Friday, September 18, 2015

Groupware Enablement Modules Coming to US Field

We may make PCs, but it doesn't mean we have enough to go around for everyone! It makes far more sense to provide a structured framework for sharing assets, thus building teamwork and a cooperative spirit. The Groupware Enablement Module allows up to four employees to share one PC. Behaviorists say it fosters group "games", like "I'll drive the mouse" that build team spirit..

Karla's Korner: Outsourcing

If you're a PH employee, I'd bet you've heard the word "outsourcing" at least once. Unfortunately, outsourcing conjures up all sorts of negative images in some minds: unemployment, foreclosure, eviction, homelessness. But for every American engineer or call center agent made homeless by outsourcing, there's a third world family who now will be living their dream: a two room cardboard box in the suburbs. I'm heartened when I visit our facilities in Siberia and see an 11 year old designing our next generation computers or a 90 year old woman answering questions about device drivers. 

Sometimes outsourcing takes a different form - for example, when we sell whole divisions to potential competitors and then depend upon them to supply us with our own products. Not only does this strategy squeeze out the costs, it also gives us someone for our sales force to blame when release schedules slip.

But the big news in outsourcing is that we're so good at it, other companies are coming to us for help. We've recently landed a $11 billion contract at Wallmark to outsource 750 retail stores throughout the US. It's our unique ability to look at a business and see what makes it tick that helped us win this contract. Stay tuned for more news about the Wallmark project as we begin relocating over 117 million square feet of retail floor space to China this spring.
Outsourcing is about global competition. No American is "entitled" to what was once their "high paying, high technology" job. Well, except for me, that is. So take a look at outsourcing in a different light. Just remember as I've said here many times: you're utterly worthless and replaceable!

This Month in PH History

It's not commonly known, but PH is responsible for many of the advanced user interface innovations we take for granted today. In this undated photograph, Dr. Corvalis G. Hitchens is shown with the very first trackball mouse. It was to be used in the first laptop Hollerith Machine, installed on British Naval Frigates to greatly simplify the control of depth charge launching mortars. Unfortunately the mouse and it's mounting crane (not shown here) proved unsuitable for naval applications, their weight causing the HMS Lancelot to roll over during maneuvers with the loss of the ship's parrot.

Corporate Branding Strategy Update

Several years ago, the company undertook a major re-inversion of it's well respected but crusty brand name and corporate image. To date we've spent about half a billion dollars on our Invert campaign and it has been a resounding success! This week the global survey of brand awareness, voted on by the world's top advertising agencies was released. It showed that PH has now catapulted just ahead of such well recognized brands as Hello Kitty and Juan Valdez! Unfortunately, though, we continue to lag behind every other major computer company.

Corporate Brand Management is currently considering two distinct approaches to push our brand to even greater heights:
  • Phase One:  Invert is a powerful, simple message, but amazingly we've found that some people just "don't get it".  To address this issue we intend to print a small explanation of the "invert" campaign at the bottom of every print and television ad.  In addition, to reach even more people, we are investigating a number of dynamic new media channels, including pop-up ads, milk cartons, blimps, and smoke signals.
  • Phase Two: Review the need to make major changes to the company's brand. This includes the possibility of making minute changes in our logo or color scheme with the guidance of exorbitantly priced consultants. Spearheading this radical approach is a committee consisting of  top brand management, communications and advertising experts. They will work with renowned Marin County based new age communications company Yoko Yamamoto Partners. Mr. Yamamoto is known worldwide as the inventor of the color mauve and will be leading the redesign effort personally.

Update from the PH Mouse Pad Division

Lars O'Reilly
Division General Manager

There was a time, not so long ago, when mouse pads were viewed as having little more value than our consulting services: something you give away in the sale of hardware. I can't tell you how many times I was involved in large deals with major customers and the sales organization - at the end of extensive negotiations - would say "ok, the hardware comes to $2.5 million, but I think we can throw in some training and a few mouse pads."

How far we've come. Today, mouse pads are a major source of revenue for PH and in fact our single most profitable product line. Indeed, the Mouse Pad Division in many ways continues our long tradition of excellence in user interface development.

The story of mouse pads and PH is a long one. It began one morning in late 1988 when Harry Hibberson, then the general manager of our supplies and accessories division answered the phone. It was a wrong number. Harry struck up a conversation with the caller, hoping that he might find a buyer for some of the three million Apple Newtons the division had purchased for resale in it's catalog. Instead, Harry became the buyer, since the caller turned out to be Emus Chung, the self styled mouse pad king of Hong Kong. Chung had opened a mouse pad factory in mainland China and offered  Harry  a deal he couldn't refuse. The next day, 11 Boeing 747 cargo planes landed at San Jose airport and unloaded 700 metric tons of mouse pads. PH was in the mouse pad business in a big way.

