Qualcomm intends to cut employment by 15 percent.
  • Qualcomm intends to cut employment by 15 percent.
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Economists often talk about the ripple effect — each job supporting X number of other jobs as spending ripples through the economy like the circles created when you throw a stone in a lake.

Ripple effects are often exaggerated for propaganda purposes, but let’s assume that “Every job created at Qualcomm generates about 2.3 jobs in the region,” as the San Diego Workforce Partnership and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation stated in a study that examined the company’s impact on the local economy through 2010.

Job created by Qualcomm top some local industries (2010)

Industry sectors directly and indirectly affected by Qualcomm (2010)

Qualcomm purchasing adds up

In 2010, Qualcomm directly accounted for a bit more than 1 percent of the county’s total annual output of goods and services, according to the study. Indirectly, taking the ripple effect into account, Qualcomm contributed 3 percent to the local economy.

Qualcomm’s daily purchasing activities generated $895 million in indirect economic activity, according to those 2010 figures. That, in turn, supported 5880 jobs throughout the local economy. The company’s day-to-day activities indirectly created 1090 jobs in drinking and eating places and 470 in real estate. (As employees wait to find who will go to the gallows, Qualcomm must be creating more jobs in drinking establishments.)

The question is this: can we measure the reverse ripple effect? Qualcomm intends to cut employment by 15 percent. Insiders say the cuts will come in mid-September. We do not know how many jobs will be slashed locally or what kinds of jobs, at what salary levels. The telecom giant has 31,300 full-time, part-time, and temporary employees, of whom 15,000 work in San Diego County.

Wall Street pressures Qualcomm

The company, under pressure from Wall Street, may also split itself into two enterprises — its chip business, which is a big revenue producer, and its wireless technology licensing operation, which creates fat profits.

If the company does that, some other semiconductor firm may buy or merge with Qualcomm’s chip operation. The semiconductor business is mature, and today’s mergers in that industry usually are for efficiency purposes — that is, employee heads roll as plants are consolidated. Perhaps Qualcomm’s semiconductor business could move its headquarters out of San Diego.

Kelly Cunningham

Says Kelly Cunningham, economist for the National University System Institute for Policy Research, “Given the ripple effect, I would say the effect [of Qualcomm layoffs] could be substantial. Tech jobs on average are paying $114,000 [a year]. The per-job overall pay for San Diego is $56,500 annually. If you subtract tech jobs from that figure, it is $49,300.”

Big bucks in telecom

Average pay for telecom jobs is $133,500, says Cunningham. Should some of those jobs be lost, “that money would not be spent on cars, houses,” he says. There could be layoffs in other industries, such as restaurants. “For every job lost at Qualcomm, at least one job would be lost [elsewhere in the economy], and perhaps two.”

Of course, there could be positive effects. San Diego’s home prices and rents are exceedingly high because supply is low and demand high. If some of the single-family homes and condos went on the market as a result of Qualcomm-related head-chopping, and more rental units became available, some homebuyers and renters might be able to find a place to reside without living beyond their means.

Peter Callstrom

Workforce Partnership optimistic

Peter Callstrom, president of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, is optimistic. He says there is strong demand for jobs in technology, engineering, and mathematics — the kinds of jobs that might be whacked at Qualcomm. He thinks former Qualcomm jobs of all kinds can be absorbed in San Diego. “Demand for employees has increased significantly,” he says. “We see more openings than we have seen in quite some time.”

Tina Ngo Bartel

Statistics compiled by Tina Ngo Bartel, the partnership’s director of business programs and research, tell a promising story. She eyes data from Burning Glass, an online database that scans online job postings to measure labor-market demand.

Jobs in software

Between May 1 and July 31 of this year, there were 4002 local job postings for software developers. That’s almost double the number for the same period last year. “If Qualcomm is laying off any [software] developers, there is strong [local] demand to absorb that workforce,” says Ngo Bartel.

