On Blogging as CEO

It’s been a busy week. My heart rate seems to have slowed just to the point where I can taste food again.

I want to start by thanking Sun’s global volunteers
who every day work to improve the communities in which Sun operates around the world. I had the option of cancelling my volunteer commitments given this week’s events, but decided to keep it – and had the privilege to visit Blacow elementary school, and talk to a group of 1st grade students and their teacher about the internet. They showed me their StarOffice skills (no, I’m not joking), and when I asked how many of them had email accounts, about a quarter of the room raised their hand. These are first graders, mind you. (I asked one student who sent her email, and she said her Mom, but only when she travelled.)

So I’d like to thank the folks that organized my visit, Mrs. Lorenz for putting up with my questions about how many of her friends knew that OpenOffice was free (on Windows, too!) for all schools throughout the world, and the terrific first grade class for their outstanding presentations.

Earlier in the week, I hosted my first Leadership Conference as CEO. Sun’s Leadership Conferences bring together our global leaders twice a year to exchange ideas, discuss priorities, and share best practices. This year was a little unusual – Scott and I communicated his stepping up to Chairman, and my stepping up to CEO. We did so in front of a global town hall on the first day – we had nearly 20,000 (!) employees on-line to watch the event. You’ve already seen the speech I gave – it’s my last blog entry.

Emotionally, it was one of the toughest speeches I’ve ever given – and I want to thank those of you that added comments, and supported Scott on your own blogs, and throughout the media.

After my speech and a fairly thorough question and answer session, Scott left the auditorium – handing the keys to me, and saying, “I’m going to spend the next 90 days opening every door on the planet. Call me if you need me.” And then it was my Leadership Conference. It happened that fast.

The theme of this year’s event was simple: Growing. Through Pace and Transparency – it’s not just our products that are speeding up this year. We’re going to be driving unparalleled transparency into everything we do, precisely because it’s the most efficient mechanism to accelerate change throughout Sun. Transparency enables everything to go faster, invites accountability (to which most folks in large organizations aspire), and drives dialogue between Sun and the communities we serve.

So to answer the obvious, for those that have asked the question, “as CEO, will you continue blogging?”

Absolutely yes – count on it. (We’ll now be the only Fortune 500 company with a CEO that blogs – the first of many firsts to come.) It’s just one of many ways we’re going to turn Sun inside out – on our path to growing value (not just revenue or earnings).

And if you want to know who committed to redefining Sun Microsystems, it’s these folks, the global leadership team at Sun.

I’m the guy in the center wearing the tie – and before you ask, no, the dress code isn’t changing (and if you were going to be in a photo your mother would see (not this one, she doesn’t read my blog), you’d wear a tie, too).

In upcoming blogs, I’ll cover Greg Papadopoulos’s new role at Sun; and my priorities in the next 30 days.


Filed under General

35 responses to “On Blogging as CEO

  1. Jussi

    It’s great to hear that you’ll be blogging in the future too. I wish you and Sun all the best.

  2. Here’s an idea you might want to consider as you embark as CEO. How about making Sun a carbon-neutral company? I mean, how much would it cost Sun to offset the carbon dioxide you generate via the real estate, the servers, the TI fabs, etc? It might cost a few million dollars, but imagine the impact of the message you’d be delivering to ethical companies and customers worldwide. For example, here are some carbon offsetting providers. Congratulations and good luck!

  3. [Trackback] Congratulations to Jonathan Schwartz on becoming the first Fortune 500 CEO blogger.
    Hope the other 499 follow suit. Or quit and get replaced by bloggers.

  4. Congratulations! I’ve been following you and your blog for a long time. I think it’s inspirational. I have no doubt in my mind that the best of Sun is yet to come.

