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Chris Stone brings vision, execution, says reader

Oct 09, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Longtime Novell employee believes Chris Stone provides much needed leadership

Last week I told you about my friend Lunchbox Louis who fretted that the folks in Provo were losing their ability to influence the future of NetWare and Novell. As always, this brought forth a number of comments including a fairly long, thoughtful piece from someone I’ll call Brown-bag Ben.

Brown-bag Ben is another longtime Novell employee (but “a bottom dweller,” as he puts it) based in Provo and while he’d like to see the top execs in town a little more often, he does think that the whole management process is working better now.

“I see and get more information from Chris Stone than I ever did from Stewart Nelson and Craig Miller. I do not care where the executives live as long as they lead. 

“During the late-Eric era and under Stewart there was no real leadership.  Project managers were free to develop whatever they wanted and answered to no one if it failed.  The legacy of Provo based leadership is an overgrown portfolio that is a nightmare to sell, support and test.

“Under Chris I see vision and execution.  While the CEO title may not be Chris’ he certainly is leading.  I (and those I work with) have never been so excited.  We see a vision that makes sense and increasing accountability.  This is a big company to change and toes may get stepped on, but I’m grateful for real leadership whether it comes Boston or Timbuktu.”

Well, last I looked none of the execs were in Timbuktu, so I think it’ll be a while before that theory can be tested, but Ben does make some valid points. There was an “everybody’s on their own” mentality coupled with a distinct cult of favoritism during the Schmidt-Nelson-Miller era. If there’s one thing about Chris Stone that most folks can agree on it’s that he’ll tell you exactly what he thinks about any subject you care to bring up. No one could ever say that about Nelson.

The newsletter also brought out some sharp criticism of Novell’s developer relations program, which we’ll look at in a week or two. For now, it appears that, on balance, Novell’s management team is in better shape than it was the day Jack Messman became CEO. But it would still be nice to see a couple of the execs who report to Jack have their main offices in the supposed home of the company in Provo.

A lot of what we’ve come to admire about Novell and its products came about because of the cultural environment of Provo and Orem and the “great outdoors” mentality of Utahans. Those Bostonian refugees from Digital don’t even go outside to get from Copley Place to the Prudential Center.