Tech Moronique: Identity theft, the HP way.


I was thinking to myself about how many setbacks the industry has had in the last few years, and how all those setbacks have a face… so I want to take a quick break, and celebrate the poster children of retrograde progress. 

This month, Patricia Dunn.  

I truly wish I could have been a fly on the wall, watching her brush her hair, put on the makeup, dressing for success… as thoughts of securing her success at HP danced in her head.  She’s about to become the hero of HP, the one who called out the whistleblower, the one who weeded out the unfaithful, the disloyal.

Confident beyond smug, she laid out the framework of her heroics to the Board of Directors, proudly pointing out that the villain who had plagued HP for so long had been ratted out, by his own phone company.

What a coup!  She had proven that she could get the job done where Carly failed… that she would go the extra mile and make sure HP was safe from espionage… errr… except her own.  She did what she truly believed was right, using only the logic in her head.  Only, like dozens of Aggressive Self-Starters (A.S.S.)s before her, she failed to pick up on the obvious reason why it’s more difficult for other leaders to get tough jobs done.  People who have character… morals… and even semblance of adherence to the law… simply won’t consider certain options.

Many organizations value loyalty above character.  A liability the organization ultimately pays for, in true Galactic Empire style.  While it is true that those of good character also possess loyalty, it is not the more valued trait.  One need only look to the government to find a superb example of an organization composed of those with superior loyalty, matched with the character of a… hmmm… let’s just say that it would be something spineless, slimy, without eyes or particularly useful brain.  Dunn, Bush, Palpatine… all examples of how Loyalty is the cornerstone of every successful empire.

“Dunn, Bush, Palpatine… all examples of how Loyalty is the cornerstone of every successful empire.”

Which brings us back to HP’s predicament.  Dunn made a bold move, (bold and stupid and with any luck, illegal) but this type of behavior is seldom disconnected from the organization’s culture.  She made it to a high level with her particular (particularly low) level of character, which says something about HP in general.  Allowing someone with little candor and even less respect for personal privacy into high office doesn’t happen in a vacuum, those kinds of traits are hard to conceal.  The new HP way has congress interested, (ex-)employees angry, and the rest of the population disgusted

Was HP in a worse state when their long-range visions were being relayed to the media, which made HP look like a company confident in its in-your-face business strategy… or now, that its leadership has admitted to the use of identity theft and impersonation as a mechanism to sew shut the loose lips?  The HP way sure doesn’t sound too appealing these days.  That’s a shame, I have always preferred HP machines myself… I have visited the HP campus a couple times… and frankly, I have a whole new perspective on the company as a whole.

Of course, I hold out little hope that she actually comprehends how in the wrong she was, but I have little doubt that she’ll be back.  Hard to keep a major A.S.S. down, ya know.  HP is under new leadership, but not different leadership.  Hurd has been up at the top with the others for a very long time… he had a big hand in putting Dunn in charge, so how different can he be?

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