The Unofficial Intel Blog

Poking the beehive with a stick

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tag Team

This article talks a bit about the Intel IT blog. Rather glowingly as well...

It makes a couple of good points. One is that a team blog removes a lot of the "individual" personality. This is true for a couple of reasons - first, it offers a few more points of view, and secondly I think that being part of the team helps to drive authors to a more common or cohesive style. A group starts to think and to talk like a group. Just look at Josh. He is complaining to himself that he is self censoring, most likely cause is that has identified himself as an "Intel blogger".

This of course has its perils. I won't enumerate the failures of group-think here, but you can google for them. Let's hope that the IT bloggers won't fall into that trap. It appears that if they were strong enough to get this far that they should be OK. Good luck guys!

Hmmm... where are the women bloggers...?

Monday, October 16, 2006

In the Zone

An anonymous Intel Blogger wrote in their blog:

Anyone is free to think or write whatever they want about other people, but this isn't the place to do it. I won't post my political or religious views here and I won't allow them to be included in comments. This isn't a free speech zone.

Intel, caution is thy middle name!

For those who wish to post here, unless what you post is truly wretched, it will probably stay even if I completely disagree, but... be prepared for ridicule if you say something stupid.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Damn You Josh Bancroft!

The sort of idea you posted here should belong to ME!

But since it doesn't, I'm gonna poke a hole in it. Imagine you have a huge sock drawer, but that is just the start. There are other drawers with winter clothes and clothes made of Cat5 cable in an immense dresser. There are ALL kinds of clothes in there, some you bought when you were a bit more fit than you are now. Some are handme-downs, some you picked up by accident after a few too many drinks at a party. Some were left by guests at your house after a few too many drinks at your party.

Then the wife says, "Hey, we have a new baby and all the assorted paraphenalia so clean out that stuff. Some of those shirts haven't gotten you laid since 1996. Get rid of 10%".

So the first step is to think, can I put this bowling shirt on ebay? Then you throw out all the stuff with big, obvious holes. Then it gets hard. Do you just throw out 1 out of ten items? Do you sort by color? Do you try and create stunning ensembles and discard the rest? Do you systematically go through the pockets of all the pants looking for lost twentie$ hoping you can perhaps buy a new dresser? Surely, formulating a strategy will take time. And there are things you want to keep for sentimental reasons which no one but you values so you have to make numerous deals with other "stakeholders" (read "wife"). Yeah, six months is almost no time at all. You really should have thought about this in advance. Why didn't you? If you had, then it wouldn't have ruined your Saturday. Discard the socks (both of a pair) and underwear when the toes and other extremities start to show.

So yes, a 10% solution is A solution, but not a satisfying one. None are going to be satisfying really, at least until you are through.

So hurry up and get it done. Why aren't you done yet Paul?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Giving the finger

Mmmmm... comments show pointing fingers all around. The tenth commenter doesn't seem to understand that marketing drives many if not most of the product decisions. Engineering teams deliver what they are told to. Sometimes they do this on time and other times not.

Ask any design manager what the biggest roadblock to increased design efficiency is and they will answer roadmap churn. Many failed projects are due to not thinking hard enough at the beginning, or by thinking for too long and not deciding ... ever.

For a good perspective on how this stuff works, you could probably do worse then googling for Bob Colwell. He is a bit hyperbolic, but certainly entertaining and for the most part accurate.

As for the role of IT or HR in this, I just don't know enough to throw stones accurately. It just seems to me that everyone in IT except for 5 or 6 people who actually write code is a manager. I can't see how that would be a good idea. HR is a black hole. Throwing anything is bound to end up hitting it.

Anyway, in tough times the people in the lifeboats should paddle together instead of sizing up how tender the liver of another may be. Let's all just get along, and pass me the Chianti.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I am not alone...