During the next 15 years, the mouse pad business changed in many ways. A major threat came from the introduction of touch screens and tablets. There was also a real concern that a mouse would be invented that could be used on any surface, eliminating the need for a mouse pad. Fortunately, by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into research and development, we've been able to keep ahead of the innovation curve in mousing - and we plan to stay ahead in the coming years. 

Mouse pad facts:

  • Did you know that PH's mouse pads can be used with the mice supplied by other vendor's computer equipment? This interoperability is due to our standards based approach to mouse pad design.

  • PH builds a variety of specialized mouse pads. For example, we produce a special, military specification, high friction, low ambient light,  spectral neutral mouse pad for use in the most demanding combat environments. We also supplied the mouse pads used on every space shuttle mission, which cost over $14,000 each.

  • Every PH mouse pad is fully Java compliant and can easily accommodate both a standard mouse and an oversized coffee mug.

  • All of our mouse pads can be easily adapted to left handed operation. For complete instructions click here

  • Our mouse pad support center receives over 33,000 customer calls daily. Over 99% of these calls need to be re-routed to other support centers for help since our mouse pads are legendary for their reliability, and ease of installation and use.  

Corporate Telecom Quiz

Question: What are the EIGHT most common words heard on PH's corporate telephone  network?
  1. this
  2. conference
  3. is
  4. being
  5. extended
  6. another
  7. twenty
  8. minutes

"Employee Discounts for Everyone" Program

Following hot on the heels of the highly successful "Employee Discount for Everyone" programs at the major automakers, computing innovator PH Computer is considering the groundbreaking move of offering similar discounts in the computer industry. 

The program would offer the public the same discounts on computers and computer accessories that PH extends to its employees around the world. "It sends a great message to customers, that we value them as we value our employees", said CEO Karla Fidora. "In addition, it will cost us nothing since as every employee knows  it's more expensive to buy a computer with the employee discount than it is to go to almost any store and buy the same product".  PH estimates that if the program takes off, it will be able to effectively increase the street price of it's products by 5% to 25%. As in the employee discount program, the latest computers, mousepads, software and other products people really want won't be included in the program.

"The next step in our treat customers like employees program", continued Fidora, "is to look for ways to start borrowing from their pension and retirement programs".

For Consulting (Managers) Only

Q: As a consulting manager I'm becoming very concerned about the manager to employee ratio in PH Consulting. I was in a recent area level meeting and I realized that there was a consultant present and only 240 managers. What is being done about this problem?

A: At corporate staff we are acutely aware of this issue and the impact that it is having upon the ability of managers to attend meetings and participate in conference calls. You can rest assured that we are working diligently to continue driving down the number of consultants in the organization, and we're hiring additional managers. 

Q: I was at a meeting with a customer recently regarding a project to install Linux on a server. The meeting went very well. After building preliminary pricing matrices, setting up a risk assessment analysis conference call, completing the 47 step pre-engagement  planning process, entering the project into MetaPlan 3000 and answering the 7000 questions, completing a 400 page statement of work and delivering a 2000 page proposal and pricing it with the 24 way risk reduction protocol, the customer placed a purchase order.  The problem is that we have no resource to actually deliver the project. What should we do?

A: This is an excellent opportunity for you to take advantage of the new LINUX system software center of excellence in Legos, Nigeria. You will have to rewrite the statement of work in Swahili and use the Globalized Project Risk Assessment Protocol. Unfortunately, MetaPlan 3000 does not support Legos, so you will need to reenter the project into Microsoft Project on a Macintosh and create a FreeZip Archive on a PDP8 cartridge disk which can be sent via one week air express to Legos (unfortunately the center does not have internet access).  Also note that you will have to arrange with your customer for the international currency exchange and livestock immunization (the Legos center currently only accepts goats or chickens for payment).

