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Re: Dave Packard Would Fire This Iain Morris If He Were Alive
Message #1 Posted by J.C. Randerson on 20 Nov 2001, 10:20 p.m.


I must correct you regarding this point: Dave Packard was a big believer in R&D. He would never have sacrificed a project if it had merit to save or make a quick $dollar. He would have fought tooth and nail to prevent what Queen Fiorina and her lackey Morris are doing to HP Calculators.

Beyond that, I'm like you, I don't fully understand all the intricacies of economics. But I do know that good innovation brought to a marketable invention sells very well. The idiots who are running HP now are selling themselves short, but I don't think they know or care.

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...

Re: Excellent post and very well said.
Message #3 Posted by Ron Ross on 21 Nov 2001, 8:56 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Glynn

Your points are all valid.

He even responded to a personel vent of mine to his email directly.

Of course Hp is going through some tough times and now with the merger with Compaq, there will be some duplication of jobs. Compaq has a palmtop division also. Need I say more?

Hp and Compaq are preparing for a marriage and both are cutting back (in areas where we have no control or say). Hopefully, after the dust settles, Hp will again deliver a superior calculating device (but I won't be holding my breath).


Ron Ross

About the merge with Compaq...
Message #4 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 21 Nov 2001, 9:42 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Ron Ross


is there any sign that points to the merging? The last info I had from here involved Packard's descendants inside HewPack.

Is there any recent news about it?


Re: About the merge with Compaq...
Message #5 Posted by Wayne Brown on 21 Nov 2001, 11:09 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)

Both the Hewlett and Packard families are opposed to the merger, and Hewlett's son is mounting a proxy fight against the deal. Here's a quote from a current Infoworld article:

"A proxy fight, combined with the opposition of both the Hewlett family and David Packard, son of HP's other co-founder, casts serious doubt on the ability of the two companies to complete the merger, said several analysts. However, HP's largest shareholder is reserving judgment on the deal, and HP's relatively strong fourth-quarter performance helps bolster confidence in the management team, analysts said."

The complete article can be found here:

Personally, I'm hoping to see the merger fail. If that happens it could cause a serious shakeup in HP management and may well send Fiorina packing, which would be the best thing to happen to HP in a long time.

Thank you Glynn - and an apology to Iain Morris
Message #6 Posted by Dave Hicks on 21 Nov 2001, 5:54 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Glynn

I really liked your message and the way you expressed yourself.

I was excited when Mr. Morris posted his message but I wasn't able to follow this discussion in anything approaching real-time.

I have to say that I'm disappointed in how it turned out. This thread is not at all typical for this forum and I hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

I'd like to apologize to Mr. Morris and I hope we can all try to be more constructive next time - if there is a next time.

Flattery will get you nowhere ;-)
Message #7 Posted by Cameron on 21 Nov 2001, 7:12 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Glynn

Excellent reality check, Glynn. I'm as guilty as the next bloke of shooting messengers. I guess they make easy(er) targets.

One nit I will pick though (congenially). Mr Morris and Ms Fiorina put themselves forward and were chosen by the corporation that employs them (presumably) because they share a similar outlook and are committed to similar goals. While I concur that they are BOUND to implement the dictates of the board, they do so through choice and not because they were press-ganged into service.

I have NO knowledge of the inner workings of the HP management team nor the relationships between top executives and the board. However it would be an odd corporation indeed if the board did not seek the counsel of their most senior and highly remunerated executives.

That said, I endorse your call for us to THINK about our responses. We were privileged to receive a communique more-or-less from the horse's mouth and it would be good for consumers and suppliers in this little food chain if a dialogue could be developed.

If others feel similarly, and no one else with more "seniority" in this forum volunteers, I propose to invite Mr Morris to contribute further on this subject--even if through a less senior member of the HP team. Before I do that I'd like to invite Glynn to be our proxy since his command of the language and his deconstruction of the message have demonstrated that he is the most suitable candidate for the "job".


The damage is irreversible, but...
Message #8 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 21 Nov 2001, 11:09 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Glynn


You all know my origin and, maybe, my difficulty on expressing myself in English and understanding some nuances of the language. As far as I can go this way, I try not causing any damage and, so far, I commit some mistakes without meaning it.

