Blogger in Chief
(FORTUNE Magazine) – Jonathan Schwartz, 41, CEO, Sun Microsystems
I DON'T HAVE an average day, but I'm usually up by 6:30 A.M. Other than kissing my wife and kids good morning, the first thing I do is check e-mail. Then I work out, when I can, which usually means running around the city. It is a good time to think, and one of the few times that I'm alone without a network connection.
COMMUNICATE EFFICIENTLY My No. 1 priority isn't spending time communicating; it's ensuring that my communications are broadly received. Blogging to me has become the most efficient form of communication. When I blog I'm talking to the world. I can write a blog in an hour and a half and share something substantive with everyone. But for me to get to São Paulo for a meeting with Brazilian customers is easily a two-day operation.
ENCOURAGE OFFICE CHATTER About 10% of Sun's workforce blogs, including our general counsel. One of the wonderful things about blogs is that I don't have to walk through the campus to figure out what's on people's minds. I just go to blogs.sun.com, and I read what they're thinking. It is a daily visit for me. Right now I'm the second-most-popular blog. I don't care what they say, everyone looks at how much traffic they get. Masood Mortazavi [a Sun software engineering manager, whose posts range from Harold Pinter plays to global economics] is beating me. I love that—I don't always want to be the top guy.
TALK STRATEGY OFTEN I think the era where a company could afford to make a decision once a year is pretty much gone. We spend a lot of time in long-range planning, but it doesn't happen in a formal strategy session. It happens because Greg [Papadopoulos, chief technology officer] and I swap e-mail a lot, or I go out to dinner with Rich Green, the head of software. It's a constant conversation.
LISTEN TO THE LAST GUY The natural tendency is to keep bad news away from your boss. Scott [McNealy, Sun chairman and former CEO] made a very important point to me before he passed on the mantle, which was "Always worry about what people aren't telling you."
DITCH THE DESKTOP I share an office with Michael Lehman, the CFO, but I don't spend much time there. All I need to work wherever I am is my keycard, which lets me access my environment from any Sun terminal. So there's actually no "desktop" software. The machine on my desk is literally a display device.
TRAVEL LIGHT Asking if I travel with a laptop is like asking do I travel with a TV set. I assume that wherever I go, on the other end there will be a computer. I have my phone—a Motorola red phone. Bono started a program where if you buy a red product, they give money to solve AIDS in Africa. I send e-mails and text messages. Otherwise I carry a pen and use the back of my own business cards for notes to trigger thoughts later on.
FORGET BALANCE There is no line between personal life and professional life, especially if you care a lot about what you do. I used to really resent that, and then it became really freeing.