  5. Jonathan. The picture is going beyond the scrolling limit.:P Hi why cant you do one thing 😉 use a applet add this picture on it and with a lens effect on mouse over enlarge the picture area ,so user can see all the people close and clear 😉 LOL
    I am great lover of Open Source and Standards. I always use Open Office. I am using it for past 2-3 years. I really like it. Keep up your work Jonathan.
    {Absolutely yes – count on it. (We’ll now be the only Fortune 500 company with a CEO that blogs – the first of many firsts to come.) It’s just one of many ways we’re going to turn Sun inside out – on our path to growing value (not just revenue or earnings).
    And if you want to know who committed to redefining Sun Microsystems, it’s these folks, the global leadership team at Sun. }
    Very true words.
    All the best for your new assignments

  6. [Trackback] Jonathan Schwartz anuncia que mantindra el seu weblog, malgrat ser ara el CEO de Sun… de fet s’autodefineix com l’unic CEO de les Fortune 500 que mante un weblog personal.

  7. Jonathon,
    It is great to see you blogging and setting a great example for your employees of how to make Sun accessible to your customers, partners, and other interested folks. I just finished reading Naked Conversations and have jumped into the blogging pool myself. I agree with Robert and Shel on the importance of our business leaders joining in the conversation. I think much like other great innnovations, over time this phenomonen will help fuel new innovation. It is no surprise that Sun would be the only Fortune 500 compnay leading that innovation.
    Good on you! I will be watching intently over the next several months to see if some of my wild predictions of where I thought Sun would head in the enterprise conent management market were just delusions or somehow brilliant insight 🙂

  8. Graham Cruickshanks

    Good Luck in the new Job!

  9. Jack Liu

    Dear CEO Jonathan,
    Keep going! Good Luck to Sun and you.
    Sun’s fan at Taiwan

  10. David Lewis

    Is putting your Sales Guys On street in your agenda? Why isnt we dont get to see so many SUN sales people like M$ , Ci$Co ?

  11. vruz

    Congratulations Jonathan, your speech was a very inspired and emotionally meaningful one.
    You are very right about all the communities Sun serves, the latest case studies I’ve read on scalability invariably cite at least one Sun product being part of the equation.
    Hope this dialogue gets Sun closer and closer to the Free Software world too.
    cheers !

  12. Prince

    Frankly i came to know about the world of blogs through you !
    “turn Sun inside out” – that is a powerful statement. Best luck. I will support you 🙂

  13. Good luck at your new position!
    Your blogging style is interesting and I love to read some sunny things after lunch.
    Keep Sun on the path of innovation! (Besides: I love J2*E)

  14. To me… Unix = Solaris, workstation = Sun workstation, because the first Unix workstation I used at the university was a Sun 🙂
    Bought 1000 shares of SUNW at $4.2 2 months ago, and planning to get more!! However, growth and profit are what Wall Street is looking for, really hope that you can make it!!

  15. Good luck Jonathan.
    As you rightly pointed out “Transparency begets trust”.

  16. Saumya Garg

    Dear Jonathan,
    Internet sites are rife with rumours that Sun is seriously thinking about open sourcing java. I feel strongly about the subject so I wanted to give you my two cents. There doesn’t seem to be a place to email you so I a blog post will have to do.
    I feel that Sun would benefit from opening the JVM that is deployed on desktops and servers. Sun and its users would all benefit from the many people who would further try to optimize the JVM on these environments and kill bloat (unnecessary resource usage). In addition, the open source community model would make it easier to extend and optimize java for new platforms or take advantage of new chip-sets. The point of making this open source is that so many people now use Java that they have a vested interest in making it better. Further, I feel that most of the versioning would happen in the API, rather than the virtual machine, which would be a good thing. There is a way to open source java to promote community creatively without watering down the quality or functionality of the Java brand.
    On the other hand, I think it would be counter productive to open up the JVM for mobile phones. I think a company (not community) focus is needed to ensure quality implementation on architecture that consitenly evolves very rapidly.
    Lastly, I didn’t really understand how great of company Sun was in terms of innovation until it open sourced Solaris, Sparc, & ZFS.
    I would love to talk to you about this in more detail sometime.
    (btw. i feel that you do a great job of representing Sun through your blog.)

