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Intel

Intel From Behind the Curtain 109

Posted by Zonk
from the candid-talk dept.
Good Morning Silicon Valley writes "So now that we've reached this postmodern understanding that all official corporate communication is, if not a charade, part of a ritualized dance where meaning must be divined between the lines, where do you turn to hear an executive talk straight? Why, to his or her blog, of course. Even more candid than the still-rare public executive blog is one meant just for internal consumption, and that's what makes Intel President Paul Otellini's postings such interesting reading. The Mercury News snagged a copy of Otellini's 8-week-old blog and found it full of frank interaction with employees on strategic initiatives and the competition."
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Intel From Behind the Curtain

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  • About AMD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cflorio (604840)
    "``While I hate losing share, the reality is that our competitor has a very strong product offering,'' Otellini wrote in a Jan. 10 entry."

    Do ya think?

  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cyberfunk2 (656339) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:10AM (#11688110)
    Many employees get fired for this sort of candid thing...

    I suppose seeing as he's the president that that would be sorta difficult.

    Does anyone see the board coming down on him?
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mikael (484) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:37AM (#11688402)
      Personally, I'd prefer to see a company director admit that the true state of affairs, and propose action to remedy the situation, rather than remain in a state of denial, only to be forcibly evicted six months later.
    • The difference is his blog is for internal use only. Besides, he doesn't really criticize the company, just give an idea of what he actually thinks about its position and such.

      The blog also provides a forum where Intel employees can respond and stay within the intranet.
  • by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:10AM (#11688112) Journal
    Paul's Blog is a private communication for Intel internal use only. Please do not forward or distribute outside the company.

    Obviously, someone doesn't read their company memos.

  • "Straight Talk"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by InfallibleLies (654694) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:11AM (#11688123)
    It reads like something customers are supposed to see, talking about "customer focus" and other such nonsense. He even mentions on the blog that he expected it to go public, so how exactly is this "Straight Talk From Executives"?
    • Re:"Straight Talk"? (Score:1, Informative)

      by cybersaga (451046)
      so how exactly is this "Straight Talk From Executives"?

      Well, how many executives do you see admitting that their competitor has a "strong product offering"?
    • by Tim C (15259) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:31AM (#11688338)
      It reads like something customers are supposed to see, talking about "customer focus" and other such nonsense.

      That's pretty common - we had a number of speeches and other internal communications where I work a year or two ago about how we had to become "more customer focussed", amongst other things. None of them were expected to be seen publicly; executives really do just talk and think that way.

      Look at it this way - no executive or manager is going to tell their staff to care *less* about customers, are they?
      • Look at it this way - no executive or manager is going to tell their staff to care *less* about customers, are they?

        No, not in any documents that may become public, anyway. The whole thing just seems Dilbert-esque--Synergize! We need to maintain a focus based on multinational analyzation in the form of interceptable efficiency, people!

        Just more pretending to be customer-service driven because being customer-service driven makes more money.

      • by misleb (129952)
        Look at it this way - no executive or manager is going to tell their staff to care *less* about customers, are they?

        No, but they could at least try to come up with something meaningful to say. Nobody but a manager really knows what becoming "more customer focused" really means. What a mmanager might say is something like "stop making silly, mocking faces while talking to customers on the phone and don't assume they are morons." But then again, maybe scolding employees isn't the best motivating force.

        -

      • Look at it this way - no executive or manager is going to tell their staff to care *less* about customers, are they?

        Someone at the movie/record companies came up with the bright idea to sue their customer base. How's that for bad PR? It ruins their company's image in the eyes of the consumers.

        I know that downloading the songs/movies isn't legal, but running such a highly visible crackdown campaign doesn't exactly make your company look like a caring company. In fact, crap such as this reinforces the "Big
    • "Customer Focus" (Score:5, Informative)

      by hey! (33014) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:38AM (#11688414) Homepage Journal
      Well, "customer focus" is not nonsense. It's a critical concern for a technology company.

      Imagine a tech company staffed by brilliant geeks who are working their asses off to solve customers' problems. It would be wonderful, except the nature of brilliant geeks is not to solve other peoples' problems, but to work on things that interest them.

