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Technology, workplace culture, and more...

Tiffany Barber

Keynote Speaker Scott McNealy

Speaking at this year's 10th Annual Great Place to Work® Conference is Keynote Scott McNealy, Chairman of Wayin. For those of you unfamiliar with the co-founder and former CEO of Sun Microsystems, I thought I would provide a bit of background on this impressive leader in workplace culture.

Co-founded in 1982, Sun Microsystems initially sold computers and components, computer software, and information technology services. Probably what Sun Microsystems is most well-known for, however, is developing the Java programming language. But around here at Great Place to Work, we are familiar with Sun Microsystems for appearing on the Best Companies to Work For® list for six straight years in a row.

In fact, Sun was recognized on the first annual 100 Best list in 1998- which just goes to show that not only was this company and its leaders ahead of the game in technology, but in workplace culture as well. Perhaps what is most fascinating about this Best Company is that Scott McNealy remained the CEO for 22 years- something very few CEOs have managed to accomplish at a major corporation. Shortly after McNealy stepped down as CEO in 2006, the company was acquired by oracle for $7.4 billion dollars. The following is a short excerpt from McNealy’s farewell to Sun employees, and provides a bit of insight into the culture of this forward thinking, innovative company:

“ ...I could go on for a long time reminiscing about the good and great stuff we did at Sun, but just allow me one last one. We shared. Not the greatest attribute for a capitalist. But one I could not change and was not willing to change about Sun while I was in charge. We shared in the success of Sun with our resellers. With our employees through stock options, SunShare, beer busts, and the like... and through our efforts to keep as many of them on board for as long as possible during the inevitable down cycles. With our partners through the Java Community Process, through our open-source collaborations, and licensing strategies. With our customers through our commitments to low barriers to exit. Sun was never just about us. It was about we. And that may be a bit of the reason we are where we are today.”
Click here to read the full memo.

Scott McNealy is now the chairman of Wayin, a leading mobile and web engagement platform that enables conversations between customers, employees, communities and more. Founded in 2011, Wayin is not yet eligible to apply to our Best Companies lists, but I personally have complete faith that we will see much more of this established leader and his team - in technology, social media, workplace culture, and wherever else the future may take us.

Want to hear more from Scott McNealy on the future of the workplace?
Join us in L.A. on April 16th-18th at the 10th Annual Great Place to Work® Conference.

Tiffany Barber is the Associate Manager of Marketing and Communications and an avid blogger for Great Place to Work®.


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