Acquiring Hewlett Packard’s Legacy


I love the humor and mischief in Sun. It’s one of the things that drew me here long before I joined the company, and one of the things I really appreciate about our culture. But frankly, it’s one of the things that’s gotten close to being rinsed away by years of cost cutting.


So I’d like to officially declare, herewith, a rebirth of fun at Sun. Good, cheap, drive the other guys up a wall, fun. And to that end…


You may have read about a very interesting art project. Some enterprising artists decided to mix technology and art, to create likenesses of technology industry titans, attach a Java phone to the sculptures, and set them free to find their way home. The project relied upon the kindness of strangers. Public spirited individuals that contributed to the return of the artwork to its rightful destination would leave their email address on the back of the artwork, and receive a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the sculptures.


The Java phone enabled the sculptures to be tracked via a service operator, Accutracking, and via Google maps. You can read about the technical details here, and track animated maps of each piece’s progress.


Now, not everyone thought this was a cool idea. When presented with the opportunity to purchase the likeness of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, it having made the trek from the printer ink section of a San Jose Office Depot, our friends at HP elected not to honor their founders. So out of respect for HP’s legacy, the fine folks in Sun’s marketing team decided to acquire the artwork. Bill and Dave are absolute legends, held in the deepest respect by all of us at Sun. We were honored at the opportunity.


So we bought them, and their garage, for $6,000. Lock, stock and Java phone.


And what better way of demonstrating the strength of our partnership than with a picture:




With nearly 25% of Solaris downloads requested on to HP’s servers, we know their customers really want the partnership, and we’re happy to oblige.


To warn you in advance, Bill and Dave have both indicated a strong interest in learning more about Sun and the Solaris platform, so stay tuned. We’re putting together a global tour. Maybe even some new t-shirts.

22 Comments

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22 responses to “Acquiring Hewlett Packard’s Legacy

  1. Martin J. Steer

    Jonathan,
    Great fun! I do wish you and Sun the very, very best. I’m not sure why I feel so loyal to Sun since I don’t really have a good reason. I guess at least some of it hails from seeing and listening to both you and Gosling at JavaOne and just loving your attitude and smarts.
    If Sun would only open a decent office (decent for me, as in something to do with software) here in Sweden… I would apply for a job without hesitation.
    Keep up the good work and the funny postings!
    /m

  2. Hello Jonathan,
    The Art Project is indeed very interesting – never heard about it. Amazing how technology is creeping into everyday lives and also art. I also liked the marketing gig of buying the likeness of H&P just to show your commitment to the partnership.
    I would really be interested to know why HP did not want to get the likeness in the first place – didn’t they like it or was it not accurate?🙂
    Any ideas?
    — Thyaga

  3. Roumen

    I did a bit of photoshop work… sorry I couldn’t resist🙂

    http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/roumen?entry=fun_officially_back_at_sun

  4. [Trackback] In an announcement that will surely send shockwaves through the the technology industry, Sun Microsystems has revealed that they have just purchased Hewlett & Packard! You can find the full announcement at the Sun Blog!
    Tags:…

  5. Matt Lee

    I’ll take a shirt.

  6. Anantha

    Thanks for reviving the ‘fun’ side of Sun, it can only lead to employee satisfaction/retention. I worked at Sun in the late 80s and I can tell you I still talk fondly about the April Fool’s pranks, Friday Beer Bust, and let’s not forget T-shirts. No better way to motivate your people. I no longer work for Sun but am an avid fan of the machine and the OS. Good luck.

  7. Pity that you can’t offload some of you lighthearted attitude to the Sun guys in South Africa. I think that a lot of them take themselves way too seriously.
    Great blog site

  8. hi there,
    “With nearly 25% of Solaris downloads requested on to HP’s servers, we know their customers really want the partnership, and we’re happy to oblige.”
    One way to (really) know how many installations you have is to track the number of updates. Can Sun let people know how many of those who got the original license updated ?
    Thank you,
    BR,
    ~A

  9. Jasper

    Bill & Dave should take a cross-country trip and pay a visit to the Mill at Maynard, Ma – it’s rumored Ken Olsen is lurking there. Together they could pay a visit to the last few remaining Digital/DEC/Compaq/HP customers on Ultrix/OSF/Tru32 Unix and give them a t-shirt.