      There's only so many ways to remind folks that, yes, indeed their salaries are being paid by customers who expect their needs to be met, before you start to repeat yourself and are perceived as spouting more of the bzzt-bzzt-bzzt of corporate speak. Reminding the staff that their are competitors with good products waiting to take the customer away is something every corporate leader has to do, becausing thinking about competitors is not something geeks like to do.

      I know the first thing I think of in the morning isn't how I can stick my thumb in the competition's eye. OK, the first thing I think of in the morning is whether there is any coffee left in the coffee room, but the fact is under normal circumstances, it would never cross my mind to think about the state of the business. I want other people to worry about that for me.

      Of course, you have take into account that Ottellini knew his blog would eventually get leaked, but that doesn't mean it was primarily meant for leaking. I think it was more or less meant for internal consumption, accepting that leaks are going to happen and are probably OK. Anybody who knows who Paul Ottellini is probably knows that AMD has a strong product already.
      • Customer focus isn't nonsense, it's the overuse of the term that is.
        • Well, I see the problem differently.

          The problem isn't the overuse of term. The problem is that nobody has a sure fire formula for creating "customer focus", so in the absence of this they do what they can, which is to talk themselves blue in the face.
      • I talk to the damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills damnit!
      • > Imagine a tech company staffed by brilliant geeks who are working their asses off to solve customers' problems.

        Don't have too. Always have.

        > It would be wonderful, except the nature of brilliant geeks is not to solve other peoples' problems, but to work on things that interest them.

        BZZZT! Thanks for playing. In my experience the problem comes down to the mgt. insisting on the band-aid approach and nothing but the band-aid approach. I've seen many a 'quick fix' go in ending up being a permenan
        • by hey! (33014)
          Well, I've been on both sides of the equation. The problem is that as organizations scale, you begin to get specialization. This specializaiton has permicious side effects.

          Really this shouldn't be seen as management knows whats right vs. geeks know what's right. The issue is that management needs more technology sophistication and geeks need more business sophistication.
    • Even if this goes through some level(s) of PR spin, I would think an Intel employee would be pleased to have this kind of internal dialog with their CEO. There's plenty of CEO's that only have dialog to their employees through annual reports, and there seems to be a health amount of dialog here (unless the whole thing is faked :-) )

      Of course, its no wonder that CEOs don't communicate in a written form, since there always one disgruntled person willing to forward clearly internal things to the outside wor
    • talking about "customer focus" and other such nonsense.

      Right on. I personally only try to do business with companies which are customer HOSTILE.

      My God, get off it. "Customer focus" is a real, important concept. Would you prefer more companies which are self-focused?

  • It's scary. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:16AM (#11688179)
    The trouble with this kind of thing is that it is public and it is there forever. If you say the wrong thing it can cost you big time in court.

    A couple of cases come to mind:

    Just last night, a mistrial was declared in a murder case because one of the witnesses had put stuff on the internet that made her seem less credible. The stuff had been taken down a long time ago but the cache was still there. (The trial is the 'Jonathan' trial in Toronto.)

    Recently a bunch of brokers got nailed because the text messages they thought couldn't be intercepted were intercepted. The messages proved that they were plotting against their employer.

    If you want to have a frank discussion with your employees, you have to be very very careful. Treat it as though it will become public and will be there forever.
    • one of the witnesses had put stuff on the internet that made her seem less credible

      Not familiar with the case (or Canadian law, for that matter) - How does that count as a mistrial? "Waah, we had to actually do some work to find this really old drivel she posted on the internet a decade ago!"??? Sure, if the defense lawyers encouraged her to remove it and then deny it ever existing, I could see it as not quite kosher, but this sounds more like a precedent by which any case would mistrial, uncomfortable
    • If you want to have a frank discussion with your employees, you have to be very very careful. Treat it as though it will become public and will be there forever.

      You know, he pretty much says exactly that in his blog, and it's even quoted in the article...

      Paul writes:

      While this is intended as an internal blog, I recognize that it will become public-- welcome to the Internet! As a result, please recognize that I may be a bit limited in my comments and responses to protect Intel, and that we may exerci

  • it's always really just ALL about the monIE?

    all is not lost?

