|You silver-tongued persuaders you!|
Message #2 Posted by Glynn on 21 Nov 2001, 7:39 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by J.C. Randerson
It's been a week since we got something we had all secretly wished a bit for: a real-live Hewlett-Packard heavyweight, someone well-placed in the company, who would TALK to us, instead of pretending we don't exist.
It was nice and actually a solid thing to do, in the midst of a restructuring within the company, for a President of an established arm of a corporation, to go out where the arrows fly and tell us what he must: that the calculator, if not the Calculator division, lives on in his "Embedded and Personal Systems Group".
To reassure a customer base of a continuation of the status quo is not a crime, it's a good sign. It meant that he felt there was some goodwill to pursue, some sense of upheaval amongst us he could ameliorate with a personal touch-- and that our potential panic at the loss of ACO was of concern to him, his group, his superiors in the corporation.
Now let me tell you, I am not a lackey nor employed by HP, nor do I blunt my criticisms of what I think of their current management, marketing strategy, product focus, distribution channel, etc.-- I believe I have many times made myself clear to you all on what I think HP's many missteps have been.
But it is probable that many of you have, at SOME moment in your lives, been exposed to large corporations and how the people within them MUST operate. I don't know WHAT you must think personally of them...
Instead, just Think please of what form a communication to the general public (*the OUTSIDE*) has to take; you just can't dish like a dumped Jean-Yves, you can't give stockholders nor competitors leverage to make your team's job harder. You cannot go woebegone or criticize Ms. Fiorini's management or blame a DOA merger and weak stock fortunes for internal belt-tightening. You choose your words carefully to balance the truth as you know it to be, with the need for diplomacy and confidentiality and positive attitude; to get across JUST the message you are trying to send, and NOTHING MORE. To do other than this is to juggle with porcupines; maybe fun... but risky, and not in your job description.
To those who actually read press-releases, public communiques and management responses in their daily occupations, translating and interpreting is "de rigeur"; you do it on the fly. But since a majority perhaps are NOT used to reading such things, it is possible that SOME of the interpretations made in this forum were that Mr. Morris either was trying to be deceptive, or that he "didn't get it".
I would not assume either, if I were you. I know that Mr. Morris did not get to be a president of a group at HP by sweepstakes. He worked hard, he thought through many strategies to benefit his company, he was loyal and-- most of all-- he SURVIVED, as I'm sure he'd tell you (over a beer, in a nice dark saloon far away from headquarters).
Now if you understand the way things are at a big company, and at least credit the guy with the intelligence to tie his shoes if given a diagram, you can break down his news into some very interesting slices of company-speak:
1. by citing his title, he is telling you of his authority on the matter, and indicating how high up in the corporation these matters are of importance enough to address publicly. HP Embedded and Personal Systems Group (EPS) is in charge of calculators and lots more, was above ACO and now folds in its responsibilities in toto. The reason this isn't a matter for Carly Fiorini is that, overall, the corporation is not going to live or die by the elimination of ACO and/or its contents. But the fact that the prez of the EPS group IS communicating, shows that "calculators" (or their purchasers) do play a part in his overall plans for operating his division successfully.
2. He's been getting public flak, heat, embarrassment-- it has been heard above the internal din of the corporation (a rare event). No doubt our disgruntled buddy J-Y Avenard has a role in that; not just musings and murmurs from the masses, but a pronounced shout from outside the walls specifically over the closure of ACO.
3. HP is going to continue to market calculators, at least in the near-term. "Not exiting the business" says precisely nothing about the origin or manufacture of, nor port of entry, of the calcs; it says precisely nothing of the form those calcs will take, nor whom they will market them to. The words, please note, are deliberate: HP will have HP-branded calculators to sell now and for the immediate future, so don't consider them orphans just yet.
