31 January was my last day at Sun Microsystems Inc. After a passionate and exciting 4 years journey I’m now headed to new ventures. As many Sun alumni, I miss the people more than anything else.
What stroke me when I joined back in 2003 was the Sun’s bold approach to IT. “The network is the computer” tag line was not just a marketing gimmick, but a genuine belief aimed at changing the way the world would see and appropriate computing forever. The Internet bubble left Sun in a bad shape with a 50% revenue decrease at that time, but the dot com spirit was still there because it was more than just a business opportunity, it was a raison d’etre.
This way of living digital got in my face when I first joined an internal meeting. I saw executives just sliding their employee badge in a Sun Ray, a thin client device, retrieving instantly their environment and the slides they were about to present though miles away from their usual office. Where is their laptop was I thinking to myself? What a strange crowd! Network Computing was a reality and it works great fellow marketers.
I experienced many times Scott McNeally‘s ability, Sun’s CEO at that time, to make unconventional assertion without shaking and against everyone else opinion — that he used to call “conventional wisdom” with despise. What is amazing is that he was very often right. Scott demonstrated a true inspiring leadership during tough years at Sun. Innovation, humor, and resilience were his attributes. He was easy to access to when present on Sun’s campus. Simply human but so smart.
Jonathan Schwartz took over in May 2006. A very bright executive, very passionate. As Sun is achieving its turnaround, Jonathan will have to face a tremendous challenge. He’s more than up to it, he can succeed glamorously. Just one recommendation Jonathan, if I may. Don’t loose sight of Sun’s human capital. I did witness several talented people leaving Sun despite their willingness to stay. It is sad and sends the wrong message. Sun used to be a very good company to work for and attracted the brightest contributors. Good luck to you and good luck to Sun and my ex-colleagues.
As a matter of fact, I get back my freedom of speech and I’m now able to comment on Sun’s strategy independently. I’ll use that. This also set me free to engage with you if you need some help in your projects. Marketing 2.0 can be on your side.