When reading Mr. Iain`s post I felt confused at the first moment, believing something completely new has happening: the president of Hewlett-Packard, EPS, addressed to everyone in this forum to show that they were reading the posts and aware of (at least some) facts. For me, unusual.

I felt that that was not the moment to post anything, but simply waiting for the posts and read. Surprise: most were somewhat hard and accusative, dealing and mentioning facts I was not (and still am not) aware of. When I read a few posts I could understand and set an opinion I did it. No regrets. At that time, I did not realize how far would things go.

I read Mr. Glynn`s post in a glance (my time for these days is leaking through a hole...), but it is really understanding (despite some words I had to look for translation...) and I would just feel myself in a constrain situation: what to do?

Any actions taken now will lead to one thought: is this another wave? Well, I bet it is not. Supporting Mr. Glynn`s thoughts is stopping and reflecting a bit about his words of wisdom. I will not feel ashamed for that. If someone gives me a chance to see I'm not that right, there is no shame on supporting him.

Well, that's what I'm doing to show I agree with Mr. Glynn: I'm removing all my posts (just a few) in this thread, not cause I changed my mind, but cause I want to express I still believe this site is a respectable place with respecting contributors, and when polite people express their minds, someone will always tell us it's polite hearing in silence.

Thanks and forgive-me if there is anything spelled wrongly.

Re: The damage is irreversible, but...
Message #9 Posted by Cameron on 22 Nov 2001, 8:33 a.m.,
in response to message #8 by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)

Luiz, elide (remove, delete) nothing! The "fault", if there is any to be found, lies with those of us for whom English is our first language.

<misguided altuistic opinion follows>

The wonder, for me, of the web is niether the porn sites nor the proliferation of cheap copies of other people's intellectual property. It rests with something that is perfectly exemplified by this forum.

Consider: people of four (5?) continents interacting--osensibly about calculators--on subjects as diverse and nebulous as economics, quality and post-modern theory.

Romantic sentimentality aside, it's also a forum where protagonists and antagonists from both ends of the electronic gadget/engineering tool supply chain can air ideas, differences and grievances. This interaction is precious and should be allowed to run its natural course without intervention or revision.

Whatever any of us have written, however imperfectly expressed, reflects our apprehension of the topic at the point of expression. This is (or should be) understood by all who contribute. Whether we shoot from the hip or carefully consider our contributions is as much a statement of our personalities as it is an exposition of our thoughts.


PS: you have my email address. Don't struggle with the dictionary--I'm happy to work through some of the more-complex English with you.

(Semi-) Personal response to Luis...
Message #10 Posted by glynn on 22 Nov 2001, 3:46 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)


Your English may be occasionally halting and sometimes awkward, but it is like a new foal standing up and learning to walk, eventually to gallop alongside his mom. Gracefulness and fluency in any language is primarily a matter of time, of continuing to communicate.

Speaking for myself, if I had to communicate in Portuguese or Spanish (or anything but English), I'd be totally hobbled and lost, and just limp by (using, say, Altavista's electronic translator)-- and no doubt the results would be much less readable than yours, though perhaps my failures would provide much comedy... ;-D

But I've noticed something you probably haven't. Natives of latin languages such as yourself use turns of phrase, idioms or linkages in their thoughts which come out, in English, quite strikingly elegant. Your self-expression, therefore, is neither bland nor is it hard to read. Instead, it is quite dignified, emotive and precise in its communication, even when the syntax is weak.

No need, therefore, to apologize for language difficulties. You're good-- and, by the way, we're all better off that we have a forum with representation all over the world, and few if any grammar-police to slow us down.

There is nothing wrong with expressing your thoughts here either, and I've always felt it better for my own writing that I mostly just let what I have said stand, even if later I double-think and have a second round with "revisions".

Cameron is absolutely right about the beauty of the internet. Providing you sincerely believe what you say, as you've said it, it should remain-- ADD TO IT when you feel the need; one more post doesn't hurt.

Everybody, if their minds are capable of engaging thought rather than reacting purely defensively, will come to a moment when someone else's input causes them to reflect upon and re-examine what was committed to print.

