The Stories

"It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission..."

Only in America could Sun Microsystems have been created.

And only at Sun, with Scott McNealy always encouraging the team that “to ask permission is to seek denial,” could bravado alone carry someone so far. One former employee took McNealy’s motto to heart and without any educational portfolio or anyone’s permission jumped into the raucous party that was Silicon Valley in the 1980's.

June 1st 1984: 73-year-old Ronald Reagan arrives in Ireland, while the same morning an 18-year-fresh-faced Irish lad heads for California on a holiday visa!

Only in America and only at Sun...

  • …would an 18 year old run into a couple of guys on motorcycles, in a gas station, and end up with a job offer.

  • …would our laddie be so tenacious and unrelentingly keep hammering on the motorcycle gang that ran Sun’s Ops team in ‘84 to ask if the job offer was real.

  • …would he start in a full time job as the youngest employee ever hired at Sun. And by his assessment, the most (unqualified) technician in Silicon Valley history ever!

  • …would the company be growing so fast that no one would check his work status and put him on payroll with a holiday visa.

  • …would the illegal immigrant pay his taxes, (and get a refund from the state of California in '85), then ask for forgiveness from the US immigration service… where all was forgiven "because you paid your taxes"!

  • …would one person have 19 jobs in 22.5 years across Operations, Services, Marketing and Sales –

  • …could our boy of humble Irish beginnings:

    • become the first, and only, Global Acct Manager for Sun-on-Sun
    • lead Sun's logistics efforts out of Corp Marketing for World Cup '94
    • lead the Corp Sales efforts for Fujitsu, NTT, and Visa worldwide.
    • become the Chief Compliance Officer for SunFed
    • leave Sun in '06 after almost 22 years and end up driving the SI/SP GTM Sales Strategy of another mammoth brand.

  • …would an 18 year old run into a couple of guys on motorcycles, in a gas station, and end up with a 30 year career.

And best of all…would establish a lifetime of friends among the other “outliers and outlaws” that made up Sun....and remain very connected to this day.

America + Sun = the land of opportunity. It is indeed better to ask for forgiveness. And our fresh faced, Irish lad, Alan Butler, Sun #530 (1984-2006) is looking forward to seeing everyone on May 24th.

Submitted by Nancy Hauge
(Sun #586, 1984-1994)


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