Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Carly Fiorina Dumped at Last

Hewlett Packard has finally seen the light and dumped Carly Fiorina.

The Carly saga is a good example of what's wrong in American business today - management being drawn from the ranks of smooth-talking used car salesmen rather than from the ranks of people with talent and good ideas. That's why America is tops in the world at marketing but pretty poor at engineering. We still have good innovation which is why most of our strong, exciting companies are young, such as google for example, while most of our older companies are dying a slow death.

Any two-bit car lot is populated with smooth, eloquent, fast talkers but you wouldn't hire a used car salesman to manage a nuclear power plant, would you? Yet American businesses often can't seem to distinguish between someone who sounds good versus someone who is good.

If you find a CEO who is a horrible talker but has a track record of success, invest in that company. You know that person will be a winner because they got there through talent, not smooth talking.

Carly was a smooth talking salesman. That's her talent. She should have never been in charge of anything larger than a McDonald's. Her only real success happened during the height of the dot com bubble when virtually everyone was successful. Combine a dot com bubble with a fast-talking salesman and you get a lucky skyrocketing career of an untalented future CEO destined for future flameout.

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