    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and look upwards, and seek my peace, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear them, and will forgive their blindness, and will heal their saddened hearts, and their land.

    don't forget? consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without ANY distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives) since/until forever. see you there?
  • by QMO (836285) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:17AM (#11688190) Homepage Journal
    My experience, from several industries, is that executive speeches (or blogs, or whatever) to employees, while different than those made for outside consumption, are not less carefully constructed to give a specific, not necessarily true, impression.

    Moreover, especially with the ever-increasing threat of lawsuits, people are more and more careful what they put in writing in any context at all, and companies have learned that digital words are more dangerous than words on paper.

    Now, if there were transcripts of a converstion between two executives that were good friends, and not rivals in any way, completely trusted each other, and were slightly drunk, they would be interesting transcripts.

    Most interesting would be words written where the guy thought that NO ONE else would EVER see them.
    • by jrm228 (677242)
      Based on my experience, from several industries, it's not necessarily censored. In a lot of companies, particularly those with strong core values, they hire/promote CEOs that believe in their company. Don't immediately write it off as marketing fluff. It could actually be what he, the exec team, and BOD believe.
      • If you favor people because of their beliefs that is another method of censorship.

        I apologize if my use of "censored" has confused anyone. Though the word has very strong connotations of depriving people of their agency, that is not its only appropriate use. Censorship is not always bad, and not always the same as untruth. I often censor myself, seldom regret it, and try to be as honest as I can.

        It seems you're suggesting that just because people watch what they say doesn't mean that their first concer
    • by mikael (484)
      Now, if there were transcripts of a converstion between two executives that were good friends, and not rivals in any way, completely trusted each other, and were slightly drunk, they would be interesting transcripts.

      That's why executives play golf.

  • Does it matter? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:18AM (#11688208) Journal
    Do you really think it matters that someone finally states what everyone knows?

    I do not understand why "honesty" is something noone really cares for. The "candid" things a CEO might say is usually something everyone always knew. If Bill Gates said that Linux is a threat that must be watched closely... well d'uh.

    For me the only real difference is the respect you gain by telling the truth. "Stupid Customers" that fall for those additional 5 GHz don't give a rats ass about such statements. Even if Linux was whooping MS's ass they would rather go petting a hedgehog than change what they have gotten used to.

    But the respect you gain for someone that just tells the whole world the facts is worth a lot in my eyes. Because that will gain you attention from the people who will be advising their CEOs on whether that companies product will work reliably(!) and whether the support can be expected to be acceptable.

    But that's just my opinion of course.
    • In a world full of damn liars, a leader who displayed such honesty in ALL their dealings would have my complete, murderous loyalty.

      • That sounds great but are you taking into account that this leader might just as well strip away a few rights from you?

        Honesty is great, but I'm not too sure whether it would work out in politics. Certainly, a lot of things could be gained by stating certain facts but in a political environment you meet a lot of different opinions. What would you do to change things that you yourself would consider as an enhancement of the current situation but most other people wouldn't?

        A great leader also must be a d
    • if you know what you're doing you can pet a hedgehog, its rather cute really, until you sneeze and get a face full of needles :(
  • Says Paul about the new Intel Entertainment PCs: More importantly, the content protection mechanisms that we are now capable of delivering allow this industry to deliver premium content over the internet in a format that is safer (relative to piracy) than DVD's. This is nothing short of revolutionary for this industry. For those of you who have read the Innovator's Dilemma, this is a classic disruptive technology that will create new business opportunities. In talking to one of the Hollywood types, he told
    • In talking to one of the Hollywood types, he told me that "Intel has struck exactly the perfect balance between fear and greed."

      Just to be clear the "fear and greed" is on the part of the Hollywood exec's not Intel.

      Why will the leak kill the market? Sorry, I'm still waking up and things don't make sense yet. :-)
  • by idlake (850372) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:23AM (#11688257)
    So now that we've reached this postmodern understanding that all official corporate communication is, if not a charade, part of a ritualized dance where meaning must be divined between the lines,

    In Soviet Russia, people reached that understanding decades ago for all official corporations. Obviously, they were far ahead of their time. Of course, the poor suckers didn't have much of a choice than to figure it out--their lives depended on it every day; for us, most of the time, the consequence of figuring out corporate messages just comes down to whether we buy Coke or Pepsi.

