My first meeting with Jonathan

I met Jonathan Schwartz in 1996, immediately after Sun had acquired Lighthouse Design where he was CEO. At the time, I was the chief geek of the Northeast US sales geography, had recently helped spin up the first JavaDay event in New York, and Eric Schmidt (Sun's CTO at the time) was my informal mentor and someone who tolerated me as a fellow Princeton Tiger and inhabitant of its infamous "fishbowl" dormitory room.

Eric suggested that the two of us connect to discuss "the state of applications." What I remember most from that first meeting ten years ago was that I was insanely late, mostly due to traffic on the 101 freeway. I arrived in a chaotic state that only approximated what was going on in Jonathan's office at the time, as he was in a post-merger, pre-integration whirlwind.

Despite tardiness and workload, Jonathan made the time to talk. And not just a perfunctory listen-mostly mode while planning his next meeting; we spoke about application design, user experience, and how software was going to be constructed. To this day, I've found that Jonathan returns emails, stops to talk, and is an aggressive listener. You always know where you stand, whether it's admonishment not to make sports analogies (from the first software staff meeting I attended in 2002, when I briefly worked for Jonathan the first time) or telling a group of vice presidents how he measures accountability (this week's leadership meeting).

As of Tuesday, Jonathan is both my boss (acting VP of Software) and my meta-boss (CEO). It's the first time I've been older (and in worse physical fitness) than my entire management chain. It's a remarkably good feeling, because we are finally getting into an interesting state of applications on the network.

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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