Preface: I don’t write critically about a company unless I think they have some glimmer of getting better, however small that may be.
I just watched another Scoble Show interview with Jonathan Schwartz, and it reminded me how frustrated I continue to be with Sun, particularly their Startup Essentials program. He seems to be complaining about the perception of startups that the Sun platform is completely wrong for a new generation of startups, a perception I would strongly agree with.
To illustrate, here is a timeline of my experience with the Startup Essentials program.
November 3rd, 2006: Drinking the kool-aid at Startup Camp, register on behalf of Automattic for the Startup Essentials program.
November 8th, 2006: I receive an email addressed to “Mr Muellenweg” (wtf?) saying “Due to the volume of interest in this exciting new program, it is taking us longer than expected to review your application. We will let you know your status within the next few days — thanks for your patience.”
Late-November: I talk for about an hour to a nice guy named Eric Cosway doing research about what I thought of Startup Camp and Sun. I tell him about the trouble I’ve had registering for Startup Essentials, he says he’ll note that and pass it on.
3 months since: Complete silence, punctuated by frequent Sun press releases and AP stories about how they’re great for startups, probably millions of dollars of PR.
Seeing their constant press releases and hot-air filled announcements around “Web 2.0” just makes Sun seem that much more out of touch with reality and desparate to jump on hype which has already passed.
I’m not writing this, as Joyent did, with the hope of connecting with someone at Sun that will take my money. I’ve given up, I’ve lost hope, and our business has moved on. We’re growing fast and adding infrastructure faster, all on a tight budget, and I’m less inclined to depart from the LAMP-based architecture that Digg, Flickr, Wikipedia, and dozens of other sites I respect use.
This is also what I’ve started advising other startups, if we had trouble getting anything going I can’t imagine what trouble a brand new startup with a smaller profile would go through. (An exception to this is going through Joyent, which has packaged Sun’s stuff so well Sun should just buy them.)
Personally I’m far more excited about what Amazon is doing these days.
Update: In a move most would never expect of a public company CEO, Jonathan Schwartz has responded. More than that, he has apologized in a human and personal way that is utterly admirable. I’m going to work on a followup to this entry.
Update 2: I’ve posted the followup.