  17. Great. SUN CEO does blogging. Scott wasn’t that bold. SUN is breaking the communication barrier again.
    I think this try&buy model is very good, I see it applied to the NAS appliance on the day it was announced. It seems SUN has developed a CRM system to automate the whole process.
    SUN must not open ZFS. Filesystem technology is crucial, ZFS will be a major selling point. The minute you open source it, Linux will copy it. SUN’s billion dollar investment will be free for RedHat folks. SUN may develop ZFS module binaries for OpenSolaris.
    Now that SUN has a whole slew of great products, I think you can convince anyone to buy them, given enough time. SUN has to make profit, a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$, to realize its vision. The alternative is letting Bill Gates impose his vision on the world using his cach pile and monopoly power.

  18. Mr. Schwartz, you’ve stepped right into my territory as one who reports on corporate blogging – I’ll be watching you! No pressure. 🙂
    I’m thrilled that you’ve promised to keep blogging. As you do, so others will follow.

  19. Itsy Bitsy

    I wish u would take down this image (http://www.sun.com/images/e8/e8_java-ee5sdk.jpg) from http://java.sun.com now that the contest is long over and please announce the results.

  20. To me, open sourcing Solaris(including ZFS) and Java under GPL compatible license is very crucial to promote Sun’s interest.
    Of course, if Linux will copy ZFS as soon as Sun opens it up under GPL, but it’s all about momentum that matters these days and I really doubt either Solaris or especially Java will remain relevant very long without riding the open source momentum.
    Plus, as long as Linux won’t be under GPL3 anytime soon (Tovalds himself made it clear), I believe there’s sufficient chance that Solaris could be the preferred or even de facto standard platform for the GNU world which of course bring tremendous momentum behind Solaris development.
    In fact, converting Solaris to GPL3 doesn’t just mean it will lose ZFS to Linux world, but also mean it could gain access to the vast amount of the popular opensource application packages and tools. If small number of Nexenta developers could successfully combine OpenSolaris kernel with Ubuntu userland (which was problematic in legal aspect though) I guess Sun could make far better OS without much problem which excels for both server side and desktop use. Just imagine something like ZFS/Zone/DTrace/etc combined with desktop usability of Ubuntu Dapper.
    And OpenSolaris is already freely available to anyone so Sun need to find better business model other than selling OS itself to customers.
    As for Java, it would be more difficult to find suitable business model if it goes opensource. But as the GCJ/Classpath effort backed by RedHat maturing quick, Sun will eventually forced to open it anyway or become obsolete as MS.NET or even Mono gaining popularity even among the open source community.
    I guess we could make our JVM under GPL/CDDL dual license but retaining Java trademark and JCP so to make no one can claim any forked version of it as ‘Java’ without passing TCK, and it would be sufficient to prevent the defragmentation that many people worry about.
    Anyway I strongly believe that if we happen to lose more time till Mono could be percieved some de facto standard platform for Linux, and especially GNOME desktop, Java won’t survive long because it will lose its foothold from both of the big battlefield – Windows by MS.NET and Linux by Mono/Python/Ruby/etc.

  21. dave_dcbato

    Congratulations Mr. CEO. Having been a developer coming from a 3rd-world country it gives me the greatest privilege to read and share the blogs of one of the most remarkable person in the IT/Computer world. I am quite a follower and an avid reader of your blogs and were very much inspired of your ideals and principles you write on your blog because it gives a lot more meaning to ‘technology’ and ‘intelligence’ as compared to the competitive field of IT/Computers. It was great for you to share your ideas coming from the ‘upper level management’ knowing that a company like Sun do care about their customers and knows how to reach to them. Your same Vision with Scott gives us a much more improved ‘vision’ of how the ‘Future’ would be really liked. Such ‘Visions’ provides inspiration to thriving intelligent minds who now has the opportunity of expanding their horizons by sharing with other people their same ideas without having to invest on a monopolized product created by one gigantic company. You guys in Sun are so cool and great. Just keep it coming. Congrats again.