The same is true for secretaries. Between May 1 and July 31 of this year, there were 1332 secretarial job postings, more than double the number in the same period last year. Total job postings have grown sharply in the period — from 45,115 last year to 68,324 this year. Ngo Bartel cautions, however, that the individual numbers can be misleading; it’s better to look at the trends.

Full-year postings from 2010 through 2014 show strong jobs growth.

Qualcomm employees bitter

But don’t talk optimistically to Qualcomm employees. They are posting bitter anonymous messages at Qualcomm Inc. Layoffs. Some samples: “There are better options than [Qualcomm] now. It was good while it lasted but the decline has been in for last 5 or so years.”

“Working at [Qualcomm] is as good as working in a sweatshop in Bangladesh.”

“[Qualcomm] is [an] extremely corrupted environment.”

“If nobody does anything, these unethical practices will continue; this is not [a] third world country here (yet).”

“Layoff.com is showing true colors of unethical internal [email protected][Qualcomm].”

“Do you say Qcorruption?”

Complaints about H-1B program

Many of those making posts complain about the H-1B visa workers, who come from foreign countries (heavily India) and work for lower pay, often replacing Americans. Here is an example: “Stop American Sweatshop @ [Qualcomm]. Lay [off] H-1Bs.”

“Chances are the American born will be targeted over the foreign workers (H-1Bs).”

“H-1B[s] bring Ghetto mentality to the workplace.”

“H-1B only benefit and wanted by the billionaires club and should not be here in the first place.”

Paul Jacobs gripes

Then, there are obvious jabs at Paul Jacobs, son of the cofounder, who was replaced as chief executive last year but continues to draw extremely high compensation. Last year, Jacobs and the chief executive who replaced him, Steve Mollenkopf, had a combined total of $117.7 million in compensation, much of it delayed. This is causing bitterness, to wit: “You’ve heard of the Midas touch? How about the [Paul Jacobs] touch — everything he touches turns to sh*t.”

“How do these people sleep at night knowing they are destroying people’s lives while raking in 8-figure compensation?”

After the layoffs, Qualcomm will have to repair morale.

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Comments

hwstar Aug. 26, 2015 @ 10 a.m.

What we have here is a company run by MBA's under the direction of Private Equity instead of engineers.

Qualcomm started off being run by engineers and rose to greatness under the leadership of Viterbi and Jacobs.

There were big engineering problems to solve early in the life of Qualcomm, but cellular phone and data is becoming a mature technology. Most of the big technical breakthroughs have already occurred.

I suspect the company will split in two.

The licensing part of Qualcomm will become what I like to call a "Toga Company". It will consist mostly of MBA's, Lawyers, and Marketing people with very few engineers. Over time R&D will become neglected, patents will expire, and the company will fade from relevance.

The chip design and manufacturing part of Qualcomm will move out of San Diego due to cost pressures on the price of the chips. I suspect that over time, it will move out of the USA to a country such as India, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, or Thailand just like what happened to American TV manufacturers in the 70's.

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Don Bauder Aug. 26, 2015 @ 1:13 p.m.

hwstar: You make a very good point: Qualcomm was built on superb engineering. It would be a shame if it turned to financial engineering, which it seemed to be doing when it capitulated to Wall Street at the time it announced pending layoffs. Still, I think its royalty business is extremely strong. San Diego could lose much or all of its chip business, but that is no sure thing.

Bottom line: Qualcomm is still an excellent company. It should tell Wall Street to get lost and make its decisions based on what is best for product engineering. However, that is extremely hard to do in the current greed-invested environment. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 26, 2015 @ 1:18 p.m.

Oops. Make that greed-infested, not greed-invested. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Aug. 26, 2015 @ 7:50 p.m.

Your Freudian slip of the key may have stated it correctly. Aren't many investors investing in greedy enterprises? Of course they are!

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Don Bauder Aug. 27, 2015 @ 9:20 a.m.

Visduh. Pathetically true. A company has to go with the flow. And the flow is toward financial engineering, not engineering. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Aug. 27, 2015 @ 9:35 p.m.