4. "painful cost reductions and consolidate efforts"-- the money was tight and management had to consider it would be more effectively utilized elsewhere within the company and not ACO. You can disagree with the decision, but it clearly says to me: ACO was spending to create things that, at best, would be a marketing cul-de-sac, and at worst, maybe compete with or interfere with products fitting the overall HP goals. Meshing in the story as told by J-Y Avenard, separate and costly development of an mp3-Java-PDA thingy might have been cause to question ACO's existence as a SEPARATE part of a group ALREADY into laptops and handheld PDAs and such.
5. HP remains committed to the business... ...will remain the same... -- In this "assurance", many of you will be most discomfited. It means: right now, sales of the existing lineup of calcs and how they get sold and whom we sell them to are "JUST FINE BY US". Hewlett-Packard will not be charting a course far different than what they have pursued over the past few years. Don't look for a new push into education; "we're selling what we have, and to those that like them as they are".
6. ...appreciate your feedback and loyalty to the HP brand... --and I daresay he does. But this also is a backward-looking statement, which he rectifies by adding: and look forward to your continued support. In the context of the split time-zones here, he already HAD your feedback, enough to write a letter. He knows that HP users often are brand-conscious and make decisions on computers, printers etc. based on the HP reputation and good past associations. In the present, HE LOOKS FORWARD (he is positive, assertive) to your continued support-- to be blunt: look at things in the best light, don't go racing away like rats off a sinking ship... your business is valuable enough that we try to consider it in our current thinking and strategy.
Now, deconstruction like this sometimes puts words in people's mouths that they either would not say, OR it puts words in people's mouths that they would rather NOT say in such a direct manner, in such a forum. I'm going to put in some words myself now that I think should be said to this forum specifically, because I feel that some of you "don't get it"...
Mr. Morris does NOT dictate corporate strategy. A board does. He is Duty-Bound to not just follow that strategy, but to make it HIS and give it the best he's got. The board may be dense or totally wacko, but Mr. Morris does not advise THEM what to do, or how it ought to be done. So criticism directed at him personally is MISDIRECTED. If the management at HP thinks PDAs are the natural evolution and calc-style tools are vestigial remnants of technology now only used by business execs too stupid to learn PocketWindows, then Mr. Morris will sell those retarded execs all the calcs he can until the prices of PDAs and calcs begin to converge. And Mr. Morris may well KNOW that, out here, we are smart and can afford PDAs and still want calcs. He CAN, as a prez of a group, suggest ways of looking at developing our business, convince management that in addition to their analyses, a significant market yearns for specific and directed tools; But, absent managements' understanding, he will not buck management's direction and cultivate a sprig not in the decided-upon row... because his loyalty and his livelihood depend on how well he furthers HP plans.
So why I am a bit angry now with what has been said here in other posts, is that, instead of reaching him with helpful suggestions on what we would like HP to know would insure our future business, some have taken an opportunity to throw stones at the man, dredge up garbage about Ms. Fiorini's lifestyle as a CEO, and generally act like fools. You can talk about God's disappointment in HP's direction, and I don't mind at all, but in THIS thread, you've suggested firing a man who not only did you no harm, but maybe was a link to your future hopes. You talk about people you don't know and can't identify in a lineup-- so did any of the venting help us as a group, or did it just flow from stored-up frustrations?
Yes, this is maybe MY rant. I didn't think Mr. Brogger went far out on a limb to correct what I, too, saw as a bit of revisionism, but conspiracy theories are easily formulated in hindsight, and worrying about what has passed long ago can quickly devolve into a "tinkling" contest, as it seemed was becoming likely. Mr. Brogger, thank you for retrieving your discretion.
MY rant, I know, will make some of you mad. I happen to agree with many, many of the opinions expressed by the present company, including God... it's just that, maybe you didn't have to throw a gauntlet in anyone's face when they merely showed up here. Does offering a statement to a forum mean that he should expect, nay, has INVITED, flames? Cause that's about ALL we offered him. A real show of class... not.
I guess we won't be seeing a Christmas Card from him OR Carly THIS year, anyway. Sigh...