Last Saturday evening, nearly 1000 people gathered at a hotel near San Francisco Airport to celebrate the high tech company for whom they’d all worked.
There were discussions with some of the industry’s leading technologists, videos, music, dancing, and all of the elements you’d expect of a big high tech party.
But this was no ordinary celebration. The company was Sun Microsystems, which ceased to exist nearly a decade ago when it was bought by Oracle. Yet, from the excitement and enthusiasm in the air, you would have thought this was a living, breathing entity that still employed all of these individuals.
In many ways, it still is. We celebrated not only where Sun had been, but where it is today–with nearly 400 Sun-alumni founded companies and dozens of former Sun people as senior partners at venture capital firms. We tried to map out where Sun alumni have gone–and there isn’t a technology company in existence that doesn’t have Sun employees on staff. In some cases, like Google and Microsoft, they’ve even been running the show.
As an organizer of the event, it was rewarding to hear time and time again how important this reunion was–to have hundreds of people tell me that Sun was the best place they’d ever worked in their career.
Why has Sun culture endured when so many other organizations have faded into the sunset? Last Saturday, it was very clear: the network is the people.
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