    Seriously, this is no coincidence: modern political propaganda was invented during WWI in the US by people like Bernays. After WWI, the now out-of-work folks started writing books and selling their services to the private sector. Their "Torches of Freedom" campaign made smoking instantly acceptable for women (even though Bernays himself already believed that smoking was bad and forbade his daughter to smoke). Goebbels picked up Bernays's methods for the Nazis (from Bernay's published works), and I suspect the communist movement used it as well. After that, this has been pretty much the standard way for any large organization to communicate with rest of us--it is standard textbook stuff.
  • ...where do you turn to hear an executive talk straight?

    Try one of these. [crystalinks.com] Or these. [amazon.com]

  • He's calling their internet delivery of movies a "classic disruptive technology"?

    Good god, THAT bit's already here. Intel's New World Order DRM is just a last ditch attempt to hold back the tide.
  • by Tim C (15259) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:26AM (#11688303)
    My company recently posted its third quarter earnings statement. Internally, the CEO was upbeat, singing the praises of the results, but with the by now mandatory "but we've still got a lot of work to do, don't get complacent" bit at the end.

    The City got a rather different speech - verging on apologising for the poor results, it was very much lower-key.

    Which is more accurate? Well, I'm no accountant or investor, but the results didn't look that great to me. The point is that just because something's said internally doesn't make it true, *especially* when it's communicated to the employees in general.
    • Yep, I'll second that. We made our stretch goal this year, that's close to 30% more than the regular projected growth goal, we got the big speech about doing great, sales were huge, ticking right along, etc.

      And then two weeks later they laid off seven people. Because sales weren't meeting the projected quotas any more. WTF. We always have a downturn about this time of year, but now that we're corporate, that's unacceptable. Feh.
  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:32AM (#11688353)
    It bothers me that this blog was "snagged" and made public. The whole benefit of having an internal weblog is to be frank and keep communication open. This is so much better than occasional and cold company emails or memos. Kudos to Mr. Otellini for trying this. Except now all his frank communication has been snagged and made public, and I don't see much of a reason for other executives to follow his example, lest their own comments get posted on Slashdot.
  • It's a PR ploy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by barrkel (806779) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:40AM (#11688428) Homepage
    From the blog itself, the first entry (at the end of the PDF, it's in reverse chronological order):

    While this is intended as an internal blog, I recognize that it will become public--welcome to the Internet! As a result, please recognize that I may be a bit limited in my comments and responses to protect Intel, and that we may exercise some editorial privilege on your comments for the same reason. I want to be clear on this up front. This is the price of entry to this blog.

    Mercury News is putting quite a spin on this "internal" stuff.
  • by NetMagi (547135) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:43AM (#11688460)
    from the pdf:

    "Kudos to the PR exec who thought up this forum"
  • Nice double speak. (Score:5, Informative)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:49AM (#11688519) Homepage Journal
    "This year, Itanium will out ship every RISC processor except Power or Sparc."
    This is not a true statement. I would bet the AVR and Xscale both out sell the Itanium. He might have meant that the Itanium was out selling all other server class RISC processors except Power and Sparc. But the question then becomes what other server class RISC processors are there besides Power and Sparc? Mips is dead in the server space. Alpha being killed. PA-RISC is at the end of it's life. Sounds like the Itanium is a distant third place. Too bad AMD did not pick up the Alpha line. Maybe they could have pushed Intel down to number 4 on the list. Probably for the best it might have distracted them more than it would have helped.
  • by Mr. No Skills (591753) <lskywalker @ h o tmail.com> on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:02AM (#11688633) Journal
    It's kind of funny to see all the employee comments about wanting to make "cool" products like iPods and Macs. I don't think chips will ever be a "cool" part of the consumer creations except for Slashdot readers. Intel just doesn't control that part of products, and the manufacturers on that side are only interested in churning out ATX compatible motherboards at low cost. For someone to start making "cool" products based on Intel chips, Intel is going to have to find someone willing to do some original motherboard design. Or convince Apple to based some products on their chips.
  • by Stanistani (808333) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:03AM (#11688645) Homepage Journal
    Having RTFA, I'm even mor impressed by the EMPLOYEE comments... they have a very clear view of what the currents in the market are like, and a lot of them cite Apple as having a strong 'cool' factor that they would like Intel to compete with, as well as addressing the reliability / complexity factor of a PC as a home appliance.
  • As the leader of the company, in public he needs to be wearing his "RAH RAH RAH!" hat at all times. No no, no threat to our business model here! Everything is sweet cream and strawberries!