Greed and panic drive the markets they say. It also seems like these recent decisions were largely driven by these 2 forces. Greed by JANA to place the short term investment priorities over long term success. Greed by QCOM executives to continue accepting very large compensation while laying off thousands. Panic in that a highly successful company must be split up and be radically changed because a few quarterly expectations weren't met.

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Don Bauder Aug. 28, 2015 @ 2:15 p.m.

ImJustABill: Fear and greed drive markets. When there is widespread fear, the markets may go south or go nowhere -- decline or just stay flat. When greed prevails, markets go up.

The trouble with most major societies today is that greed is rampant, and companies live for the next quarter's results; they don't build for the long term. So financial engineering is in the mind of chief executives -- keep Wall Street drooling, rather than concentrate on building a great company.

Qualcomm, for all its faults, is still a great company. I hate seeing it capitulate to Wall Street. It should make its layoff decisions with the long term in mind. But recent events suggest that won't happen.

You are correct about executive pay. The fact that the two top executives got a combined $117.7 million in compensation last year is disgusting, even though they didn't rake that in in one year. I know of no precedent for that anywhere. To have such top-heavy compensation at a time when you are laying off 15 percent of your workforce could be a ticket to trouble in the ranks. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Aug. 29, 2015 @ 8:25 a.m.

I do get the sense that much of what CEO's do now is more trying to shift pieces around - keep business lines that make money, cut business lines that lose money, make sure the numbers in the books line up with Wall Street expectations.

While I can see how those things should be part of the job I also think part of the job should be just trying to figure out how to make a better product more efficiently than competitors.

I also think most CEO's now tend to be very skilled at lingo. I think a lot of terminology used tends to be euphamistic jargon as opposed to plain English.

We hear things like "synergistic strategies" which sounds a lot fancier and nicer than "laying off a bunch of people".

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Don Bauder Aug. 29, 2015 @ 3:35 p.m.

ImJustABill: Right you are. Today's chief executives, unfortunately, do concentrate on making accounting moves that fatten the bottom line. They will try to sell a division that is underperforming. It is likely to be bought by a private equity firm that strips it down, milks it for a quick buck, lays off the workers, and leaves a shell.

The word "synergistic" should have been retired decades ago. It was used by the conglomerateurs of the 1960s and 1970s. Basically, synergy is making 2 plus 2 equal 5. That can't be done, but CEOs still pretend it can. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 31, 2015 @ 7:45 p.m.

No problem. Just fire the troublemakers.

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Don Bauder Sept. 1, 2015 @ 8:28 a.m.

Twister: Suppose the troublemaker is the one who makes the decisions on whom to fire for making trouble? Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 26, 2015 @ 11:31 a.m.

hwstar is right on target, especially with respect to the fundamental problem.

I grew up before the MBA phenomenon, when great companies, large and small, were managed by people who knew the business from top to bottom, often having started out as floor-sweepers or stock-boys.

Then the idea that "higher" education could inculcate enough of the right "best practices" dogma and other bullshit into the scions of the wealthy to render them qualified to "run any company" became popular. They neglected to mention to where they would be qualified to run any company.

Relevance, context, and integration. The MBA's don't know what the hell that means--IF they've ever heard of it at all.

Tw

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Don Bauder Aug. 26, 2015 @ 1:17 p.m.

Twister: One of the most pathetic myths -- spread widely by business schools -- is that an executive with knowledge of a profit and loss statement and balance sheet can run any business. History has proved that to be completely erroneous. Remember the conglomerates of the 1960s and 1970s? They thought they could manage any business. Most of them fell completely apart. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 26, 2015 @ 8:36 p.m.

That's about when the myth was propagated. But am I to understand that the nightmare is over? Have I lain somnolent, out of touch, since the '70's? As if this myth were not enough, there was EST--aggression 101, and both, and worse, seem still to be with us--perhaps on steroids. Through the looking-glass darkly . . .

