Toshiba Visit

I was at Toshiba yesterday with some guys from Europe and the US. When execs and product teams come over to Japan sometimes I tag along. Good day. Great dinner. Fantastic meeting the Toshiba team. 


Jim Grisanzio, Todd Tornga, Bill Nesheim, Dan Roberts, Chris Armes. Photo courtesy Bill Nesheim.

Today I learn that Andy Bechtolsheim is leaving Sun. Do you understand how significant that is? I've been an investor in Sun for many many years because I believe that what you guys do is good. But to learn that Andy is leaving Sun. That is so huge, it cuts deep. And it means he's lost confidence in Jon and Scott.

Now, I'd like to turn my thoughts to your good self Jim Grisanzio. You spend a good while blogging about the woes of the US/international financial system and the corruption of politicians. You're indeed erudite in your coverage. But here's the deal: I don't give a damn. Your role is to promote Sun's OpenSolaris. And you happily spend/waste your time thinking about the "big picture". Man I'm pissed at you and your kind. I've invested about 70% of my savings in your company and it's headed down the tubes. I do accept 100% responsibility for my choice to gamble like this. But at the same time, I'm amazed by your (Sun's) complacency and ineptitude given consistently challenging market conditions. Fine, you think I'm just bitter. But get this: Only a day ago I suggested to Marc Hamilton (your software guy) that you start to sell software subscriptions on your web site and he thought it would be a good idea ("insource" it to the MySQL guys he said). If you're waiting for an underwhelmed shareholder like me to tell you how to sell then you're doing something(s) wrong. Time to get bought by a businessman/woman I'd say.

Have a nice day.

Posted by Kevin Hutchinson on October 23, 2008 at 01:27 PM JST #

Hi, Kevin. I, too, am sad to see Andy go. I just read the article in the NYT. I met him only once, and I was very humbled to do so. Regarding my blogging, I've been promoting Sun and OpenSolaris in my blog and also on many lists in the community for four years. And I've been defending Sun and OpenSolaris in those venues for four years as well. I often work all night long, actually, and at least one day a week I'm up for 22 to 24 hours to make meetings on Europe or US time zones. I work odd hours, anyway, due to my location in Japan, but being up for 24 hours is a serious commitment to my job. Any time you see personal posts on my blog (anything non-Sun, I guess) I do those on my personal time. I work between 60-80 hours a week (I keep very careful track of my hours). I can't do any more than I'm doing now. I'm trying my best.

Posted by James Grisanzio on October 23, 2008 at 01:53 PM JST #

Sorry Jim, I know my comment was very reactionary. I just feel so sad to my soul that Andy chose to bail out. I've been reading your blog for a long time and I know how much you devote to the causes of FOSS and Sun. But really you've got and had a sales problem for a long while now. You and I know you've got great stuff (OpenSolaris DTrace ZFS etc). And you've discovered a new distribution method (free download). But you (Sun) still don't get the simple [subscribe -> billing address -> card number -> buy] sales model that exemplifies Red Hat and many others. It's not surprising that revenues are declining if people can't buy subscriptions online. Anyway, like I said, sorry: I do respect your integrity and dedication.

Posted by Kevin Hutchinson on October 23, 2008 at 02:05 PM JST #

That's ok, Kevin. We're all frustrated with some of this stuff. We'll keep going and work our way out. And thank you for all the suggestions. :)

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on October 23, 2008 at 05:31 PM JST #

Upate: Seems Andy will remain at Sun on a part time basis. Cool.

Posted by James Grisanzio on October 23, 2008 at 07:43 PM JST #

Holy smokes Jim, this is huge. We all knew Sun wasn't doing so stellar. But really, what is going on in Menlo Park?

I've been ranting about the many reforms across great many Sun blogs, and fallen on deaf ears. I too was once a Sun shareholder and investor. You've probably noted the "was" right away.

I was also a great Sun fan once. But when a company you identify with, and you so care about simply doesn't listen or even acknowledge what you have to say (I know you do), it becomes bitter sooner or later.

I've been preaching for years that Sun needs to drop prices of their hardware, you might remember that. I've also preached for years that Sun needs to drop the sales model they have, and start selling volume, direct, like DELL and hp do. It has all fallen on deaf ears.

Somebody in your company must be extremely stubborn. Now, I remember Scott McNealy well, and he was stubborn in a positive way, to push stuff through. But when he heard what his customers had to say, he'd act upon it!

The outrageous pricing (3x - 10x the competitor's price), and the outdated sales model (through resellers, no direct sales from the internet, unless you're in the U.S., with bloated prices to boot) is killing your employer.

And pretending that no-name, generic brands like TYAN, ASUS, Silicon Mechanics or SuperMicro aren't competition just isn't working, as is obvious from the share price.

You employer will have to change and start listening to his customers, or the Wall St. will keep punishing the company until it goes bankrupt.

Posted by UX-admin on October 23, 2008 at 09:33 PM JST #

UX-admin, you are not an engineer.
If you’d really like to preach, speak nicely.

The problem with screen names or handles deserves some amplification. Concealing your identity behind a handle is a juvenile and silly behavior characteristic of crackers, warez d00dz, and other lower life forms. Hackers don't do this; they're proud of what they do and want it associated with their real names. So if you have a handle, drop it. In the hacker culture it will only mark you as a loser.
“How To Become A Hacker” Eric Steven Raymond

Posted by Ken Okubo on October 24, 2008 at 07:47 AM JST #

Actually, I am an engineer, and among other things, I'm a security engineer. And I am paranoid. You have no idea who I am or what I've been through, and for which agencies I worked for in the past, so I'd like to kindly ask you to not attempt to make any guesses.

Those who need to know, know exactly who I am. I don't trust the internet, never have and never will.

And also, I am certainly no hacker (in illegal sense), although having worked as a security engineer in the industry for years, I could easily be one.

However, "hacking" to me, as a system engineer, has a very negative conotation in that it means to get something to work, and just to work, how it works is irrelevant. I like clean, elegant, tight, performant systems, not hacks to get something to work.

As for my comments on Sun, I haven't really written anything that isn't common knowledge.

And problems are problems, it doesn't matter who writes them down, a person with a real name or a nick name. At the end of the day, the problem is still there, and it still persists, and it needs to be solved.

If I didn't care about SUNW, I wouldn't have bothered.

Posted by UX-admin on October 24, 2008 at 08:25 AM JST #

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