SAN FRANCISCO--Sun Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz rightly gets credit for pioneering the corporate blog as a tool to reach customers, employees, and others. But pretty soon the novelty of his methods will wear off, he predicted.
"At some point the word 'blogging' will be anachronistic," Schwartz said at the Web 2.0 Expo here in San Francisco. "I communicate."
And he predicted, in effect, that the rest of the executive world will catch up. "Historically, communication took place by being a celebrity CEO who met with heads of state, and got the local media to cover it," he said in an on-stage interview with O'Reily Media chief Tim O'Reilly. "You got the message out in an inefficient and environmentally irresponsible way. Then the Internet came round and gave you a way to reach the entire planet."
In Sun's effort to recover some of the glory and profitability it had in the first Internet bubble, the company has embraced open-source software, adopted servers based on Intel and AMD's x86 processors, and switched CEOs.
One thing hasn't changed, though, from the Scott McNealy era to the Schwartz era: the company tries to be provocative. It's cheaper than advertising, and blogs are just a new way to accomplish the goal.
"If you say undifferentiated things that are expected, then you shouldn't expect anyone to care," Schwartz said, asked about what he meant when he said, "Controversy was...not a byproduct of the strategy--it was the strategy," on his blog earlier this month when discussing his company's open-source processor strategy.
Blogs and open-source software are complementary, Schwartz added.
"Sun makes money by selling the innovations in data centers," but that's a hard market to reach, he said. "Free software and free ideas are the best way to reach the marketplace."