Taking Apart Tech CEOs - Page 2

Ill give Ciscos John Chambers the top grade in not only valuing customers but also in being the most succinct in explaining the role of IT in todays economy: "IT enables the implementation of a strategy." And Ill also bet Cisco realizes that all those wireless hot spots, when married with voice over IP, would give rise to a breakthrough product. Ill give BMCs Bob Beauchamp the award for the top exec trying to make the newest technology part of his daily routine. During an interview with Beauchamp at the companys Houston headquarters, he was not only carrying a Tablet PC but actually using it as well. Not only that, but he was enjoying it, too.

The burden of real estate. There is no better evidence of past overzealous expansion than half-empty and fully empty buildings bearing your companys logo. There are lots of examples of this around, and I have to wonder about the occupancy rate of all those Cisco buildings concentrated in one area of Tasman Drive in San Jose. Todays CEO needs to know a great real estate agent.

Going for the three-pointer. Gone are the days of predicting double-digit growth. Now simply beating the 3 percent growth of the gross national product is success. Beating it by two points is good, and hitting a three-point shot from the outside is great. The leader of these new tech realist planners is 3Coms Bruce Claflin, who says upfront "I was wrong" in planning for a big tech rebound but instead has restructured the company for a slower, but steady, beating of the GNP.

Despite the tough times, CEO hyperbole lives. Ill give AMDs Hector Ruiz the award for being the most unequivocal in explaining how important each new product launch is to a company in these economically constrained times. Is the upcoming Opteron launch from AMD one of the most important launches from the company? No, it is more than that. "Opteron is the most important product launch ever from AMD," said Ruiz.

And as a final note, in the one-invitation-I-think-Ill-pass-up category: Thanks to Beauchamp for filling me in on the Great Texas Mosquito Festival to be held in Clute in July (mosquitofestival.com/history.html), but Ill be happy to swat those much smaller, less ferocious Boston bugs rather than take on the Texas-size skeeters.

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