IT Guy is testing the waters with another Intel anonyblog.
Good Luck IT GUY!
Find it here:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Our amps go to 10.5

Bringing the intel population down to 92K is an interesting idea. I can't remember exactly, but Craig drew the line somewhere at 75K once and at 85K another time. How Intel ballooned to more than 100K (not counting contractors) is a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe there are some clues in the press releases...

EEtimes's write up mentions the initial cuts are in:
"management, marketing and information technology functions, reductions related to the previously announced sale of businesses, and attrition"

Hmmmm... bloated management, marketing and IT? Who would have guessed!

My condolences to those who are among the unfortunate who get in the way of the combine. The manager cuts were hardly what most would call "surgical" so there are going to be more injured civilians in this round.

I offer this site to anyone who is interested in posting their thoughts on this matter and who does not have a "safe" place to do so. Just leave a comment or email me -

Goodnight and good luck!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lonely at the top

Anonymous noted:

Previous CEO contenders:
Mike (AMAT): Jason (TSMC)
Mike (CDNS): Abhi (LSI)

Um... if Paul "you are free to leave at anytime" O. does not pull through then who indeed are the contenders? Kicking Pat Gelsinger? Sean Baloney? Andy "keep it legal" Bryant? Or does someone have to come in from outside to really clean up?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm so flattered

A kind reader wrote:

"This is probably one of the last places where one can get the real deal. The internal blogs and newsgroups are already being censored, everything is always logged.

I wonder what kind of wonderful discussions we'd have if we had an anonymous discussion forum at Intel, where everything goes, and everyone is allowed to challenge any ideas. No sacred cows there. Unfortunately, that's never going to happen. It would be too dangerous to the powers that be. They'd be some unnecessary namecalling, of course, but I think the possible benefits would far outweigh any problems."

I've seen that sort of discussion at Intel. Wide open. Identities exposed. No topic off limits and for the most part the discussion was pretty civil. Usually it happens at lunch :-)

But more than being flattered, I'm truly glad that people find this forum useful. If you have something important to say and don't want it buried in the comments, feel free to email me at and I'll be happy to publish it as a stand-alone article. Likewise if you have topics you want comments on.

Hang in there people. September is almost upon us.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Goodbye, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu

If I am not mistaken, this is the last day for the 1000. Some have surely left for the day. Now we wait for the second shoe...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

1000tellini and the math.

1000 managers. Well, that is a start. Figure one manager for every 6-7 people. Means 1 person is a manager out of every 8. Or 10,000 managers out of 80,000 so the layoff means about 10% of managerial ranks. Of course, focal expects about 10% of the general population to be "slower" so this is close to what you would expect from attrition and running managers out of town on Corrective Action Programs. Of course, there are more than 80,000 people. Closer to 100K. And each of those managers also has a manager so there are probably more than 10,000 managers. I wouldn't be surprised if the number were 15,000. This makes the layoffs nearly trivial when compared to yearly attrition.

But they will be painful of course to those 1000 people. That can not be denied. And how did things end up this way? Is focal to blame with a salary structure that incentivizes becoming a manager? Is a too narrow technical track to Intel Fellow the reason? Are the bloated upper levels of dozens of ill-integrated acquisitions clogging the corporate ladder? Is everyone just getting older?

So many questions. So many hard problems that need to be addressed as a systemic problem rather than as a reaction. And that is why Paul makes the big bucks.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A flash of moonlight

In case you are in the dark, Justin Rattner is moonlighting over at ZDNet.

Hey Justin, bring some value to Intel by building our brand by posting at Don't forget to turn on the switch so you can see the lights from the outside.

For those who think this is me recycling posts from my gadget blog... well you are just plain wrong. I'm recycling it from Josh's tinyscreenfuls blog, if that makes any difference.

It's a Marvel

that Marvell picked up the struggling group that they did. I've always had respect for Marvell's business acuity. But one can be hopeful that they will give it the proper attention and turn it into something valuable. A little help with execution (no, not shooting the designers... well, maybe just a few middle managers) and lack of a shadow from big brother might actually work and turn out a lean organization and a lean mean processor.

