The Unofficial Intel Blog

Poking the beehive with a stick

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?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Political Appointments

Thanks for the comments people. It is great to hear input from around the company.
Heath subtly hinted that I left him off the list of "Blog Ambassadors", the people that Intel put in place to drive compliance within the external blogging space.

Sorry Heath, I'll put you on the list of "Matadors" when I get around to it. Then I need a "Pacer" list... Sorry to say there is only room for one on my "Gremlin" list



and that one is me.

Life During Walmart

A recent story in the NYT states:

Brian Pickrell, a blogger, recently posted a note on his Web site attacking state legislation that would force Wal-Mart Stores to spend more on employee health insurance. "All across the country, newspaper editorial boards — no great friends of business — are ripping the bills," he wrote.

It was the kind of pro-Wal-Mart comment the giant retailer might write itself. And, in fact, it did.


Now you are saying, if Intel has blog ambassadors like Josh and Annie and Brandon and Danese, how far are they from Walmart? Why is Paul's blog behind the firewall? Isn't the MAN controlling the pipe? Well, in this case I'm pretty happy to say they are not. At least not overtly. Let fear and paranoia do that. People want to keep their jobs. So they say nothing about the stuff they are working on. When asked about stuff happening behind closed doors in Ronler Acres they insist that it doesn't exist - at least until it HAS to exist. The Intel culture of secrecy is self controlling. But how well does this work in the new world? What are the consequences? What are the missed opportunities?

I've got some groceries, some peanut butter - to last a couple of days.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

First things first

What would you do if you had a few billion in the bank, 80-90% market share and margins greater than 50% on your products? What if your revenue was something like $30-$40 Billion annually? And then imagine that some other company started eating your lunch.

First they started by selling the equivalent of Jolt cola to the gamers who bought your hi-end processors, stuff with just a bit more caffeine than the processors that you were making. On top of this, they sold them cheaper. Word got around. Those nerds don't buy your product like they used to.

Ouch, but not so big an ouch as you were still locked in to the business market where IT (or if you really want to expand your empire - ISTG) guys never got fired for buying your product. On top of that add some creative "incentives" for OEM's to use your product (more on that another day). But things change. Unemployed gamers end up in IT eventually - and even can be found in finance and other areas. Suddenly, you don't get fired for buying AMD. Suddenly those guys are thinking how they are going to upgrade their servers next time...

So, as CEO of this company what should be the first step? Why am I bothering to ask - It is obvious! NEW LOGO! That will solve it. Hire a guy like Eric Kim and tell him - I want to remake my company! I want NEW LOGO! I want NEW BRAND! The other guy is beating me because my logo is old. My stock is dropping because my 'e' is dropped! FIX THIS! SAMSUNG ME! And so Eric, being a good boy takes a $Billion or so (estimates vary) and buys a little hoop to go around the logo. Note to Eric, next time you can go here and get it done cheaper:

http://www.cbtcafe.com/photoshop/textswoosh/textswoosh.html

While you are at it, cut the corner off the new business cards. That will give the marketing guys a BIG edge. This is all about new! Turn RIGHT now!

There. That should fix it.

dum de dum de dum ... time passes.

Ring ring ring
[Urgent call from Andy Bryant]
"Uh, Paul..."

"Yes"

"We have a little problem..."

Monday, March 06, 2006

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Go Sco... JOSH!

Read this Great post by Josh. Good reading for anyone interested in Intel and Blogging.