Scott McNealy re-emerges in tech circles

Though quiet after Oracle acquired Sun, the company he co-founded, McNealy is back in the saddle again. He's chairman of start-up WayIn and delivering one-liners over Twitter.

Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy is chairman of a start-up called WayIn.
Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy is chairman of a start-up called WayIn.

Scott McNealy, who co-founded and led Sun Microsystems for many years before its sale to Oracle last year, is once again engaging in the technology world.

Fittingly for the one-man sound bite factory, McNealy has taken to Twitter, dishing up snarky remarks and relishing the fact that not being CEO of a company means he doesn't have to be politically correct. And he's involved in business again, too, as chairman of stealth start-up WayIn.

McNealy isn't dishing on WayIn, but some details are bubbling up.

WayIn start-up
Mike Schmitz, who says he's senior director of consumer products and marketing at WayIn on his LinkedIn profile, has the most detailed description.

"WayIn is a platform where consumers can play user-created games while watching television or live events," he said. Schmitz "designed and managed our multi-device platform, which includes the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, iPhone, Android, and the consumer Web site," and that he "created the company's consumer strategy of recruiting 'Super Fans'--a group of users interested in specific sports or television programming to create game content."

Schmitz also ran a contest for a WayIn.com logo at 99designs.com. There, he said, "WayIn.com is a new Web site where anything on TV and events (like concerts or sports events) is discussed. There are groups for "Dexter," "Mad Men," and the Boston Red Sox--if it's on TV or at events like concerts or sporting events, then WayIn.com has an area for fans to chat all about it...Super fans can also create their own pages to discuss their favorite shows, build polls and share media...We plan to use Web interface technologies that facilitate interactions beyond the traditional forum."

Scott McNealy's Twitter profile photo. Twitter.com

WayIn's director of software development is Liqun "Lea" Wang, according to her LinkedIn profile. Wang spent six years at Sun, running the Kenai site for hosting software projects, then stayed with Oracle until February. Wang says WayIn is in the "Internet industry."

However, Guy Nemiro shows a somewhat different view on his LinkedIn page. He says that at WayIn, he's involved in "bringing new content-prompting services and data analytics to enterprises."

Start-ups can be fluid of course, and not everyone sees them the same way. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

McNealy, off the leash
At Sun, a large and publicly traded company, there were limits to what McNealy could say, though that didn't stop him from taking potshots at Microsoft, IBM, Dell, and other rivals. On Twitter, though, he's relishing his freedom.

"Nice not being CEO w shrhlders, dont have 2 b PC," he said. In various tweets, he criticizes the Obama administration's search for a gas-price culprit, tenured professors who presume to pontificate about the free market, and politicians who don't promote personal responsibility.

He also brings up technology matters.

Weighing in on the iPhone location tracking controversy, McNealy said, "Someone once said U have no privacy get over it! Who was that?" (He also added another familiar McNealy criticism of anonymity: "Many worry bout no privacy (get over it). I worry as much/more bout absolute anonymity which breeds irresponsibility. Long live audit trails."

The white iPhone also evidently makes him roll his eyes. "White is the new black! First TaylorMade golf clubs, now Apple iPhone. Why didn't we ship white Sun computers?!"

McNealy is talking about his extracurriculars, too. He's pitching the Curriki.org open-source education project he got involved in while at Sun. He's an adviser to CollabWorks, which McNealy said harkens back to Sun's old motto, "The network is the computer." And as commissioner for the Alternative Golf Association, he's involved in promoting a version of golf that doesn't regulate the technology of golf clubs and golf balls or frown on the usage of mobile phones.

He also said he was happy to have had lunch with former eBay CEO and California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who, like McNealy, is a conservative. Indeed, many of McNealy's tweets have an economically-related political flavor.

Is he going to take a crack at public office?

No, McNealy told CNET News. "Not enough Kevlar to keep me alive as a candidate," he said.

Corrected 11:34 a.m. PT with the correct spelling of Mike Schmitz's name.

 

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