Thursday, March 03, 2005

The H in HP is not Hungarian

Technology Review is a wonderful magazine produced at MIT which includes a lot of timely and interesting articles on a raft of technology based subjects. In the electronic edition of TR there was a post today by a former HP engineer who was an emigre from Hungary. He describes in great detail how poorly Carly Fiorina understood how a technology company advances. The engineer described HP as a place that examplified "a spirit of adventure and a belief in unlimited possibilities." But with the ascension of Carly that spirit was sapped. He suggests that the new management team was scared of nervous investors - indeed that was probably true - but as one who invested in HP - I was nervous because the new management team had little or no understanding of the things that made HP a great company.

Interestingly enough I was with the president of the University of California on Tuesday evening and he (who spent most of his career at Bell Labs) lamented the demise of that outfit. In both cases the researchers were allowed to do what if problems rather than solving for the mundane. I wonder what our long term prospects for continued advances are if we do not adequately appreciate the people who can ask - what if.

The address for the article titled Carly's Way is - but if you have any interest in technology issues you should subscribe to the magazine.

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