Rush to Failure

Sunday, February 04, 2007 03:30 PM

I went out to dinner with some Sun Microsystem representatives sometime last week. The comical moment of the night was, when we meet these guys at "Fogo De Chao." It's a group of MySpacer's dressed in t-shirts and jeans, and a bunch of suits attempting to be business "cool", with their slacks and button down oxford shirts, the rest of the patrons at Fogo were all dressed in very posh 90210 attire. I was able to ask some very outlandish questions. And in return I got my ear talked off on how Solaris is THE best platform. I'll reserve my comments on Sun hardware and Solaris. But THE best question I think I asked all night was, "So why is Scott (McNealy) such a duchebag, and is Jonathan (Schwartz) any different?" The response I got from the Sun representative, was very boilerplate, standard politically correct kind of a response. But he did level with me after I just said, "Just come out with it already.." He said that McNealy held on the the reigns for too long. But the way that Scott, and Jonathan conduct themselves to their employees was something he had never seen before and one of the main reasons why he is still with the company. He proceeded to tell me about how he visits the main campus up in Santa Clara and how Jonathan always asks about his children and how they know exactly what he's been working on. He even mentioned how one time Jonathan actually came out to a potential customer's office to help convince the customer to buy their product. That's pretty compelling. I've been at organizations where if I was armed I'd want to take a gun to the CEO's head (of course I don't own a gun, and I'm not in any kind of a rush to get one). So the coolest part of the night was when chatting with the Sun representative he mentioned about how he was involved in a defense contract, way before he was at Sun. He said there was an instance where there was this radio that the marines were using, and the data coming in over the air was not getting parsed correctly by a program that was written by another defense company. He said that when the four star general originally asked him how long it would take, he responded with 6 months. The general stated that you have one month, and you should use the "Rush to Failure" method. It's a method in which you get there as quick as you can, and try to make the thing break as many times as you can. With one other programmer he set out to do it. In exactly one month, he got it right, and got on a plane to the pentagon to demo his success. He was awarded a 5 million dollar contract, and the rest is history. He said, the one most important things he learned throughout all of that was the "Rush to Failure" method.