Tuesday Jun 29, 2004

Sun has gone Cluetrain

062904_Schwartz_First_Blog Nice to see Jonathan Schwartz blogging on BSC. This guy is his own rolling paradigm shift, eh? My goodness. This is great fun. Many of us feel a bit more empowered these days under this leadership. Times at Sun are tough right now, granted, but they are very exciting as well. Opportunity is looking like it's just around the corner.

I love how Schwartz talks up products before they are announced. He pre-announced a new workstation in China recently, and he's been consistently talking about open source Solaris, too. Most recently to Fortune. A little executive air cover for a project of this size and complexity is comforting for us down in the trenches tying to implement this thing on an insane schedule. I'm working on the open Solaris project as the community manager. Well, one of the community managers, anyway. We already have a thriving Solaris x86 community that Eric and Alan are involved with, and I hope to learn a great deal from them and the community.

So what's going on here? Something very significant, I believe.

Danese commented a few weeks ago about executive leaks, and although I agree with her take, I responded that I think what's going on here is now actually more significant. We've entered an entirely new phase -- direct conversation with the market and our communities before a launch. This is pure Cluetrain.

We are getting back to our roots, just as Schwartz said in his first blog and has said in several recent speeches. He was especially clear about this in China. It's suddenly ok to talk directly -- and openly -- to the various communities in which we mix. Schwartz is talking to customers, and then emailing business reporters and updating them on Solaris (in this case). Our most talented Solaris engineers are blogging on BSC (Adam Leventhal, Bryan Cantrill, Andy Tucker, Stephen Hahn, Alan Coopersmith, Alan Hargreaves. And there are others. Forgive me for missing some key guys here, I'm still discovering the Solaris engineering team. It's pretty damn deep. They are talking to reporters, developers, customers, partners. They are talking DTrace, Zones, open source, tools, whatever. They are directly engaging. This is also going on in Java and across the company.

Here's my take on all this:

If you read The Cluetrain Manifesto, Chapter 3, you'll see the author articulate that Sun basically checked out a few years back and left its communities. "You disappeared," he says. Well, we're back. It's that simple. Sun has gone Cluetrain.

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