Autodesk’s John Walker explained HP and IBM in 1991

autodeskcoverOne reader of this column in particular has been urging me to abandon for a moment my obsession with IBM and look, instead, at his employer — Hewlett Packard. HP, he tells me, suffers from all the same problems as IBM while lacking IBM’s depth and resources. And he’s correct: HP is a shadow of its former self and probably doomed if it continues to follow its current course. I’ve explained some of this before in an earlier column, and another, and another you might want to re-read. More of HP’s problems are covered in a very fine presentation you can read here. Were […]

Remembering Radio Shack

trs80With Radio Shack having declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with hundreds of stores closing and others possibly becoming Sprint locations, let’s take a moment to look back at the important contributions the company made in the early days of personal computing.

Charles Tandy started the Tandy Leather Company which opened hundreds of little shops in the 1950s selling kits for consumers to make their own tooled leather belts, for example. I made one in 1959, burning my name into the belt with a soldering iron. As leather craft faded as a hobby and electronics boomed many of those Tandy Leather stores became Radio Shacks (but not all — a few leather stores survive […]

2015 Predictions: It’s about the money, stupid!

MaxHeadroom460It’s time, finally, for my long-delayed 2015 predictions. Things just kept changing so fast I had to keep re-writing, but have finally stopped. 2015 will definitely be the Year of Monetization, by which I mean it’s the year when the bottom line and showing profits will become a key motivator in almost every market. And while profit — like beer — is generally good, it isn’t always good for everyone. So here are my 10 predictions in no particular order.

Prediction #1 — Everyone gets the crap scared out of them by data security problems. In many ways this was set up by 2014, a year when, between Edward Snowden and Target, […]

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 […]