Monday, May 12, 2008

Jonathan Schwartz is on the cutting edge of technology, but not hairstyles

For an Advanced PR Writing class, we were assigned to analyze a Fortune 500 company's blog. I chose Sun Microsystem's CEO and ponytail aficionado Jonathan Schwartz's blog. It is an interesting foray into blogging by one of the most tech savvy businessmen in the world. His blog is frequently read and cited in the media (here, here). However, I should note that I am an avid reader of Mark Cuban's Blog Maverick, which is the end all, be all of tech business CEO blogs, IMHO, and I cannot help using that as a reference in my analysis.

Overall impression: Clean layout. Not too cluttered, but enough graphics to grab my attention. Written in a conversational tone with lots of links. First impression is positive.

Ease of finding - 10: Popped up immediately on a Google search for "sun microsystems blog" and it is front and center on the Sun homepage. Sun seems to have invested quite a bit in their blog.

Frequency - 9+: Jonathan posts relatively regularly on his blog (roughly once a week). The material is fresh and he doesn't seem to "force" blog posts. He only posts when there is actually something interesting to mention. I put the plus because Jonathan's blog is just the tip of a massive iceberg that is Sun Microsystem's blogging network. Currently, there are 4,297 blogs on the network. Any employee can set up a blog about any topic with just a few clicks. It's pretty remarkable and shows Sun's commitment to community involvement in technological innovations.

Engaging writing - 7: Jonathan writes in a conversational tone, but he does not deviate from specific topics regarding the acquisitions and mergers of Sun. Granted, this is the bulk of his work, but it would be a more effective blog if he strayed from the topic and discussed issues more broadly and possibly personal issues. It is well written and gives a good insight into the rationale for many of the company's actions, but he fails to humanize himself or upper echelon of Sun's management.

Focused - 9: Jonathan gives a great insight into the actions of the mergers and acquisitions of Sun and he stays focused on that issue pretty diligently. As I just stated, he could easily veer off topic a little bit and improve his blog.

Relevant: - 8: Jonathan's blog gives great insight into Sun's corporate actions, but again if you want insight into the future of the industry or the daily life of a tech CEO, this blog is not relevant at all. However, it is very relevant for the shareholders and investors of Sun. This is a great place to understand the major steps the company you are investing in is taking. Jonathan does an excellent job of instilling confidence in Sun shareholders.

Honest - 7: I love the rationale Jonathan gives for Sun's actions, but he fails to address the drawbacks of his actions. He gives an honest account of the positives of their actions, but it would be a more effective blog if he gave recognition to people that disagreed with the company position and alleviated those concerns. Part of this is due to the fact that Jonathan does not want to present a company that is divided to its shareholders. This might cause insecurities (pun intended).

Interactive - 10: People comment frequently on Jonathan's posts, but most of the comments are by employees. As I said earlier, it is simple to create a blog on the Sun network. This interactivity shows the commitment that Sun has to OpenSource and having the entire internet community help foster innovation.

Responsive - 8: Jonathan does not respond directly to comments, but after looking a little bit he does comment on other blogs. I feel that most of the comments on his blog are positive and don't nessesitate a response.

Overall - 68/80: Again, I think that Jonathan's blog does a great job of reflecting Sun's commitment to being a transparent company, but I think that if he wants to reach out an audience besides shareholders, he should broaden the range of topics and types of posts a la Cuban or this satirical blog. Also, get rid of that effing ponytail. You look like a tool.

Here is the wiki of Fortune 500 blogs.


Anonymous said...

geez, you want the guy to speak more about his personal life, and you hack on his haircut. How professional.

Nigel said...

Maybe if he had given a rational reason for his dumb haircut on his blog, I wouldn't have made those comments.