Tw

PS: Not only did MBA's think they could run businesses with "knowledge" of P&L & BS's, they thought they had to PROVE that their knowledge was superior to those who actually knew something about the details and particulars as well, and believe(d) that "best practices" were all they needed, blah-bs, blah-bs, blah-bs. They did this by frequently and arbitrarily overruling the people "under" them who often sacrificed their health and lives resisting their stupididy as diplomatically as possible instead of simply setting him up with a call-girl, camera, and recorder. Trouble was, the damn things were just popping up to replace each other as fast as Harvard could crank them out. 900-day wonders?

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Don Bauder Aug. 27, 2015 @ 12:24 p.m.

Twister: In my 50 years+ of business journalism, I have run into more crooks and crackpots with Harvard MBAs than thieves/nuts from any other university. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Aug. 28, 2015 @ 9:55 a.m.

When I worked for Andy Kay of Kaypro, I recall he didn't like MBA's and he did not hire them. Although there was a lot of nepotism, which sparked a saying among the employees... "Too many Kay's and not enough Pro's." Andy Kay, an MIT graduate and brilliant engineer who invented the first digital voltmeter, had successfully ran his company from the 1950's into the 1980's. Joining the personal computer explosion was an event like the Gold Rush and many people/companies had some soaring success followed by spectacular crashes. If he had not jumped on the PC bandwagon, he might have well still been selling instrumentation for another decade.

On a side note, Andy did have Abraham Maslow do a social study of his manufacturing processes. Later, Arthur Laffer, an economist was on the board and he would sometimes visit our offices. As far as they go, you can take all the economists in the world and put them arm-to-arm and they still can't reach a conclusion.

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Don Bauder Aug. 28, 2015 @ 2:21 p.m.

Ponzi: Andy Kay was brilliant -- no doubt. But the company did not do research and development, and other PC makers that spent money on research raced past Kaypro, leaving it in the dust. Best, Don Bauder

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MesaRunner Sept. 9, 2015 @ 3:14 p.m.

Yes. An older example is Nicolaus Otto, who had to drop out of school when his father died. He sold groceries, but ran across an article about a Frenchman's engine improvements. He got together with a machinist and made some improvements in the internal combustion engine. He had a couple employees who thought they were much better than he because they graduated from university and they eventually quit; one was Gottfried Daimler. Nicolaus's son founded another little firm known as BMW, but Otto & Cie. still exists under the name Deutz.

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Twister Aug. 28, 2015 @ 2:59 p.m.

Kruger and Steiglitz might.

But I'd like to understand the Kaypro saga better. Eupsychian Management was a key element, perhaps, but maybe too much feely and not enough touch? I dunno.

Tw

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Don Bauder Aug. 28, 2015 @ 8:03 p.m.

Twister: At one point, as I recall (perhaps dimly,) Andy Kay was a billionaire because of his Kaypro stock, which was hot initially. That was back when it meant something to be a billionaire. There were very few of them then. Alas, quickly, the stock plunged -- out of sight. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 29, 2015 @ 5:09 p.m.

I with you on the dim sum--my memory doesn't add up to much either.

But why did the stock plunge?

Tw

PS: Buying stock with my gut and heart has been one of my greatest faults--and I've got the relative poverty to prove it.

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Don Bauder Aug. 29, 2015 @ 9:40 p.m.

Twister: The stock rose because Kaypro was an early personal computer that got very good reviews and had very good sales. But competitors quickly took over the market. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Aug. 29, 2015 @ 6:12 p.m.

I will share with you folks why I think Kaypro failed. When I was working for Andy Kay, my mission was to sell their iron to the government. I was the Armani suit wearing young blow-haired guy that worked the belt-way to stir up business.

That was the job I found after my own computer business crashed and burned. NLS (Non-Linear Systems) owed my business money when they bought, but did not pay for, S-100 bus prototype hardware to develop the “KayComp.” A salesman from NLS came into my office one day and tried to set me up as a distributor for KayComp, and when I found out he was from NLS I asked him to go back to his boss and tell him to pay his invoices to me before he tried to sell me on their stuff.

