Tuesday Sep 23, 2008

ESPP Time Again

I am one of SUNW's (I mean JAVA's) biggest fans.   As a longterm participant in our Employee Stock Purchase Plan, I have reaped the benefits of ESPP, felt the tingling joys & niggling pains of being a stock owner, made wads of cash, spent bundles of cash, and watched some of the stockpile melt away, and some of it grow.

In the long run, I don't know if I've made more or lost more, but I do know this.   I am a Sun Microsystems stockholder.   An owner of Sun Microsystems.   One of millions of stakeholders who Sun employees work so hard to please.

"ESPP Time", both for programme enrollment & the actual stock purchase, comes twice a year.   We are getting close to that time again.   For those already in the programme, the choices to make right now are simple:

Cash out
      or
Stay in and buy the stock at ESPP prices

Now, I don't give no nevermind to what the Wall Street analysts have to say about JAVA, not when it comes to making my own decision about whether to purchase SMI stock or not.

I work here.   I know what we're doing.   I know we have great products.   I know customers want those products.   I believe our upper management & execs are focussed on making those Wall Street naysayers get all warm and fuzzy about SMI again.   And so, I will continue to increase my ownership of Sun Microsystems.

Yup, I'm buying more SUNW.   Erhm... I mean JAVA.   :-)

Tuesday Dec 12, 2006

Next Stop - A Quarter of a Century

I remember a saying that goes something like this:

When you're in your 20's, you worry about what people are saying about you.

When you're in your 30's, you don't care what people are saying about you.

When you're in your 40's, you realise no one was talking about you in the first place.

While this may hold some comical insights for people, it's not true for companies.   Sun is now fast approaching a quarter of a century, and people are definitely talking about us... and, oh my, we love it!

Are we worried?   Nope.   Unlike most breaking further & further from adolescence, we have a plan.   We have a strong network.   We have talent, resources, and money in the bank.   Innovation continues to keep us moving forward.   And being green is in & is cool.

While we all get another year older each year we work at Sun, it's great to see our company continues to be young.   Thinking outside of the box.   Trying new ideas.   Changing the rules...   Even our own.   Making a difference in the world.

Monday Aug 14, 2006

Sun Tech Days

What gets people buzzing within Sun?   Lots of stuff!   But today, it was email chatter about the 2006 / 2007 Sun Tech Days that caught my eyes.   Future speakers from Sun's technical ranks within engineering are stepping forward to Meet, Mingle, and Mindmeld with Solaris, Java, and NetBeans developers at locations all around the globe.

Over 2 million developers and Solaris experts worldwide already know about these information sharing events.   Thousands and thousands have attended.   And then there are probably thousands who WANT to get connected, but haven't yet discovered how easy it is....

Visit the Sun Developers website for more info.   And if you haven't already, come and join the Sun Developer Network (yup, it's free!) and stay plugged in!

Thursday Jun 15, 2006

Buy A Sun Computer

A couple weeks ago, I heard that some of our software engineers had an interesting conversation around how they can personally help potential customers do business with Sun.   They were talking about how they can help generate sales leads & SMI revenue.   Wow!   This is not what you usually hear software tech weenies talk about.

So, the question was on table...   sitting there left unanswered.   If any of us in the software engineering side have a friend, neighbour, or relative who is interested in buying Sun kit....   or when we meet someone on a plane, train, or ferry who expresses interest in trying our products....   What should we say?

Not sure myself, I started looking into this and very quickly found one answer:

The Online Sun Store Website

After a couple minutes of browsing, I noticed the Sun Store also has a USA toll free telephone number as well:

800-SUN-0404       or +1-800-786-0404

So, that looks like one answer...

Last Sunday, while flying out to California for another Sun business meeting, I sat next to a business person who was interested in trying a Sun system in his department...   I recommended he start with the Sun Store.

It was just a tiny lead...   And who knows what purchasing decisions he'll make or influence in the future.   All I know is that it felt pretty good to point him in the right direction.

Wednesday Apr 26, 2006

Return of the Memo?

Prior to when I joined Sun in '89, I remember "Memos" as the common method of communication between management and the ranks.   There were four distribution methods that I recall:

1.   Everyone got their own printed copy
2.   Posting on a bulletin board
3.   One copy sent around to the office with people signing a "Yup, I read it" distribution list before forwarding it on to the next person
4.   Posting of an electronic version using electronic mail

The first method ate up a lot of trees and helped convince the green generation to push for the paperless office.   The second method required people even noticing that the new memo had been posted.   The third method sometimes meant it took days, weeks, or even months for the guy at the bottom of the list to catch up with the rest of the office. (Comically, the fact that one had to initial that they had read the memo meant that the news was important.)   The fourth method, a new and rare creature, was not heavily relied upon for distribution of memos...   Not yet anyway.

