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If you were CEO of Sun...

I was going to put this in the pickled IBM thread but I think it would be fun to hear from the armchair CEOs out there.

If I were CEO of Sun, I would drop this emphasis on Java, which end users don't really care about. I'd identify my end users as corporate drones and the IT buyers who control them and forget about trying to convert those losers who actually have a choice of what computer they get to sit in front of (hint: no matter how much you spend on marketing to them, they'll never choose Sun). I didn't say I'd drop Java - just the emphasis on it; Sun needs to wake up to the fact that the message just isn't hitting the right buttons.

If I were CEO of Sun, I'd push the SunRay solution. Hard. I'd provide demonstrable proof that administration costs would go down, that the equipment would have a useful life measured in decades instead of until the next Windows release, that air con costs would go down, that noiseless offices gave employees more virility, that larger screens improve productivity, that it would be cheaper to increase server capacity than to upgrade desktops, that an integrated infrastructure would lead to reduced IT costs and that sitting in front of a Sun would make you live longer.

Sun's current message seems to be: Hey, at least we're not Microsoft. Or IBM. Or HP. We were slow to react to Windows 95 and couldn't work out whether we wanted to be in workstations or servers when the Internet happened and decided for us but - trust us - we're visionaries. We had this embedded operating system idea but the market rejected it (twice) before the Internet happened and we got a free distribution vehicle for it. Ok, so even the end users rejected it but at least you've heard of us now (and, besides, 8 out of 10 developers who we've asked said they preferred it to Visual Basic). So, come on! Buy Sun kit. We were really good, once.

If you were CEO of Sun, how would you work to counter this worldview and convince me to buy shares in your company?

Paul Sharples
Friday, August 20, 2004

If I were CEO of Sun, the first thing I would do is fire the incompetent boob of a CEO.

Art Vandelay
Friday, August 20, 2004

If I were CEO of Sun, I would do my best to make Java faster.

Ogami Itto
Friday, August 20, 2004

If I were the CEO of Sun I'd retire and lie on a beach somewhere with a semi naked woman at my beck and call.

You see, that's why I'm not CEO of Sun - I don't think big enough. What I really should want to do is retire and lie on a beach somewhere with several totally naked women at my beck and call.

Friday, August 20, 2004

If I were CEO of Sun, I'd probably do whatever the current CEO is doing, because in order for me to be CEO of Sun, I'd have to have done what he did and essentially be him.  If I were CEO of Sun as I am right now, I'd probably just get fired for not doing my job, because I don't know anything about being a CEO.
Friday, August 20, 2004

You're right, you don't think big enough. With McNealy's fortune, you could have *multiple* *completely* naked women  at your beck and call.

Rob VH
Friday, August 20, 2004

Don't even say it.

Rob VH
Friday, August 20, 2004

I think the real problem the CEO of Sun faces is that he's in charge of a PUBLIC corporation rather than a PRIVATE corporation.

All corporations are responsible foremost to their shareholders. Everything the CEO does must address this responsibility. Therefore, he doesn't really have the latitude to just drop something and make a drastic change of direction. If things don't work out, he's in seriously hot water.

Jeff Watkins
Friday, August 20, 2004

It's too late for Sun. They've spent the past several years continuously shooting themselves in the foot and now you ask how are they going to run the marathon.

These guys are not even standing any longer, they are merely able to crawl. It reminds me of the Monty Python skit with the knight guarding the bridge who refuses to stop fighting even as each of his limbs is severed. The only one who doesn't realize he's already a gonner is himself.

If I were the CEO, I'd be looking around desperately for a merger partner.  How about SCO? Oh wait, they're in even worse shape.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Oddly enough, I just came across another post by Tim Bray on a related subject: Tim - one of the original developers of XML - is a relatively recent arrival at Sun


Max Hadley
Friday, August 20, 2004

I would be CEO of Moon as well so I can work on both side of the spectrum, day and night.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I'd hire muppet, cause he's god.

passive-aggressive weasel
Friday, August 20, 2004

I'd put Fred Grott in charge of everything. 

Joe Blandy
Friday, August 20, 2004

I'd rewrite the String class

Friday, August 20, 2004

I'd run an ad campaign where 3 servers were dropped from a pretty tall building. Maybe in a humorous manner.

