Tag Archive: Intel


“A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.” – General George S. Patton

A happy problem, but still a dilemma, for organizations/movements/great leaders, who have just achieved long-sought landmark accomplishments, is: What will you do for an encore?

For championship college and professional sports teams the answer is relatively easy to state, harder to achieve: repeat. The Chicago Blackhawks are tasked with skating the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in seven seasons next spring. The Golden State Warriors are faced with the challenge of winning back-to-back NBA titles, something that has never occurred in the franchise’s mostly desultory history.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Gay-rights activists gathered outside of the Supreme Court on the morning when the Court handed down its decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Gay-rights activists gathered outside of the Supreme Court on the morning when the Court handed down its decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

For the same-sex marriage movement the June 26 Supreme Court ruling, legalizing the right of gay people to marry, was made by a razor-thin 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges decision. The impact nonetheless was 50-0 as every state is immediately and permanently required to permit the performing of same-sex unions, and to recognize their legality regardless of where or how (e.g., civil, religious) they occur.

The next question, which has already been posed by The New York Times and others, for the successful civil rights campaign, is what comes next? The answer will come in the form of celebrating a great political and society victory (e.g., Pride Parades). Eventually, the cheering will subside and the reality of everyday life and the challenge of American politics returns. Now what? Certainly, there is the continued necessity of protecting hard-earned rights and preventing discrimination, and that makes sense; still the question must be posed:

What comes next?

This is an easy question to pose, much more difficult to answer … and with it, the dilemma that has vexed organizations, movements and great characters throughout the course of history.

“One Small Step for Man; One Giant Leap for Mankind”

Let’s face it: NASA has not been the same since 1969.armstrongmoon

Neil Armstrong defied death, and made it to-and-from the moon with far less computing power than can be found in a modern-day smart phone. The first man on the moon had his ticker tape parade upon returning to Mother Earth. His place in the history books is cemented. Undoubtedly, his obits had already been written by the day the Grim Reaper came-a-calling in 2012.

In the face of competing budgetary demands and $18 trillion in record red ink and counting at $3.3 billion per day at the federal level, NASA has become just another agency with a huge public relations problem as it must justify its existence in the absence of any realistic plans to put humans on other planets anytime soon.

The current edition of National Geographic has a cover story about NASA, the New Horizons spacecraft, and hopefully the first ever photos of Pluto, expected on July 14. Checking out the last planet of the solar system is cool, but Armstrong walking on the moon was legendary.

Gone are the days of John F. Kennedy and the Cold War competition and the call to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Yes, we won that technology contest against the Soviet Union, and just 22 years after Armstrong walked on the moon, the USSR collapsed. Russia has hardly bothered us since then.

Not as momentous as the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on same-sex marriage or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon was an accomplishment dear to the heat of the author of Almost DailyBrett: The opening of the long closed Japan market to foreign designed-and-manufactured semiconductors, including those originating from Silicon Valley.siliconwafer

In my tenure as the director of communications for the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and later as the director of corporate public relations for LSI Logic, yours truly worked for three years on this contentious issue.

At one time, Japan was in its ascendancy having driven Intel Corporation out of the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) market, a technology Intel actually invented. The U.S. semiconductor industry was being ushered into oblivion in the 1980s by Japan Inc.’s “Business is War” practices, the same fate that fell upon America’s pioneering color-TV industry.

The SIA and its members worked with Washington D.C. to stop predatory pricing or dumping of Japanese chips below cost, and finally pried open the Japanese market in 1996. The opening of  Japan and the decades-long recession eased the Japanese competitive threat. The U.S. industry achieved a great victory, but then … you guessed it … the question ensued: What was next for the SIA and its members?

Just like NASA, the SIA has tried one gambit after another to recapture its sense of purpose. The problem is that without an overriding issue (e.g., man on the moon, opening the Japan market), organizations and even individuals (e.g., General Patton when World War II ended) in many cases are never the same again.pattonscott

The war has been won. The cheering has subsided. The reality of what have you done lately ensues. An organization’s, movement’s, leader’s raison d’etre is no longer certain. A new public relations challenge comes to the forefront with no easy answers.

Some organizations, movements and leaders have successfully met the challenge of victory, while others face internal dissension as they struggle to come up with an answer to precisely what they should do for Act II.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gay-marriage-and-other-major-rulings-at-the-supreme-court/2015/06/25/ef75a120-1b6d-11e5-bd7f-4611a60dd8e5_story.html?wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/us/gay-rights-leaders-push-for-federal-civil-rights-protections.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

http://www.biography.com/people/neil-armstrong-9188943

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/632929-for-over-a-thousand-years-roman-conquerors-returning-from-the

 

 

 

“Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.” – CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramercramerpigs

Which decision requires more mental gymnastics?

When to buy?

When to sell?

The author of Almost DailyBrett humbly opines that when to sell is the tougher call.

Why?

There are two kinds of remorse: ‘Darn it the stock kept going up after I sold’; and the worse one, ‘I could have sold when the stock was up, but I was a pig … and oh fiddlesticks, now I am selling when the stock is down.’

Yep, there are a lot of potential could-of, would-of, should-of when it comes to selling.

So what should you do in the view of this humble retail investor (read: Charles Schwab account)?

Don’t Fall in Love

“…Sometimes the most obvious question really is the question. In Enron’s case: How do you make money? – Bethany McLean, Fortune Magazine

Preparing to teach Corporate Public Relations/Investor Relations to Central Washington University seniors and a few juniors starting this coming Wednesday, yours truly will pose the same simple question that Fortune’s McLean posed to Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling: “How do you (Enron) make money?”

