Sun's Schwartz stands out among vendor CEOs

At least two things make Sun's Jonathan Schwartz unusual among high-profile technology CEOs: He wears a ponytail, and he writes a blog.

In about a half-dozen posts a month, Schwartz gives readers lengthy insights into Sun's support of open source software, the company's microprocessor technology, the impact of Java on technology, how Sun uses Second Life -- and whatever else is on his mind.

The blog appears to be widely read, with dozens of people writing comments in response to each post. Schwartz rarely responds to reader comments, but clearly puts a significant amount of time into each posting.

In late July, for example, he wrote a long post examining Sun's moves over the last five years into high-performance computing, an area the company previously neglected. He interspersed diagrams and pictures throughout the text to explain the complexity of building a supercomputer and how Sun's approach differs from that of competitors. By mid-September, Schwartz was championing the commitment of Sun and IBM to OpenOffice.org.

Communication is central to leadership, Schwartz says in one blog item explaining why he devotes time to the effort.

"We all have choices in how we communicate -- I use this format because it works for me, allows me to talk to a diversity of constituents . . . and a blog is more affordable than the daily global town halls it supplants," he writes. "But I'd love it if we one day eliminated the term 'blogging' from the Web lexicon (and that we stopped pursuing 'CEOs who blog.'). CEOs who have cell phones aren't 'cell-phoners,' those who have e-mail accounts aren't 'e-mailers,' [and] those who give interviews on television aren't 'TVers' -- they're all leaders using technology to communicate."

Among C-level executives at technology firms, the CTOs, not surprisingly, often are the ones writing blogs. CTO bloggers include Mark Bregman of Symantec, Jeff Jaffe of Novell and John Roese of Nortel.

In a post on Sept. 12, Roese explored One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating children in impoverished countries, and discussed how it helps bring the world closer to what Roese calls "global hyperconnectivity":

"I define hyperconnectivity as a state in which the number of network connections exceeds the number of humans using it," Roese wrote in an earlier post. "Today, we are at the start of a hyperconnected phase where the number of nodes on the network is going to far exceed the number of human beings connected. In fact, analyses we've done at Nortel suggests that machine-oriented traffic is going to surpass people-oriented traffic in three to five years."


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