New Travel Guidelines

Warning that the purchase of three new Gulfstream IV Private Jets to transport CEO Karla Fidiora, her clothes, shoes, bodyguards, publicists, exercise equipment, lap pool and husband on business trips may be giving employees the wrong ideas, corporate travel reiterated several newly adopted policies:
  • Direct flights are no longer permitted (non-stop flights were barred last year). Corporate travel has reached an agreement with Mid-Iowa Airlines to use the Quad Cities International Airport in Dubuque as a hub for all cross country flights greater than 500 miles. In the majority of cases, this will not add more than two days of travel to any individual itinerary.
  • PH travelers are expected to offer their meals on all flights to other passengers for a reasonable price, which must be collected and returned in your travel expense report.
  • whenever possible, travelers who rent cars should use the vehicle to sleep in overnight. sleeping in PH office parking lots is not permitted, however corporate travel has reached an agreement with the east palo alto recycling authority for permission to allow employees to park their vehicles and sleep in them overnight while staying in the bay area. travelers who use taxicabs should make a reasonable attempt to see if they can sleep that night in the taxi.
  • when booking travel using the new web based "EasyTrans" application, be sure to check off "Air Freight" as one of the options for "lowest cost transportation comparison".
  • finally, CEO Karla Fidora reminds all employees to do as she does when entertaining customers: pretend you cannot find your credit card, or make up a story about "I forgot to submit my expenses and I think this card is suspended".

News from Comdex

PH was the star of this year's Comdex show in Las Vegas! With a widely publicized keynote address by PH CEO Karla Fidora, and the launch of several significant new products, PH and Fidora were on the tip of everyone's tongue at this year's show.

Announcing the PH 8800 printer/burster/stacker/ binder/shredder, the first integrated "five in one" device from PH was unveiled at the show. the 8800 can print and then instantly shred over 1000 pages per minute with breathtaking full color graphics. this device is a boon to corporations around America who have to print millions of pages of SEC reporting documents, but don't want copies actually lying around for overzealous employees or federal agents to find. 

What's especially unique about this product is that it's an outgrowth of a "sharing best practices" program developed within PH's own accounting department after the company began shredding tens of millions of our own financial documents at the end of each reporting period. the PH 8800 ships immediately, with its special driver software expected to ship in late 2010. 

The amazing new Kitchen PC turns offers seamless web surfing and coffee brewing in a space saving configuration that's available in almond, black and brushed stainless steel.  Everyone in your household can have their coffee "their way" because the Kitchen PC can programmed to remember the favorite brewing instructions for up to 16 billion family members.
Additions to the company's popular lineup of consumer oriented value added printer supplies and paper were shown off to the crowds at Comdex. Among the most popular new products were the Laser Printer Bathroom Tissue Creativity Pak, Fingerprint Free Ink Jet Ransom and Holdup Notes and for kids 4-8 the "Learn-Along" Hamster Cage Liner Fun Kit with Free Stickers and "PersonalPocket (tm) Handheld Shredder".

Spilling the Ink on Future Printer Strategy

PH Ink Products Group President Mehesh Rigosh met with industry analysts this week in New York to discuss PH's strategies to keep its "cash cow" ink business profitable. here is some of what Mehesh shared:

Evaporative Technologies: PH Labs is working on a new class of inks which evaporate before the cartridge is used. Since ink cartridges cannot be returned (thanks to PH's successful effort to make it a felony to return an ink cartridge to a retail store in 49 states) we believe this new approach will add significantly to PH's bottom line.

Ergonomic Factors: PH's ergonomics team has discovered that many humans prefer reading light colored lettering on a dark background. PH is modifying all of its printer drivers to set the default print mode for all ink jet and laser devices to "inverted" print mode, which prints easy to read jet black pages all the time. Consumers who prefer dark ink on white paper can follow a simple set of 400 instructions in (currently available in Hungarian and Japanese) to override the new printer settings. 

Self Service Supplies: New web based technologies allow the latest generation of PH printers to request a credit card number during installation and set-up. The devices can then "help themselves" by automatically and randomly purchasing inordinately large supplies of ink, toner and other expendables from at full retail price.

Partnerships/Joint Ventures: PH is investigating a variety of potential partnerships to extend and leverage our leadership in ink and cartridge technologies. These include potential direct investments in the pen and rubber stamp industry, as well as a review of allied technologies such as pencils.

Ink Refill Kits: Let's do something about them!

Your customers, friends and relatives may have seen ads for them on late night TV. They may have received spam mail messages making the familiar claims. They may even have tried an ink jet refill kit offering "quality printing at a fraction of the cost of genuine PH cartridges". We beg to differ:
  • ink refill kits have been linked to billions of dollars in unnecessary dry cleaning costs and in some cases to ruined clothing that cannot even be salvaged.
  • ink refill kits leach deadly ink vapors into the environment and have been associated with the depletion of the earth's ozone layer..
  • using an ink refill kit instantly voids the warrantee on your PH printer and in some cases could cause your printer to spontaneously catch fire, explode and spray you and your family with razor sharp shards of plastic and metal.
Legislative action is the only solution this dangerous, looming problem. Our Washington Public Affairs office has of course proposed HR293 which makes interstate transportation of ink refill kits a federal offense punishable by the death penalty. PH employees, retirees and customers should write to their legislators today and insure that America's future is not blotted away.