All I can say is, it is about time.

Oh, and to my faithful reader - if there is one. Sorry, been busy keeping head above water.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mini Microsoft

If you haven't read it, you should probably go and see what is happening there:
Microsoft just did away with their "stack" ranking system, a system which as I've seen it described is similar to Intel's "Focal" process with its focus on ranking and rating.

It is becoming increasingly clear that this model may not be the optimum. There is a bunch of literature about this, but the one which seems to ring true with a lot of people is a simple article on compensation by Mary Poppendieck which you can read here:

It will be interesting to see how long it takes Intel to respond...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Similarities - Kimilarities

Eventually through the forces of capitalism every logo will be a swirly oval thingy and every corporate website will have energetic or attractive people who personify the desired characteristics of the product. They will probably be blue and maybe have a touch of pink or orange (depends if it is an even or odd year)

This drive towards homogeneity and mediocrity is an unstoppable force fueled by the principle of "that looks good, give me what she is having". As usual, Intel is leading the pack by borrowing some tricks...
Check them out. Compare this one:

and this one:

Thank you Eric Kim! I feel so ALIVE!

(and thanks to anonymous poster for pointing it out)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Paul the Knife

You probably already know that Paul Otellini said:

"We are well aware of the realities of our business outlook. Perhaps most important, we are taking action to address those realities."

Great. Go get 'em. But, uh, don't kill my division... Can't we just get rid of optical or something? How about those Whitefield characters in India? Is Intel Play still around?

But Paul, here is an idea. Instead of taking a wedge out of the big cake, how about doing it horizontally? You could probably take out one of the layers and then put the little figurines back on the top without anyone noticing. Just think how that would motivate all the little people. Just think of the fire it would put in the big people. What do you say? Remove every grade 10 with an even WWID?

It probably isn't realistic. Mainly because those very people are the ones making the lists and checking them twice. Are you going to get there via the sort of assessment you have planned? It just doesn't seem likely. Someone else has to make the decision.

So if we are talking realism, then the answer is to be bold. Starving smaller projects to death or short staffing them is no real way to grow a business. But Intel does this all the time. So many things are pursued half-heartedly that they become self-fulfilling failures. No, chop, chop, chop away. Put the knife to them Paul! As long as it isn't me...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Oh dear!

It has come to my attention this morning that the Washington Post has a whiny rant about VIIV. Intel's Hard-to-Define Viiv Doesn't Live Up to the Hype. Sure it is all true, but the tone is dreadful. It almost would have been better if VIIV was released when originally planned so this could be behind us already. Dragging it along in the hopes that it will be better someday is just embarassing.

Get to work Don. People are knocking on the door of the digital home and no one is answering. Take a lesson from your pal Steve J. and you might realize that SOFTWARE is one of the key reasons hardware sells. How are you doing in that area? Seriously. I'm sure you've been asked this question before. This article makes it sound like you are absolutely clueless. What did you tell Paul?

It is one thing to have a recipe, quite another to bake the cake. Intel needs to stop putting pictures on the side of the cake mix box and work on getting all the ingredients right, THEN execute. There is no other way to deliver fluffy goodness. Please some more fluffy goodness!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Inq spots

Posty pointed out the following series of articles about Our Beloved Intel:
Intel bogged down by multiple missteps and Part II Intel's obsession with marchitecture is hiding real problems.

Charlie Demerjian is hyping it up a bit, but there is no arguing about some of his points. Part II which talks about the "Centrino Magic" is rather perceptive. In my opinion, it was the right thing at the right time, but others who shall not be named used the marketing aspect of it to build a career upon. Now they are trying to do it again. The conquistadors wisely realized that they could only pull the Total Solar Eclipse card out of their pocket one time, and brought a lot of back-up. Viiv on the other hand looks like it was the brainchild of someone who feels they have a hot hand at the craps table and a couple too many martinis. Breathing on the dice and shouting "come to papa" is not going to make it better.