Communicators need to have elevator pitches at their ready when asked this very same straightforward question about their own employer. The same is true for investors: How does a company make money? If the answer is clear; you like the company; you understand the business strategy; you have done your homework including consulting with your financial advisor, then it may be time to purchase shares of the company stock.bullandbear

This particular company’s stock is now part of your diversified portfolio, which in turn represents a portion of your retirement savings, a child’s college education, that dream vacation etc.

All is good, but when does it make sense to sell?

Buy and hold is a sure loser. Why? At some point, stocks will stop growing. Your invested company certainly will change, and not necessarily for the better. Circumstances may shift and a wave of caca may hit a company or an industry.

Remember the Internet bubble two decades ago? It burst.

Remember the housing bubble a decade ago. It burst.

Don’t fall in love with your securities. Follow your instinct and your plan. When it is time to pull the trigger and unload the stock, then sell the shares.

Have a Plan

“I love the company. I hate the stock.” – Jim Cramer on Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)

Okay, it’s time to confess: I fell in love with the Elon Musk Ion-Lithium Battery/Electric Car story at Tesla. Yes, I bought the stock and road it up and down (pardon the pun) and eventually got tired of the downward roller coaster.muskcar

Before I weighed selling, I considered at what average price point did I buy the stock and how low would it have to go before I would sell the stock? It hit that point, and it was time to sell.

Maybe at some future time, it will be low enough to once again purchase the stock, but only when one is convinced the company has a realistic plan for long-term profitability.

The same is true when selling a stock that is going up. Social media stock LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) recorded a blow-out quarter and the stock exceeded my prearranged sell price point. As Joseph Kennedy reportedly said: “Never apologize when taking a profit.”

And we should never worry about paying taxes on our profits; profits are taxable.

The point here is to follow your game plan and sell when it’s time. That’s a good thing, really.

What are some other signs that it is time to sell a stock?

  • The Music Stopped: Once upon a time, Intel (e.g., microprocessors), Microsoft (e.g., software operating systems) and Cisco (e.g., Internet routers and switches) were literally rocking and rolling. We couldn’t get enough of these stocks until … the music stopped. The PC is yesterday’s news. The 1990s came and went. It became time to sell and move on.
  • Commoditization: Just like Intel’s microprocessors became a commodity to serve as the brains of social, mobile and cloud, the same is true for all other semiconductors and those that build semiconductor manufacturing equipment and electronic design automation (EDA) software. Intel’s rumored takeover of Altera, similar to Avago’s absorption of LSI Corporation, are more signs of industry consolidation. If you have not sold already, it’s past time.
  • High Volatility: Sometimes an investor can benefit from a highly volatile stock. A perfect example is Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM). Lost track of how many times, yours truly has bought, sold, bought, sold, bought … this stock. As long as the trend line is consistently up, it’s okay to let go of the shares now and then, only to become reacquainted at a later date.
  • New Management: Tim Cook is proving that there is life at Apple following the ultimate demise of Steve Jobs, but that is the exception not the rule. Companies change. Business plans shift. Circumstances change. Markets explode or implode. Almost DailyBrett has always followed the mantra that if the old boss or new boss is a bosshole, it’s time to pass on the stock or sell the stock. Translated: Stay away from Larry Ellison and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL)
  • No Balance Between Fiduciary and Corporate Social Responsibility: The best run publicly traded companies do NOT see “doing well” and “doing good” as being mutually exclusive. Publicly traded companies with their brands under a digital 21st. Century microscope must appreciate their respective brands are trading in the cloud 24/7/365. Worshipping exclusively at the altar of fiduciary responsibility will no longer cut it. If so, it’s time to sell.
  • Caca Happens: Planes land at the wrong airports (e.g., Southwest). Companies name shoes (e.g., Umbro) after the cyanide gas used in Nazi concentration camps. The CEO falls dead in the backseat of a car (e.g., Texas Instruments). Oil wells explode and gush on global video for three months (e.g., BP). Guano hits the fan. This is precisely the reason not to fall in love with any stock.

Sometimes, it is time to say goodbye.

Breaking up is hard to do.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10292084/1/bulls-bears-make-money-pigs-get-slaughtered.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/what-happens-when-the-music-stops/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/how-does-a-company-make-money-2/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/donate-to-united-way-or-invest-in-tesla/

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/cramers-stop-trading-tesla-motors-135400997.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

 

 

 

 

 

 

After nearly three decades in the political, association, corporate and agency trenches of professional public relations, and the last four years intensely studying an increasingly complex industry from academic settings, Almost DailyBrett is ready to take a stab at the 17 essential qualities of the consummate PR practitioner.

Please note the list is not meant to be exhaustive and undoubtedly some vital characteristics will be missing. If that is the case, please let this humble blog know your thoughts. For better or for worse, here are the Top 17 attributes of the super-star public relations professionals in alphabetical order:

1. Attuned to the World 

Even though it is impossible to capture everything that is happening on this quickly changing planet, the best PR professionals are well versed even in cases in which their knowledge is one-mile wide and one-inch deep. They don’t know everything; they are not afraid and their ego will allow them to simply state: “I don’t know.” Having said that, they are good at getting to the bottom of an issue quickly, and then presenting the answer in the best interest of their employer/client. 

atlas2.“Be Quick, But Don’t Hurry”

The famous John Wooden quote definitely applies to super PR practitioners. Sometimes it is best to buy time. You may suspect you have the right answer, but your instinct guides you to seek out more. This is especially true in crisis situations. A great PR pro is quick, but never hasty. She or he instinctively knows that a rushed answer or editing of a vital document may result in a wrong response. The best counsel may be to quietly recite: “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi,” before offering a response. That little extra time can make all the difference in the world. 