PH Launches New $400M Brand Awareness Campaign

PH proudly launched it's latest global brand awareness campaign last week. Over the past 12 months, a team of brand management and advertising experts exhaustively studied public and customer reaction to the PH brand. Thanks to our very successful "INVERT" campaign and our landmark merger with Quompak Computer, we managed to shift public perception of PH from a supplier of high quality, overpriced enterprise computing products to the leader in providing run of the mill, overpriced personal computers. We needed to take this perception to the next level, and after numerous market trials and focus groups, we developed a new brand identifier: "Anything is Possible". 

The new campaign will show how PH customers, such as Enron Corporation,  Amtrak and Worldcomm, are using PH technology to transform their businesses.  In addition, the campaign will highlight earth shattering new technologies with broad impact for mankind and how PH is playing a small and sometimes convoluted  role in them. For example, one television ad will show how insect watchers in Iceland are using mobile phones to track elusive Arctic Snow Cockroaches across the tundra.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Tools for Systems Administrators

Help is on the way for harried Windows Systems Administrators with new system management "fun packs". Exciting new offerings including "Registry Roulette", "The Hunt for Device Drivers" and "1001 Mystery Monitor Settings".

More from the International Consumer Electronics Show

LAS VEGAS Whether it's their televisions, their soft drinks or their sports utility vehicles, Americans love to "supersize" when they go shopping. Capitalizing on the craze is PH's new family of suitcase computers. The press calls them the "hummers" of the notebook world and we can't disagree. Product Manager Bucky Barnsworth of High End PCs in Midland, TX says "there's a sweet spot, as we call it, in the PC market, successful people, mostly male, who need a laptop to travel with, but don't want to be caught dead with the tiny, lightweight, "European" looking PC's rolling off the assembly lines today."

Weighing in at a feathery four hundred and seven hundred pounds, respectively, the PH Suitcase I and II are Texas sized beauties crafted of aircraft grade aluminum. While most ordinary laptops can be used with a docking station, with their optional hydraulics kit, these machines can actually be used as a loading dock. Barnsworth says that owners will definitely attract attention at airport waiting lounges when they plug their PC into a three phase, 230V outlet and power up. "The sound the water cooling system makes is not to be confused with anything else on the market", he explains.

The Suitcase I/ II begin shipping (via rail) in 2006 and come complete with an auxiliary diesel generator, built in GPS global positioning satellite receiver, GSM phone  and deluxe carrying trailer. They can be ordered preloaded with Linux or Windows XP (shown here)

Founder's Quonset Hut Preserved

The famous Quonset hut which PH's founding fathers bought at a government surplus auction has been permanently preserved, it was disclosed this week.

Originally purchased for $3.28, the hut has been through a tumultuous life. Although little is known about its use during World War II, the very high neutrino levels in the structure make some historians feel that it may have been used in connection with the original Atomic Bomb testing in 1945. After several property sales, the hut ended up in a run down section of San Jose, where it was apparently used by street gangs.. 

The graffiti covered building was discovered by a sharp-eyed scrap dealer in 1998 and was auctioned on Ebay where it ended up being sold to a small travel agency that planned to use the hut as a shelter for planned gambling vacations in the Falkland Islands. When financing for the venture fell through, PH was able to buy the dilapidated shed back for four million dollars.

It has been sitting idle in a storage facility in Santa Clara since 1999, but now will have a permanent home. In light of its historical significance to the company, CEO Karla Fidora has allowed the fully refurbished hut to be installed in her back yard to house pesticides and gardening supplies. "Every time Raul, our game warden, sprays for roof rats and tarantulas, I can feel the vibrant spirit that began in that ugly little hut", she explained.

FlexCubes Rolling Out to US Field Offices

FlexCubes provide mobile professionals with a place to park their PC, make cellular phone calls to customers and hold impromptu discussions with sales support or consulting employees. Taking advantage of technology advances, FlexCubes fully support battery powered PC's and wireless 802.3 local area networks. A generous supply of comfortable chairs is provided to allow for team meetings.

Test Your HR-IQ

Every PH Employee is entitled to a performance appraisal at least:
(a) Once every year
(b) Once every eight years
(c) Once every 25 years
(d) Within three months after termination.

