What I Love About Sun – After 25 Years

I just filled in the order for my anniversary gift from Sun Microsystems. It feels odd to have worked at one company for 25 years (since June 1984). I have been thinking about why I have stayed so long. Here is what I love about Sun:


    • Smart people who create amazing technology.At Sun, I have had the privilege to work with many great innovators and those who foster innovation, including:
      Carol Bartz,
      Whit Diffie,
      James Gosling,
      Vinod Khosla,
      Greg Papadopoulos,
      Radia Perlman,
      Eric Schmidt
      (who hired me), and
      Ivan Sutherland.

      I believe that the world is a better place because of Sun Engineering.

    • Generous people who think beyond themselves.Sun is a company for people with big hearts.

      I am proud of both large and small gifts, particularly:


        • The 545 senior staff and executive mentors in my
          SEED worldwide Engineering mentoring program who spend time they rarely have to help others down the path they have walked
        • The anonymous donor of the Free Milk Foundation half gallon which quietly appears in our hall’s refrigerator every Monday morning
        • Sun’s CTO, Greg Papadopoulos, who has supported the
          Anita Borg Institute and its Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the American Heart Association’s
          Heart Walk, the SETI Institute, and so many other worthy efforts
        • Sun’s commitment to ecologically responsible products, and to volunteering in our local communities worldwide.
    • People with a sense of fun.Sun Engineers will put unreasonable effort into creating a great joke.
      Ever since I watched the senior Software developers putting Eric’s office into the pond in 1985, I have enjoyed Sun’s pranks and April Fools jokes. Sun has a sense of humor.

As the Oracle-Sun proposed acquisition progresses, I hope that what I love about Sun will be valued, grow, and continue to create great technology with a passion which makes the world better.


Filed under News & Reviews

7 responses to “What I Love About Sun – After 25 Years

  1. Anonymous

    Agree with most of that, but if there’s one thing I won’t miss about Sun, it’s those April Fool jokes. Outside the US, we’ve always regarded them as puerile American frat humour at its terminally-unfunniest.

  2. TJG

    While I have not your longevity (11 years in my case), Sun has definitely improved the world of technology, and changed the way we think about technological innovation.

  3. Nicely put Katy: I’ve only been here since ’96 but had summarised my thoughts a few years ago here:
    – and I stand by these words today: here’s hoping the spirit of Sun Microsystems, Inc. remains, whatever the future holds for us.

  4. Have to agree Katy, I hit my 10 years this month.

  5. UsedToBeAn Employee

    (I meant to comment here, but ended up to your seed post. Sorry.)
    Why Sun Failed?
    R&D failed Sun.
    For a decade, Sun plowed back 12% to 15% revenue on R&D, steadfastly refused to cut back. Those investment never paid back. The example is the colossal failure of the SPARC program. Next is the sad, sad attempt to have a storage business. Who are at fault? Anant Agrawal, Janpieter Scheerder, David Yen, and Greg Papadopoulos!
    Cannot monetize Software
    Sun has a treasure trove of software: Solaris, Java, NetBean, OpenOffice, etc. It failed to monetize any of them. No licensing, no services, no hardware drags, no ad revenue. OK, I don’t mean zero. Just not in anyway meaningful. This one is squarely on Jonathan Schwartz.
    Non-sensical Acquisitions.
    It is as if Sr. Execs are acquiring to fill their resumes. Sun acquired companies for trophies. After the acquistions, they let the talents go and squandered the technologies. The only exception is Niagara. Again, this is Jonathan’s fault.
    Ignored China.
    While IBM, HP, and Dell made inroads into China, Sun pondered on its global strategy and insisted all products, processes, and practices to be uniform across the world. This is idiotic (try selling right-hand driving cars to Japanese). China loved Sun and could have been more than 30% of Sun’s revenue. Instead, Sun let its US sales dragged itself down to the abyss. Again, Jonathan failed this.

  6. I did not know that Sun censors the blogs. "UsedToBeAn Employee" chose to "archive" his/her comments at my blog. Interesting approach. See the URL.

  7. afara

    "The only exception is Niagara."
    If you are talking about letting talent go, Niagara is no exception.

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