3. Communications Choreography 

Similar to a producer or director of a Broadway play, the 21st Century PR star knows how to ensure that all the dancers, actors, actresses are in the right place, the lines are perfectly delivered and the music is on key. In the case of public relations, the research has been completed; the messages are composed; the communications are ready to be delivered, and the follow-up evaluation is set to be undertaken. It is without a doubt: Message-Candidate-Campaign in that order.

4. Confident Presentation Skills 

Glossophobia (e.g., fear of public speaking) is not in the vocabulary of the effective public relations professional. She or he responds with a smile, while deep down inside sneering at reportedly the number one fear of most people, public speaking. The great pro doesn’t seek out the stage, but doesn’t shy away for it either. Once there, the message is confidently delivered and questions are coolly answered.

janis

5. Constructive Listening 

Two of the most effective public relations professionals the author of Almost DailyBrett ever had the privilege to meet, are two of the best when it comes to constructive listening: Janis MacKenzie of MacKenzie Communications in San Francisco, and Bruce Entin of Silicon Valley Communication Partners. For both of them, the issues and concerns of you the client or you the subordinate are the only topics on their minds, even though in reality there are always many competing demands for their mental bandwidth. The point is they made time for you. They care. They are ready to help.

Entin

6. Cool Under Pressure

Did someone mention the word, “cool?” We are not talking about being smooth. Instead, we are focusing on a skilled communicator that stays composed when others are losing their heads. Is the company stock down five points? Does a product need to be recalled? Is the CEO being terminated? At least the Bay Bridge is not in the water (remember being told, just that). The sun will come up in the morning. The birds will chirp. The bees will buzz. Life will go on. 

7. Doberman, Not A Cocker Spaniel 

A Cocker Spaniel PR practitioner is simply proficient in providing necessary information to the conventional and digital media. A Doberman PR pro is just as knowledgeable, but even more to the point is also an impassioned advocate and will fiercely guard and protect the reputation and brand of the client/employer. If getting into a fight with a reporter/editor/analyst is deemed necessary, then that is what the job requires. The cheap-shot stops here.

8. Expansive Vocabulary 

A winning public relations professional is a well-read/versed professional. This practitioner is skilled in the use of English, the lingua franca of international business. Knowledge of a second or third language is highly desirable in our digitally flattened global village. It is not just a matter of knowing the words and the meanings behind them, but the right words at the right time in the right settings.

9. Fiduciary Responsibility & CSR 

It has become de rigueur for a public relations professional to advocate corporate social responsibility (CSR) or “doing good.” The best PR practitioners balance CSR with fiduciary responsibility or “doing well.” Fiduciary Responsibility and CSR are not mutually exclusive. PR pros, who understand this undeniable truth, have a better chance of being invited to sit at the boardroom table.

10. Great Student/Lifelong Learner 

What is the next killer app? What is the next “destructive technology?” How is social, mobile and cloud driving technology? What is the next driving mantra in global communications (e.g., radical transparency)? How can we best show (e.g., infographics) as well as speak and write? These are all questions that are constantly pondered by the student, lifelong-learner, PR pro.

11. Honest, Ethical, Reliable 

The first two of PRSA’s core values are “responsible advocacy” and “honesty.” Public relations practitioners are not Switzerland. They are not neutral. They are advocates. Some contend that PR pros cannot be persuasive advocates, advancing a well-researched set of arguments, and maintaining the highest standards of integrity at the same time.

Au contraire!

12. Offensive Without Being Offensive 

Being able to passionately debate crucial points and not make it personal with those who differ is a vital skill, not in great supply. Can you be offensive without being offensive? The best PR pros know, the most important public relations are personal public relations, and that includes interactions with work colleagues and teammates.

13. Qualitative and Quantitative

In our increasingly complex digital world, we cannot escape numbers and statistics. As Chris Roush of the University of North Carolina wrote in his Show Me the Money, behind every number is a story. The superb PR pro, particularly those in corporate public relations and investor relations, can build relationships (qualitative skills) with those closely following publicly traded corporations (e.g., investors, analysts, employees, suppliers, distributors). They are just as adept in reading income statements, balance sheets, cash-flow statements and interpreting the psychology of global markets (quantitative skills).

hoar

14. Refined Sense of Humor

One of the legendary public relations professionals in Silicon Valley history (i.e., Apple, Fairchild, Miller/Shandwick Technologies) was also one of the funniest, the late Fred Hoar. As he was fond of telling anybody and everybody, “that’s Fred, spelled F-R-E-D.” Every year, he served as the master of ceremonies for the SIA (Semiconductor Industry Association) Forecast and Award Dinner, and brought down the house each time with his “hick and stick.” Yours truly was charged with determining whether Fred’s humor met the standards for mixed company in a business setting. Guess you win some and lose some. Regardless, Fred was a crack-up and delightful to know.

15. Superior Judgment

The best PR pros instinctively know the difference between being “bright” and being “smart.” They are not the same. The latter is much more valuable than the former. Sometimes rocket scientists are best being left on the launching pad or maybe just at their workstations. Some are good at stakeholder relationships; some are not. That is why smart PR pros, who can provide sage counsel to those of infinite wisdom, are the best and the brightest in our profession.

16. Tech Savvy 

The 21st Century public relations practitioner is digital, not analog. As Thomas Friedman wrote in The World is Flat, the planet has been made measures of magnitude smaller by the ones-and-zeroes of binary code. All brands and reputations are in 24/7/365 play as a result of instantaneous digital publishing. The Genie is not going back into the lantern. Forward-looking PR professionals embrace new technology communications tools, and are always looking to the horizon for the next destructive technology force. During the course of my career, no PR pro was better in studying engineering and technology than Howard High of Intel, now with life sciences company, Fluidigm Corporation.howardhigh

17. Thought Leader 

Not only do the best PR pros advocate thought leadership by clients, who have proved standing on critical issues of public interest, they also use digital (i.e., blogging, social media, infographics) and conventional tools (i.e., presentations, commentaries, contributed articles etc.). They are always learning and as a result, they have wisdom to share and sage counsel to provide … particularly as it applies to instantaneous world of communications.

