Kathy Sierra talks about applying “Web 2.0” principles to managers. Here’s a snip:
Interesting perspective on many levels.
First, if Kathy is implying that Sun is “mature” I have some news for her. We’re not. That’s what makes it fun to work here (even though I wish we would mature a little, actually). Second, why is the marketing term “Web 2.0” only used to characterize startups? Much of Sun (and probably other large companies) is very Web 2.0 and has been for decades. Third, why are the so-called Web 1.0 companies seen so pejoratively? Is absolutely everything “old school” bad? Fourth, Sun’s “the-dot-in-dot-com” advertising is only about billion years old now. The distinction between that Sun and today’s Sun is rather gigantic. Fifth, if Sun’s management is so old school why are they spending millions and millions and millions of dollars to open up pretty much everything we have around here specifically to build communities? I mean, really, we are talking about thousands and thousands and thousands of hardware and software engineers leading, contributing to, building, and participating in open communities of one sort of another all over the world. All of those engineers have managers, and those mangers are directly responsible for investing resources in all this community building we are doing. At the development level, Sun’s company culture is very much based on the values of community. And more and more of the mangers — and executives — are blogging quite openly along with the other two thousand or so Sun bloggers. That doesn’t sound old school to me.
Now, do we have more to do? Yep. Sure do. There are still many Sun people not yet participating openly in any of these several dozen communities, but more and more are every day. Do we have some managers who are a bit on the conservative side? Sure. It’s a big place. That’s normal for any large organization. But I don’t see them controlling the direction of the company anymore, and that’s critical. A few months ago, Jonathan spoke about the changes — and opportunities — that managers at Sun are experiencing. But, to be honest, I’m happy that some elements of the company are more conservative. Sometimes it’s necessary to integrate the best of your stable core into your more dynamic edge. Or maybe that’s the other way around. Regardless. When running a company of this size and complexity that engages sophisticated and demanding customers, I think it’s responsible to encourage a healthy mix of all types of people.
I’m sorry, Kathy, I just don’t experience the Sun you see. Every day, I pretty much live in the right side of your chart — the Manager 2.0 section. I really like your chart, by the way. I think I’ll use it to start some conversations with my colleagues. Except I don’t know what the “Hollywood model” is, and I’m not sure how that is juxtaposed with the “Hierarchical structure.” Perhaps I’m too old school. 🙂