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Lotus chief's ‘combat’ record savaged by WSJ

If Jeff Papows ever tells you he's shipping a product, remember he might just be 'motivating' you

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We noted last year that Lotus boss Jeff Papows had a murky background as a Microsoft secret agent, plotting the overthrow of anti-Redmond strategies at the IBM PC Company (see How Lotus boss helped MS), but we have to take our hats off to yesterday's revelations in the Wall Street Journal's of Jeff's advanced fictional capacities. Boy, has he been telling it to the marines -- apparently. The WSJ tells an absolutely staggering tale of lines Papows seems to have shot, backing the claims up with copious quotes from people from his past who seem to have distinct recollection of our Jeff shooting them (the lines, that is). Jeff himself understandably can't recall them, which is as well, given that they seem not to have been true. So he's not an orphan, his parents are alive and well. He wasn't a Marine Corps captain, he was a lieutenant. He didn't save a buddy by throwing a live grenade out of a trench. He didn't burst an eardrum when ejecting from a Phantom F4, which didn't crash, not killing his co-pilot. He's not a tae kwon do black belt, and he doesn't have a PhD from Pepperdine University. Marine Corps records undermine much of this, and although Papows says he never told these stories, former colleagues and customers remember hearing them. He says the legends just kind of grew up around him, and he let them run to motivate people. He still claims he was a marine flyer, but the Marine Corps says he was in air traffic control, and has no aviation records for him. And here's a little nugget from somebody the WSJ says has clear recollection of shooting the breeze with Jeff over his military background. Major General Thomas L Wilkerson, former commander of the Marine Corps Reserve, bought a stack of Lotus Notes after meeting Papows. It "gave us confidence," he tells the WSJ "Jeff was a Phantom driver just like me." There's plenty more where that came from -- an outstandingly hilarious piece from the WSJ -- grab a copy while you still can. ®

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