  10. HM

    Still trying to undestand–when are you guys going to tack on a user-freindly GUI to Solaris? There’s no question your crew is smart–is it possible though you all are also spatially challenged? If you are, nothing better than buying some art to ‘get the ball rolling’.

  11. [Trackback] Friday Fun is Diva Marketing’s virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend ‘playground’ time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly. News Flash! Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple fame and William …

  12. our friends at HP elected not to honor their founders. So out of respect for HP’s legacy, the fine folks in Sun’s marketing team decided to acquire the artwork

    Perhaps HP prefers something more classic and traditional such as an oil painting or a bronze sculpture.
    The HP “Marketing” dept may have been more open to avant-garde type art

  13. Jonathan, very clever, good on you guys. Thanks for making it clear that the artist, Jill Newdoll, came to HP out of the blue and offered to sell the piece to them for several thousand $. Now, I’ve done a very tasteful life size sculpture of Scott McNealy in full hockey pads, and I’d like to give you the opportunity to adopt it for a mere $20K. If you don’t want it, no problem😉

  14. Funny indeed, but be cautious not to repeat the mistake Scott made by comparing HP with a trash truck. Even a trash truck as long as you can drive it its better than to be stale. I want my Sun back and have no reason to see it won’t succeed. With all the fun intact make sure the focus is not lost though. A trash truck indeed but watch out they are coming at you.

  15. Oscar

    I want a T-Shirt like this. I love Solaris too.😦

  16. Hi Jonathan, as a longtime Sun guy I’m glad to see that you’ve recognized Sun’s traditions of humor and mischief have nearly been “rinsed away” by costcutting, and also that you’ve decided to do something about it. Great job! I’ll think about what I can do in my department too. –smarks

  17. WhatNeedsToBeDone

    Well, OK. I’ll be in a more jovial mood when SUNW gets to half of Hewlett+Packard.Then we can all join in on the fun. Any idea when that might happen (rhetorical, of course)?

  18. Brett Kanazawa

    As one who has been here for 15 years, I’m definitely all in favor of good fun and a sense of humor. However, to be completely honest, I would have preferred to see $6000 spent on something that actually leads to direct revenue growth (such as a product marketing campaign) or an improvement in employee morale ($6000 could have bought lots of doughnuts!). Thanks for inviting our feedback.

  19. Jonathan — this is today’s post on my blog:
    Have you seen Jonathan Schwartz’s recent post “Acquiring Hewlett Packard’s Legacy”? Here’s the link: http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan
    Jonathan says:
    “I love the humor and mischief in Sun. It’s one of the things that drew me here long before I joined the company, and one of the things I really appreciate about our culture. But frankly, it’s one of the things that’s gotten close to being rinsed away by years of cost cutting. So I’d like to officially declare, herewith, a rebirth of fun at Sun.”
    And the rebirth is through ART — read about it in his post — and take a look at this art project he references: http://ylem.org/Hitchhikers/index.html.
    Jonathan — When can I profile you on Biz Blog Review?
    I’ve got some interesting questions to ask you about Sun’s corporate culture and the changes you’re talking about on your blog. Your ideas are interesting and the atmosphere you’re trying to cultivate for employees sounds intriguing.
    On your blog, I noticed you don’t really respond to commenters — why? Is there a reason that you don’t? Some bloggers do — they engage in a dialogue for a while before posting their next entry.
    Look forward to talking to you!
    Fiona Torrance
    http://www.bizblogreview.com/blog

  20. A Non E-Moose

    I would have preferred to see $6000 spent on something that actually leads to direct revenue growth (such as a product marketing campaign) or an improvement in employee morale ($6000 could have bought lots of doughnuts!).
    What, posters of change agents aren’t spending enough money for you?

  21. Well, I can’t let Roumen have ALL of the fun, now can I?
    http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/ChrisM/20060822
    -Chris

  22. Jonathan, Bill and Dave are dead. May they rest in peace. The company’s just called HP now. Latching onto images of old dead guys just reinforces the image of Sun dying, too.Disclaimer: I’m an HP employee. This comment is my own and does not necessarily represent the opinion of my employer.

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