Editor’s Note: As the former SIA director of Communications, Janis and her firm served as our PR counselor. Fred was everyone’s friend, and the “Valley” is not the same without him. Howard was the chair of the SIA Communications Committee and provided invaluable counsel as the industry was finally able to open the Japan market. Bruce was my first superior during my decade at LSI Logic. He was the best boss in my career, and now is an even better friend. Naturally these are not the only PR super-stars on the planet, but they are fine examples of the species.

http://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/ethics/codeenglish/#.VI4DuZU5BCo

http://www.mackenziesf.com/about/janis-mackenzie/

http://siliconvalleycom.com/Bruce_Entin.html

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Frederick-Hoar-Silicon-Valley-master-of-PR-2831416.php

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/howard-high/12/aa6/b06

If all goes well with the regulators and the lawyers, LSI Logic will slowly disappear over the horizon, going into the history books later this year, reduced to a Silicon Valley afterthought. abhi

Keep in mind, we are talking about two iterations of the company: First, the LSI Logic (NYSE: LSI) created by Wilf Corrigan 33 years ago; and second the present day LSI Corporation (NASDAQ: LSI), on the precipice of being ushered into oblivion after eight-short years under the management of Wilf’s successor, Abhi Talwalkar.

There was a misguided celebration by some in the financial community in 2005 when Wilf at 67-years young turned over the reins to Abhi. This was the same Wilf Corrigan, who grew LSI Logic from zero revenues in 1981 to $1.8 billion when he finally hung up the cleats. No one was complaining when LSI Logic’s stock reached a post-split price of $90. Then there was the bursting of the Internet Bubble and the stock fell back to $3.

This is the same Wilf Corrigan that founded the custom semiconductor business, known as ASICs or Application Specific Integrated Circuits. Sony reached out to LSI Logic when it needed a critical processor for the first two generations of the PlayStation. This is the same LSI Logic that pioneered the concept of System on a Chip. The company eventually reached $2.7 billion in revenues before the Bubble Burst. Wilf Corrigan, CEO of LSI Logic

When I was joined the company in 1995, I was awed by the sophistication of the company’s innovation, its library of complex intellectual property cores, and its all-star lineup of future technology C-level executives: John Daane (Altera); Brian Halla (National Semiconductor); Moshe Gavrielov (Xilinx); Jen-Hsun Huang (NVIDIA); Ronnie Vashishta (eASIC) and Bruce Entin (Silicon Valley Communication Partners). Bruce was not only the best boss in my career, but is an even better friend.

Enter Abhi in 2005. He took it from there until last December 16 when Avago Technologies announced its $6.6 billion cash acquisition of LSI. If Winston Churchill was still around to assess Abhi’s eight-year stewardship, he would be tempted to state: “Never in recorded history has so many waited so long for so little.”

Looking back at my 10 years as the director of Corporate Public Relations for at LSI Logic (proper spelling), I was honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work closely with Wilf Corrigan until shortly after he stepped down. I am proud of my tenure, but saddened by what could have been and the upcoming silent burial of LSI Logic.

Let’s face it: Many were downright scared of Wilf. He had the reputation for being a tough, no-nonsense businessman, a calling card he earned from his 1970s chairmanship of Fairchild. For some reason, I was not intimidated, but always respectful. I found Wilf to be extremely well read and not just in the business of technology, but politics, history and geography. Particularly on road trips, we talked for literally hours on these subjects.

An irony of Wilf’s career was Gould’s hostile takeover attempt of Fairchild circa 1979. It didn’t take long for Wilf to realize that Fairchild was in play. In the end, Wilf and the Fairchild Board of Directors found a White Knight in Schlumberger. In turn, Schlumberger drove Fairchild into the ground. The Schlumberger acquisition of Fairchild provided Wilf with the opportunity to create his own company, LSI Logic or Large Scale Integration Logic. And now his creation is being put out of its agony by Avago. Did the company have to end this way?

When it was time for Wilf to step down, LSI Logic HR head Jon Gibson unearthed Abhi from Intel. This was the same Intel that created legends by the names of Andy Grove, Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce and Craig Barrett. Would Abhi do the same for LSI Logic? lsi

Abhi guided the rebranding of LSI (dropping “Logic” from the name) and adopting the “flower” logo. Later LSI acquired Agere Systems for $4 billion, the technology equivalent of Mexico absorbing Guatemala. LSI’s present revenues are $2.5 billion. Why Agere? And for what purpose?

Until the announcement of the Avago acquisition, LSI’s stock remained mired for years at $8 or less. Being charitable, one can easily conclude the company underperformed. And now it will be absorbed into Avago, a company that once was HP’s semiconductor business.

An oft-heard complaint about Wall Street revolves around executive compensation, especially those who walk away with millions even when they underachieve. Abhi ($2.09 million annual salary, not including options) will inevitably get a huge package in recognition of his starring role in driving the company into the abyss. Undoubtedly, he will live a very comfortable life. LSIlogo

And LSI Logic…it will always be LSI Logic to me…deserved a better fate, a much better fate.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/avago-to-buy-lsi-for-6-6-billion/?_r=0

http://allthingsd.com/20131216/in-chip-deal-singapores-avago-to-acquire-lsi-for-6-6-billion/

http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/118176/is-the-lsi-acquisition-in-jeopardy

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/12/16/avago-lsi-acquisition/4038113/

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=LSI+Profile

“If you must use more than 10 slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business.” – Silicon Valley Author and Venture Capitalist Guy Kawasaki.

