We’re Number 1(4)!

I’m very proud to see Sun Microsystems Inc. ranked #14 in Computer World’s survey of the 100 BEST PLACES TO WORK IN IT 2008.   Though I’m disappointed in the brief write-up, which is focused on how “green” we are due to our “open work” program.   Open work (aka “work from home” or “remote work”) is a fantastic benefit at Sun, there is no doubt of that.  For years we at Sun have been able to work from anywhere, anytime with full access to the exact same tools we would have in the office.  All we need is a telephone and Internet access, and if you’re clever you can do without the telephone.  The whole process is so seamless and the technology so solid that my employees, bosses, and customers can’t tell (and don’t need to know) where I’m located on any given day.  I could be 50 meters down the hall, at my house, or in the waiting area of my Mini dealer (I’ve done it before) and no one knows or cares.  My relatives marvel at this, but when your employees are scattered around the globe and the computers are in datacenters in Singapore and England and around the US, what does it matter where you sit to type at a keyboard?  (Hint: It doesn’t!)

So yeah, it saves me drive time (meaning Sun just gets more work out of me in a given day) and it’s good for the environment, and it saves the company money not having real-estate costs for all of us.  And yeah, I’m a HUGE fan.  In fact it would be hard for another company to lure me away unless they could match that benefit.  BUT… is that really why Sun is among the greatest places to work in IT?!!!?   Really?!!!  (Hint: NO WAY!)

There are dozens of things that make Sun IT fantastic.  I could talk about our technology, the type of work we do, the culture, the ethics and values, and the way we’re empowered as employees, but what is truly great about Sun IT is the people!  

Our CIO has real vision, he understands how IT is fundamentally changing and he’s making sure we’re ready to respond.  And he gets that IT is all about people and that leadership is what unites them.  (Shameless sucking-up by me at review time… Bob, how am doing so far?)

Our IT leadership from the VPs down to the line managers want to grow our employees and their capabilities.  They strive to lead by example and to live our core values.

The employees I work with on a day to day basis are simply amazing.  Sure there are the few odd under-achievers and political creatures, but you’ll find them everywhere.  An overwhelming majority of the employees are in it for the right reasons, helping Sun succeed and doing so ethically and courageously.  

There are those employees who leave Sun for what appear to be better opportunities or healthier (richer) companies but after a while they start looking to come back.  We have an affectionate term for them:  Boomerangs.  They don’t come back for the money or the health care plan or even the open-work program.  They come back for the people.


(The opinions expressed here are my own and my not necessarily represent those of my employer).


~ by brianherman on June 29, 2008.

One Response to “We’re Number 1(4)!”

  1. One of the things I think about on a regular basis is how with the “work at home” experience of Sun employees and other high tech (and increasingly lower tech) workers impact how we deliver education in the future. I can imagine many of the benefits you experience applying to students as well. And what does that mean for school design?

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