Carly Fiorina

So what do I really think about Carly?

Since the launch of the presidential election season, I’ve been asked the same two questions almost daily from reporters, CEO’s, co-workers, members of my church, etc. and they tend go like this ..

  1. Hey Phil — didn’t you work for Carly at HP? What is she really like?
  2. Hey Phil — What do you think of HP splitting in to two separate companies?

The questions started at the INTX Show in Chicago last May where I was giving some interviews. When a reporter asked me about Carly, I was taken back. Why would anyone care what I thought about Carly? Then I learned that there is this deep curiosity to know what a leading presidential candidate is really like. When asked, I give them my opinion but I would ask reporters to keep it “off the record”. I had no interest in getting pulled into the political campaign.

That all changed last week. On my radio show (Killer Innovations) last week, I ended up answering both in response to questions submitted by listeners. You canlisten here to my answers or grab the MP3. Feel free to add you answers/comments below.

So how do I know Carly? It turns out that Carly and I worked for the same boss at different times in our career. During her AT&T time, Carly reported to Alex Mandl who at the time was AT&T’s President and COO. Later, Alex left AT&T and started Teligent where I was part of the founding management team. After I cashed out/”retired” from Teligent, HP came knocking to see if I could come help. I agreed to go to HP under a one-year employment agreement to provide advice to the executive/leadership team around the HP/Compaq integration. I ended up stayed for 10 years.

For nostalgia, I came across this photo of Carly announcing one of the early co-innovations (with Nokia) we worked on at HP. The product was called “Visual Radio” and was released in ~2004. The features that were so revolutionary in 2004 are common practice today with all of the radio station apps that are now available.

Engagdge at the time described is as …

And here we thought MP3 playback was the way to go for cellphones. Nokia and HP have a different idea, called Visual Radio, which involves sending song information out (via GPRS) to FM radio-equipped cellphones. It will be free to listen in, with the companies hoping to make their money on ringtone downloads, which users can immediately purchase when they hear a song that perfectly describes them. Radio stations can also offer polls, surveys and quizzes so users can use more airtime (and thus rack up more charges on their cellphone bill).

.. As I always have to remind myself — the impact of an innovation is seldom defined by the technology but the timing.

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