    However, he knows the truth, and if he feels he needs to communicate that to someone, how does he do it?

    By switching hats of course. As a memo to employees, he is supposed to wear the "Stern but fair father" hat. No bullshit, just the facts.

    The real question here is: Who was he trying to communicate this to? Is he
  • Can we please stop having news about blogs. There is nothing interesting about blogs. More robots and dark energy please.

  • postmodern understanding

    Any article that contains the above words immediately tells me this was not written for the common man -- or geek -- to understand.

  • A lot of comments in the pdf were related to Apple's capture of the "cool" factor, and how Intel can get in on the action. It seems that everyone wants to find a way for their company to be as cool as Apple is right now. The problem is that you can't just suddenly become a cool company when you've been, at least from the average consumer's view, pretty dull for the last couple decades. I know that the R&D done at Intel is probably fascinating cutting-edge stuff, but there's a limit to how cool a CPU or
  • Customer Focused? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FatherOfONe (515801) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:35PM (#11689487)
    I am a bit confused. After reading the blog, he goes on and on about the EPC thing. He wants an Intel device that is a PC to be in the living room of everyones house. Has he talked to customers? Do people really want this? I understand that he wants this to be simple to use and immune to virues and like, but that makes his product impossible to create AND still be a "PC".

    I read the responses also, and one person hit it on the head. They site Apple as making cool products and Intel as making products that other people use to make "cool" products. Does Intel really want to get in to the same market as Apple? If so then are they going to write software for their products also? What about their OS? What OS are they going to use? Lots of questions and how they answer them depends on how much they piss off Microsoft and others.

    Heck I have an idea for Intel. How about making the best X86 and X86-64 for the money? I will give you the mobile market for now. Then look at where the bottleneck is the current systems (memory) and do something about it. RAMBUS was not the answer!!! Adding more and more cache is not the answer either. You have around 12 BILLION in R&D and you let AMD beat you in your core business?? If you couldn't force Dell and others to not ship AMD systems then you would probably be in a world of hurt, but how long can you continue your stranglehold (illegal monopoly practace)?

    Lastly I want to say again... You have BILLIONS in R&D. Come up with the best product.
  • Does this story deserves similar attention that the EFF vs Apple story deserves on internal corporate communications and trade secrets?

    Where did they get this blog material? From an internal source? While I like to dislike Intel as much as ex motorola chip fab employees this smacks of wrongful publication...

    I am glad I got the pdf though! w00t!

    But how do we know it's real?
  • From TFA: My kids will settle for Intel Inside PC or Laptop but they want an Apple computer. Beyond paying for product placements in movies, developing a better relationship between Intel and Hollywood is great way to make Intel the "Cool" computer company of the future.

    The irony is that such out-of-touch statements is the reason why companies that make them have products that are not considered "cool". Apple is cool because Apple is cool. Pepsi has tons of product placement, would anyone consider Pepsi

    • When all comnpanies are finally cool intel will be one of the last ones to have made it there.

      Why? They're not fun. I remember a day when I was sitting at a truly arcane 8086 intel development system to bring up the ROMS for an 8086 version of the companies 8085 based product. Other people were using macs. And having fun doing their work. I was suffering with segment registers. Not cool.

      Even IBM is slightly more cool than intel. I can't believe I'm saying this.

  • From TFA:

    Blogs are more interactive than Web sites because readers can post their responses for others to see and the bloggers post their own replies in a kind of running conversation.

    Kinda like that Usenet thingy that's dying, [slashdot.org] right?

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