PH salary administration is based on which principle:
(a) Pay for performance
(b) Pay for years in position
(c) Pay for popularity
(d) Pay as little as possible

Karla's Korner: Transformation in Tumultuous Times

You know, as CEO of a company like PH, I get a lot of email. It's exciting because with every message I receive, I see new and  amazing opportunities.  Just this morning for example, I received an email from M. Mugabuto, the Director General of the Nigerian Central Banking Authority. He had a very interesting proposal, which I see opening up an array of transformational opportunities for the entire sub-Saharan economy.  There could be a very substantial business for PH in  providing the leadership and technical know how to make this work. Tribal villages could become e-centric nodes in a constantly evolving matrix of connections between the past and the present that link the very heart of tradition with the shining world of tomorrow. Getting a deal like this off the mark takes courage and flexibility - and money.  I immediately wired a million dollars to Mr. Mugabuto and his associates because I know a smart investment when I see it.
In days past, PH often said that it wanted to be like the trusted old friend to it's customers. Now a trusted old friend is nice. Sometimes you have them over for dinner. Sometimes you play tennis together. Sometimes you invite them on your private jet, fly to the Languedoc Roussillon region of France, rent a village and pretend to be Marie Antoinette for a day.

But trusted old friends don't usually talk you into foolishly spending your money. And that's what we need to be doing - getting all of our customers and business partners to start spending  like there's no tomorrow. So my suggestion is this: don't be the trusted old friend to your customer anymore. Become the irresponsible old college roommate who comes to town, takes you out on a drinking binge, empties  your wallet, steals your credit cards and leaves you for dead in a ditch next to the highway.

In our own company transformation takes a different form. It means trying things that challenge tradition - and sometimes challenge logic.  For example, some question the wisdom of taking our best and worst performing divisions and combining them. The skeptics say zero times a million equals zero. But another way of doing the math is to add zero and a million and divide by two.  Five hundred thousand doesn't  sound too shabby.

The big question is what is our place in the world. The vision thing. I can honestly say, with little chance of being contradicted,  that no one could have foreseen what this corporation has become in the past five years. Our new future will be built around the appliances that people use in their daily lives. Today, we stand  ready to take on tough new competitors like Maytag and Kenmore with exciting new products like the first LINUX based dishwasher and our new dual function network storage hub/toaster oven.

And it doesn't stop there. Think of a world where there is a web server in your washing machine; a gigabyte of storage in your shoes. Think of the possibilities when your vacuum cleaner can talk to your car; when my microwave oven can talk to your microwave oven. One hundred years ago every self respecting household had a live in maid. Think of the services potential when every home will need a full-time system administrator to reinstall Windows on the coffee maker or download a security patch into their sunglasses.

So draw the lines between the boxes. Expand on the vision. And get those customers to spend more money.

Karla Begins Employee One on One

"It's just not fair" says PH CEO Karla Fidora when critics say that she's occasionally been aloof and out of touch with average employees. To challenge the critics, Karla has set up a series of one on one meetings with engineers, marketing personnel and administrative staff. The meetings, which last up to 10 minutes began last week in the company's East Palo Alto corporate headquarters.

No handlers. No assistants. No personal image consultants. Not a black turtleneck in sight.
Just Karla, one employee, 5 bodyguards and two television crews. What is discussed at these meetings? Usually Karla greets the employee and lays down the ground rules for the one on one. She then explains the importance of this kind of communication between workers and top management. Occasionally there's time for a question from the employee. Then it's back to a normal workday for the employee and for Karla.

Homeland Security Division

PH CEO Karla Fidora told a group of analysts last week "now is the time to decisively move forward and honor the heroes of the War on Terror by forming our own Homeland Security Division and tap into the reckless federal spending and general paranoia that remains in the market place today".
The new division will include a variety of existing PH business units such as Invisible Ink Operations in Helena, MT. The new division will fund development of advanced new products and technologies including the color printing group's life sized cardboard cutout National Guardsman (with or with out M16)  that are being installed at airport security checkpoints around the country. The division also will begin development of consumer products, such as laser printer compatible duct tape. 

Update From PH Laboratories

PH Laboratories has announced a major reorganization, effective immediately. The labs will now be split into two organizations, one focused on advanced ink technologies and the other concentrating on cool gadgets that attract lots of press attention but will never actually go into production.

Along with the announcement, the labs took the occasion to unveil to the press the "Jabber". It's a 3" long, palm sized device that packs the power of a supercomputer. What makes the Jabber so interesting is that its user interface consists of one LED and one pushbutton. PH Labs scientists envision the day when the Jabber could be used in applications as diverse as deep space infrastructure repair, ocean floor mapping and biodiversity studies. Currently the Jabber is being demoed as an advanced, four function egg timer

CEO Fidora Meets with Wall Street Analysts Amid Stock Price Concerns

Karla Fidora explained to analysts that the corporation's dismal performance since she became CEO was due to the sinking economy, war fears, mistakes made by her predecessors, laid off employees and alien abductions.