I didn’t think I was coming to Sun to work on blogging and syndication, but it turns out the whole industry has woken up to the fact that There’s Something Happening Here, and so it’s burning quite a few of my cycles, and has also generated a couple of amusing (and instructive) anecdotes.
What CIOs Don’t Know · On Wednesday I found myself in a high-level strategy session (I’m optimistic, BTW, that we can make something happen fast). One really smart person said “Let’s be realistic. Of the nation’s CIOs, do you seriously think more than a couple know what a blog is?” A voice from the back of the room piped up “Hey, who cares? If what CIOs know mattered, we’d have no Linux in the enterprise.”
Which is kind of amusing, but worth thinking about more. When XML was fresh and new, I made a few bucks evangelizing it at super-high-level gatherings; this CTO forum, that CIO conclave, and so on. At one of these I got to have lunch with the CIOs of AT&T and Bank of America. These meetings were a good opportunity to shut up and listen.
What I learned is that CIOs don’t really care about technology; these guys were obsessing about customer contact and measuring satisfaction and dealing with M&A activities. They were objectives people, not engineering people. So both the people at that meeting were right; CIOs don’t know squat about blogs, but they don’t need to. CIOs do want better information flow between their their companies and their marketplaces; and we can help them.
BLOGS · I got an email from a salesperson, saying “We’re holding a Java architecture briefing for some senior technical staff from <insert very well-known company name>. They said that somebody upstairs at the customer asked Sun to send Bray in to talk about BLOGS. Can you do this?”
I had the time and was going to be in the neighborhood and said sure, I could do that. The salesperson wrote back saying “Great! How long will you need? And some of us on both sides are wondering what BLOGS stands for.”
Now, don’t jump to conclusions. This was a smart salesperson, and the customer is a big smart outfit (some of you are customers for sure), and they’re doing well, and Sun is doing good business with them.
And this is a relationships business we’re talking about, anything that they can do to communicate better with their customers is going to be a win for them. So once again, we have some technology that they can use. But it’s our job to make it easy enough to use, and explain it clearly enough that they get the message. So far, obviously we’re not up to speed on either.