Glimpse of Great Scott
By stern on Apr 28, 2006
Our joint sales call was one of the latter: we met with an absolutely brilliant bank employee, who discussed matrix math, floating point, Monte Carlo simulation and the value of epsilon in our hour together. I enjoyed it as much as Scott endured it; it wasn't really a great use of his time. As we were leaving, Scott turned to me and said "I'm glad you're here, and I hope you're learning something, because this is a bit geeky, even for me". And he said it with a smile, and with complete sincerity -- because nobody was going to get in trouble for an impedance mismatch on the executive level, or find that Scott refused future sales calls due to one random experience.
Scott has always treated people at Sun as much as his extended family as his employees. We goof up, we get a laugh out of it, and then we go out for McDonald's (seriously). Tragically, that bank employee was killed on 9/11/01, and I remember telling Scott, relating it back to our somewhat comic sales call. I'm pretty sure Scott already knew the details from his continued conversations with the customer, but he gave me a look that conveyed a sense of personal loss.
That's what it's been like to work for Scott for 17 years.
At this week's Spring Leadership Conference (also known as the "VP Barbeque Event"), one of the tributes to Scott's leadership showed him on a magazine cover hugging Jack Welch. I asked Jonathan, during open Q&A, who his Jack Welch is -- and Jonathan answered without a femtosecond of hestitation -- Scott McNealy.
That's my hopeful glimpse of the next 17 years at Sun.