Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems Inc. President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz is working on cultivating the "Participation Age" one blog entry at a time. While some critics are unsure of how blogging can be applied to the bottom line, Schwartz offers evidence. One of his recent blogs notes that information travels best through word of mouth -- working to educate consumers and potential clients.
IW: Many executives see blogging as a frivolous endeavor. Why do you believe otherwise?
Schwartz: The Internet has revolutionized all industries from IT to manufacturing. It's also fundamentally changed the way people collaborate and share information, and blogging provides a vehicle to communicate with anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world. Blogging effectively enables participation in communities you wish to cultivate -- employees, partners, the next generation of technology developers and leaders, customers, potential customers, to name but a few.
Through my blog, I am able to immediately and directly reach all of these communities to discuss everything from business and operational priorities to technology developments and company culture. Right now, I'm about the only Fortune 500 CEO blogging, but in 10 years I expect most of my peers will communicate directly with customers, employees and the larger community through blogs.
IW: What business goals have you achieved -- or do you hope to achieve -- with your personal blog?
|Jonathan Schwartz, President and CEO, Sun Microsystems Inc.|
I frequently meet with customers and often encounter people who want to discuss topics from my blog. What I find the most compelling is that, through the blog, we are driving conversations that are important to our customers. My blog also generates quite a few comments from readers in different industries, professions and geographies with each person lending various perspectives that we can learn from. Through the open exchange of ideas, and a greater understanding of the communities that participate in the dialogue, Sun will continue to drive its business objectives.
IW: I see Sun also has a blog area where the "space is accessible to any Sun employee to write about anything." What purpose does that serve?
Schwartz: Sun is a company with a long history of openness. The importance of open communication among all employees is deeply ingrained in Sun's culture -- from the executive team and throughout the organization. Today we have thousands of Sun employees blogging, including members of senior management such as Greg Papadopoulos, CTO and EVP, and James Gosling, father of Java technology, whose blogs not only share their perspectives, but also provide insight into Sun's unique, innovative culture.
The topics also range well beyond Sun and technology. Sun employees are interesting people, active members of their communities and interested in addressing global issues. Providing a platform for any of these conversations encourages participation and brings together our heritage of technology innovation and open communications. I can't think of a more appropriate way to interact with the marketplace than by encouraging the entirety of our employee base to do so.