“The number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.” –  Moore’s Law.

kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule for PowerPoint presentations may not have the lasting power and global prominence of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore’s “Law” for the expected growth of semiconductor complexity.

Having acknowledged the obvious, Kawasaki’s rule does provide guidance for using presentation graphics to make a persuasive case to critical audiences.

Kawasaki recommends 10 slides; 20 minutes; 30-point font or above. There is a beauty in the simplicity of this rule.

One must wonder why so many rebel against this wisdom.

Sitting through more New York and San Francisco investor conference presentations than I care to remember in my Silicon Valley days, there was a War of the PowerPoints.

Companies were dueling each other with dazzling colors, impressive content and how many graphics could be jammed into a 30-minute time slot to extol their respective technology bits, bytes, bells and whistles. In short order, these presentations started to resemble real estate tours with each one-story ranch-style house with vaulted ceilings looking the same as every other one-story ranch-style house with vaulted ceilings.

Eventually these conference-sponsoring, sell-side companies rebelled (e.g., Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley)  against the so-called Death by PowerPoint. No more PowerPoints …replacing them with FDR-style ”Fire Side Chats.”

Instead of curing the problem, the sell-side folks killed the patient. There were no more projected-onto-the-screen facts and figures for the audience to chew on. Instead there was an overpaid analyst quizzing a grossly overcompensated CFO about a myriad of gross margin, operating margin, cap-ex, R&D, SG&A numbers and percentages without any visual aid for the struggling audience.

Was that 15 percent growth or 50 percent growth?

No bueno.

Reflecting back on my trips to Tokyo with the Semiconductor Industry Association and LSI Logic, I was fascinated by how much detail our Japanese colleagues in particular could pack onto each PowerPoint slide.

Some of these slides reminded me about the bewildering grid of the Tokyo subway system regardless of whether it was in Kanji or English. Both, the PowerPoint slide and the Tokyo subway grid, resembled a plate of spaghetti with meat balls, tomato sauce and parmesan to make the picture even more complicated.

tokyosubway

There was a message in these PowerPoints begging to be released, but it was trapped in the barbed wire of complexity.

Fast forwarding to our present information overload society, PR/Marketing/IR pros are even more challenged than ever to break through the competing noise and deliver messages that resonate with low-attention span, easily bored and constantly distracted target audiences.

Is Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule perfect for all situations? Almost DailyBrett will let the reader make that determination.

There is no doubt this rule is far better than what is informally called, PR Agency Disease. What is this contagious malady, and how should avoid this addictive carcinogen?

Let’s say an agency is competing against seven others in responding to a huge multi-billion corporate client’s RFP (Request for Proposal) “cattle call.” The client has generously allotted 80 minutes for an agency presentation.

The agency responds with six speakers … no let’s make that eight speakers … and 60 PowerPoint slides … oops, we need 64 PowerPoint slides. Even someone with zero math acumen knows the number of presenters and the diarrhea of slides does not correspond with the time set aside for the presentation. One of the symptoms of PR Agency Disease is the insistence by the agency types to talk about themselves and not the potential client.

Approximately one week or more after this 64-slide (no typo) orgy with the potential client having virtually zero opportunity to ask questions, the competing agency finds out it was not selected. There is anguish. There are fingers pointed internally. Someone must be held responsible. Here’s the solution:

There were not enough PowerPoint slides. When in doubt: Add more slides to the presentation.

As a venture capitalist, Kawasaki, and his colleagues have sat through more PowerPoint (and conceivably Prezi) presentations than they would care to count. Obviously, some are better than others.

sleepingaudience1

Likewise students have endured PowerPoint-assisted lectures (including my musings), which brings to mind the research by University of Oklahoma Professor L.D. Fink. His findings indicate that approximately 15 minutes into a lecture, 10 percent of the audience is showing signs of inattention, and after 35 minutes everyone is inattentive. Fink concluded that as the length of a lecture increases, the proportion of material remembered by students’ decreases.

When one contemplates Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule, one pictures the ubiquitous service club luncheon. There is the pre-lunch grip-and-grin, followed by the rubber-chicken entrée covered by a mysterious sauce, the 20-minute presentation by the invited speaker, the obligatory Q&A and followed by Rotarians, Optimists, Lions, Tigers and Bears etc. glancing at their watches to get back to the office.

The general rule for PowerPoints is two minutes per-slide with some taking less than that time and some taking more.  This simplistic math translates into 10 slides for 20 minutes.

Keep in mind the poor folks in the back of the room have to be able to read the slide, and that’s where the 30-point font comes into play.

And if you can add a photo, pie or bar chart or caricature to graphic without complicating the message all the better.

moore

Here’s to hoping that Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule matches Moore’s Law in terms of longevity and influence. Maybe, there will even be a museum dedicated to the man who saved the world from Death by PowerPoint.

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html

http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/10-20-30-rule-guy-kawasaki-powerpoint/

http://www.guykawasaki.com/about/

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/history/museum-gordon-moore-law.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/no-more-plugging-chugging-and-forgetting/

http://finkconsutling.info/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_PowerPoint

 

 

 

ledzep

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run; There’s still time to change the road you’re on.” – Robert Plant, Jimmy Page

Even though I was serving as the chief spokesperson for the Governor of California, George Deukmejian, I was still nervous and a little excited about meeting Richard M. Ferry, one of the co-founders of the largest headhunting firm in the world, Korn/Ferry International.

As we met in 1989 in his Century City office, he asked me how long I had worked for the Duke up to that point. I replied: Eight years.

