Kick butt and have fun!
When I interviewed many of you for employment at Sun over the years, one
commitment often made was that things will change above, below, and
around you faster than any place you have ever been. Looks like this was
one area we exceeded plan for 28 years. While it was never the primary
vision to be acquired by Oracle, it was always an interesting option.
And this huge event is upon us now. Let's all embrace it with all of the
enthusiasm and class and talent that we have to offer.
This combination has the potential to put Sun, its people, and its
technology at the center of yet another industry and game changing
inflection point. The opportunity is well documented and articulated by
Larry and the Oracle folks. Not much I can add on this score. This is a
very powerful merger. And way better than some of the alternatives we
So what do I say to all of you now this is happening?
It turns out that one simple message to the large and diverse Sun
community is actually quite hard to craft. Even for a big mouth who is
always ready with a clever quip. The community includes our resellers
and customers, our current and former employees, their friends and
families who supported our employees on their mission to change the
industry, our investors, our supply and service partners, students and
educators, and even our competitors with whom we often collaborated.
But let me try. Though nothing I could write comes close to matching the
unbelievably strong and positive emotions I have for you all. See, I
never was able to master dispassion. I truly loved starting, running,
and living Sun. And the last four years have not been without serious
withdrawal. And the EU approval rocked me more than it should have.
So, to be honest, this is not a note this founder wants to write. Sun in
my mind should have been the great and surviving consolidator. But I
love the market economy and capitalism more than I love my company. And
I sure "hope" America regains its love affair with capitalism. And
except for the auto industry, financial industry, health care, and some
other places (I digress), the invisible hand is doing its thing quite
efficiently. So I am more than willing to accept this outcome. And my
hat is off to one of the greatest capitalists I have ever met, Larry
Ellison. He will do well with the assets that Sun brings to Oracle.
What we did right and wrong at Sun over the years might make for
interesting reading. However, I am not a book writer. I am a husband,
father of four, and a builder and leader of people who want to make a
But spare me a bit of nostalgia. Not of the mistakes we made, and lord
knows I made a ton. But of the things we did right and well.
First and foremost, Sun innovated like crazy. We took it to the limit
(see Eagles). And though we did not monetize our inventions as well as
we could have, few companies have the track record in R&D that we had
over the last 28 years. This made working at Sun really cool. Thanks to
all of you inventors and risk takers who changed how we live.
Sun cared about its customers. Even more than we cared about our own
company at times. We looked at our customer's mission as more important
than ours. Maybe we should have asked for more revenue in return, but
our employees were always ready to help first. I love this about Sun
which I guess makes me a good capitalist if not a great capitalist.
Sun did not cheat, lie, or break the rule of law or decency. While we
enjoyed breaking the rules of conventional wisdom and archaic business
practice and for sure loved to win in the market, we did so with a solid
reputation for integrity. Nearly three decades of competing without a
notable incident of our folks going off course morally or legally. Not
all executives and big companies are bad. Really. There are good
companies out there. Special thanks to all of my employees for this. I
never had to hide the newspaper in shame from my children.
Sun was a financial success. We paid billions in taxes, salaries,
purchases, leases, training, and even lawyers and accountants for
devastatingly cumbersome SOX and legal compliance (oops, more classic
digression). Long term and smart investors made billions in SUNW. And
our customers generated revenue and savings using our equipment in
countless ways. Many employees started families, bought homes and put
them through school while working at Sun. Our revenues over 28 years
exceeded $200B. Few companies make it to the F200. We did. Nice.
Sun employees had way more fun than any other company. By far. From our
dress code ("You must!") to beer busts to our April Fools pranks to
SunRise to our quiet enjoyment at night of a long hard well done day of
work, no company enjoyed "work" more than Sun. Thanks to all of our
employees past and present for making Sun such a blast.
I could go on for a long time reminiscing about the good and great stuff
we did at Sun, but just allow me one last one. We shared. Not the
greatest attribute for a capitalist. But one I could not change and was
not willing to change about Sun while I was in charge. We shared in the
success of Sun with our resellers. With our employees through stock
options, SunShare, beer busts, and the like (for as long as Congress
would allow) and through our efforts to keep as many of them on board
for as long as possible during the inevitable down cycles. With our
partners through the Java Community Process, through our open source
collaborations, and licensing strategies. With our customers through our
commitments to low barriers to exit. Sun was never just about us. It was
about we. And that may be a bit of the reason we are where we are today.
But I have few regrets (see Sinatra's "My Way") and will always look
back at Sun and its gang with only pride. Enormous pride. You are the
best this industry ever had though few outside of Sun recognized it. And
what we are about will live on in Sparc, Solaris, Java, our products,
and our spirit. Well past everyone's recollections of what we did
together. I will never forget though.
Oracle is getting a crown jewel of the technology industry. They will do
great things with Sun. Do your best to support them and keep the Sun
spirit alive and well in the industry. Our children will be better for it.
Thanks for the off the charts support to everyone who ever carried a Sun
badge, used our products, or helped our company through the years.
And thanks to my wonderful wife, Susan, who gave this desperado (see
Eagles) a chance to choose the Queen of Hearts before it was too late.
Someday, hopefully, you will all get to see or meet her and my other
life's works named Maverick, Dakota, Colt and Scout. If you do, perhaps
you will understand why I stepped back from the CEO role four years ago.
And why I feel like the luckiest guy in the whole world.
My best to all of you, and remember:
Kick butt and have fun!