A good friend, who I will refer to as "Bud," has passed away, but was also an engineer from MIT and he invented the first computerized-memory based electronic cash register. IMC (Information Machines Corp.) the building where the IMC units were made is now the Santee substation for the County Sheriff. He attended MIT with Andy and helped me get an executive position working directly for Andy Kay.

Anyway, when I crashed and burned, I got a job with Andy. His son, David was president. The rumor is that they copied the PC board of the Xerox 820 and stuffed it into a “portable” computer box. The “lovable luggable” to compete with the Osborne computer.

The problem was that Kaypro and Osborne were employing CP/M as the operating system. I would attend meeting and tell them they needed to adopt MS-DOS to compete with the rash of IBM clones hitting the market. From the 8080, Z-80, 286, 386, 486 and then Pentium from Intel… those processors were being implemented for MS-DOS. The Kays were, for lack of a better word, arrogant. And they thought their “brand” was superior. But we had a 30% out-of-box failure rate and the clones were taking away market share. The key drivers of business purchases of computers in those days were the software app called VisiCalc for Apple, and Super-Calc for the MS-DOS crowd. Then, a smart programmer named Mitch Kapor developed Lotus 1-2-3, a superior “what if” spreadsheet application.

And the rest was history. IBM knocked Apple out of the lead, MS-DOS became the King and CP/M became the relic of computer hobbyists. I sometimes pounded my fists on the table of the meeting room telling the engineers and executives that we had to migrate our processors and operating systems to MS-DOS. They would have none of it.

Cont....

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Don Bauder Aug. 29, 2015 @ 9:45 p.m.

Ponzi: Quite a story. Our older son, then in high school, had an Osborne PC. It kept crashing. It lacked a promised feature (I have forgotten what it was.) We turned it back in and got our money back, as I recall. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Aug. 29, 2015 @ 6:13 p.m.

So, Compaq, a computer designed on the back of a napkin was conceived from some Texas Instrument engineers and the Compaq portable was born. It was 16-bits, used MS-DOS, could run Lotus and was lighter and had more features than the Kaypro II. The marketing was professional and slick and the Compaq kicked Kaypro to the curb. Blindsided? No, because I was not the only voice that said “we need to evolve.”

Being at the epicenter of the personal computer revolution has given me a reward of being part of something no one can understand unless you were there. Although I may sound critical of the Kay’s, I loved them and they were risk takers. Not everyone has a crystal ball and not everyone wants to be peddling the leading edge (bleeding edge) of technology. But wealth was made from the risks and the creation of innovative products and wealth was destroyed by more aggressive and well-back ventures. The computer industry today continues to evolve and it is a dog-eat-dog world, 40 years after the Apple II and Kaypro II came to be.

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Don Bauder Aug. 29, 2015 @ 9:47 p.m.

Ponzi; Look at all the companies that dove into the PC market and did not last. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Aug. 30, 2015 @ 10:53 a.m.

Some big companies got really beat up jumping in the PC fray... like Xerox, Digital Equipment (Rainbow) and Texas Instruments (TI/99). I carried IBM, but also others like Commodore, Atari, etc.

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Don Bauder Aug. 30, 2015 @ 5:27 p.m.

Ponzi: And, of course, the aforementioned Osborne failed. I wrote a book on a TI. Best, Don Bauder

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gpshomefinder Oct. 6, 2015 @ 9:26 a.m.

Joining this thread late....but I was hired by Andy Kay (personally, as was everyone that was hired at Kaypro in 1982-83) in 1982 and worked there thru 1988. There are many of us ex-Kaypro employees still floating around and I still run into a former co-worker I haven't seen in years, now and then. The one point I think should be included in this conversation is that Kaypro DID produce an MS-DOS computer--we were the first AT-compatible in the marketplace. That is when the business really took off, and how the company craziness really started. It was both exciting and tragic to work at Kaypro and for the Kays. With Andy's passing earlier this year, it would be a great time to have a Kaypro reunion and celebrate the experiences we all remember well.....RIP, Andy.

