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So Long Matt

October 25, 2007

Yesterday the first person that I mentored at Sun left. 18 years ago Matthew Finch joined the OS group in the UK answer centre and Sun became a much better place to be. I’m sure our customers noticed it and still notice it. His dogged determination to solve the problem, find the answer, make sure the problem does not reoccur for that customer or any customer set Matthew apart. Then his knowledge of how systems work, how they are built, how they should be built if you want to diagnose them. I will miss his ability to persuade development that “yes we do need the ability JTAG scan of the system when it hangs” and I suspect so will development.

To anyone who employs Matt: Don’t give Matt a problem you don’t want solved.

And to Matt: Good luck in what ever you choose to do, I hope that choice includes returning to Sun.

From → Sun

  1. Bye Matt was a pleasure to work with you for a year. All th best with whatever you choose to do.

  2. Paul Humphreys permalink

    I remember very well my first days at Sun and speaking to Matt on customer problems I realising that this was one clever chap. I think if I am honest given my job is now as a manager my conversations with Matt have been more about his outside interests and the funny story he told us of his animal husbandy experiences. I wish him the best and hope he comes back soon..

  3. Zubin Ghai permalink

    Almost everyone I have worked closely with has heard of Matt Finch, the fabled engineer from Sun Microsystems who could solve software and hardware problems that existed anywhere from the design-board to the customer.
    Matt, if you’re reading this, I hear a certain large 2 letter acronym company is hiring…

  4. I don’t think we made too many bad recruitment decisions in those days did we Chris, even with Ray in charge?

  5. No, even though that does include Gibbo;-), who I interviewed!
    Actually there is much in Ray’s leadership that when viewed from 18 years back was great. He fostered a community that supported itself, something we need to do now.

  6. Dugald Foreman permalink

    Like many other people I’ve had a lot of help from Matt over the years: He’s always a good person to talk to when you need a bright idea. Hopefully he’ll be back soon.

  7. Kimberley Brown permalink

    Noooooooo!!! My "little brother" has left Sun!?!? I never thought I’d see the day.
    Matt, best wishes ALWAYS!

  8. Clive King permalink

    Technical giant, bulldog debugging ethics and nice bloke don’t even start to describe the esteme I hold Matt in. The T2000 is just 1 example of a product that is much better because of Matt’s work. Getting the right answer to how things really work under the hood, just got a bit harder.

  9. Mark Hayden permalink

    I had the pleasure of working with Matt many times over the years. Sadly I am not in the UK right now to be able to say goodbye.
    I always knew that customer escalations I worked on with Matt would get solved in a timely manner.
    Mat has the ability to explain tecnhical solutions and issues to everyone, from junior engineers to managers. His approach with his colleagues really fostered a learning approach.
    Thanks Matt and all the best.

  10. Dimitri de Wild permalink

    Matt you will be missed. Not just because of your technical brilliance through which, as many have already said, products have been greatly improved and unsolveable and non-understandable issues turned into simple matters. But much more so for being the person you are. Regardless of other factors you always had time for a good talk.
    Thanks for all Matt and best wishes.
    Just come back soon will ya.

  11. Andy Fox permalink

    So sorry I can’t be there to say goodbye in person.
    To watch you work was always a hugely enlightening experience. Your patience and willingness to help, even when you were up against it, was truly exceptional.
    Sun will a much poorer place without you.
    Good luck with whatever you do next.

  12. Peter Brentnall permalink

    How did we let a genius go?
    Matt, I hope you read this. You were always great fun to work with. It seems a long time ago since the days of Cumming, Finch and Gerhard – the dynamic trio of the OS group.
    Good luck, but I know you’ll be highly successful in whatever you do.

  13. James Legg permalink

    That has got to be a loss for Sun and the people that will have to survive without his knowledge and expertise. The amount of information you could gain from just spending time in the same office as Matt was truly amazing. I wish him the best in whatever he does.

  14. Matt, you’ve been the opposite of bland. When execs hold forth on improving the "workplace experience" they should know that all they have to do is hire more Matts.
    More than your legendary ability to brick machines, your almost feral grasp of where bugs are lying low in the undergrowth and your ingenuity in flushing them out, I value your appreciation for simple everyday tools, for unclouding what others would rather keep murky, and the passion for mentoring which leads you always to seek out people who are cleverer than you so you can understand what they understand and then explain it to schmucks like me (and then have us explain it to each other).
    And chiefly I have valued the times we have worked together on oddball projects. One of these had nothing to do with JTAG, pipeline stalls or ECC syndromes but everything to do with getting people to more effectively share infomation and opinion.
    And that’s the point. You’ve been a friendly and prodigious all-rounder and the place will seem drabber without you.
    Keep in touch,

  15. Torsten Meredig permalink

    what to say different from what has been said above already and I do want to second ? Perhaps a big personal thanks for all the help I got in many areas and your incredible ability to translate the most complex technical scenarios in a way that even I was able to understand it. All the best to you and
    Auf Wiedersehen !

  16. Graham permalink

    I’ve probably known Matt longer than most having known his dad for some 30 years. I remember his enthusiasm when he visited CTL office with his dad as a kid and his moto-cross tips for my own son.
    Good luck Matt

  17. Filippos Chalvatzoglou permalink

    Someone lock the doors!

  18. Tim Jones permalink

    I remember meeting you at the hotline Xmas meal and you said ‘Anytime you have a sticky problem, come see me’ and so I did đŸ˜‰ and got some great advice & answers !

  19. Dave gibson permalink

    I remember Mat when he first joined Sun (and as a customer! Saratoga data?) when hotline was a frenzy of calls and beer. A young impressionable lad of great talent (am I sounding old?) I have lots of stories from back then about him that i certainly cannot commit to print (mainly because of the stories he has about me !) . Another one of us gone :-(. All the best Mat , big loss to the company and let us know if there is life after Sun.

  20. Jon Dodgson permalink

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Sun are loosing a great asset. Its been a pleasure working with you Matt, Take care.

  21. Andy Bowers permalink

    Matt was there on my first day at SUN back in 1990, and was a pleasure to work with. Just how many sets of tyres did he get through on his Astra GTE 16V ?

  22. Ed Maxwell permalink

    Matt, thanks for all the brilliant work you’ve
    done, and all the long distance help you have
    given me/us over the years (Matt is in UK, I’m in
    I sure hope to work with you again.

  23. Ed Maxwell permalink

    Matt, thanks for all the brilliant work you’ve
    done, and all the long distance help you have
    given me/us over the years (Matt is in UK, I’m in
    I sure hope to work with you again.

  24. Steve White permalink

    Matt will surface somewhere else, to the advantage of whomever takes him on. Matt was part of a team that I first saw supporting customers in Frimley in 1989, when the whole UK Solution Centre was one group, surrounded by Sun equipment only now found in museums, sitting so closely together that if one engineer needed to leave their desk a few others had to shift out of the way to let them through. That core team – who once held everything about SunOS in their collective heads has been the most cohesive group of brilliant minds I have had the pleasure of working alongside and for a short while with, when I was allowed to pretend to be technically clever in the OS and Difficult Comms group in Watchmoor Park. As John Ryan once said "We are not all going to grow old together", and inevitably individuals wander off to do other things. Matt is a top engineer, and I wish him the very best for the future.

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