  22. Hooray for Java!

    I was at Sun (as a contractor) when Java started and was privileged to write some early Java code before official release.

    Now, I’m using Java to help society. See my website for information on a Java applet/servlet science learing service that’s being used by schools in Mobile, AL and New York City among many others.

    I’ve created a new model for education software with 100% web delivery and full tracking in a highly interactive learning context. Schools can use it on Macs, on PCs and on Unix boxes. Java is truly wonderful.

    I just wish that JMF would get fixed so that I can have sound in my videoclips again.

  23. Marcel

    I think you’d make an excellent CEO. And the fact that you’re blogging makes it even more interesting. For instance, what sets you aside from Scott in terms of strategy the way of working? Let’s me put it this way….if there’s one thing in which you feel Sun has to change rapidly, what would that be? I’m curious!

  24. Jacinto Dávila

    Dear Mr. Schwartz,
    Congratulations on your new job. This designation of yours has sent a hoping message for the IT community throughout the World. This may be a time to develop a new approach for the relations between IT developers and IT users. And you are in a privileged position to bring it about. You are a persistent blogger, so you know about continuous, free communication with people and its effect on trust. And you know a lot about the free and open source software community and “the power of decentralised collaboration” that they command. You have even said that you like the GPL. I may well imagine all the economic conflicts and trade-offs in connection with a release of your Java Platform under something closer to GPL. But, you must concede, it is only “financial reasons” that prevent Sun from doing it (JRL-GPL=money). This may be a time to show that a big company can answer to other reasons beside the financial, in particular when users concerns are at stake.

  25. Congratulations on your new post. I have a couple of comments not directly related to this post.
    Firstly, I can’t find any information on sun.com regarding the “DB for free” initiative mentioned in the Sun/Oracle press release at http://www.sun.com/2006-0111/feature/index.html – I am extremely interested to find out how this works, so any pointers would be gratefully received.
    Finally, a comment with regard to licensing. As you know, Solaris owes a lot more heritage to BSD than it does to Linux and, while the CDDL is a good compromise between a BSD type license and Sun’s interests, I would be really upset to see more stuff get released under the GPL, which basically prevents incorporation back into the BSD projects.Since licensing stuff under the GPL doesn’t really protect Sun’s interests any more than the BSD license would (other than preventing other companies from hiding their improvements), I’d like you to consider the BSD license over the GPL. Otherwise, BSD really could be left behind. Thanks.

  26. Dave

    To balance the calls to open source Java, I’m a developer who doesn’t want to see Java open sourced. I’m not looking forward to a future in which I have to build code tailored for IBM’s Java, and Redhat’s Java, and Microsoft’s Java, and, oh yes, Sun’s Java.
    Pro-s and Anti-s alike, however, I think we’re all hoping for a definitive statement at Java One.

  27. We’ll see good results in 2 years from now on. Good luck!

  28. theuserbl

    My reosons, why I think, that an OpenSource Java is needed:

    I think fundamantal programs (programs on which other are based, like Operating Systems, Virtual Machines like Java and .NET, widely used GUI-APIs (like Qt, GTK+, fltk,..) , etc. must been OpenSource.

    I have no problem to have a closed source game or so. Because computer-games are not fundamantal programs.

    I can understand it, if a firm create not OpenSource fundamantal programs, to make money with it. But Sun makes no money with Java. So I don’t understand, why Sun don’t give it under an OpenSource license.

