Amongst other things, I have, this week, triggered a process of premature aging. My youthful face and cute ponytail are to become a thing of distant memory, soon!
As I think through my new responsibilities, a series of questions breeze through my mind, with a subtle realization that if Scott can be removed, so can I. And much more quickly, mercilessly!
I start scribbling notes to myself :
SUN, like Apple, has made its mark as a vertically integrated computer company with proprietary computer hardware and operating system. However, like Apple, the importance of the computer business has become questionable. The significance of the OS is questionable. The relevance of the chip business is definitely questionable.
On the other hand, Apple used that diverse set of expertise – chips, hardware, industrial design, software, OS, Applications, the web – to conjure a completely new category of products which rescued them out of ensuing irrelevance.
Qs: What is my equivalent of the iPod?
What are SUN’s major assets? The brand, particularly the enterprise computing brand is perhaps the biggest at this point. But we are trying to leverage it in very traditional ways, mostly by selling servers and services around servers, while margins in that business keep shrinking. We need to get out of this commodity business, and find a related but non-commodity niche.
Qs: What is this niche? Can I load up the servers with unique software applications and invent Enterprise Software-As-A-Service Appliances as a new vertically integrated and optimized set of products? What do I need to acquire to create this business? Clearly, my current portfolio / strategy is not sufficient.
If I can answer these two pivotal questions, the rest is financial engineering and execution. Cut SPARC to begin with.
I really don’t want to grow old too soon. Nor do I want to be fired from this job. Rather, I would like to be remembered as the man who gave SUN back its glory …