Two of them break apart, and one of them is intact, you plug it in, and it starts working.

I think you can see where I'm going with this. I'd copy the (was it UPS? FedEx? DHL?) ads "when it absolutely positively has to work."

I'd run another ad campaign where there are two guys swapping stories in a bar.

"I had to do yet another security update, only I didn't get in to the office fast enough, so a nasty virus spread throughout the network and wiped out our infrastructure. I was fired and our company went under a couple of weeks later. What about you?"

"Oh, I bought some sun servers. I really should get going, I'm supposed to meet the president about a raise tomorrow."

etc. etc.

Just how the old IBM selling point was "IBM means service" I would make it "Sun means reliability."

At least, that's what I figure Sun's big selling point is. Aside from Apple they're the only ones who own the whole box top to bottom, OS, hadware and all. (I'm sure someone will correct me here...).
Friday, August 20, 2004

> If I were CEO of Sun, I'd push the SunRay solution. Hard.

Oh they are pushing that hard.  A few months ago I got invited to a slaes ptich with free beer while the they demonstraed SunRays.

But if I were the CEO I would fire all the marketing people, why put Java on everything? 

They need to find a core and stick to it.  Maybe even get real friendly with Oracle or IBM as in merger/acquistion.

Bill Rushmore
Friday, August 20, 2004

But Sun have all the pieces necessary to own the corporate enterprise: servers for all occasions, a compellingly cheap PC alternative, staroffice, even thousands of qualified 3rd party apps. For those welded to MS Exchange, there's the Citrix or VMware solution.

Java is the thing which ties it all together and bridges the gap from Windows to Solaris, but it isn't *the* solution and it's certainly not something which is going to sell more Sun kit.

Oh, sure, there will be those who need apps which don't fit the thin client mould... but not many in a corporate setting, which should be Sun's core market.

I don't think they need to merge with anyone. What they need to do is line everything up behind one vision, and they're actually doing that. Trouble is, they've decided that that vision is Java everywhere, when perhaps it should be a SunRay on every [corporate] desktop and a SunFire in every server room.

What did you think of the SunRay demo, btw? I've never seen them in action but I have heard that they fall short of the hype (what else is new).

Oh, and to answer Old Timer, there's a golden opportunity coming up for Sun: thanks to Microsoft prepping the market for the big Longhorn upgrade, Sun could position themselves to be a credible alternative. They've got about 2 years to get their story straight. If they miss this boat, I agree their warchest will run out before the next one comes along.

Paul Sharples
Friday, August 20, 2004

We have a development lab set up with a bunch of rays.  The coolest things about them are the session portability and the no local o/s.  I've got no complaints at all.

If I were CEO, I'd throw my weight behind the SunRays with all my might, I'd continue to push java too, but I think I'd also start long-term pondering how I could leverage into the home computer department.

van pelt
Friday, August 20, 2004

If SunRays are good products, they could start by making them easy to find on their site. No trace on their homepage, nothing when clicking on "Products" on the left, nothing when clicking on "Hardware A-Z" on the right.

I had to Google for find the section:

Friday, August 20, 2004

Sun should make this guy CEO:

Rhys Keepence
Saturday, August 21, 2004

SunRay's are fine - they're a bit like having an X-terminal on your desk. I use one every day.

The amusing thing, given Sun's big marketing push is that Java  apps _suck_ on SunRays - they're really really slow. 

Dunno why - the SunRay software must find it hard to optimise the way that Java does screen repaints or something...

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Wow! That Jack thing is pretty funny. It's an official Sun ad aimed at geeks?

More words of wisdom on Sun from Managability :

and some other guy ....

"Sun is the loose cannon of the computer industry. Unable to see past their raging fear and loathing of Microsoft, they adopt strategies based on anger rather than self-interest. Sun's two strategies are (a) make software a commodity by promoting and developing free software (Star Office, Linux, Apache, Gnome, etc), and (b) make hardware a commodity by promoting Java, with its bytecode architecture and WORA. OK, Sun, pop quiz: when the music stops, where are you going to sit down? Without proprietary advantages in hardware or software, you're going to have to take the commodity price, which barely covers the cost of cheap factories in Guadalajara, not your cushy offices in Silicon Valley. "

phil jones
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

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