Quotable Quotes

Memorable quotes by Scott McNealy and Bill Joy

Scott McNealy:

What Scott said when Oracle bought Sun
"Get the best people and train them well."

"Technology has the shelf life of a banana."

"The best decision is the right decision. The next best decision is the wrong decision. The worst decision is no decision."

"Who cares who's captain after the wings have fallen off."

"We don't have a dress code. Only that you must."

"The network is the computer."

"Putting Windows [3.11] on top of DOS is like putting whipped cream on a road apple [horse poop]."

"If I could embed a locator chip in my child right now, I know I would do that. Some people call that Big Brother; I call it being a father."

"In a world without fences, who needs Gates?"

"Without choice, you have no innovation. Without innovation, you have nothing."

"The utility model of computing - computing resources delivered over the network in much the same way that electricity or telephone service reaches our homes and offices today - makes more sense than ever."

"Only a monopolist could study a business and ruin it by giving away products."

"We believe we're moving out of the Ice Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age, the Information Age, to the participation age. You get on the Net and you do stuff. You IM (instant message), you blog, you take pictures, you publish, you podcast, you transact, you distance learn, you telemedicine. You are participating on the Internet, not just viewing stuff. We build the infrastructure that goes in the data center that facilitates the participation age. We build that big friggin' Webtone switch. It has security, directory, identity, privacy, storage, compute, the whole Web services stack."

"Microsoft is now talking about the digital nervous system... I guess I would be nervous if my system was built on their technology too."

"You already have zero privacy – get over it."

"This is a big deal. It's a fairly natural partnership; it shouldn't surprise people, ... We're working on bringing this network-is-the-computer, Net services environment."

"Every time you turn on your new car, you're turning on 20 microprocessors. Every time you use an ATM, you're using a computer. Every time I use a settop box or game machine, I'm using a computer. The only computer you don't know how to work is your Microsoft computer, right?"

"The only thing that I'd rather own than Windows is English, because then I could charge you two hundred and forty-nine dollars for the right to speak it."

"It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

"Agree and commit, disagree and commit or get the hell out of the way."

"You chose Marketing. Deal with it."

"When two wheels are off the cliff, we start getting careful. With one wheel off, we just step on the gas."
– Scott McNealy on Sun's amazing growth, Fortune, Aug. 17, 1987

"Big hat. No cattle."
– Scott McNealy referring to competitors Compaq and MIPS, April 1991

"Those who can, do; those who can't, consort."
– Scott McNealy, February 1991

"We have an opportunity to improve productivity and cut costs while growing our way to a better and a more comfortable operating environment. I don't think anyone feels comfortable about bumping around where we are today."
"Do I have a problem with Larry Ellison buying Sun? No, that's part of the capitalist system. As soon as we go public we're for sale, that's part of the deal. And do I have a problem with him exercising his intellectual property rights? No, I don't have a problem with that. Would it be how we necessarily ran and operated? Obviously not."
"They put whipped cream on a road apple by putting Windows on DOS and it's still an untasty morsel in the '90s."
– Scott McNealy on Windows/DOS, October 1991

"[With its minicomputers] DEC stepped through the 1970s technology window left open by mainframe companies. Now we're moving through the 1980s technology window left open by the minicomputer companies"
– Scott McNealy, San Jose Mercury News, July 16,1984

"When IBM. enters, the scramble for marketshare begins."
– Scott McNealy, Business Week, February 3, 1986

"When Steve Ballmer calls me wacko, I consider that a compliment."
"When computers (people) are networked, their power multiplies geometrically. Not only can people share all that information inside their machines, but they can reach out and instantly tap the power of other machines (people), essentially making the entire network their computer."
"We're hungry and looking for lunch."
– Scott McNealy, in response to IBM workstation announcement in 1986 Business Week, February 1986

"This Windows 95 hairball has become so big, so unmanageable, so hard to use, so hard to configure, so hard to keep up and running, so hard to keep secure. Windows 95 is a great gift to give your kid this Christmas because it will keep your kid fascinated for months trying to get it up and running and trying to figure out how to use it."
"[DEC and IBM] are two of the toughest competitors in the world. You can't kick them in the shins without getting the wrong kind of attention."
– Scott McNealy, San Jose Mercury News, January 26, 1987

"We always said 'Let's think big.' If we fail, we'll make the biggest crash anyone has ever seen. But if we succeed, we'll change the fundamentals of the computer business the same way Henry Ford changed the fundamentals of the automobile business."
– Scott McNealy, Fortune, August 17, 1987

"She (Scott's mother) suggested it might be a good idea to change my telephone number and hire a bodyguard. I guess that's what happens when you're trying to change the whole industry."
– Scott McNealy, The Wall Street Journal, March 18,1988

"I had no idea what I was getting into. You've heard the expression 'ignorance is bliss.' Sometimes I think it's my motto."

