WHY should CEOs and boards of directors blog? Because it gives them feedback — real, honest, heartfelt feedback — they would otherwise never get. It keeps them in touch with the real world, something that’s easily lost after just a few months in the rarefied atmosphere of mahogany row.
I’m marveling right now at the reaction Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz has sparked with a blog post announcing that his company is changing its ticker symbol from SUNW, which stands for Stanford University Network Workstation, to JAVA, which is one of the company’s most recognizable technologies.
As I write, there are 196 comments on the post, which looks set to easily double the number of responses to any other blog post by Schwartz this year. Most comments are opposed to the change.
Volker A. Brand got the ball rolling with this first comment:
Call me nostalgic. Call me old-fashioned. Call me unable to understand and cope with modern marketing. But I do not like it.
And then the floodgates opened. There’s this one from J.Dabney who says, “As a Sun investor I see this as a horrible idea.”
And this one from SW:
“What a waste of money. How do all the people you’re laying off soon feel about this?”
More stinging stuff from Justin Cook, who really lets us know what’s on his mind:
“Jonathan, this is one more indication the board needs to look for someone with REAL ideas to lead a once great company. You’re all driving wonderful technology innovative and real engineers designed in the ground. You’re just a marketing weenie.”
I’m blushing. But at the end of the day, it’s all good stuff. It demonstrates the depth of feeling there is around the company.
The only time to worry is when your CEO blogs and no one gives a damn.