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Twister Aug. 30, 2015 @ 8:40 a.m.

Ponzi, you've got a helluva book here, and not just the the story but the undercurrents. But most of all the PRINCIPLES that draw crucial distinctions between merit-based innovation and crony, blood-sucking, scheming "capitalism."

Tw

PS: My whole goddammerung "career" (life-work) has been the story of stubbornly sticking to what I know is right and being undermined by (if you'll excuse the expression) blow-dried suits that never challenge anything but make a "science" out of persuasion--in other words, failure after failure. Those guys undoubtedly sleep better at night than I do, and do so in McMansions in Rancho Santa Fe.

Image over substance.

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Don Bauder Aug. 30, 2015 @ 8:47 a.m.

Twister: Unfortunately, "image over substance" is what ails U.S. business these days. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Aug. 30, 2015 @ 11:05 a.m.

Twister, thank you. As you know, a good book needs to have a compelling story or message. I have some interesting stories, but not sure I could write a book. Looking through my old scrapbooks and notes, I find some interesting tidbits.

Many of the PC makers were getting in line to go public in the early 80's. One interesting story I recall was Eagle Computer. It was a PC clone. On the day of Eagle Computer's public offering, the president was killed in a car accident in his Ferrari after just having lunch with a yacht salesman. The IPO was reversed and investors were refunded their money back for the stock they purchased. Sometimes success is fleeting.

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Don Bauder Aug. 30, 2015 @ 5:34 p.m.

Ponzi: Now I remember that Eagle IPO. The incident was a big deal back then.

But look at all the typewriters that have failed over 150 years. And the beer brands. And the airlines. And the autos: remember Packard, Nash, Studebaker and many others? Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 30, 2015 @ 2:33 p.m.

But Don, "image over substance" is the giant balloon of progress . . .

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Don Bauder Aug. 31, 2015 @ 6:43 p.m.

Twister: Unfortunately, image over substance is the very backbone of what is called "branding." Best, Don Bauder

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MesaRunner Sept. 9, 2015 @ 3:37 p.m.

...and regress.

The aforementioned IBM has hung through many cycles of regress, regress, progress, regress, regress, regress... While some other firms surged way ahead but eventually flamed out (Digital, Control Data). But then a lot of it is not-necessarily-warranted reputation. Ask any manager in the 1970s and 1980s about computers and you got a knee-jerk "IBM"; they didn't even know about the BUNCH (Burroughs, Sperry/Remington Univac, NCR, Control Data, Honeywell), nor DEC, nor Data General. They'd get this puzzled look on their faces if you mentioned any of them. I ascribe it to more evil influence from the frat-boy B-schools.

I had a friend and a protege working on developing an OS for IBM (another thing on which the firm was clueless until they glommed onto Unix) at the Rat's Mouth facility in southern FL when Billy Gates's mommy pulled some strings with the board for him to broker the deal to sell someone else's OS to them. But at least they did pay the guy who had developed it, and hired him, and kept him as a consultant for quite some time after that.

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Twister Aug. 30, 2015 @ 2:47 p.m.

Ponzi, at the very least you should do an oral history (as well), but at least get the stories you write here into general circulation (unfortunately, the way the Reader website is structured, only a few obsessive types like us will ever know about them, and the various search engines will bury them. And starting a Reader blog is like singing in the shower. Still, the Reader archive of Don's blog is better than nothing, I suppose. But how long will it last?

This is admittedly a case of the pot implying that the kettle is black here, as I have some video and audio of some outstanding people that I should have gotten into an archive years ago.

You can write.

Tw

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Don Bauder Aug. 30, 2015 @ 5:36 p.m.

Twister: Yes, Ponzi can write. So can a lot of other people. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 30, 2015 @ 2:50 p.m.

