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Putting Red Hat's and Oracle's earnings in perspective

Oracle and Red Hat have stacked the deck against themselves by selecting the hardest quarter system possible. And yet both thrive. This is a testament to the strengths of their businesses.

Alfresco has an excuse. When my company's CEO decided to have our fiscal year end on February 28 so as to preserve Christmas cheer for his employees, he had no reason to suspect he was causing his US sales team undue hardship. He's a Brit and so didn't must not have noticed that while the February fiscal year end ensures that Christmas is saved, every other quarter ends on a US holiday (Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and summer holidays/Labor Day). Purchasing people tend to take more holidays than the Belgians. (Meaning, they take a lot of holidays.)

"Bloody Yankee holidays! Top of the mornin' to ya, Gov'nuh!"

But Oracle and Red Hat should know better. Matthew Szulik may have a Polish surname and Larry Ellison may build homes that look like Japanese pagodas, but they're American through and through. And yet they chose the worst possible months to end their quarters.

And still they thrive. This is a testament to the strength of their businesses and, in particular, their execution.

Having worked on this quarter system for the past two years, I can tell you that it makes hitting one's numbers much more difficult. We've managed to exceed every quarter's goals, but let's just say the weird quarter system hasn't helped. My hair is going gray and I've lost my firstborn in the process.

Consider this the next time either Red Hat or Oracle announce strong quarters (and both have been doing it for years). They've stacked the deck against themselves. Yet they're still knocking the ball out of the park.

I'm impressed.