Management change needs to happen. Really. Blogging sadly will not get us there.

(Thanks to Posty for pointing out the articles)

Friday, March 31, 2006

Anonymity and other vice$

I drink beer. I don't tell my boss how much beer I drink. I have sex. I don't tell my boss how much sex I have. I have feelings about my company. I do tell my boss about my feelings about my company - but only because to a certain extent we share those feelings.

However, Intel is pretty small for a 100K person company, and there are those who do not share my feelings and are judgemental. Look in the last post's comments for some examples of that. So rather than jeopardize my "next" job, or a working relationship I may have with one of those people it is wiser to perhaps wrap a blanket around my head and scramble the tone of my voice. I'd write in a different language if I could.

Does my identity or those of the people who kindly contribute to the conversation matter? Would it matter if I am actually Andy Glew or Andy Grove? Well, maybe the latter would earn me a spot atop the blogs. But what I am saying and my intentions are unchanged whether anonymous or not. Internally, I am not anonymous either. People who know me know what I think. We talk about this stuff. Anonymity here is a shield against quick judgement and the backlash of those who view criticism as a sword rather than a scalpel.

Failing to talk about what can and should be improved is to ignore an opportunity. The fab does not have people sitting around ignoring the fact that a process is out of control. They monitor and fix it. That is their job. They aren't saying "Bad fab!" You naughty fab!", they just say it has a problem and quickly and dispassionately fix it. The business processes at Intel are out of control. I'm not saying "Bad Intel! You naughty Intel!". Anyone who imagines that I am is delusional. I am saying that there is evidence that Intel is losing its lead. It is losing its spirit. It is losing its culture. They are all tied together. And I am losing money. ALL BAD. Lets fix it, and not by cutting corners on business cards.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Poking the beehive

Josh the Great has a post on paranoia at Intel which has sent a couple readers this way. Thanks Josh! If you didn't come here from there, don't forget to put his blog on your list as well.

Reading the comments gives you a pretty good perspective of what rules Intel. Only a couple of the readers left their names (one I have confirmed is no longer an Intel employee) and the others like me hide behind pseudonyms. Does that sound more like anger or paranoia to you? Does the word "fear" ring a bell?

But to those on the outside, all of this is voiced internally, it just seems to be disregarded as unproductive complaining. I'll have to dig up the email or WTK response I read that was so dismissive of the negativists. All I have to say is that sometimes there is a wolf...

A hungry one.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It's all over but the payletters

Tis the season when performance reviews actually get delivered and when raises / or lack thereof are bestowed upon the anxious masses. Actually, by now you probably know what is coming your way, but it won't show up until mid-month. Personally I think there are some serious problems with R&R, but I'm not in the mood to do a mini-microsoft discussion of this stuff. More just a sad lamentation about the way that HR tries to put a happy face on whenever they remove money from your pocket.

Just to remind our readers of a couple examples. SERP contribution - supposedly related to the health of the company, but has been down by 4% the past couple of years as compared to the rest of this millenium. It is sticky downwards it seems. Stretching back a couple years, options expiration going from 10y to 7y. Wow. I'm surprised this was not a big deal. But then again most people have probably given up on those things. You have to go back more than 8 years for them to have any meaningful value. Another one I'm waiting to see how it pans out is geographic differential. This has been on the decline for a few years as well. Kind of funny since the cost of living has not reduced in the targetted geographies. In fact if you look at what Santa Clara people pay for housing they would need geo diff in the triple digits...

But put all that aside. SMA is on its way! Well, for some people. And the people who don't get it, well, just be thankful you are probably not going to pay Altmini tax this year.

To all those who wrote in talking about AMD making inroads at Dell and even into Intel presentations... Thanks, but are you trying to make me cry or laugh?