Re: " Ponzi Aug. 29, 2015 @ 6:13 p.m.

So, Compaq, a computer designed on the back of a napkin was conceived from some Texas Instrument engineers and the Compaq portable was born."

My first computer. I still have it.

Tw

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Don Bauder Aug. 30, 2015 @ 5:37 p.m.

Twister: Some of those old computers now have value as collectibles. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 31, 2015 @ 6:44 p.m.

Twister: No kidding. We should have saved the Sinclair PCs that our oldest son cut his teeth on. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 30, 2015 @ 4:23 p.m.

Ok, Ponzi (and Don), you've really got me thinkin' now. Here's some of the mush that hasn't solidified into anything coherent yet:

When it comes to getting things righter than wronger, it seems that "we" tend to get into an "either/or" trap, blind to what we can't see, know, or understand.

Language has its limits, as does mathematics. There seems to be a realm of brain activity that lies beyond both, but has an inexplicable ability to go beyond those limits and resolve complex systems "while we sleep." Loft Zadeh, for example, having worked for some time on something he hadn't named, woke up from a dead sleep in a motel and had the concept of Fuzzy Logic pretty much worked out. (This is the story as I recall reading about it; it may not be perfectly accurate.) I have to re-read some of the old stuff on successive approximation.

“We” tend, I suspect, to be more linear than divergent in our thinking, and prefer the static to the dynamic. When we think in terms of image, we think of an unchanging snapshot in time and space, and fear to venture beyond. Why the hell we prefer, the frozen, the cast-in-concrete, the certain to the ever-changing and dynamic, I don’t quite understand even though it seems to exist, nay, dominate our individual and collective being. Long have I worked at resisting the certain, I confess frequent lapses.

I can’t guess or assume what others may wish, but “give me liberty or give me death.” I reckon that can be arranged—at least with respect to the latter.

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Don Bauder Aug. 30, 2015 @ 5:40 p.m.

Twister: Today it's "Give me librium or give me meth." Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Aug. 31, 2015 @ 9:08 a.m.

But most of all the PRINCIPLES that draw crucial distinctions between merit-based innovation and crony, blood-sucking, scheming "capitalism."

Tw

Well put Twister. One of the things I like about this blog is that Don and most of the posters tend to have a realistic view of capitalism and free markets. I think most people here feel free market capitalism is the best economic system yet devised - but it's becoming increasingly tainted and flawed. In principle the "invisible hand" described by Adam Smith should provide for a system which rewards merit and encourages the most efficient allocation of resources. But for one thing that system might leave out some workers at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Even worse, at least some level of integrity and ethics and principles is required for the system to work.

The system is supposed to allow for greed - but greed in a good way (if that makes sense) - as in greed to work harder, be more innovative, build better products more efficiently than ones competitors. Somewhere along the way the system has been increasingly hijacked by those who are figuring out ways to acquire money and wealth in ways which don't improve the efficiency of the economy.

Adam Smith's "invisible hand" has been slapped away by the hand of master monetary manipulators who figure out ways to transfer wealth into their coffers without adding any real goods or services to the economy.

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Don Bauder Aug. 31, 2015 @ 6:47 p.m.

ImJustABill: Very well and creatively stated. Adam Smith's invisible hand has been slapped away by the hands of card sharks. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 31, 2015 @ 7:31 p.m.

Corporate welfare has not just slapped those hands, it has cut them off. Increasingly to get the crumbs they might have gotten to feed the bodies to which they were attached.

But perhaps even more important is the failure to grasp the fatal distinction between enough and excess. This is the kind of discussion that will at all costs be avoided by the forces that have increasingly cut off resources that were needed for sufficiency to transfer them to corporate welfare leeches.

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Don Bauder Sept. 1, 2015 @ 8:34 a.m.

Twister: We should all realize when we spew wretched excess. But few do. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Sept. 1, 2015 @ 8:43 a.m.

Guilty. But not to the obscene levels of corporate suits.

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