Congratulations, Michael.

I had an opportunity to have lunch with the newly elected president of my alma mater (Wesleyan University) recently, a fellow named Michael Roth. He was a really impressive individual, committed to leading an institution that changed my life (as educational institutions so often do).


I was really pleased to get a note from him yesterday morning saying he’d started to engage the Wesleyan community, here – I don’t know if he’s the first university president to use a blog, but he’s certainly the first leader at Wesleyan to do so, and unique among his peers in stepping forward.


From where I sit, it’s better to lead from the front, than from behind a closed door.


So congratulations, Michael…

21 Comments

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21 responses to “Congratulations, Michael.

  1. david eysmann

    Excellent job, but how do we get the price of the stock higher? I am a long time stock holder rooting for the company. Many other stock holders are asking me the same question.
    Regards,
    David

  2. Closed-door leadership has great value for leaders with nothing intelligent to say. That way, they are only quoted in press releases so that they appear very focused and knowledgeable.
    Sadly, these blurbs are actually written by bright young women at PR agencies who will never be CEOs of anything. Now these are the people I’d like to see blogging.

  3. Speaking of blogs, your "Truly Fair Disclosure" item inspired me to finally learn a thing or two about RSS. I replaced my Sun Newswire subscription with Sun RSS Feeds. Since I blog too (mostly about SPARC), I then learned how to provide an RSS feed. Although I’m regarded by most people as "a hardware guy", this wasn’t very difficult.
    And so, while we’re on the topic of thanking/congratulating teachers, I wish to thank mine, Jonathan Schwartz.

  4. Why Sun Stock Is Dead (From a younger generation IT guy)

    I have been a Unix/*nix admin since 1998 and in my early 30’s. I work with even younger…
    In 1999 my company paid for me to take some Solaris Admin courses and truly it was fun and very helpful. My workstation at the time–which was my absolute favorite–was a sun ultra 10. The price then was extremely high but there were not as many machines better. Or even operating systems. Linux was growing, FreeBSD was growing.. sheesh.. even OpenBSD was growing!
    Let me keep this short (If possible).
    Sun is *not* doing one thing wrong, they are doing many little things wrong. Aesthetics is not even a word when you think of a Sun product. There UI design is horrible, from the design of the website, their accounting system sw and Solaris.
    For such pioneers of technology, you really have to wonder how they have been left so far behind with their little to no attention they’ve paid to their USER environment. I can only imagine that Sun has so many old(er) generation programmers that they just keep plugging away at coding coding and more coding that they forget entirely about the end user who is using Linux,OSX and even FreeBSD.
    Sun’s interface design is totally archaic. One reason that Apple burst on the seen with OSX and was totally embraced by the developer community is because it is based on FreeBSD with the functionality of a *nix OS and the UI was so aesthetically pleasing that you could not help but fall in love with it right away. Why was Sun not smart enough to realize that people want stability and developers want unix/*nix based tools in a magical environment. Apple hit the nail on the head with their window manager and sun is still looking like it belongs in the 50’s. There colors are not eye-candy, they are institutional green/purple/blue whatever…
    I use OSX religiously now for development, but run linux for all my servers. Mostly LAMP and Rails/mongrel/apache stacks. So simple really.
    Sun needs to clean house and stop letting the old men and complete geeks run the show. They need to wake up and realize there is something called web2.0 (yes a buzzword, but also a concept and user experience). Sun has so many innovative products but are totally missing the fundamentals! Dtrace, AFS, java, Looking Glass.. wow! But sun’s package management is a disaster, and again I fall back to the institutional UI designs that do not spark any bit of interest with the developer community. Opening up ALL of Solaris is not the answer and neither is renaming you ticker symbol from SUNW to JAVA.. people rename their ticker out of desperation! Nothing more! DO you see Google renaming their ticker? NO, cause they are not treading water.
    So Jonathan and Sun… what can you do at this point? I can give you a start…
    Fold in your hand! Start over! Get rid of your overly complicated user-unfriendly everything! Want to make Solaris glow again? Why don’t you do what Apple did.. make Solaris an aesthetically pleasing, "Holy Cow!" user experience by making a commericial grade looking interface to Linux, like Apple did with FreeBSD.
    Ask yourself this… based on OS9 would you think Apple could have ever delivered and pulled this off? I would’ve have said, "No way!" However, sun is miles ahead of where Apple was when they first released OSX.
    Let me recapitulate simply… Deliver the OS of every Linux user/admin/developer dreams.. and the rest will follow.. the OS is still the core! How much core? Ask Steve Jobs, people buy his hardware just because of his OS. Sun again has it backwards expecting people to use their OS because of their hardware… maybe back in the day when a sparc processor meant something.. but not anymore!
    Okay… that was babble, talk to me about it in private and I will share a much more intelligible viewpoint instead of the babble above but even still, I think I made my point.
    Sorry Jonathan, but make all the ticker changes you want but your still heading down the wrong track.
    This was just not my opinion, but the hundreds of *nix administrators that I chat over the past 8 years.
    Good luck!