Luis, I like being "right", but it is through forums like this that I have learned: I am hardly EVER 100% right on my own, and usually I am only partway there... but wherever I am wrong, there will be plenty of people ready to tell me! And getting to be "more" right is a process that one should not fear or be ashamed for others to see.

I too am always re-reading whatever it is I last wrote, and often wincing to see just how badly I bungled, just how limited I was by the act of trying to get across a particular point: I could not express the fullness of my thoughts as I focused on one or two of them.

And invariably, someone will come along and say, ahh... but you should have been looking at this... and quite often, they are right!! Which calls for MORE dialogue, not less...

In my last post, I was upset that an opportunity for dialogue with someone (important at HP) was lost, because we hadn't ever granted him what we ALL want, a welcome to our various input.

One of my motivations in this is that I believe, as a group, that we have an assemblage of some of the finest people: helpful, committed, engaged in an important activity (that of promoting and saving useful tools from the scrapheap), from many backgrounds but all very smart and well-rounded, and capable of humor and balance and graciousness. I do not want others, whether at HP or visitors or potential calc fans, to perceive us wrongly. We are NOT nutballs and misfits-- though we are passionate on a common set of subjects.

I wouldn't want us to mute that passion. Our feelings and thought on these things is important. The mistake that set me off on a rant is that we tend to use EVERY event, every missive on the forum, as a focal-point for the frustrations we have been feeling for a long time. There IS a place for it in the forum, and there are many reasons to be frustrated and to express it. I just don't want to see those strong feelings bleed over into personal attacks if we ourselves have not been personally slighted.

You are not the cause of any "damage", Luis: what I read in your messages has always revealed a respect for others both in and out of the forum. Your enthusiasm is right in step with us all here.

This forum is Dave's (thank YOU Dave), and because we participate, it is also yours and mine. Iain Morris is also welcome, and any discussion any of us has is subject to critical analysis and judgment, impassioned speech, correction and scrutiny from all sides.

Hopefully, in the midst of it all, we do choose our words to reflect our true aims; the message less than the messengers, as Cameron has said. Without that respect, sort of a presumption of goodwill, new participants and growing common ground would be rare.

I really do like this place. Thinking I'll stick around a while. I'll join in any conversation where I have something in mind to say. You too? ;-)

I feel home here.
Message #11 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 22 Nov 2001, 7:10 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by glynn


and thanks; being respected by those we respect makes us feel home every time we're among them. I feel home here.

I would like you all to understand that when I removed my posts at this particular thread I intended to show my respect and agreement for Mr. Glynn`s wisdom expression, at the same moment I accepted the fact I was also wrong. Not cause I support some thoughts (fierce, evocative, but also shaking), but cause I didn't stop to reflect on Mr. Morris words, as Glynn made so well.

I really felt a bit constrained and ashamed for the fact I should only read all posts and stand, waiting for the final moment, but I am sure I did not cause potential damage with my own posts. At least I believe that. And as Dave expressed his apologies, removing my posts was the way I found being my own apologies.

What counts in here is that we are still trying to keep things working at Mr. Hicks` place, as guests we are. As a foreigner, I have to watch, and watch, and learn. I have never been in U.S.A. (my brother lives in Tucson for 2.5 years and he says I speak English better than him), but I live as if I'm ready to be there tomorrow. I respect you a lot. And you have no idea of how important for me, in my 40 years of age, is reading these posts.

Well, I'm loosing focus again. We now have to deserve Mr. Morris confidence again. What should we do to show him we still deserve his X-mas cards? Please, count on me.

Thanks, falks.

I hope I deserve your concerns.

Re: (Semi-) Personal response to Luis...
Message #12 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 23 Nov 2001, 2:02 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by glynn

Me, again.

I almost replaced previous post to add these words, but it would remove date and time stamp. So, this is just a complement.

I am sorry to say I cannot help myself: I feel as if I'm compelled to answer every question I know (at least I think I know, or I can guide to) the answer! They tease me... Itís compulsive. You know, I'm a teacher. I don't resist answering a question.

I believe I'll not stick around for now. You see, I answered two posts in less than 6 minutes; less than two hours later and I'm there, again (I was in a classroom). I can't help myself...

Let me just check again...


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