    Sun says, that with an OpenSource Java, there would come forks. But what is the current situation?
    There existing a lot of free JVMs like Cacao, gcj/gij, JamVM,SableVM etc. which used GNU Classpath. And GNU Classpath makes big steps forward. Have a look at Romans Blog and Marks Blog to see impressive Screenshots of the current GNU Classpath.
    But GNU Classpath tries to be compatible with the newest Java SE versions.
    So GNU Classpath differs from Suns Java. And GNU Classpath only exists, because Suns Java isn’t OpenSource.
    And there existing not only OpenSource JVMs, which using GNU Classpath. There existing also companies like aicas using GNU Classpath for its Closed Source JVMs, because licensing reasons. And the employees of this firms are also working on GNU Classpath to make it better and better.
    The Java-folkes are diveded in people who want an OpenSource-Java and people who wants and used the “original”.
    But the “original” existing only for Windows, Linux/x86 and Solaris. For all other platforms there existing ports of Suns Java with specific adaptations from other companies.
    This means: Without the help of other firms and groups, Suns Java would only run on three Operating Systems.

    And because Java isn’t OpenSource, it is also hard to port it to different systems.
    Have a look at BeOS/Zeta/Haiku. You can say: “Hey, this OS is dead”, but there are sill people using it.
    In the old days Sun tries to port together with Be to port Java over to BeOS. But no result of this port was published.
    But there existing a “Java”(-Clone) called BeKaffe, which was a port of Kaffe to BeOS. And who wonders: Kaffe is OpenSource.
    Then there existing some people, who work together with YellowTab to porting Suns Java over to BeOS/Zeta/Haiku. But they can’t use the already ported parts from Be Inc. They must begin from zero. And again they show time by time screenshots, but no Java. The reason is clear: It is not allowed to publish modified Java-versions which are not certified by Sun. So, why is it better to have on some platforms no Java instead of having on it a work in progress port of Java, which have then an other name. An other name, because, if Suns Java would be OpenSource, the trademark of the word “Java” have furthermore Sun. And so all modified Java-version which have not passed the Java Compatiblity Kit Test (JCK-Test) have then a different name.
    And that’s ok. Everybody know then, that all which is not called Java, could be incompatible to the original one.

    But the JCK is currently also a problem. The actual license is a Read-only license. It is allowed to read it, but not to compile it or running it.
    And so for GNU Classpath – which want to be compatible to Suns Java as possible – it is useless.

    But hopefully Apache Harmony (a project, which tries also to be a 100% compatible Java SE 5.0 by using GNU Classpath and whith the goal that Sun will in anytime certified its Java SE) become from Sun the right to use the TCK.

    Hopefully Apache Harmony will be certified in anytime. But thats also something I don’t understand. Why would Sun not OpenSource it’s own implementation, but if Apache creates an 100% compatible Java SE, it would be ok?

    Or is it like with the Java Enterprise Edition, where at first Suns implementation was closed source and only as there comes more and more certified OpenSource Java EEs like JBoss, JOnAS and Geronimo, Sun comes out with its own OpenSource Java EE called Glassfish


  29. Prince

    Hi Jonathan,
    As i see it Sun has cool technology , but somehow the message is not getting that much ‘sting’ to the outside world. Today i read an article in San Jose Business journal about SunRay ( http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2006/05/01/focus2.html ). The comment is that “The challenge … for Sun … is getting the message out and making clear to people the value they can provide.”

  30. Open Sourcing Java and ZFS will be suicide, Jonathan. The whole idea of commercializing Open Source is exploiting programmers for free for profit. Oracle is trying to do Linux too. Look at RedHat, it provides a free but unstable version of Linux called Fedora. To get the binaries for the Enterprise version of Linux, prepare to pay $$$$. There are some folks who took RedHat’s source code and build binaries called CentOS (see http://www.centos.org). RedHat immediately threatened the site with lawerly letter, saying CentOS violated RedHat trademarks. So, Jonathan, please don’t be so idealistic. It is a money game, nothing so noble. RedHat is merely a Linux packaging company, it makes a lot of money doing that because companies need a supported OS to run cheap hardware. SUN spent billions to develop technology. SUN must monetize Java and Solaris by all means possible. Linux is still weak in certain areas, filesystem is one of them. Linux’s EXT3 filesystem is no match to ZFS. If Linux has ZFS, everyone can build good storage devices with ease. SUN must learn from the success of others, including Microsoft. First, you must have money, then you can realize your dream. If SUN can’t succeed as a profitable company, all its technologies and vision will fade away.