"It's a big kick in the pants to get to meet all these people (Charles Sporck of National Semiconductor, James Treybig of Tandem Computers and L.W. Krause of 3Com Corp.). I feel totally blown away sometimes."
– Scott McNealy, on starting Sun Microsystems, USA Today, Jan. 19, 1988

"We put too damn much stuff on our plate."
– Scott McNealy, on life at Sun, Business Week, July 24, 1989

"We're not interested in replacing typewriters."
– Scott McNealy, on the difference between Sun and PC manufacturers, Fortune, February 12, 1990

"OSF really stands for Oppose Sun Forever. If we were to put out a hamburger dispenser on our computers, we're sure that in six months, OSF would be out with a cheeseburger dispenser."
– Scott McNealy, June 1990

"All the wood behind one arrowhead."
– Scott McNealy, 1990

"Those who can, do; those who can't, consort."
– Scott McNealy, February 1991

"Big hat. No cattle."
– Scott McNealy, referring to competitors Compaq and, MIPS, April 1991

"We're getting sucked into the commercial marketplace like air into a vacuum."
– Scott McNealy, Business Week, April 15, 1991

"Dozens of Sun killers have been announced over the last 10 years. It's not as if we're being arrogant or complacent about it, but we're just going to execute the best way we know how, and everybody else is going to have to chase us."
– Scott McNealy, San Francisco Chronicle, October 14, 1991

"They put whipped cream on a road apple by putting Windows on DOS and it's still an untasty morsel in the/90s."
– Scott McNealy, on Windows/DOS, October 1991

"The past six months have been like tearing Band-Aids off hairy arms all day long."
– Scott McNealy, on Sun's 1991 reorganization, San Francisco Examiner, October 17, 1991

"Diplomacy is a nice form of a bad thing called political correctness. I could try to, be polite in this industry, but it's not my style."
– Scott McNealy, Associated Press, November 1991

"I wouldn't say we're arrogant, but we have what I would call belligerent consistency."
– Scott McNealy, Associated Press, November 1991

"This is all a game of chicken. We just pick a path and floor it. And nobody better get in our way because we'll run them down."
– Scott McNealy, Associated Press, November 1991

"I'm still a wise guy, but at least now people can't say I'm not experienced."
– Scott McNealy, 1991


Bill Joy:

"Apple, IBM and DEC are all on the dark side of the Force."
– Bill Joy on companies who keep private standards, San Francisco Examiner, November 1, 1987

"...the ultimate dorm room machine for yuppie puppies."
– Bill Joy describing the NeXT machine, San Francisco Examiner, November 1, 1987

"The chip guys don't fundamentally understand computer architectures or software. These are genetic diseases they have – like male-pattern baldness."
– Bill Joy, The Business World, March 1988

"Open architectures will speed up the process of computer science. Secrecy and proprietary considerations are self-defeating. When it comes to technology, I'm a free trader.

"The chip guys don't fundamentally understand computer architectures or software. These are genetic diseases they have - like male-pattern baldness."
– Bill Joy, The Business World, March 1988


Other Executives:

"We've woken the sleeping elephants, but can they dance?"
– John Hime, former Sun executive, referring to IBM, 1986

"It was a real eye-opener for me when McNealy came in in a polo shirt and high-fived me in the hallway."
– Robert Lux, former Sun VP hired away from Apollo, 1987

"His (Andreas Bechtolsheim) marching orders are to build killer computers and nobody on the planet does it any better."
– Wayne Rosing, Sun vice president of research, Upside, October 1990

"It's not hard to understand why people like working at Sun. They have freedom to express and defend their ideas. We listen. Unlike most companies, we believe in open discussions. If we don't listen to our engineers, how can we advance the state of technology? It's the only way to build a better machine."
– Andreas Bechtolsheim, Entrepreneur, October 1991