Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Startling scientific discovery: little vegetable bits do not spontaneously dissolve in sink

For those of you who feel that the life of a hard-charging Silicon Valley CEO is non-stop strategic wheeling and dealing, I submit the following internal memo for a more balanced perspective.

To: All SF Employees
From: Your chief executive officer and primary sink disposal unit
Re: Unwillingness of vegetable matter deposited in sink drain to spontaneously disappear

While I applaud the steadfast perseverance of our intrepid WaveMaker scientists, the fact remains that the bits of carrots left in the sink yesterday did not spontaneously vanish as was no doubt the plan. Nor did the peas left in the sink today.

In fact, vegetable and other materials larger than approximately the head of a pin are remarkably consistent in their reluctance to do anything but rest idly in the sink filter until some poor clod (usually me) comes by to clean them out.

In the future, you are more than welcome to conduct whatever experiments you want in the comfort of your own home. However, in our shared kitchen I would appreciate an approach of "nothing but water down the drain."

Thank you for your kind attention.

- chris

Friday, February 06, 2009

Good Guys - Dropping Like Flies

Sean Kerner just reported that MySQL president Marten Mickos is leaving Sun. I can't imagine worse news for Sun's efforts to buy a seat at the table for the next generation of computing.

MySQL pioneered the open source business model and is emerging as a key player in cloud computing. It borders on tragic that Sun is unable to inspire and retain executives like Marten.

I had a lunch yesterday with a good friend who is studying innovation. We compared innovation at Sun with innovation at Apple.

In 2000, both Sun and Apple got hit hard. Apple famously recovered. Sun, only somewhat less famously, did not.

Nobody claims that Sun engineers stopped innovating after 2000. It is clear, however, that Sun's management has been ineffective in harnessing that innovation to create a successful business strategy.

I got to know Marten when my last company, Persistence Software, was purchased by Progress Software. Progress was in a huge food fight with MySQL about who owned the MySQL trademark in the US - it's long story (complete with Marten being arrested by a Sherriff at the Progress headquarters), but Marten won.

Marten Mickos proved that he has what it takes to turn innovation into business success. He clearly believes that he can be more successful innovating outside of Sun than within.