Stern response to Otto's HP musings

Is he for real?

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Letters Some of you may have noticed that El Reg has appointed a new regular columnist, the inimitable Otto Z. Stern.

He certainly made an impression with his opening salvo: a slightly controversial analysis of the departure of the equally unique Carly Fiorina.

Your reactions ranged from the confused and amused, right through to enthusiastically supportive. One or two readers have sworn never to darken our domain ever again, if Stern's rantings continue to be given house room. For his part, Mr. Stern (Z and all) took one look at the letters and said he won't engage in direct email conversations with the readers.

Still, not to worry. We have been intercepting his fan mail, and present it here for you, in all its glory:

It's too bad that The Register couldn't have found someone more competent to catalog the failings of Fiorina, which were many and manifest for years to anyone who bothered to take a hard look.

Confusing those failings with a background in Hegel and Stanford rather than at a Baptist backwater like Baylor is absurd. Confusing opportunistic scum like W with anything resembling moral strength is even more so - though you sound as if you might fit in with his crowd fairly well.

HP doesn't need a bean-counter (however stalwart) to extricate itself from the mess that Carly left: it needs someone with not only strength and integrity but real vision (rather than the ersatz Fiorina lo-cal substitute). I hope that Hurd is such a person, but you've certainly not managed to shed any light on that question.

- bill

A second note from Bill

It occurred to me (as I was reading the inspiring article on the surprise deployment to Iraq of our engaging first daughters) that your article, though written in impeccable Register style, just *might* have been facetious.

If that was the case, please forgive me for having taken it seriously: I've been disgusted with Fiorina's stewardship of HP for years and have little patience with those who failed to comment upon it earlier but now seem eager to pontificate incompetently on the subject - and yours seemed just another such instance at first glance.

- bill

Should be worth an FotW or two ;)


"There's nothing sexist about admitting defeat. Congratulations to HP's board for recognizing that fact."

Ho, ho, ho! Another jolly jape for April 1st!


At first I thought this article was an April Fool, then I realised it wasn't funny. I regularly read The Register but if Otto Stern is kept on after his sexist, non news rants then I will read my IT news elsewhere. Not all of your readership is misogynist guys. You have alieneted your audience unecessarily and lost my respect.


Good luck OTTO. I look forward to reading more of your observations.

Hockessin, DE

This better be a freaking April Fools day article. I was as unimpressed with Carly's management of HP as the next armchair technocrat, but sitting through this kind of sexist simplification of a corporate failure more than once a year will result in my ham sandwich taking an alternate route to the porcelain as well. Her errors were of the type far more often perpetrated by men than women in the history of corporate misanthropy.

Feel free to supply my name and address. If I'm lucky some zealot can pipe bomb my house as a demonstration of "strength" to impress this strutting theologian in boots. I can't put my finger on how, but you have summed up in one letter all that is self-righteous, self-congratulatory, and myopic about western male culture.

Oh "Otto Z. Stern", damn it's got to be a jokeSrightSplease. If not I will enumerate the arrogant simplifications in the near future, and then have my hot wife go kick him in the balls.


You forgot to mention Ann Mulcahey, who heads Xerox. Her steady helms(wo)manship is partly responsible for Xerox's return from the brink. When she took over, the stock was around $4US. Now it trades around $15. Not great, but better than it was.


Get a clue. Just one more incompetent clown that can't slow down a sinking company.


Sir, I like the cut of your jib. Please tell us what you think of UK 'e-government' initiatives.

Name withheld


Rarely have I seen such poor reasoning on the register. What a sad day when barely-concealed sexism and ad hominem attacks mar what is otherwise an outstanding publication. Do you really think that a CEO _requires_ a penis??? That's so absurd, I'm actually at a loss as to where to begin laying waste to your "argument".

And, just so we're clear on this, are you implying that someone who _knows_ ACLU figures from college is somehow _tainted_ by that fact?? I'm flabbergasted. The ACLU is not a perfect organization, but were it not for their hard work we would all be teetering much closer to the brink of a police state.

My god, the tagline at the end of the article says the register's so impressed with your writing they're bringing you on as a regular feature. One wonders if their intent isn't to have someone as transparently and clumsily right-leaning as yourself on staff solely for the purpose of making those like you look stupid.

Onward Christian Soldier!

Personally, I'm sick to death of positive discrimination for women and political correctness. I feel fairly sure that your article was deliberately provocative.

However, picking through these thorny issues, I still think what you said was pretty sexist. If Fiorina failed it was not because she was "puffy haired" or because she was a girl, it was because she wasn't good enough. Your other observations may well be correct, but couching them in the terms you did it looks altogether too much like you believe only real *men* can do that job, something for which there is little evidence. Plenty of "real men" cock it up too and plenty of women can kick arse at the highest level. Maggie Thatcher, anybody?

Feel free to file this in the "over-sensitive wet liberal" part of your bit-bucket.


Peter, fans of Maggie T. will never be filed under "liberal". Trust us on this one.

Otto, As an Hewlett-Packard (not hp) employee I found your comments regarding Carly Fiorina somewhat consistent with my own views. However, your tone was pretty annoying and your degrading comments about people you don't know would be soundly condemned by the founders of my company, aka, "Bill and Dave". Keep to the topics and leave out the degrading comments.

Regards, Jerry

So, there you have it. April Fool's joke, radical right wing loony, deliberately provocative satire or just downright offensive, Mr. Stern will be back on a regular basis. Don't stop reading the rest of the site just because of him. Just email him with the form at the top of each column, and tell us what you think of him. ®

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