Adjust font size:
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Sun Microsystems Chairman Scott McNealy sums up his leadership style by saying "sharing is a good thing." It may not be what Wall Street wants to hear but McNealy believes he can use Sun power to eliminate the global digital divide. McNealy talked to CNN's Maggie Lake about his goal of creating an open source society and educating the next generation of tech superstars. My first question, does he think the U.S. is falling behind when it comes to creating cutting edge technology?
McNealy: There is a whole bunch of things we are doing regulatory wise and administratively and legislatively that are massively brain dead there is no question about it. Restricting H1B visas is not, I mean the brain drain used to come to the United States and we'd create companies and pay taxes and train employees and hire employees who would pay taxes and create all of these jobs, and this commerce and this intellectual property. Now we are restricting that. We don't want them here so you know what they are going back to their geographies and the jobs are going to show up there.
Lake: How much of a worry is that for you, that digital divide, that separates Western developed countries from everyone else?
McNealy: Well, we have kind of actually taken on an overbroad cause and we have a clear you know mission and corporate centered priorities, to make money and grow and reward our shareholders you know but there is also a cause that all of our employees are excited about and that is to eliminate this digital divide.
Lake: The company's overall strategy now is based a lot on this idea of open source computing. Why are you so convinced that is where the future is?
McNealy: By opening our interfaces, opening the source code and getting involved in these shared communities around community development we can leverage and partner with smart people no matter where are. We are open sourcing our fast new T1 microprocessor. I am not sure anyone else has actually open sourced their hardware before but hardware is, the chips are just zeros and ones also that are used by the chip manufacturers to make silicon so we are open sourcing our hardware. A lot of people think it's kind of crazy we think it's a no brainer.
Lake: Who do you need to convince in order to move things in that direction? Is it other CEO's at tech companies? Is it government officials? Do everyday users have to get what you're talking about?
McNealy: What Sun is going to be driving is computer as a service and so it will be providing public, multi-tenant compute grids, that you can do computing, storage, you can get your desktop display, DOIP, we call it display override I.P. as opposed to just voice over I.P. You can do development you can do transactions out of the network and the beauty of that is you use it and then unplug. Kind of like you get in a cab you go somewhere you pay your money and you leave. You don't have to house it, you don't have to wash it, you don't have to maintain it, you don't have to upgrade it, you don't have to depreciate it you, don't have to insure it, you just use it and leave where the barrier to exit is near zero.
Lake: You seem to come more from the business side, at least when you were at university, does that change the way you think about these things?
McNealy: Well, you know I certainly don't pick colors or design the product or whatever, I am not a programmer, never have been. I was a golf major undergraduate with a minor in economics and I went on to business school and I really focused on manufacturing. I like to make things I like to see stuff go out the door. So that is really my background.
Lake: How do you describe your leadership skills?
McNealy: Ah random, certainly not very textbook a little bit ranty and a little bit unorthodox. But you know it is all driven by a passion and compassion a belief set that just says that sharing is a good thing and you can profit by monetizing a large community.