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HP's Lew lays down Lew's Laws

Head of HP badly, madly mangles English language

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The five rules of Lew's Law were elaborated by the eponymous Lewis Platt, Chairman of HP, at the IDC European IT Forum in Paris. His first rule was that people should "choose smart" -- or to put it another way, eat or be eaten. He described how the electronic graveyard of equipment had come from obsolete or failed products, and admitted the failure of the first HP inkjet printer. However, HP persevered and the result was the Deskjet, which helped to propel HP to a situation where half the world's PCs had an HP printer. His second rule was to "add genes". Corporate diversity worked for HP, and kept the company away from false assumptions and stereotypes in its staff hiring policies. Third was "listen deep" (this use of adjectives as adverbs gets to you). Platt advocated paying attention to young people as they are tomorrow's customers, and have untapped talent. The Internet world had reached 50 million users in four years, compared with 13 years for TV and 38 years for the telephone to reach the same mark. "Move fast" was the fourth key to survival. Again challenging the English language, he suggested that "Doing the right thing right -- right now" was essential. Lew's last rule was "Banish complexity". All these rules had not helped HP prepare itself for the rapid collapse in Asian and South American markets. In South Korea, HP revenue had reached a billion dollars a year, faster than in any other country, but this year Platt thought it unlikely that HP would see more than $400 million. Platt agreed that HP's embrace of NT followed his "eat or be eaten" maxim, although he felt that HP had made the right decision because many HP customers wanted a mixed Unix-NT environment. Platt saw the future as one in which special purpose devices or appliances would play a major role. His choice of words gave the impression that Microsoft partners were under instruction never to utter "NC". ®

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