).
  • I was online via CompuServe and Bulletin Board Systems before time began, and used the “Internet” when it was still ARPANET. When I read about the “new generation growing up online”, I guess they don’t mean me.
  • Most of my early programming was in assembly language (on the Commodore 64 and Amiga), although I moved to C and C++ after being stranded on Intel CPUs. Today I do almost everything in Go and Python, with occasional forays into Elisp and Common Lisp and so on. I’m opinionated regarding excess syntax, so I might bash perl/ruby/rust if you let me, and I wish they’d stopped designing C++ a long time ago.
  • So far as databases go, I’ve worked intensely with MSSQL, Oracle, MySQL, and MariaDB. Less intensely with most everything else, going back to Microsoft’s Access/Jet engine also before time began.
  • A complete technical résumé looks like alphabet soup. I like XML and XSLT and I’m not sorry.
  • I am a bit short of qualifying as a Free-as-in-Freedom Software zealot, as I don’t really do zealotry. I am less strict than Richard Stallman but I think his opinions regarding software freedoms are approximately 100% correct and may qualify as facts.
  • I largely prefer to use Linux (Arch/Manjaro and Ubuntu). I don’t mind writing GNU/Linux because it’s accurate, but I won’t say it aloud because that’s ridiculous. See what I mean?

I’m Dean. That’s the only box that fits.

You can contact me by email. My name is Dean, of course, and this is DeanEllis.com. All you need is an @.

latest blog posts

Some Favorite Books
Jun 14, 2022

Some Favorite Books

I read too much and too widely to identify my “favorite books”, but here I will highlight a random selection anyway.

Read time: about 1 minutes