  5. Why Sun Stock Is Dead

    sorry about the AFS typo s/AFS/ZFS

  6. rob

    Jonathan,
    Thanks for posting this. I wouldn’t have seen it if you hadn’t.
    Look forward to his posts
    Wes Alum

  7. Sun is Back

    Jonathan, Quality is easy to recognize when you see it. Just ask someone who has handled a Mac ! Having followed you over the last one year, I must hand it to you – You are something special man. Never has a Silicon Valley CEO who is "non-geek" inspired me so much with his vision and clarity. You are on your way into history books for the most incredible comeback of the computer industry. Advanced CongratulationsđŸ˜‰

  8. Peter

    Reply to "Why Sun Stock is Dead":
    Your off topic response is a subject appearing regularly on this blog, to those who think that way; don’t be too hasty to throw the baby out with the bathwater, have a look at http://www.opensolaris.org/os/project/presto/ ,market conditions have changed, Sun is responding, download a copy of Solaris 10, play with ZFS and zones, talk about usability, especially for sysadmin.

  9. edward

    Fully agree with what you said, here is my addtional 2 cents:
    Just finish the Frontier Visionary Interview with Alvin Toffler ( http://www.hwswworld.com/uploaddownload/interview/toffler.mp3 ), I was impressed by his sharp mind as well as his talking speed, that is probably why he could made those precise predictions, such as Prosume, a combination of outsourcing and DIY
    Through the interview, the following viewpoints have been drawn:
    1. There is no truth, only the correctness of truth to be proved. That is the fundamental limitation of human perception of reality
    2. Minority power is good in certain way; it is ridiculous a high school drop out shall have the same voting as that of post-doctor. Elite ruling is good for a less developed world for sure
    3. To fix the education system, the key is not the system itself; the key is people, especially those students. How to motivate them is a key challenge, since current generation and future generations need not study and work hard in order to make a decent living as we did before
    4. The causes and effects of innovation to drive knowledge creation is yet a wild land or wonderland to be fully explored
    5. There is a possibility for business miniature to happen, it will be not a shame any more for one-man shop, or one-shop man
    6. Where will the modern civilization head on remains an open question
    7. Human intelligence will be enhanced through technology advancement

  10. Phillip

    Johnathan,
    Anyone who promotes Linux is beating a dead horse, I’ve been using and administrating unix since 1985. Long before there were even Soalris around and have been using Sun gear since 1988.
    I see far more consistency in Solaris than I do than any other unix OS that I have ever seen. For a company that goes out on the limb to renew their core OS (Solaris) on x86 is something Sun should be extremely proud of. Although Sun did slack on x86 platform far too long. they made improvements and sincerely listened to users that support both Sparc and x86 platforms. That says a lot about a company to me.
    Yes linux made grounds on the desktop area in which Sun can improve on but Sum is making grounds in that direction. We have more developers that follow standards than those in the linux crowd. I find that porting linux to Solaris to be a pain in the neck cause so much of the code has linuxism and don’t follow standards. I know many of my peers would agree.
    Also the one poster feels Sun has it backwards. No Apple has it backwards, That why they are not in many enterprise environments.
    I have yet to see where Apple overwhelmingly runs an entire DC other
    than apple itself.
    Solaris is a very strong OS and one of the best OS that you can ask anyone to run a server on. I am very impressed to see doing better and their selection with AMD has help a long ways also. The only issue there is to get core businesses because oracle to run Solaris x86. Starting with Cisco they really need to run with Solaris, they already have so much running on Sparc version. Now it’s time to convert those apps to run on x86 version of Solaris.
    One of many ways Sun is helping IT fight the cost is through virtualization. Zones is a cool feature. I’m proud to say we use this on many of our sparc based systems at where I work.
    Sun is heading in the right direction in my view.

