Executive ego and the Sony Pictures network hack

sonyhackReaders have been asking me to write about the recent network hack at Sony Pictures Entertainment. If you run a company like Sony Pictures it has to be tough to see your company secrets stolen all at once — salaries, scripts, and Social Security numbers all revealed along with a pre-release HD copy of Annie, not to mention an entire database of unhappy Sony employees who want to work anywhere Adam Sandler doesn’t. But frankly my dear I don’t give a damn about any of that so let’s cut to the heart of this problem which really comes down to executive privilege. Sony was hacked because some president or vice-president or division head […]

How to fix IBM

IBMGiven IBM’s earnings miss last week and the impact it had on company shares I thought rather than just criticizing the company it might make better sense to consolidate my ideas for how to fix IBM. Here they are.

Early in his tenure as CEO, Sam Palmisano made changes that created IBM’s problems today. IBM customers are buying fewer products and services. Revenue has dropped each quarter for the past ten. Sam’s changes alienated IBM customers, many of whom are ending what has been in many cases a multi-decade relationship. No amount of earnings promises, no amount of financial engineering, will fix this problem.

IBM forgot the most important part of running a business. While shareholder value […]

Ginni comes to her senses, but too late for IBM?

Ginni_RomettyThis week, of all weeks, with IBM seemingly melting-down, you’d think I’d be writing about it and I have been, just not here. You can read two columns on IBM I published over at forbes.com, here and here. They are first day and second day analyses of IBM’s earnings announcement and sale of its chip division to GlobalFoundries. I could publish them here three days from now but by then nobody will care so instead I’ll just give you the links.

One thing I can do here is consider the way IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is spinning this story. She was all over the news […]

One way (maybe the only way) Yahoo can succeed

marissamayerAlibaba’s IPO has come and gone and with it Yahoo has lost the role of Alibaba proxy and its shares have begun to slide. Yahoo’s Wall Street honeymoon, if there ever was one, is over, leaving the company trying almost anything it can to avoid sliding into oblivion. Having covered Yahoo continuously since its founding 20 years ago it is clear Y! has little chance of managing its way out of this latest of many crises despite all the associated cash. But — if it will — Yahoo could invest its way to even greater success.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, thinking like Type A CEOs nearly always seem to think, wants to take some of the […]

Apple proves that moats are for dummies

moatAs we all know, Apple last week announced two new iPhones, a payment service (ApplePay), and a line of Apple Watches that require iPhones to work. There’s not much I can say about these products that you can’t read somewhere else. They are bigger and better than what preceded them and — in the case of ApplePay and the AppleWatch — just different. They are all topnotch products that will stand out in the market and have good chances of being successful. So instead of writing about products we already know about, I’d like to write about moats to protect products from competition.

Moats, as you know, are defensive fortifications typically built to surround castles, making them […]