So, when I joined Sun, it was quite a culture shock to go from a world of distributed memos, bulletin board postings, and initialed distribution lists, to a company where nearly all written communications were done via electronic mail.

By nature of the mail tools used, emails showed who they were from and to, and when they were sent.   The subject was optional.   And the format...   Well, say goodbye to the crisp clean lines of the memo:


    To:       All Hands
    From:     Joe Bloggs, Exec VP
    Subject:  Administrative Professionals Day
    Date:     April 25, 2006

    Effective today, bla dee bla bla bla....

Imagine my surprise to see that emails / memos at Sun were more free flowing.   Even the more carefully worded Sun wide "memos" back then seemed much more "casual", some starting simply with "Hi Gang!".   It was a culture shock, but highly refreshing as well.   It was all part of Sun's attitude and way of doing business.

So, after years of being used to this messier but casual style of communication, it's now quite strange to see that, thanks to the capabilities of browsers and imbedding of graphics, images, and links into emails, the more formal "memo" style is making a wee bit of a comeback!

I wonder if we'll also see the return of the "Yup, I read it, Boss" button...?     :-)

Monday Apr 24, 2006

McNealy... "a hearty perennial"

Is is politically incorrect to question "the Analysts" and their lofty predictions and dictates on how Sun should run the business?   If so, then label me "politically incorrect".

So, today, when someone pointed me to yesterday's Chronicle article, I had to smile.

The line "Analysts come and go.   Scott McNealy is a hearty perennial." was the one that got me chuckling.

Friday Mar 17, 2006

22 Years of Rumours

As part of our internal communications systems, Sun employees get to listen to WSUN Radio.   At our leisure, online, via our desktops.   It works well.

In many of the shows, executives and guest speakers talk about what's new and important at Sun, and within the industry.   In one very popular regular Radio Show segment, Scott McNealy shares his thoughts about "What's Cool & Pet Peeves".   And, in another popular segment, an employee gets to ask Scott "Three Tough Questions", on any topic.

In a prior "Three Tough Questions", one of our own engineers in OP/N1 RPE found instant fame within Sun by asking the doughnut question.   :-)

In today's release of WSUN Radio, one of the tough questions asked by a longterm Sun employee was directed to Scott himself.   So...   is Scott leaving?

Scott could not have been more clear in his answer.   He loves Sun and has no plans to leave.   He's here for the duration.   The rumour of McNealy's upcoming departure is 22 years old and getting older.

Thanks, Lisa, for asking the question!   And thanks, Scott, for once again sharing your thoughts with the whole gang.

Monday Feb 06, 2006

Torino 2006 Winter Olympics & Sun

The Winter Olympics are not something I usually get too excited about...   no equestrian stuff, after all   :-)   but like much of the world, I'll be watching....

This year, it's great to see Sun technology being used at Torino 2006.   Check out the www.NBCOlympics.com/sun webpage.   Very Cool....

Monday Jan 23, 2006

US News: Jolt of Java

I love it when Sun gets good press.   This article published today at US News & World Report is a very good example.

Entitled, "A Jolt of Java", the writer, Justin Ewers, talks about Scott McNealy, our CEO of 21 years (which is apparently the 2nd longest run of a Silicon Valley CEO... wow!), Sun's ups and downs, our products, and the strategy that's helping Sun investors find their smiles again.

Thursday Dec 22, 2005

Take A Sun Cab in London

I'm one of those Sun employees who constantly moans the fact that Sun simply does not splash our name "out there" as much as some other "household names" in this industry.

So imagine my delight when one of my colleagues in England (thanks, James!) forwarded this great photo!   I let out a little "Wah hey!" cheer in my office at home.

This is cool advertising!   Way to go Sun UK Marketing!

Wednesday Dec 07, 2005

Bangalore

This week, I've been enjoying my first trip to Bangalore, India.   Our global engineering organisation has quite a presence here, including our folks.

While my Indian peers and others who have already visited were able to give me a lot of information about India ahead of time, nothing really quite prepared me completely for this trip.   And that is a good thing.   Discovering is a fun part of life.

Bangalore strikes me as a city that has one foot in the 1800's (or earlier) and another well into the new millenium.   While oxen pull carts on the main roads, Internet cables are laced from building to building across tree limbs.   Tired cement buildings stand next to shiny new glass & metal office buildings.   Pot-holed roads with dusty sidewalks, barefoot peddlars, and stray dogs, have bright billboards shining above them.

Bangalore feels like a city of contrasts.