  11. I think blogging is becoming more of a way for people to archive their thoughts and garner comments from others. It’s a great outlet. Personally, though, I’m not much of a fan of the open movement. I see it more as a fad, without much endurance. It’s great if you want people to modify and distribute your code at relatively no cost. It’s a great marketing gimmick, for sure. I feel it’s relatively short-sghted, though, with other options available for building well-structured, complex, and usefull assets/code. Why do I like blogging? Because it builds in some kind of accountability, where one’s commenst don’t go into the circular file/i.e the trash, and where a blogger/ceo can interact with its citzenry, should one so choose, in virtually near real-time. I applaud you Jonathan, for responding to the voluminous negativity following the move from SUNW to JAVA. Now, it would be nice to achieve some more market penetration, into the educational/university market by maybe getting a "powered by SUN" icon on the Wesleyan home page. Now, that would be something, wouldn’t it?đŸ™‚ I know if I was CEO of SUN Microsystems, I darned well do whatever it took to get the "powered by SUN" logo on the UNiversity of Miami’s homepage, http://www.miami.edu . (shameless ‘Canes plug inserted;)) Well, till next time…Mark

  12. Great news.
    Why it’s called "μ"?

  13. Thomas

    >>This is an interesting chart, isn’t it.
    >>http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=JAVA&t=2y&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=intc,dell,msft
    There’s nothing worth comparing between $4 stocks and $30 stocks when you are merely comparing percentile changes. That aside, try comparing Sun’s growth to Google or Apple — companies not only innovating but making their innovations known to the common IT administrator.
    As a Linux Administrator, and small business owner, Sun needs to perform in a few key categories to gain my acceptance:
    1) Show viable alternatives to Linux via documentation and innovation. Solaris Containers and ZFS are fantastic? Why do I need to visit Sun.com or sun loyalist blogs to hear about these technologies? Meanwhile VMWare, Xen and Virtuozzo are taking headlines in the key industries they participate in.
    2) Direct sell your hardware. Compete with Dell on price and ease of ordering and Dell customers such as myself will take a hard look at your website.

  14. Rich Campbell

    I CAN’T believe you just ask for a reverse split of 1-4. I have stuck it out with this company since 2001…through all the hard times. Averaging down in hopes of a turn around. FINALLY in the green and you punish the shareholders for what past management did with all the splits of the late 90’s.
    SHAME on you.

  15. Blogging can be both positive and negative. Two companies ago our CEO thought it would be a good idea to start blogging. He did so on at least a weekly basis. Then when things started getting tough, his posts were fewer and fewer.
    What everyone used to look forward to became a source of discussion around the water cooler. You were just *sure* that something was up and that the CEO was going to drop a bomb or two…which he did (announcing several thousand people would lose their jobs, etc.)
    My point is that once you start blogging at the executive level, you can’t really stop, and if you do, then you open yourself up to a lot of "gee…I wonder what’s going on."
    By the way Jonathan, I really enjoy your blog. Once of the select few I read every posting of.

  16. Christopher

    Who ever said "2. Minority power is good in certain way; it is ridiculous a high school drop out shall have the same voting as that of post-doctor. Elite ruling is good for a less developed world for sure" is sure lacking the facilities to understand the world beyond his/her nose.
    A true BONEHEAD elitist…without a clue!!!

  17. Gordon Foxx

    So who doesn’t like a stock that frequently cycles between $4.50 and $5.50? Nice round-trip, if you like to buy low and then sell high.

  18. I think we need to understand who we’re dealing with here. The bio for NetApps Founder David Hitz says:
    **Before his career in the computer industry, Hitz worked as a cowboy, where he got valuable management experience by herding, branding, and castrating cattle.**
    Ouch! Clearly, this is not someone I want to have me by the cajones. I suggest we settle.

  19. So now it turns out that the Hitz ‘292 patent postdates a similar independent discovery:
    http://features.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/10/13/2117258
    This is very common in the computing arena, where engineers do workman-like
    improvements obvious to practitioners in the field, but one party is a patent system
    believer and the other is not. Here we have Bonwick freely acknowledging WAFL
    as an influence, and Hitz building upon the unpatented Episode FS and
    Kirk McKusick’s Berkeley FFS as foundation for WAFL. None of the principals are
    haughty enough to take credit for concepts like "inode", "metadata in files",
    "copy-on-write", or even "tree-of-blocks consistency" as patentable.
    But here we have an independent discoverer monkey-wrenching the system
    by patenting an improvement where others did not. The USPTO is known
    to do poorly with fast-paced independent discovery which really undermines
    the whole notion of awarding patent monopolies for something novel (how could
    there be novelty, with multiple inventors?). The field of Lempel-Ziv compression
    was rife with such multiple independent discovery. Only attorneys end up happy.

  20. Matt Burton

    Props for giving Wesleyan a shoutout! I’ve been hearing only good things about Roth. Sounds like he is exactly what Wes needs after closed door Doug Bennet.
    Cheers!
    Alum ’04

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