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Intel From Behind the Curtain 109

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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  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by conJunk ( 779958 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:34AM (#11688379)
    everyone and his brother's probably read this by now, but How to Deconstruct Almost Anything [] by Chip Morningstar is about the funniest techie answer to the field. (the *only* techie answer?)

    however, when the jokes (and they are good!) are done, he goes on to offer a helpful reading list for the interested
  • 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"
  • 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.
  • by JPelorat ( 5320 ) * on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:43AM (#11688958)
    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.
  • Re:"Customer Focus" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:21PM (#11689323) Homepage Journal
    Well, yes, sort of. What customers need, in your, example, are clean floors. They don't necessarily need a robot to sweep them. Connecting the need for clean floors to your company's strength in robotics is an act of leadership, the need for which I think you are pointing out here.

    However, its not always simple. Suppose you had an industrial robot company. Your guys have spent years successfully meeting the needs of industrial customers by making robots that are easy to integrate into different kinds of manufacturing situations, are modular, serviceable, and flexibly programmable.

    Now you decide to make a Roomba competitor. The needs are different from what you are used to. The robot will be used for one purpose. It will not be user serviceable or maybe not serviceable at all, if it can be made cheap enough. It will perform one task only so it doesn't need to be programmable at all, except to perhaps handle several different precanned vacuuming routines.

    Furthermore, the device will have requirements that are entirely new to you. It has to be very small. It has to be economical with power. It has to be mobile, and do things like maneuver around and fit under chairs. Above all, it has to be cute, maybe even have something that could be perceived as a personality.

    I think, in a way, that this is actually fairly easy. You have so many new requirements, that your guys (and gals) have to start with a blank sheet. There's a certain appeal, like having a new field of snow to tramp around in.

    What I think is hardest is when what you are doing is more or less right, but you have to track rapidly evolving customer needs. The necessary self-destructive work of tinkering with past successes is bound to be the hardest. So you've got a team that's focused on delivering raw computing power for ages and ages, but maybe power consumption is going to be an issue in the next generation of processors, or maybe the kinds of applications they run can't use the power the way they're planning on delivering it. I dunno, I'm not a CPU designer or design bigot, but I assume there are problems of this nature.

    I do know geeks. If they have an idea they really like, it's going to be hard to get them off of it just because it may not be exactly what the customer is asking for.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:39PM (#11689538)
    MS isn't a PDA or tablet company but they invented PocketPCs and TabletPCs.

    Intel can become cool by creating cool reference designs for their chips. Employees who say "we're just a chip company" are really too blind.

    BTX ain't it!
  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:05PM (#11689821)
    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.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser