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An Engineer's View of Carly Fiorina's Leadership

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the yikes dept.

HP 627

prostoalex writes "There is a pretty damning look at Carly Fiorina's leadership while at HP on TechnologyReview.com. The author was working for HP Labs, the center of invention and innovation for the company, only to be told that nothing exciting will happen in the tech market since it's a mature industry. He left the company in 2003. "The lab was never packed with genius marketers. Carly told us we had no business sense, and that every project needed to make a profit within three years or less. She usually said that right before the research budget got slashed again and more lab employees were laid off."" Update: 03/19 03:13 GMT by Z : As detailed on the TechnologyReview page, they have retracted the story on the grounds that they can no longer vouch for it.

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627 comments

Does this suprise anyone? (4, Insightful)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855175)

Honestly, does this kind of leadership at HP suprise anyone? With the constant garbage they produce and botch-up dealings they make this just explains matters. Alpha anyone?

Remember Palmer? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855255)

The rot started long before Carly with Robert Palmer's "leadership" of Digital. Having come from the semiconductor side of the house, it was amazing what he failed to do with Alpha.

Not to mention the unholy tieup with Microsoft - anyone else remember the corporate switch from VAXmail/All-In-One to Exchange on his watch? On the world's largest private network, I am sure that helped Microsoft up the corporate ladder...

Re:Remember Palmer? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855464)

The rot started long before Carly with Robert Palmer's "leadership" of Digital.

It was all downhill after "Addicted to Love".

Re:Does this suprise anyone? (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855290)

Alpha anyone?

Alpha? Jeez, what about buying Compaq? Killing Alpha was just part of that whole unbelievable financial screw up. What about when HP cancelled their calculator line? What about getting out of and back into the storage business? What about not paying enough attention to digital imaging when it was exploding? They've got some good consumer level print stuff now, but they are still missing the pro level stuff. What about not capitalizing on HP IP? Jeez, they are buying everybody elses cameras and iPod clones and such. What happened to all of HP's technology?

Re:Does this suprise anyone? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855548)

HP does not innovate. Their slogan is probably the most misfitting. Anyways, the CEO got something like a $10 million compensation package before she exited. The company is nearly identical from the day she started to the day she left. Yeah maybe they OEMed the iPod woooo....

Nope - screw the "new" HP! (4, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855322)

The last things I can remember HP doing right were their laser printers with single digit numbers. (EG. Laserjet II, III, 4 series, and even the 6P - which is a teriffic "small office workgroup" type printer.) The old scanners with single digit numbers were equally well-made and respectable (ScanJet 4 and so on).

But somewhere around the time they decided these products needed numbers in the thousands, quality took a nosedive and then came the parade of garbage "consumer desktop PCs".

Nowdays, I rarely recommend anything with the HP logo on it. Their inkjets have the most outdated print-nozzle technology out there for photo printing. There's still nothing noteworthy about their Pavillion PC line, and even their laptops seem like they're generally the size of bricks. (Those HP laptops with 17" displays are just HUGE compared to something like an Apple Powerbook 17".)

Re:Nope - screw the "new" HP! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855574)

I have an HP Pavillion with dual optical drives. The case has a stupid set of plastic door covers over the optical doors to maintain the Pavillion look.

Of course, then when the doors close, the tolerances are too tight, and the doors jam-lock against each other so neither one can open. Way to go, Carly.

And this HP, when we bought it, came PRE-LOADED with spyware. We hooked it onto the network and it immediately began downloading WildTangent games and other useless crap against our wishes. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Carly.

Re:Nope - screw the "new" HP! (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855591)

The last things I can remember HP doing right were their laser printers with single digit numbers. (

Yep, I was an admin at a university long ago. We had printers in the 500k page count range that still worked perfectly (of course they were properly maintained).

Re:Does this suprise anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855429)

> Alpha anyone?

Alpha was doomed long before Carly had anything to do with it. With or without her, it was dead.

Fastest Chip? First To 64-bit? Still came in 4th place in sales. Nobody cared except for scientific types and VAX heads.

Re:Does this suprise anyone? (3, Insightful)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855489)

The idea of the massive scalability of the processors is what made them the fucking bomb, if they had been properly developed under HP's ownership 64 of these suckers would have been very impressive indeed.

Unfortunately, HP just spent money on buying something to let it die, like everything about Compaq and VAX, for as you can see Tru64 is doing really well with HP's massive backing.

I wasn't referring to the stupidity of letting a good architecture wither, I was talking about buying it to let it wither.

Re:Does this suprise anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855576)

I think it's more the case that Compaq bought DEC and let everything whither, and by the time it got to HP it already dried up and blown away.

Look at it from the big picture -- there was going to be massive consolidation in the RISC/UNIX space one way or another. The execs at DEC, Compaq, and HP had that figured out 10 years ago.

Re:Does this suprise anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855626)

I used to work with clusters at HP, about the time they started messing with Itanic and dumping Alpha. Most of the developers (and even many customers!) seemed to prefer Alpha. Every year the head of our group visited us, one time he was asked why we were ignoring Opteron. Apparently they had some deal with Intel to get Itanics cheap and basically didn't seem to want to know about Opteron despite the obvious benefits. It seemed like they had an excellent product with the Alpha EV-7, and they could have at least started working with Operton. Since I left I've noticed the number of HP entries in the top 20 of the top500 list more than halve! I don't know if they have yet seen the light of Opteron or if they are still struggling with Itanic.

Being a slashdotter... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855183)

I'd love to smack that hot face with my hard cock a couple times... anybody else here agree with me?

Re:Being a slashdotter... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855298)

actually, i would rather do it with a crowbar. Each to his own, I guess.

And she want's to run the World Bank!? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855200)

"nothing exciting will happen in the tech market since it's a mature industry"

So is that it with the planet then? "I'm sorry, the planet is mature, nothing more will happen, history has ended. Please make your way in an orderly fashion to the exits..."

What a boring woman!

Why supprised (-1, Flamebait)

zenst (558964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855204)

Managment are in there nature dumb. They come along change everything that predecesors did, and then outline new 5 year plan. Coz by the time the new plans start showing how crap and wasteful they are the managment have either left or taken a golden handshake, they get there money nomatter what mess they make and in 5 years, more than enough to retire on. If they do well then they either stay another 5 years until they mess up or move onto new pasture's generaly given they can bag a bigger bonus and begin a new 5 year plan of destruction. Basicly managment are like accountantsm, they dont care how you waste your money but unless you waste it on time youer not getting any more, sod saving budgets and planning beyond 5 year goals. or in Caleys case she set herself up for 3 year fall with 3 year plans, cunning but shortsighted, perfect managment.

Re:Why supprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855310)

Managment are in there nature dumb [..] by the time the new plans start showing how crap and wasteful they are the managment have either left or taken a golden handshake, they get there money nomatter what mess they make and in 5 years, more than enough to retire on. If they do well then they either stay another 5 years until they mess up or move onto new pasture's generaly given they can bag a bigger bonus and begin a new 5 year plan of destruction [..] sod saving budgets and planning beyond 5 year goals. or in Caleys case she set herself up for 3 year fall with 3 year plans, cunning but shortsighted, perfect managment.

Doesn't sound very dumb to me then. The only dumb thing would be to still be in place when the shit hits the fan.

Self-centered, greedy, amoral, philistine- yes. Dumb- no.

Re:Why supprised (2, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855311)

I'm as cynical as the next guy (and then some), but I think your statement lacks consideration. Management isn't dumb by nature; there are a lot of factors that go into making a dumb manager. The Peter Principle, the MBA shortcut, or "connections." Sometimes, though, management consists of brilliant people that not only offer great people and asset management skills, but everything else that goes into a really successful product, service, company, etc.

Google, Pixar, and Apple - are these companies that succeed despite dumb management?

Re:Why supprised (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855597)

Managment are in there nature dumb.
No, most managers are very intelligent. Sometimes too intelligent, making them arrogant and unwilling to admit when they are out of their element. This applies to both engineers and business people placed in leadership positions.
Companies fail with arrogant business leaders who believe they can market their way out of problems; as well as arrogant engineers, who believe making a great product will just sell itself.
BTW, you should proof-read comments when you are calling people dumb.

Seems like this backfired... (3, Interesting)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855208)

In mid-2002, HP's labs became solely focused on finding ways for other businesses to save money.

Seems like this kind of backfired on HP's "We re-did NASA" marketing campaign, shortly before the Columbia crash.

I had no idea she was that disliked (5, Interesting)

jerkychew (80913) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855216)

Check out the sidebar [technologyreview.com] to that article, printed back in February. You know you're doing a bad job if your ex-employees open champagne upon hearing of your leaving. Wow.

Re:I had no idea she was that disliked (2, Insightful)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855398)

>You know you're doing a bad job if your
>ex-employees open champagne upon hearing
>of your leaving. Wow.

I'm sure the gigantic KA-CHING! of a cash register ringing up her severance package drowned out the cork popping. The first rule of bad management: If someone in the company hates you, they're a "disgruntled employee". I'd suspect Carly dearest subscribed to that notion with a vengeance.

At the time I was an EDS employee on an HP contract; I saw similar (though more subdued) celebration when EDS's Dick Brown left, with sincere hopes that Carly would be next. As is was, the contract left before she did. No matter, I still got a good laugh out of it when she finally took the door.

HP innovation doesn't quite cut the mustard... (1)

kraiken (530674) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855238)

I did a 12 month placement at HP labs in the UK (Bristol to be exact) from Aug 2002 - whilst in the process of merging with compaq and with management slashing the research budget. At least I was insulated a bit from the fray - and it was 'interesting times' but probably for all the wrong reasons. Suffice it to say the project I was doing was miss-managed despite being praised by the upper echelons of the labs. Nevermind, now I've graduated from UMIST (now Manchester Uni), with a BSc (Hons) 2:2 in Computation and I'm earning not much more than I was paid for my placement year. My job is with a small internet company near Manchester. I'm OK, I just wonder about the people still working at the labs around the world- and the rest of HP's staff, never mind the management.

One way or another (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855240)

all rich people sleep thier way to top ...

in fact usually, they just fuck everybody

evil incompetent assholes all of em

more D than R (5, Insightful)

Wansu (846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855242)


To me, this rabid fixation on short-term profits is a bigger threat than outsourcing -- it is killing our ability to make astonishing things.

This has been the case with many companies since the mid 80s. Their R & D is alot more D than R. Many of the most admired technology companies of the 60s, 70s and 80s are gone because they ate their seed corn.

The rabid fixation with short term profits is a problem cut from the same cloth as outsourcing.

Re:more D than R (1, Interesting)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855308)

yup, american companies gotta show a profit or the CEO will find his ass on the street, whereas the Japanese companies who stole alot of industries away from us are in it for the long term. Nno profit this quarter? Oh well, we'll make it up.

Re:more D than R (3, Insightful)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855363)

stole alot of industries away from us are in it for the long term

They didn't "steal" anything. It's a free market. If a Japanese produces a better product then an American company, it's not stealing.

So either play the game, or look to change the game, but either way quit whining.

Re:more D than R (5, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855507)

A lot of Japanese companies try and have a 10 year outlook. Yes, they worry about profits in the short term - it still matters - but they also try to have a long term 10 year plan, and are willing to take short term lack of growth if it positions them better in their 10 year plan.

Want a really odd example? Consider "Hello Kitty". It's a silly fad right? Except they've actually been around, continuously, producing "Hello Kitty" products for over 30 years! That's some surprising staying power, and is in a large part due to long term planning to keep the brand relevant in a changing world. Were a similar operation being run by a current US CEO it would have unbelievable growth for 3 quarters, saturate the market, fall out of favour, and be dead 2 years.

Never underestimate the power of long term planning.

Jedidiah.

Re:more D than R (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855447)

"To me, this rabid fixation on short-term profits is a bigger threat than outsourcing -- it is killing our ability to make astonishing things."

Actually, they are related. HP and similar companies are moving their R&D to low-wage countries and getting the same research for less money. Experts are far cheaper there and the laws of physics are the same. Thus, it is cheaper to research say new printing technologies there.

What is going to be more cost-effect and productive: A lab of 50 PhD's in the US or a lab of 200 PhD's for the same price in India or Indonesia? And, they don't need to be "close to the customer" because they are researching physical processes, not customer preference.

The US is becoming a big ball of marketing while the "real" work is done in low-wage countries. If you are a true-blue geek who wants to do cutting edge stuff and don't have a family, then try to move overseas. The rest of us better pick up some Dale Carnegie.

Re:more D than R (5, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855564)

Actually, they are related. HP and similar companies are moving their R&D to low-wage countries and getting the same research for less money. Experts are far cheaper there and the laws of physics are the same. Thus, it is cheaper to research say new printing technologies there.

The problem there is that you end up training a bunch of tech leaders in some other country who then found companies and brutalize us in the marketplace. You get what you pay for.

Re:more D than R (5, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855451)

It's funny, but having grown up in the 80's and having matured into computing in the 90's, by then HP had already started to fade. Their computers were notoriously crash-prone, their inkjet printers were slow, and their calculators seemed badly out of date compared to the very user-friendly TI stuff (I know about the power of the HP, no need for a flame war). And since then they've only gotten worse. My entire impression of HP, for my entire life, has been negative.

It's really kind of heartening to think back to what HP had done, and why so many companies and people still foolishly hold it in high regard. They really were a tech powerhouse in the 70's and early 80's, before they started rebranding iPods with the slogan "Invent." People gave HP a break for a very long time because they had built up a degree of cred, cred which they have been shamelessly squandering for many years.

But people still care about them. It's kind of heartening that way. Like thinking about your Grandfather when he was young, energetic, and happy, rather than the grumpy, senile jerk he has become.

Re:more D than R (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855544)

Have to agree fully with this post. The Engineering Glory Days at HP must have been before I ever encountered them. Their computers (including HP9000) always seemed like mediocre junk and they had already become known as a Printer Company by the early 90s.

Carly's execution might have been awful, but her basic premisis was correct -- HP was never going to be a mini-IBM, so it made sense to cut back on pointless R&D and pimp their well known brandname on consumer junk.

Re:more D than R (5, Insightful)

dustmite (667870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855595)

It's basically a modern get-rich-quick scheme for CEOs and shareholders etc. Get in, cut out any costs that only pay off in the long-term (i.e. R&D), report increased profits, pay out huge bonuses, get out. Company may collapse or suffer badly afterwards, possibly putting thousands out of work, but you don't care because you retired a billionaire. It's become a kind of plague on western economies during the last few decades. These people are just "cashing in" on the efforts of their predecessors. The problem is most CEOs are not going to be around long enough to reap the rewards of the R&D being spent now, and they know it, so there is no incentive for them personally to manage the company well. In the "old days" this wasn't such a problem because the culture was somehow different, you just didn't do that, you thought about the long-term; the trend of bonuses paid out proportionally to 'performance' seemed to cause a kind of cultural shift in the way people think about running companies. CEOs are paid far more disproportionately now, siphoning off massive amounts of wealth from the economy .. most ordinary "middle-class" workers today can't afford to live as well as their parents did even when both husband and wife work, unlike their parents when probably only the man worked .. why is this? Because more of the wealth is taken by the few at the top, and the economy runs less efficient. In theory Darwin should sort this out, i.e. companies that invest in R&D should have greater survivability in the long term, but for now it seems this problem is just not going away.

Dominatrix (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855246)

I'd love to have Carly as my personal dominatrix, though.

Crack that whip on my pale white ass, make me lick your boots and worship your holiest of holys. Let me be your sex slave!

Essay: The Valley is a Harsh Mistress (0, Troll)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855247)

Idiotic management and greedy venture capital will beat hard work and genius every time in the struggle to determine which company will succeed and which are doomed to fail.

Who will be next, to take the hopes and dreams of their employees and investors down with them?

It's at GoingWare's Bag of Programming Tricks [goingware.com] .

I mentioned two companies that were still alive, but on the ropes at the time I wrote the essay - Be, Inc. and Working Software. Now both are gone, with not even a domain name to mark their graves anymore.

Re:Essay: The Valley is a Harsh Mistress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855452)

Hmm. This must be Marketing Day at Goingware.

It's Marketing Month, Actually. (-1, Troll)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855531)

I'll be starting paid advertising Monday evening or so, once my adsense check clears. But I'm tapped out today, so I use what opportunities are available to advertise for free.

C'mon, link whoring at slashdot isn't spamming. Everybody does it. It's even respectable.

My plan is to place a new kuro5hin text ad each day this month, and over the next couple weeks to get all my articles into Bonita's new XHTML/CSS design. I'm working on The Valley is a Harsh Mistress as I write this.

If I can somehow manage to draw more revenue from my website than I spend from advertising, I'll be reinvesting the proceeds back into promoting GoingWare's Bag of Programming Tricks [goingware.com] , and later, once I get my first book review posted, Recommended Reading [goingware.com] .

It's all part of my secret plan to get out of programming altogether and go to music school [geometricvisions.com] .

Care to download my MP3s [geometricvisions.com] ?

Those recordings are ten years old though. I've come a long way since then. It's just a matter of getting the money for the equipment, and the time, to record my latest work, but I expect there will be new music there by the end of summer.

SELF-SERVING SPAMMER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855455)

Hrm, I read slashdot too much. Its you again. See here [slashdot.org] .

But you're to ashamed to use your real name. (-1, Troll)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855594)

C'mon AC. Log in. I use my real name even. If I have nothing to hide, neither should you.

No one cares... (5, Insightful)

Atomic Frog (28268) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855251)

...all they want is money. Look, Carly got something like a $20million package (maybe more)for getting fired. Would _you_ care if you knew that's what you would get for screwing up?
Possibly, if that mucked up your reputation. But inexplicably, IT DOESN'T. Rumors are she's on the shortlist to head the World Bank? WTF???

Nobody on the board of directors (board of fat cats more like it) really cares either. Or possibly they are impossibly dumb.

Look, how many of the "frontline troops" could tell you that the Compaq-HP merger wasn't any good and would amount to not much?

Unfortunately, it isn't just HP. It's nearly every CEO and board of directors.
Hands up those of you on Slashdot who _knew_ the AOL-Time Warner was going to be bust? Yes, those of us in the field and half a teaspoon of wit knew that didn't make sense and was doomed to disaster. Yet the supposedly "wise and experienced" board didn't see it coming?

Fact is, these stupid maneuvers are are win-win-win for the board, CEO's and the stock analysts. They don't give a damn what happens to the company.

Now Mr. Hewlett and Packard, they wouldn't pull this sort of shit because it was their own baby.
Founder of IBM had some pretty good rules too, they treated customers and employees _right_. But since he went, it's been all downhill (except for profits).

Front line troops? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855265)

Look, how many of the "frontline troops" could tell you

Frontline troops, also known as pawns.

They don't matter, they're expendable, they're waste of skin but unfortunately necessary -- at least for the time being. That's what I learned when I got my MBA.

That'll happen.... (5, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855357)

It's not unlike Hollywood, where actors and actresses live in their own version of reality - pretty far removed from the daily lives most of us have.

When you earn that type of money, and spend your time around peers that do the same, how can you expect them to see these screw-ups as a "big deal", really? Like you said, it's not their own business, built from the ground up - so they're not coming into things with that background of remembering how tough it was to build it.

A lot of these big-wig corporate types pander more to such things as a peer "taking a big risk". They're going to say "Carly, that was a really bold move you made, merging with Compaq. Didn't really work out, but that's the type of thinking and attitude we like to see in a C.E.O.! I think we can find a new spot for you over here...."

In many ways, I think they approach it like gambling. Sure, the rest of us can say "I can't believe that guy just plunked down a million dollars on the roulette table and lost it all. What a moron!" But if he's got the kind of money where that isn't going to put an end to his lifestyle, and his peers are equally rich gamblers, they're just going to cheer him on. They're thinking in the back of their heads that they're "way above" all those naysayers who aren't "successful enough" to even afford to take those types of risks.

Re:No one cares... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855374)

You've got to hand it to Carly. This was a clear case of playing the "affirmative action" (or whatever you want to call it) card of giving a clearly unqualified person a shot at a tough job. She played the "old boy" corporate game well and was branded a marketing genius, a tough bitch, and a pioneer. Well, here we are at the end of the ride and it turns out she was just unqualified for the job and just plain wrong on the direction to take the company. She got lots of press, invited to lots of A-list gigs, got paid a FORTUNE and almost ran one of America's most successful companies right into the ground.

Meanwhile, the stock is in the toilet, lots of people lost their jobs, the company is losing market share in its core business (printing and imaging) and foundering in the PC business it adopted from Compaq. If Carly had been a man, she would have gotten sacked after the first 18 months.

Thank god it's over. Let's hope HP can recover.

Cheers,

Re:No one cares... (2, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855449)

This was a clear case of playing the "affirmative action"

Bulls**t. When she was hired at HP she had seemingly done a good job at Lucent and clearly deserved a shot at the position.

Turns out she was a fraud, but so were Kenneth Lay from ENRON and Bernard Ebbers from WorldCom, and last time I checked those are males. So do us a favor and take your sexist crap elsewhere.

This Is What Happens With Women (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855272)

They belong in the kitchen and the bedroom.

They have no business running companies, particularly storied companies like HP and Compaq.

Women are only good for cooking, cleaning and fucking.

Carly's many failures... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855287)

I'm posting anonymously because my father works at HP and I have done some work for them and they continue to be a client of my company.

Basically Carly's main failure was a total lack of vision. Her main changes were branding and cost-cutting. And in order to cover her major failing, she undertook the merger which would make success impossible to benchmark for about 3 years or so.

There were also countless re-orgs which also serve to make goals impossible to benchmark. While re-branding HP 'Invent' she did her best to ensure that no actual inventing occured... tying HP closer to Microsoft and pushing the actual inventing to other vendors (the HP iPod anyone?) while trying to eck out a living on those thinner margins by cost-cutting.

Now most business units are facing a 10% budget cut in order to finance Carly's kiss off. I don't need to say that morale is a huge issue and HP is largely rudderless (after being firmly steered in the wrong direction for so long this may be an improvment though)

And there is talk of having her run the world bank. I suppose it is typical in the US this day and age to continuously reward failure as long as it's big enough (Bush, Rumsfeld, CIA, Condi etc.) so Carly fits that bill perfectly.

The whole thing disgusts me really...

Re:Carly's many failures... (5, Interesting)

Tangurena (576827) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855555)

I spent a while at the Colorado Springs facility of HP. The downsizing was ludicrous. Every Friday would be the last day of 5-100 people. Many folks wouldn't even show up to work on Fridays because they didn't want to have to say "good bye." Morale was that low.

Routinely, the comments on the latest person to be laid off was "this person was the last person who knew how to [some technology or skill here]."

All because Carly wanted a new bizjet. I guess the ashtrays on the old company jets were full, or the steward/stewardesses were too old/ugly or something. About $50,000,000 each for the new ones. You have to fire a lot of people to raise that sort of cash.

Carly screwed HP big time. It will take a decade or more to rebuild and replace the desctuction of Her Incompetanceness. But as the above poster pointed out, we in the US only reward liars, crooks and idiots. Performance, skill and knowledge have been designated as enemy combatants and are busy being rounded up and destroyed everywhere.

Re:Carly's many failures... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855567)

wouldn't be a slashdot post without a useless slam against someone nerds love to hate

Re:Carly's many failures... (1)

uarch (637449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855604)

I'm posting anonymously because my father works at HP and I have done some work for them and they continue to be a client of my company.

Um, if you want to post anonymously you don't give that much information.

Re:Carly's many failures... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855614)

I suppose it is typical in the US this day and age to continuously reward failure as long as it's big enough

are you suggesting that Carly did not want to leave, so they dangling a nice, shiny comp package in front of her?

It's worse than he's saying (3, Insightful)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855295)

This is a damning indictment of the entire industry. And really, if the focus is on software patents, can that be such a shock?

This is why the US software patent system must never be exported: if they want to nothing but sit on their arses and sue each other, let them. The rest of us have real work to do.

Oh Woe (5, Informative)

d0wnr11g3r (593472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855301)

HP has really gone downhill, and only picked up speed during the "Carly Years".

I remember a time when their hardware was second to none, and their software and support were stellar to say the least. I'm serious when I say that I noticed the change in leadership almost as immediately as she took office - and I was just a consumer of their products. Their hardware started going up in price, but failed to move forward. Their software became more bug filled than the Amazon jungle, and their support, well, just stopped existing.

One of the largest problems I saw was how they produced new versions of some of their software packages, writing Windows versions of packages that used to be strictly HP-UX native and then porting them back to HP-UX...this was at best a dumb idea and at worst resulted in programs advertised as being HP-UX native refusing to operate properly, especially anything with a GUI. Program crashes went from almost non-existant to an almost weekly if not daily occurance.

To make matters worse the average hold time I spent on the phone went from less than 10 minutes to as much as 4 HOURS. I'm not making this up! And when you finally did get an engineer on the phone they mostly stalled for time because they knew they had no solution to a problem, or had too much to deal with. As we paid for our service agreement we expected to get prompt service and instead were left sitting for days, sometimes weeks while someone tried to resolve the issue, if it could be resolved. Even when told that issues were absolutely mission critical and costing us huge amounts of money and at times lost data due to failure we still did not notice any change in service.

Like the author, my first calculator was an HP - I remembered being astounded by the ability to graph solutions and solve multi-variable equations. It was one of the first pieces of hardware I learned to program - I wrote a program to switch the in class TV channels back in High School. At one time, before Carly, I even wanted desperately to work for them....I'm glad I didn't.

How Carly ever got into office on anything but her looks(which weren't much) will forever remain a mystery to me. How she was allowed to stay in her position for more than a few months is something I can only blame on investors not having a finger on the pulse of the company. Maybe HP will recover, but they've lost so much ground in recent years, I really can't see it happening.

Jive with my experience at HP (1)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855302)

What I remember about HP:

There was a lot of talk about invention being important-but virtually know rewards for the folks that helped create patents the company owned.


There were entire projects organized that had as their major purpose obtaining as many H-1b Visas for friends and family of managers as humanly possible.


The lack of imagination of the management at HP is really sad-as is the fact that there is very little incentive there to really do accurate forecasting and business analysis.


Google Anybody (2, Interesting)

timealterer (772638) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855313)

Google goes out of its way to spend a significant percentage of its time on technology that is innovative first, that they don't know yet how to make profitable. Google News and just about all the stuff in Google Labs only cost them money, but they're smart enough to think longer term than that.

Re:Google Anybody (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855416)

The difference here is that with Google, the original founders of the company are still in control and thus they have a personal stake in the company (not just financially as its still their "baby"). The other companies that have been mentioned in these discussions, the orginal founders are no longer in control (bit hard to keep control when your dead), and there have been management "drones" put in place. You know the type, completely interchangable between industries because all they care about is the pseudo-science of managment which all boils down to maximise the profits at the end of the quarter. But of course the reason that these management drones can exist is the fact that once a company lists, everything becomes about profit for the quarter. Thus if upper management is just worried about a maximum of 3 months out, all long term thinking/planning is banished as it will most likely have a negative impact on the next quarters results (resulting in a negative impact on the management drones performance -> reduced bonus for them).

HP on the 'Bacon Sandwich' (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855321)

I'm not too impressed with the way that the food division [hpfoods.com] is heading either.

Dammit, what about open sauce?

The article does sprout some good stuff (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855326)

The article's rather short with very very little details. It does should like a rant, however, there's probably truth in it.

He's description of research is pretty accurate:"doesn't have immediate results", "expensive and unpredictable". He is also correct in implying that research is important and often overlooked.

It's a shame that HP has turned out the way it is. It does really seem that its glory days are over. When Carly departed, it was reported that it's not because of her vision which clashed with the directors, but her execution. So, I suppose, HP is going to be like this in the forseeable future. Something drastic's got to be done.

A lesson learnt from the article: Do not let someone with no appreciation of tech manage a tech firm.

Re:The article does sprout some good stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855372)

When Carly departed, it was reported that it's not because of her vision which clashed with the directors, but her execution.

They're so pissed off with Carly that they're going to execute her? Sounds good to me!

Article pretty short on content (4, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855332)

But I like this quote:

"Bill Hewlett used to remind us that "The marketing guys said the HP-35 would be a failure because it was too small, and then we couldn't make them fast enough to meet the demand. The marketing folks don't know everything."

Because it was too small. Talk about misreading a market. Computing became ubiquitous entirely because of continuing miniaturization. Of course marketers would argue that they've now learned their lesson. They won't make that mistake again! No. They'll make some other ridiculous mistake. Not because they're stupid people, but because they don't understand current technology limitations and how trends imply change upon those limitations. Presumably, those former marketers thought "bigger meant better". Bigger cars were "better", right? They didn't see the potential utility of a pocket calculator, just as some will miss the utility of some other invention or advancement.

Marketing is fine as a tool for finding products people want. But it's useless for determining if a completely new technology might create or revolutionize a market. See the Dyson vacuum cleaner [salon.com] as another example of marketers misreading how new technology might completely change a mature market. Marketing works best only after the marketers understand a technology and its limitations, in coordination with traditional market analysis. Not prior. --M

Re:Article pretty short on content (3, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855483)

And now HPs calculators from the 70's and 80's sell for hundreds of dollars on EBay, while their current flagship product is a bug ridden POS with a bad keyboard. It's not only a matter of lack of interest at the fundamental R&D level, but a policy of making it as cheaply as possible, regardless of the quality level the market really wants. It is sickening to see the current product, feel the tacky keyboard and the gaudy painted plastic shell that the paint chips off easily and read reports of keypress detection problems, while that 25 year old model has keys that still work perfectly, with no sign of wear on key labels.

Marketing is fine as a tool for finding products people want. But it's useless for determining if a completely new technology might create or revolutionize a market.

Marketing is much, much worse than that in a technology driven company because the marketers do not understand even the current products and how they are used.

Re:Article pretty short on content (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855530)

[...]while that 25 year old model has keys that still work perfectly, with no sign of wear on key labels.

Yeah. My dad bought an HP-67 back in the late '70s and continued using it until right before he passed away in 2000. It still works. My sister has it; I have no idea is she uses it or cares. But I can confirm the near indestructibility of those things. Which doesn't much help recurring sales, though. *cough!* --M

Re:Article pretty short on content (2, Interesting)

Alomex (148003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855517)

Bigger cars were "better", right?

Were? A lot of people still believe that crap. In part this is due to Detroit's misleading statistics that in front impact collisions a larger vehicle is safer. What they fail to tell you is that if you hadn't been in such a large vehicle to start with chances are you would never have been a collision! Smaller cars have much better handling, much shorter break distances and less likelihood of roll over. Just read the stats, for example if you drive an SUV you are much more likely to be involved in a rollover.

The mInd boggles. (1)

newdamage (753043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855340)

A strategy that revolved around marketing smoke and mirrors?
Slashing research budgets and firing the actual brainpower?

And people were happy when Carly left? Why, that just blows my mind. Engineering types always love it when a smooth talking well dressed MBA type comes into the lab and begins talking about direction and uses words like "edgy" and "synergy". How in the world could they hate Carly?m

Sarcasm aside, I gotta get me a job where I can royally fuck up a company and be given a severance package that includes more money than I could ever hope to spend in a lifetime.

Now she's headed for the World Bank... (4, Interesting)

perrin (891) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855346)

After ruining HP, the Bush administration has suggested her for rui^H^Hnning the World Bank. Read it here [siliconvalley.com] . 'Top executives' like herself like to tell us that they need their huge salaries because they take such risks, and if they screw up they are done in the business. Yeah, right. The truth is, it doesn't matter how much they screw up, their own will take care of them anyway.

Re:Now she's headed for the World Bank... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855399)

Maybbe Bush is looking forward to giving her a kiss on the cheek during the announcement ceremony.

Re:Now she's headed for the World Bank... (3, Insightful)

NatteringNabob (829042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855588)

It is worth pointing out that this isn't Carly's first debacle, she also drove Lucent into the ground. That's a mighty impressive record, destroying not only the company that made the transistor, but also one of the first companies to put it to good use. I think Bush sees alot of himself in Carly. Remember he had two failed business ventures, Spectrum 7 and Harken Energy. Harken bailed him out at Spectrum, and some skillful insider trading netted him a profit out of the second (it's not only good to be a King, being son of a President ain't so bad either).

Re:Now she's headed for the World Bank... (2, Interesting)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855598)

If I recall rightly HPs market cap went up by 2 billion dollars the day she left. In other words (if we're going to justify everything by share price as many CEOs like Ms. Fiorina do) she was worth negative $2 billion to HP. Do they get to bill her for damage done? Nope, they pay her a nice $20 million leaving bonus. Why would anyone hire someone who managed to decrease a companies worth by $2 billion? I'm at a loss. Her career should be over (and with a $20 million dollar bonus to walk away with, it's not like she'll ever have to work again if she doesn't care to). Bizarre.

Jedidiah.

An Stockholder' View of Carly Fiorina's Leadership (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855347)

Bitch, Fucktard, Cunt, A-hole, Scum Sucking Piglet. ....

Technical Companies Need Technical Leaders! (3, Interesting)

xtal (49134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855350)

If you don't understand your own products, you are going to suck as a leader. I don't care what the current nonsense is, but that's something I really believe - perhaps it explains the success of lawyers as politicians?

This is a theme you see in education all the time - you don't need to understand or have a degree in, oh, say physics in order to teach physics. Yeah, right. You can't teach something you don't understand at a fundamental level.

This goes to show that people with pure business backgrounds are not automatically assumed success in any field. Mr. Hewlett and Packard made wonderful products, by and for engineers. You can see it clear as day in what they produced. I love my HP48 calculator. I own oscilloscopes and function generators made by HP that dates back to the 70's and the gear still works flawlessly and looks great.

Watch for intel to make the same kind of mistakes - the best leaders for tech companies are those with BOTH business acumen and technical backgrounds.

Hopefully this Carly FIASCO will scare some brains into those who make the big decisions, but maybe I'm just dreaming. Short term profits, damn the cost!

Re:Technical Companies Need Technical Leaders! (1)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855621)

Intel actually likes to promote from within, not hire outside people to become managers. So a lot of the managers in the design and process engineering groups are all engineers first and managers second. Sometimes making an engineer a manager doesn't work, but sometimes it works really well. Look at Craige Berette. He was a professor of material science at (I may have this wrong) Standford before he came to work at Intel. The same can't always be said for the marketing/sales/HR departments, but in the engineering departments they are almost always run by engineers. Just wanted to clear that up a bit.

Re:Technical Companies Need Technical Leaders! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855638)

I agree with what you say. Although sadly, this is probable not the norm.

But, the other side of the argument is, "Is it necessary to be a technically minded person (eg. engineer) to understand and appreciate technical products?"

Patnets (4, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855361)

I think in a normal world. people would collaberate and fund raise to do RnD - their creations would gain them value and reputation, and that would lead to new opportunities. But we don't live in a normal world, we live in a patent world - a world where companies receive vast rewards for cutting off other companies from new tchnologies. A world where those little inventors (who patents are supposed to help) are premanately locked out.

Yeah, I know the "party line" that one that says no big companies will invent without patent monopolies, but just look at how many items in the average kitchen were really invented by a big company (hint none). Look at the electricity, phone, the PC, the radio, and so on .... (no big companies). I think if people kicked patents the hell out of they way they'd be supprised what happens. It would free up millions of inventions, to millions more inventors, and create a sunami of economic growth and technology. The fact that inventions can be coppied should be treated like a opportunity, not a threat, or even worse a theft. Patents monopolies (and I mean all of them, not just software) simply half to die and calling them
intellectual "property" is simply fradulent.

Re:Patnets (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855523)

but just look at how many items in the average kitchen were really invented by a big company (hint none). Look at the electricity, phone, the PC, the radio,

The problem with your thesis is that while all of these inventions were done by small operations, they were all certainly patented. Edison in particular rang the patent system like a bell all day long. The Bell patent was absolutely crucial. The fact of the matter is that patents are much more important to single inventors of small organizations because without them the big companies would just take their invention, and use it freely without and any compensation to the small inventor.

Re:Patnets (3, Insightful)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855570)

The fact of the matter is that patents are much more important to single inventors of small organizations because without them the big companies would just take their invention, and use it freely without and any compensation to the small inventor.

The problem with your thesis is that it's too expensive and time-consuming for single inventors or small organizations to get patents. And even if they do invest the time and effort to get a patent, they run the risk of having it invalidated by a previously issued, overly-broad, never-should-have-been-granted patent owned by EvilMegaCorp Inc. The fact of the matter is that patents are much more important to large, powerful corporations, because they can leverage them (patents) and their power and money and lawyers, to squeeze out any single inventors or small organizations that threaten them.

Re:Patents (2, Informative)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855542)

Yeah, I know the "party line" that one that says no big companies will invent without patent monopolies, but just look at how many items in the average kitchen were really invented by a big company (hint none). Look at the electricity, phone, the PC, the radio, and so on .... (no big companies). I think if people kicked patents the hell out of they way they'd be supprised what happens. It would free up millions of inventions, to millions more inventors, and create a sunami of economic growth and technology. The fact that inventions can be coppied should be treated like a opportunity, not a threat, or even worse a theft. Patents monopolies (and I mean all of them, not just software) simply half to die and calling them
intellectual "property" is simply fradulent.


I wish I had mod points... this deserves to be modded up.

I just wish more people understood this. Patents do more overall harm to our society than they do good. They now serve to inhibit innovation, rather than to encourage it.

The best thing we could do, would be to eliminate patents altogether. At the very least, software and "business method" patents should be eliminated.

cry me a river (2, Insightful)

philipkd (528838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855375)

First, where's the comparison with the experience at other R&D labs, like Microsoft's.

Plus, the guy's article runs under the assumption that the R&D Lab is holy and that any attempt to reduce, shape, or in someway modify them is evil.

This is not necessarily true. Xerox PARC gave us the mouse, the gui, and ethernet. Microsoft's R&D Lab hasn't done much noteworthy yet has a $1 billion+ budget.

Apple's innovation shouldn't necessarily even be attributed to an R&D Lab. I remember that Apple emphasizes a research-to-product-development cycle. Apples tells its developers precisely that: "these things better turn into products!"

And this makes simple business sense in some cases. Look at what good those innovations did Xerox. Apple took the GUI and mouse, Microsoft took the GUI from Apple, and 3Com took ethernet.

This article's the typical kick-her-on-the-way-out story. "Yeah, I didn't like her either! She didn't increase my budget! I don't need to argue anymore."

HP-35 (1)

WizardOfZid (588739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855389)

The single device that got me through engineering school, I still have it on my desk and it is STILL in daily use. Maybe that is why they had problems making enough profit; the equipment never gave up the ghost!

There are a few tech companies that just might make it long term. One I can think of is Rockwell Automation. The CEO is a 30 year veteran of the company and came up through the engineering ranks. Stock price just make an all time high this week. Its not sexy or truly cutting edge but the company has a "better that six months out" mentality.

Slashdot is powerful! (4, Funny)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855413)


Slashdot is powerful! On Tuesday I complained about Carly Fiorina in a Slashdot comment [slashdot.org] , and on Wednesday she was fired [google.com] . (See the 6th paragraph of the comment, and the subsequent comment.)

The phony people are in control. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855440)


And, I find it is disgusting that the Bush administration is putting Fiorina forward for Head of the World Bank, when she was such a failure at her last job. The phony people are in control.

Hell, I'd fire her ass (1)

asdfasdfasdfasdf (211581) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855414)

...Based soley on the fact that the PRINTER DRIVER I'm installing as I type this needs 400 MB of drive space MINIMUM. The full install is 1 GB!!! Adobe can pull off Photoshop CS with only 177 MB, so if that's not inept programming, I don't know what is-- I say, great, cut the beasts head off at the top. Maybe it will grow a better one.

the big picture is far worse (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855454)

I feel that Fiorina's paying much more for Compaq when it was on it's deathbed than what was recently paid for IBM's PC division says it all. The purchase brought nothing to HP and many people including myself believe that the only reason Fiorina did it was to make a big change that would take a while for the finnancial numbers to react to, protecting her personal position that was extremely in danger of termination at the time. And to see what the HP stock holders are getting stuck with paying her as "severence" after she did such a poor job is just crazy.

He's just an angry, old, white man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855475)

The Patriarchy will do whatever it can to keep down a smart, sophisticated woman.

Re:He's just an angry, old, white man (4, Funny)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855514)

The Patriarchy will do whatever it can to keep down a smart, sophisticated woman.

Maybe, but what does that have to do with Carly Fiorina?

Wozniak, deception, and profit; oh my! (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855487)

Just another general review of Carly assassinating HP. I enjoyed reading about our brother Wozniak, and I quote;

"Our biggest mistake at HP Labs came from being too cautious. We passed on developing Steve Wozniak's cheap little personal computer. Woz was working in HP's lab, on calculator projects, at the time. We knew the computer idea was great, but we couldn't work out how to market it, so we passed."

Did you hear that? Wozniak is responsible for Apple going where it went today! Imagine, it could've been HP dominating everyone and not a Apple and IBM alliance in sight! Instead, we all got and recently lost PA-RISC. Bad HP, bad...

Carly on the prowl. Why do I get the impression she's a butch anti-business lady pacing the halls condemning any form of creativity as being anti-business? I quote,
"The lab was never packed with genius marketers. Carly told us we had no business sense, and that every project needed to make a profit within three years or less. She usually said that right before the research budget got slashed again and more lab employees were laid off."

Verry convicting. Bless this HP engineers heart for revealing this information in his liability, which many would often unjustly post anonymous. Somewhere, despite Carly's disgust for traditional HP innovation, I get the impression a CEO that digests its vital organs and calling it as progress and everyone doesn't honestly give protest; deserves to be downsized. I know Microsoft has high attendance when they have their CEO our lost brother Steve Balmer prancing on the stage. I quote,
"
In mid-2002, HP's labs became solely focused on finding ways for other businesses to save money. This led to some good projects -- grid computing, self-maintaining servers, self-healing systems. But the emphasis was not on creating new or better technology, just technology that would boost the bottom-line.

I left in late 2003.
"

Somehow, CEOs are more vested in politics by slandering product loss as profit. I can comprehend the effects of such propoganda in the verry vocabulary in students, researchers, ambulance chasers, lawyers, and the like. Carly accomplished her wicked deed, and none were prepared to return her blessed curses in good time that it would not cause harm to HP share-holders and future interests. I quote at last,

"Profit is every CEO's major focus. Research almost always benefits an entire industry more than any particular company. And research doesn't have immediate results."

I don't know about my fellow active slashdot posters' comprehension; I admit, to better prevent such dismal environment manifesting upon the blessed minds at HP and many other companies, all you need is a strong will holding-fast to a well-reigned mouth full of words. If Carly can destroy HP with bastardization, then it can be rebuilt with blessings. The same can be said about the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights given it by the people.

It's about profits, not what the customers want. (4, Interesting)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855528)

It's about profits, not what the customers want

That seems to sum up the "new HP". Before they were pretty much doing thier own thing making specialized computers, test equipment and some damn fine laser printers.

Now 2/3 of thier profits come from ink and toner sales, thier systems are very unsupported, I know I just talked to a really friendly techie from India who couldn't answer my problem (I have just discovered are due to thier thier latest BIOS...grrr).

From what I saw when I booted this machine is that HP is cozying up to any company with money: Microsoft (XP, only XP), Apple (iPod), Symantic, AOL and other services (spyware/adware/Internet/etc). They seem to be using thier PCs hard drive capacity for garnering advertising, tie-in and lock-in revenue.

Certainly sounds like HP has been reduced to a me-too company, they should expand into the ringtone business, I hear there are big bux there now.

President of World Bank (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855541)

Here [stopcarly.com] are some interesting comments about Carly becoming President of the World Bank.

Sun Labs is in trouble too. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855571)

Do this. Go to Sun Research [sun.com] and then go to the US Patent Office [uspto.gov] and search for patents issued to Sun researchers. You'll find that all of a sudden about 2 years ago researchers who got little or no patents are suddenly getting patents. It seems like they were told to stop just doing research and writing papers and start getting patents and stuff so Sun could license the stuff and make money. While research papers go through a peer review process by people who are considered experts in their fields, I don't think you can say the same about the patent review process. Sun researchers are being measured by how many patents they get. It doesn't look good.

Feature complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855596)

Did you know that in the late 1700s, there was a feeling in the scientific communities (principly physics and chemistry and to a far lesser extent mathematics) that all major discoveries had been made and apart from a few small issues the fields were closed and the game was over? Atoms had not yet been discovered. Declaring a field 'mature' is fine within certain constraints. But as always, people don't know what they don't know. Additionally, historical predictions have been punctured throughout history by the pundit's inability to forsee a revolutionary event in a given field. e.g. the atom, the web, radioactivity , "640K should be enough for everyone", "the worldwide market for computers is probably 6". The list goes on and on. Thanks Carly for cashing-up HP out of a flat spot, but don't presume to be a talented enough seer to declare a field closed. History will remember and ridicule you for that position.
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