He inquired whether I was proud of my tenure with the governor.

His question struck me as curious. I replied in the affirmative.

He noted that while I saw my eight years as a source of pride, a future employer could very well see that period of time as “stagnation.”

“Stagnation”?

Guess the golden days of starting in the mail room and ending up in the corner suite 40 years later are gone, long gone.

And I was counting on receiving my gold watch, and fading into the sunset.

Later in my career, I established the Corporate Public Relations Department for LSI Logic Corporation.

Our founder, chairman and chief executive officer Wilf Corrigan was a serial wanderer. His management by walking around style included a daily stop to my Silicon Valley cube to talk about the news and what was happening with his company and his semiconductor industry.

Each day I prepared for his arrival, keeping notes about developments that warranted CEO attention. Originally, I thought that yours truly was not cut out for a corporate environment. I was wrong. I loved my days with LSI Logic, and especially working with Wilf…even though I did not report to him…I still worked for him.

After my 10 years on the job, Wilf (in concert with the Board of Directors) made the decision to retire from the job at 67-years young. A new Intel(ligent) CEO came in the door. He brought a slew of Intel(ligent) folks with him. I knew the writing was on the wall.

Shortly thereafter, I negotiated a get-out-of-town package and was out the door. The company stock was $8 and change when Wilf stepped down as chief executive. The Intel(ligent) team promised so much upon their storied arrival eight years ago. Today the stock opened at a robust $7.22 in the midst of a long-term bull market.

After accepting an executive position with Edelman Public Relations, I would periodically hear from my former colleagues still toiling at LSI Logic. They asked me for my humble opinion about what they should do. Being a man of few words (just kidding), I gave them a two-word reply: “Get out.”

And each time I received the response that the Intel(ligent) ones respected an LSIer for his or her 12 years with the company, 14 years with the company, 15 years with the company…Each of these LSIers was eventually laid off.

I couldn’t help but ponder the words of Richard Ferry about “stagnation.” You have to sense when a job or a situation has dramatically changed and has reached the point of no return. You can’t pretend that it hasn’t, when the circumstances have clearly shifted.

What’s that about not being able to go home again?

It is human nature to not embrace change. We know our routines. We are happy when we are in our comfort zones. Alles ist in Ordnung until the shift occurs.

When George Deukmejian decided to not run for a third term (even though he could legally take that step at the time), my life changed and thus my meeting with Richard Ferry.

When Wilf Corrigan stepped down at LSI Logic, I knew instinctively a chapter in my life was closing and I made a change.

When my wife, Robin, of 22 years died of cancer, my life changed whether I liked it or not.

And when I faced cancer and Valley Fever myself, I saw my own mortality pass before my own eyes twice. I knew that change is unavoidable and it must be managed.

And when change is in the offing, you can lament about it, feel sorry for yourself, or you can accept the shift and do something about it.

At the risk of publicly patting myself on the back, I choose to manage as opposed to having other Intel(ligent) people manage me. As Robert and Jimmy said in Stairway to Heaven there still is time to change the road you’re on.

For me, I sense another change. The Office of the Governor was a nice run. LSI Logic was a blast. Edelman was a great learning experience, The University of Oregon provided me with a new diploma, a foreign language certificate, a research award and substantial upper division public relations teaching experience.

So what will I do next? What chapters of my life will follow? Or will I be writing chapters of my own book?

I can hardly wait to find out.

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ledzeppelin/stairwaytoheaven.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korn/Ferry

Or is it Outsourcing to Insourcing?

Did I just buy a computer that was made in (gasp) Communist China?

Is this unpatriotic? Or is it patriotic?

Did Chairman Mao just turn over in his grave?

mao

These questions seem to suggest not only how much yours truly has changed, but how the world has shifted its attitudes and business practices in the past four decades.

One suspects that Henry Kissinger knew that his secret trip to China in 1971 had the potential to change the geopolitical balance of affairs, but the question is how much? And it is clear that Deng Xiaoping altered China for the better by coming to the obvious conclusion that Capitalism even with its well-documented flaws is still light years better than Cultural Revolutions and collective farms.

Having said that, it is Big Leap Forward from Kissinger’s sub-rosa journey and Deng’s landmark reforms to the significance of my purchase of a Lenovo Ideapad laptop for $600 (Best Buy) powered by an Intel Core i5 microprocessor (Santa Clara, CA) and controlled by Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system (Redmond, WA).

And now good ole boys and girls in Whitsett, North Carolina are hard at work producing more PCs, hybrid PCs/tablets (e.g, Lenovo Yoga) and servers for a company that was started in 1984 by a $25,000 state (Chinese Academy of Sciences) investment…the state that brought a chilling new meaning to the words, Tiananmen Square.

Yep, I bought a laptop from a company that was created by an investment made by Communist China and held its first meetings in a guard shack.

Back in days of the Evil Empire, I made my first trip overseas…and not to a place in which most post-college bachelors go for vacation: Russia. It was the 1981 Soviet Union of that fun-loving guy, Leonid Brezhnev.

Upon returning my maternal grandfather told me there were two places he never wanted to go to: One was hell; the other…you guessed it.

Just as if it was yesterday, I remember after a performance of the Bolshoi Ballet standing on the edge of Red Square with the onion-dome masterpiece, flood-lit St. Basil’s, on the opposite end…Ground Zero of the Cold War. Deep down inside I was hoping that this would be neither the time nor the place for a thermonuclear confrontation, particularly at that exact time.

Reflecting back on my visit to the country of 11 time zones, which is a must for any student of modern history and politics, I can see the average people packed like sardines into trolley cars, while the most equal-of-the-equals zipped on by in special lanes for their Zil limos. The USSR even took Diner’s Club, Carte Blanche along with Visa and American Express. When were the Reds coming back?

