Customer Engineering Conference 2005



Top Ten Great Things about CEC
10. Installfest for Solaris 10 on laptops...Bob Netherton, Joe Cicardo, Alan Duboff and others gave of their time to help others over the hurdle of repartitioning their disks and putting Solaris 10 on their laptops. Many took advantage of the opportunity but I did see one crash and burn like mine. Avoid using Windows tools like Partition Commander or Partition Magic and stick to Unix/Linux tools like qtpartd.

9. My roommate, Mike Belch, from the UK. If he will ever get it together and get started on his external blog, I will add him to my blogroll. Excellent guy who is mad about motorcycles.

8. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones...uber geeks with outrageous IQs that do very creative work. Since Sun is world wide many of us only rarely get together face to face. An email or a phone call is just not the same thing. And some of you are too busy to call or write...you know who you are.

7. New ideas and new ways to express old ideas. Sun is made up of really bright guys who are very creative. I'll be stealing your presentation slides to present to my customers so your ideas will be reused.

6. The encouraging belief that Sun has a definite chance to survive and thrive. As you might have noticed I am a movie buff and that is an oblique reference to "Ghostbusters," a truly great comedy about a bunch of geeks. The threat to Sun's existence is real. If history is a guide, very few companies whose stock drops below $10 recover. Also the history of the computer industry is littered with companies that had great runs and caught one or two technical waves but were unable to make the transition to the next wave. Its incredibly difficult and only a few companies have pulled it off. This one might be able to see and catch the next wave and I hope to be a part of it thriving.

5. Robert Youngjohns and his enthusiam for utility computing and the storage grid he is building. One of the themes of the conference was that computing should be a utility like electricity, gasoline, or phones. Today most companies do not generate their own electricity. Can we be the company to begin the transformation to computing as a utility?

4. Andy Bechtolsheim and the new servers which his team has developed. If I said much about the new servers I wouldn't get to stay with Sun but Andy proves that this is a company where geeks rule. Stay tuned to see some very rockin' servers. Really, technology can be very exciting. Maybe I do fit in here.

3. Scott McNealy admitting some of the previous big bets were mistakes...Can you say 'Cobalt?' The lesson from history seems to be executive hubris may have contributed to the computer companies which failed. A dose of humility bodes well for our chances of bucking the odds.

2. Jonathan Schwartz in a Dallas Mavericks jersey (NB, I am from the Dallas area) adlibbing about Dallas owner Mark Cuban (NB Mark made his billions from Broadcast.com.) Another Sun executive who does have a clue and who may make us the exception to historical trends and further proof that geeks make good at Sun.

1. AC DShe--the girls who rocked Club CEC.

Ten Worst Things about CEC

10. Wet sandwiches for lunch.

9. Only 2 drink tickets for each night...this was deftly circumvented by friends who are teetotalers...you know who you are :)

8. Missing the Oscars and the red carpet for this. AC/DShe does partially make up for it.

7. Giving up my weekend for a technical conference...I travel every week but this was important.

6. The large number of homeless and hopeless on the streets of San Francisco...it breaks my heart.

5. Having my idea for a presentation rejected...my feelings are hurt :)

4. Having a roommate (but see #9 above.)

3. Geeks who present vital information dully and who mix the important with the trivial.

2. Too little time to work out or spend in contemplation. I mean Sunday school is important too.

1. Executives who are completely clueless and who can't or won't admit their mistakes.

Thanks to Sun management (Hal and Jim especially) for putting it on. It does help those of us in the field catch up to what is happening back in the lab. The interpersonal contacts are crucial and improve productivity. Even if it changes form somewhat these type of events are vital.

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