  31. Norman Allen

    Hello Jonathan,
    Glad to have a personal touch with Sun’s CEO. I would like to talk with someone about how Sun could be the vehicle needed for a Telco service and directory revolution.
    My concept would supplant telephone directories with new levels of service and benefits while providing wide, deep revenue streams that exceed short term IPO potential.
    Thank you,
    Norman Allen
    The Woodsmith
    464-775 Main St.
    PO Box 70
    Janesville, CA 96114-0070
    530-253-2100 business
    530-253-3600 fax
    530-253-3389 home
    530-249-2100 cell

  32. Jim Dunphy

    Congratulations!!! Been using sun’s since sun 2/140’s and a shareholder since 1991. These are ment to be constructive and not negative. I have a lot of history with the company and hope this helps.

    Please fix the sun store. I wanted to buy a sun part today but 15 business days before it might be shipped is difficult for customers. I looked online and then called and found that the part – a NVRAM chip was in stock but it may not ship for 15 business days. As a result I have decided go elsewhere for that part (ebay????) because I want it sooner. This part is small stuff but it seems broken when items can’t be purchased/shipped when they are in inventory. Why lose the business to a secondary market or worse scare off future sales to other vendors. The big question it raises to me is why would I choose this vendor when others can ship within 24hrs when items are in inventory. Obviously I want to buy from sun but it has to be frustrating to someone who is considering moving to sun and is use to our current competitive environment where they can get parts/computers that are in stock shipped the next day.

    BTW, The part is $30 so we will waste more time discussing this. 🙂
    Support. You need to fix this also. I have a horror story about a motherboard replacement on a new server sunfire v20z (newisys – DOA when it arrived) that was botched and probably cost sun 3X what the price of the hardware was worth. Also, in 2000-2001??? when I purchased 2 ultra’s 10’s and 2 E420’s within 10 days… We had similar problems with BAD CPU’s DOA that had to be replaced. I hope that I have become the most unlucky customer and that quality has not slipped from early days of the company when I was buying HW.
    replacement parts under service contract. A disk drive was out of stock and arrived 7 days late for 24 hour replacement service. When it arrived the return packaging had instructions for UPS but the return tagging was DHL. There was a disconnect with the front line people and the backend inventory group that is shipping the stuff. They can’t look into each other DB’s without calling each other. The first time, they ping ponged me back and forth until I got a clue and asked them what was going on. The front line didn’t know if the item had shipped nor the tracking number when I asked where it was because it hadn’t arrived as promised. They ordered the part mulitple times and even dispatched someone and shipped the product. I received a call months later saying they had not received the returned part (disk drive) that was picked up by the service personnel. As a shareholder, I don’t want sun paying for parts that the vendor needs to replace/fix. I have a gut feeling that there is a disconnect about replacement parts that are sent out and what is returned. There should be a system to make sure that spares are returned or defects are returned. It is common for mulitple parts to be shipped to a customer site in the hopes that all the needed parts are available for the techician. I am worried about how those parts make it back that were not used.

    Great products but cleanup the waste of shipping DOA products and having untrained technician doing the service calls. In my case, the technician had never seen the sunfire v20z so was unfamiliar with the MB replacement a few years ago. Every single person that I have delt with at sun has been very nice so you have a great culture and respect your customers. No complaints here! Your customers want you to succeed. Please do.

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks for listening.
  33. Mark

    We are moving toward a utopia!
    Seems that you’re on top of many interpolability issues right away. Will be nice to track. Instead of all the hot key terms being thrown around today, it’s good to just make sure things work.

  34. Prince

    In Forbes Q&A , you indicated that SUN might be in consumer service business (?) . Can the market expect SunPod moments ( please register this as trademark ) from SUN ? Again , wish you the best luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s