I didn’t like Communism before I made this trip. I liked it even less after my visit.

If you asked me at the time, if I would ever buy any product made by a communist country that treats its people as if they were sheep, the answer would be an emphatic, “nyet” or “het” in Cyrillic.

lenovoideapad

Serving as a director of corporate public relations for a Silicon Valley hardware innovator and later as a vice president for an international public relations agency, I wore out at least three IBM Think Pad laptops.

“What’s this blue screen?” I would ask one of our all-knowing IT managers. “Ah, did you back up your files?” I was asked. “What if I didn’t? I replied. Welcome to the “Blue Screen of Death.”

Little did I appreciate was that IBM (e.g., Itty Bitty Machines) was outsourcing a portion of its ThinkPad business to China’s Lenovo, and then Big Blue outright sold the its corporate PC business to Lenovo in 2005. I have been using a Chinese laptop for the better part of a decade, and last year I doubled downed on this bet.

Reading about Lenovo, I discovered that English is the $30 billion company’s official business language. It maintains two headquarters, one predictably in Beijing, and the other at IBM’s former PC hub in Morristown, NC. And just this year, Lenovo started manufacturing in the aforementioned Whitsett in the Tar heel State.

Let’s see…IBM outsourced a portion of its PC business to China, taking advantage of lower Chinese manufacturing costs and giving the company greater access to the world’s largest market. Eventually IBM (which invented the PC in 1981) sold the business to Lenovo. And now global market share leader Lenovo is outsourcing a portion of its PC business to the United States or insourcing the business in North Carolina, if you prefer that point of view.

Topping it off, China is becoming a more expensive place to manufacture with each passing day and the US is getting cheaper as demand for skilled Chinese labor is going up. The Pacific Ocean is just as big as ever and shipping costs are a major factor. Cost parity is expected in two years.  Lenovo is outsourcing PC production to the United States, bringing it closer to US customers and key suppliers including Intel and Microsoft.

Does this mean that buying a Chinese computer is patriotic? That seems like a stretch, particularly for a guy who saw the Evil Empire up close and personal.

If you agree that buying a Chinese computer is actually patriotic, then financing the nation’s $17.4 billion debt through China occasions playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

So why are we upset about outsourcing?

And what is the true meaning of outsourcing anyway?

Or is it actually insourcing?

Who the heck knows?

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21569572-after-decades-sending-work-across-world-companies-are-rethinking-their-offshoring

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21569398-how-did-lenovo-become-worlds-biggest-computer-company-guard-shack-global-giant

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/05/focus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenovo

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100651692

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deng_Xiaoping

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonid_Brezhnev

http://news.lenovo.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1635

Suppose an industry staged an annual forecast and awards dinner (e.g., SIA on November 29), and virtually no one gave a particle?

Considering that I worked directly for the Semiconductor Industry Association for two years, and later for a company run by one of its founders for a decade, it is difficult for me to say this, but I must: Semiconductors are now (and maybe forever) a taken-for-granted commodity.

sleepingaudience1

Would you like some salsa with your chips?

Yes, they power every digital and the remaining analog gadget under the sun just like ground beef, chicken or carnitas are essential for making tacos, burritos and enchiladas. Everyone knows this.

So what else is new?

The semiconductor industry is going to be flat this year at $300 billion. It seems like the industry is always at $300 billion. I wrote a speech in 1996 projecting a $300 billion industry in 2000 or 12 years ago for those of you scoring at home.

One company, Wal-Mart alone at $464 billion in revenues (and growing) is larger than the entire chip industry. This is not news.

Earlier this month, the stately Economist published a cover piece “The Survival of the biggest; The internet’s warring giants” about Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google with peripheral mention of Microsoft.

What happened to Intel, let alone AMD?  They didn’t even make the cutting-room floor.

What happened to the wonders of (Gordon) Moore’s Law (intellectual property content doubling on the same-sized piece of silicon real estate every 18-24 months)? Anyone want to hear that story for the umpthteen time?

What happened to the epic tales of the fight against the evil predatory-pricing, two-headed monster in the form of Japan’s “Business is War” government/industry?

All these stories are now contained in a coffee table book coming to a deep-discount rack near you.

The “Mass Intelligence” Economist references the great technology fights of yesteryear: IBM and Apple in the 1980s in PCs, and Microsoft and Netscape in the 1990s in web browsing. The U.K. popular “newspaper” displays a map, vaguely similar to England, Normandy, Bavaria, Prussia und Dänemark.

England is the “Empire of Microsofts.” Normandy is “Appleachia.” Bavaria is “Google Earth.” Prussia is “Fortress Facebook.”  Dänemark is “Amazonia.” There are small islands occupied by RIMM (Research in Motion) and Nokia, and a nest dedicated for microblogging, “Eyrie of Twitter.” The lowly chip is nowhere to be seen on this map or in the expansive article. Intel is not even afforded a shrinking iceberg.

Some may want to dismiss my musings contending that I am only focusing on one article in one magazine, albeit an incredibly influential publication. They will say the article can be seen as a mere anecdote. These critics could be correct. However, in this case I humbly opine the anecdote represents a trend. For the metaphor types: It is the sick canary inside the mine.

Certainly, there are 250,000 Americans employed in semiconductor innovation and (some) manufacturing. With all due respect to the engineering types in particular, they are mere role players. They are throwing the screens and opening up holes in the line for the superstars: Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Larry Page of Google.

