Friday, May 4, 2012

I started 25 years ago today on May 4th, 1987 for Sun Microsystems.   Back then I was young, 27 years old, no kids.  Lots of great memories.   I was employee #3705.  Thank god for stock options and Sun's ESPP :-)   You have to know when to hold'em and know when to sell'em.  To quote my favorite investor Warren Buffet, "Bulls and bears do fine, but hogs get slaughtered."

Sun Microsystems is just a memory, but a GREAT memory for those of us who put in a lot of blood, sweat, hard smart work, and fun all while creating lifelong friendships. I came here as a true believer in "Open Systems for Open Minds" and that has been part of my DNA. I will always bleed Sun purple :-)

What was the most fun I had at Sun? That's really easy. Working with Dave Patterson at Berkeley to reinvent the machine tool industry with MTConnect. 

What was I the most proud of? My oldest son, John, being selected Sun's Campus Ambassador of the Month out of over 500 Sun Campus Ambassadors.

What team effort at Sun am I most proud of? That is much harder for me. I would say it would be a three way tie:
  • The East Coast Technology Center (ECTC) that was an all SE volunteer group that created a Technology Center that held over 400 benchmarks and POCs in the Dunn Loring and McLean, VA Sun Microsystems offices.
  • Software Genius University (SGU) This was also an SE led effort working with a variety of groups around Sun that put together over 740 hours of content.
    • A little background history...

      Sun SGU grew out of the extremely successful Software Genius Program (SGP). The genesis of SGP was a conversation that Scott Radeztsky and I had in the fall of 2005 when we asked the basic question, "what can we do to help the SEs to embrace the developer and Sun's software stack?" In January 2006, we kicked
      off the Software Genius Program Council (SGPC) where the SEs in Americas Software Practice created ten courses, or twenty hours, of software training. This program had one goal - to ensure Sun's Systems Engineers were properly equipped with the necessary software knowledge and skills to be successful.

      Sun SGU served a very important need when it was announced globally on July 1st 2007. SGU now has 740 hours of course work in it and the best of that content will be transitioned to Software University. There are countless individuals who should be thanked for the (literally) 1,000s of hours that went into Sun SGU.
      We will continue to make the necessary student competence mappings transitions
      from the Sun SGU's University certifications levels to Software University's Accreditations
      much like we did with the global Solaris training that came out of Dan Berg's organization last FY. We will make it very clear regarding the how, when, where, why and what as we go through this effort.
  • Last but not least, was the High Performance Workstations opportunity that put $2BILLION (Billion with a B) into Sun Microsystems over the years.
    • A little background history...
      When I first spoke with Sun Microsystems, it was the summer of 1984 and Betsy MacLean (later Ferry) and Steve Ferry had recently went over to Sun Microsystems from Systems Development Corporation (SDC) a Division of Burroughs Corporation. I met Betsy and Steve while we were all at SDC. It is interesting to note that SDC based in Santa Monica, California, was arguably the world's first computer software company as noted by Wikipedia. I was not smart enough to go over to Sun in 1984 :-)
      Sun was founded in 1982 with Sun standing for Stanford University Network (SUN).
      In 1986, I was an SE for SDC and technical lead for a HUGE and extremely challenging opportunity for High Performance Workstations opportunity where Sun Microsystems was the digital workstation and Masscomp was the analog workstation of choice. At the end of 1986 and long after the completion of the bid and benchmarks, I started talking to Sun Microsystems about working there. I started on May 4th, 1987.
      Betsy hired me and was a great manager and leader. My mentor was Neil Groundwater who was clearly the smartest person in computers that I had ever met. In the summer of 1987 we found out we won the HPW business that has since been worth at least $2 BILLION to Sun Microsystems over the years - yes that is B as in BILLION. Steve Ferry was THE Sales Rep on this opportunity and to this day is far and away the best Sales Rep I have ever seen/worked with and a great friend to this day.
I already thanked Scott, Bill, Andy, Vinod and John previously, but you can check it again here.

For everyone else, there are way too many people to thank from fellow employees to customers to partners and most importantly - family and friends.
Most importantly, I must thank my beautiful wife - Julie - for all her support through thick and thin.
Like I said, Sun is just a memory now - much like Burroughs, DEC, Apollo, Data General, Sperry Univac and countless other computer companies that either acquired, merged or simply went belly up.....

The photo above I took on our 25th Anniversary in 2008 when we spent a month in Europe with a 12 day cruise in the middle.

On Thursday the 27th, 2009, we held a SunDC Sunset Party for former (and some current) Sun Microsystems employees. We were hoping to get 20 to 30 to show up since it was a Thursday, it was a prime vacation week and it was simply a get together. This was not Sun sponsored and Sun did not pay for anything. We were shocked and thrilled to have over 300 Sun employees (past and some current) show up.

We are looking at having a 30th Sun Microsystems Party to match up with other global Sun Microsystems Parties this July.  Stay tuned :-)