But what seems to be consistent are the smiles.   In the office, on the streets, in the restaurants, in the hotels, people smile.   The positive energy in our department in the Sun office is remarkable.   I have sometimes found myself smiling... for no reason.   And that is nice.

Bill Gates is here this week as well.   His promise of a 1.7 billion dollar investment over the next 4 years in India is being splashed all over the news and newspapers.   In one interview I saw on TV, he pointed out what my fellow managers already agreed....   India needs to build their Manufacturing Sector.   Jobs for the masses.   IT alone is not enough.

Bangalore is forging ahead...   And Sun is there.

I'll be heading home soon, but have no doubts that I'll return in 2006.   And I will recharge my smile.       :-)

Tuesday Sep 13, 2005

Ready to Kick Butt

When I joined Sun in 1989, Kick Butt was our internal mantra.   Over the years, there were times when it felt like we had lost the kick and only had butt.   No more of that...

...Yesterday, in more than one city, Sun used the skies to send out a gentle message to our customers and at least one competitor.   The message: We're back and ready to kick some major butt!

Solaris 10, new systems, competitive solutions, and The Network Is STILL The Computer!   It's great to see things looking upbeat and forward again.   We're back, with style.

Thursday Sep 08, 2005

Measuring Productivity

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?   There are several factors which need to be considered when aiming to answer this question.   These include:

o   Experience level of the woodchuck in question
o   Weather conditions
o   Percentage of hard wood vs soft wood
o   Quality specifications of properly chucked wood
o   Condition of the woodchuck's chuckers
o   # of attractive woodchucks watching & other distractions
o   Chucking hours
o   Availability of wood worth chucking
o   Competition from Beavers, Termites, & others w/ wood interests
o   Bias of the judge / Quality of the measurement system

It's a hairy question when you look at it more closely.   And one that actually has a lot in common with the question of how to measure engineering productivity as well.

With engineering, there are soooo many factors to consider.   These might include:

o   Output Quality vs Quantity
o   Good Work vs Perfection
o   Easy Projects vs Difficult
o   Beginner Skills vs Expert
o   Expectations vs Actual
o   Quality of Tools
o   Availability of Systems

As a member of the "measuring engineer productivity" team Katy Dickinson blogged about earlier and as a member of the management team in my organisation, this is something to which I give a lot of thought.

Measuring productivity really well is a constant challenge for engineering organisations...   But, you know, I think we get better at it every year.

Friday Aug 26, 2005

Junk E-Mail

Using E-Mail helps us develop many skills.   True or false?   Hmm....   Well, I've learned:

o   Scan reading, sifting, sorting, deleting
o   Speed typing   (including use of acronyms)
o   Correct use of smiley faces (and variations)
o   Potential virus recognition
o   Junk mail identification

For some, recognition of junk email is becoming a finely-tuned skill worthy of being included on one's CV or Resume.

Junk email.   Sometimes just the Subject alone gives the game away.   "You can still win" is one that arrived today.   Gee, let me click on that attachment!   Not.

Another red flag is the distribution list.   When every Kim, Kimberly, Kimberley, and Kimiko in Sun is being copied on the email, I just KNOW it's trash.   Delete.

Then there's the Phishing emails which hope we'll fall sucker to their tactics...   maybe giving them our full bank details immediately because of a bank system crash.   Nope!   Sorry.   But if you need some help analysing the crash dump, I can sell you a great book!   :-)

At Sun, we're actually trained on how to reduce, recognise, and deal with junk mail.   And, with years of practice, I suspect (and hope) that all of us are keeping up with the ever evolving tactics of the senders.   But people still fall prey to the slimballs polluting our email intrays.

Some years ago, I worked with the London Metropolitan Police.   They've taken proactive steps to help educate Londoners about fraud.   Since then, I've kept an eye on their Fraud Alert website.   It's pretty good.   Check it out.

Thursday Aug 25, 2005

SunUP Network

SunUP Network...   (and here I quote the website)...   "is a collaboration of Sun and its customers all sharing a mission to achieve measurable improvement in end-to-end availability.

Key benefits include:

  o   Networking with industry peers
  o   Sharing of best practices
  o   Opportunity to interact directly with Sun executives
  o   Feedback driven closed loop process to drive
                continuous improvements"

Until recently, I didn't even know that something this open and interactive was happening!

One of the things I do in my day job   :-)   is work with my Senior Director, helping her prepare for presentations and all-hands meetings.   Next month, she will be one of the presenters at the next SunUP Network.   So, I'm now involved in this as well, which is how I learned about it.

SunUP Network definitely sounds really cool!

About

Kimberley

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