Shockingly Honest CEO Memos–Microsoft, Nokia

Engadget calls freshly minted Nokia CEO Steven Elop’s internal letter to the troops “one of the most exciting and interesting CEO memos we’ve ever seen.” Selected quotes:

We have more than one explosion – we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us.

Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.

They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience.

Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.

But there’s still the low-end of the market … except.. oh, gotta love this choice quote:

At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, “the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.”

Hm, perhaps the Chinese don’t have PowerPoint? Smile (Hey, there’s a reason why I suggested the US Should Donate PowerPoint to the Taliban)

So yes, it’s a brutally honest memo from a new CEO – but not sure it holds the “most exciting ever” title.

Here’s another gem from Elop’s former boss: a CEO who is not a hired gun, but Founder, large shareholder, industry icon, Bigger then God.  Yet he can’ get his troops aligned, and as a user is frustrated at the crap his Monster of a company is turning out.  Yes, I am talking about (then) Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.

Excerpts from his 2003 internal letter:

—- Original Message —-

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:05 AM
To: Jim Allchin
Cc: Chris Jones (WINDOWS); Bharat Shah (NT); Joe Peterson; Will Poole; Brian Valentine; Anoop Gupta (RESEARCH)
Subject: Windows Usability Systematic degradation flame

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don’t drive usability issues…

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve » Zoli Erdos)


I’m Productized Again – This Time By Dell

dellz First there was Nokia, with the secretive, luxury, yet-to-be-released Nokia Erdos.  Back then I said:

Come think of it… I think I Open Source my name.  Apple, Dell, Sony, BMW, Mercedes..etc, I’m looking forward to your Erdos models.  Just don’t forget to send a courtesy unit.

Dell listened: they are coming out with the Latitude Z luxury notebook, the first notebook to charge wirelessly.  Whose next?   BMW?  Mercedes?

I’ll be happy to add these brands to My Z-life.  Just remember to send a courtesy product 🙂


I’ve Got Productized by Nokia

It’s not every day one sees his family name as headline on TechMeme.  Well, if that name is Scoble or Arrington, sure, but for the rest of us it’s a red-letter-day…

Well, it just happened to me, courtesy of Nokia, and the shiny new Nokia Erdos luxury phone.  Last I checked a few years ago, they could not keep up with demand for the $5K Vertu phones in platinum, gold and diamond casings.  The Nokia Erdos will only have brushed aluminum casing, but it’s stuffed with hi-tech, like the OLED display, a rising keyboard, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with Carl Zeiss optics, etc.  Here’s a promo video:

(Why is this, and all other copies on Youtube so blurry?)

Anyway, back to Nokia.  I’m a little pi***ed that they did not ask me … but in the end, it’s OK.  I don’t get productized every day, after all.   Just remember to send me a test unit, Nokia!

Come think of it… I think I Open Source my name.  Apple, Dell, Sony, BMW, Mercedes..etc, I’m looking forward to your Erdos models.  Just don’t forget to send a courtesy unit.

Related posts:

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


Nokia? Forget it …Kim Basinger’s Lifeline Would be an iPhone Today.

The 2004 thriller Cellular features three stars: Kim Basinger, Chris Evans, and a Nokia 6660 video-phone. The kidnapped school-teacher played by Kim Basinger pieces together a broken phone and reaches a random dude, Ryan (Chris Evans) on cell-phone – this call literally becomes her lifeline.

Ryan effortlessly uses his Nokia miracle-phone in the middle of a wild race in his (stolen) Porsche, even produces the video evidence that will put the bad guys away at the Happy End.

But are Nokia phones really so easy to use in real life?   Read on to find out