The chip is essential, but so is the sun. They are everywhere. The sun is there. What is commanding attention are mobile platforms and the software that makes them do what they do. Algorithms über alles!

algorithms

Rarely did a day go by in the 1990s and the post-Bubble era when the San Jose Mercury, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times (not suggesting equivalency of influence) would write another gushing, fawning piece about “The Chip Giant,” Intel. No one could accuse the media of shorting the stock.

Today, Intel is trading at $20.52 with a market cap of $101 billion. Ten years ago on this date, the company’s stock traded at $17.58…sounds like a good stock to avoid. Even with all angst, Sturm und Drang about Facebook’s IPO FUBAR, the company still commands a $28.24 stock price and $60 billion in market capitalization. All things considered, this is not bad for a company publicly traded only since May 18 and which was founded in a Harvard dorm room less than one decade ago. If only Intel could grow this fast.

Don McLean in American Pie asked: If the music would ever play again? For the chip industry, the band could start playing if the industry starts growing again; if it comes up with a new way of making chips (e.g., nanotechnology); if it spearheads a new revolution. Incremental changes won’t cut it. And staying stuck in neutral at $300 billion will elicit the same yawns but only 10 years down the road.

Silicon Valley is called “Silicon Valley” for a particular reason that was germane decades ago. Let’s just hope no one seriously suggests changing the name to “Algorithm Valley.”

http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4374705/SIA-expects-flat-chip-sales-in-2012-

http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/WMT

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21567355-concern-about-clout-internet-giants-growing-antitrust-watchdogs-should-tread

http://www.economist.com/news/21567361-google-apple-facebook-and-amazon-are-each-others-throats-all-sorts-ways-another-game

http://www.sia-online.org/events/2012/11/29/public-event/35th-annual-sia-award-dinner/

http://www.lyrics007.com/Don%20McLean%20Lyrics/American%20Pie%20Lyrics.html

“In Alabama, you can’t be for both. You have to choose. It’s either Alabama or Auburn. And once you choose, you are branded for life.” – Unknown Auburn fan

“Personnel? That’s for assholes!” – Clint Eastwood as Inspector Harry Callahan

“I was in Personnel for 10 years.” – Bradford Dillman as Captain Jerome McKay

(Long pause)

“Yeah.” – Harry Callahan

eastwoodRecently, a fellow public relations graduate school classmate was excited about her prospects of landing a position with Intel Corporation.

The only problem was the job was in Human Resources (with all due respect to those in HR).

I couldn’t help but immediately think about Dirty Harry’s reaction about being reassigned to “Personnel” in the 1976 feature film, “The Enforcer.” This point is amplified by his one-syllable response to Captain McKay informing him about his 10-year tenure in what we now label: Human Resources or HR.

My serious concern for my academic colleague had absolutely nothing to do with the largest semiconductor company in the world, Intel, but the position itself. Instinctively, I took into account that jobs are precious in this lethargic economy, even at a time in which we are celebrating the nation’s unemployment rate “declining” to 7.7 this past November as more-and-more job seekers give up the hunt.

In particular, I urged caution to her about inadvertently heading down the path to pigeonholing. She could record 10 years in human resources and suddenly come to the realization that she is permanently dropped into the lethal “HR” bucket. If she subsequently wanted to shift her career back to public relations, marketing, advertising etc. — what she actually studied as an undergraduate and in grad school — she may find the doors closed for her because she is now permanently branded as a “HR” professional, similar to “The Evil Director of Human Resources, ‘Catbert,’” in the Dilbert cartoons.

catbert

Another example is one of my students, who was saddened that he lost out for a retail management trainee job for Macy’s. This may have been a blessing in disguise unless he really wanted to spend his life in retail, which very well could have been the result if he was “successful” in attaining this particular job.

The point of this epistle is that we live in an increasingly demographic world and there is no going back. Think about how everyone is worshipping at the altar of Barack Obama political guru David Axelrod because his team correctly projected that 72 percent of the electorate would be composed of white voters…a number too low to elect Mitt Romney.

The exercise was to identify single women, African Americans, Hispanics and young voters and target the GOTV campaign (Get Out The Vote) to these demographic groups in their respective buckets. Some of this segmentation is obvious: Males and females; married or single: young or old. And someone is always dividing and subdividing each subgroup into tiny slivers to determine buying and behavior patterns for political or monetary gain.

From the Census to Facebook, we are compulsively segmenting people whether we like it or not (e.g., privacy advocates). From the Spartans to the Athenians, the Hatfields to the McCoys, the North and the South, Red States and Blue States, Israelis and Palestinians, we have a long history of putting people into groups. In Alabama, it is the red and white of the Crimson Tide or the blue, orange and white of the Auburn Tigers. There is no straddling the fence in ‘Bama.

To many Sean Connery will always be James Bond. Simon Cowell will be the absolutely brutal talent judge on American Idol. Simon Bond will always be the guy who wrote, 101 Uses for a Dead Cat. Reportedly, his subsequent books on any other subject were not accepted…he was always the “Dead Cat Guy.”

So does someone specifically trained in the verbal, written, digital media and communications choreography skills of public relations want to wake up one day and ask: ‘How did I become saddled in Human Resources?’ I am fearful that the lousy economy of today may result in some very painful and for the most part irreversible results a decade or more from now.

Should a graduate turn down a “position” in this crummy economy to avoid the dreaded pigeonhole? Or should that same graduate take a “job” to keep food on the table and gas in the tank, while continuing to search for the position that fits her or his career? This is a difficult predicament. And in many ways, it is an easy answer.

Choosing between Auburn and Alabama is tougher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeonholing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGCMyF-sA58

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101_Uses_for_a_Dead_Cat

http://search.dilbert.com/comic/Evil%20Catbert

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/business/economy/us-creates-146000-new-jobs-as-unemployment-rate-falls-to-7-7.html?_r=0

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