Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why join HP now?

One of the recurrent themes for me in “certain circles” is “why do you stay in touch at HP?”   Usually coupled with that snarky comment is an implication of “why would anyone stay at such a large, slow-moving dinosaur when there are plenty of exciting new companies around?”   “Certain circles” include many HP old-timers, longing for ‘the good ole days’ and bemoaning the litany of ills that have befallen their favorite old mistress, HP.  

Note that to ask, “WHY do you stay involved” is different than “HOW do you stay involved?”  WHY is that I still have a love affair with this company, I believe in their values and their ethics (once again, after a brief lapse under ‘other mgmt’) and their products and services.  And mostly, I still am stimulated by the folk I encounter who work there daily, who try and try and try some more.  You know, like it always has been.

And periodically, I get involved again, via one venue or another, with HP folk in some meeting or another.  These venues often, almost always in fact, infuse me with great enthusiasm and perspective for the company HP has become, even recognizing the difficulties and challenges that it faces today.

No better example exists for me than when I get a chance to interview ‘new folk’ who have recently joined HP.  Why did they decide to do so?   I mentioned this in the entry a few days ago; several have asked me for more details….  Hopefully, this will not offend anyone (did I worry about that when Dave Packard gave his Medal of Defiance award?); all names cited below are ‘public record’ including on their Facobook and LinkedIn pages as well as the HP Exec bio page.

Let me first of all observe that Meg (I presume it is Meg driving this) is intent on bringing in ‘winners’ to help the turn-around.   And the evidence is mounting….

Here are some tangible examples of ‘NEW HP people’ I’ve met in recent months:
1.     Barbara Adey, a senior executive for years at Cisco HQ, joined HP as VP of Business Development, three months ago, citing their momentum and desire for bringing change to underserved communications areas in her view.
2.     Melanie Tinto, brought in from a key leadership role—Global Talent Mgmt at WalMart—to be HP’s new VP of the Executive and  Leadership Training group—a role served well in HP’s early days, but bereft until Meg infused this group with new energy.
3.     Robert Youngjohns, SVP of HP Business Software (e.g. Autonomy), joined from a SVP role at Microsoft.
4.     Brad Johnson, VP of Corporate Strategy, focused on the Enterprise Group, joined from a long career at McKinsey, followed by a VP slot for an IPO at Freescale Semiconductor.
5.     Art Gilliland, SVP for SW Security, joined from Symantec where he’d been for seven of his fifteen years in the software security business.

All of these folk are with HP less than two years now; each was a world expert prior to coming to HP (i.e. they could have stayed in their last job, and/or could have found a great new opportunity at lots of places), and EACH CAME TO HP.  WHY?

Some even had to hurdle the high costs of the Bay Area housing market vs. say, Bentonville, Arkansas.  But they’ve come.

I won’t tell stories about any of them, but I will share one story from another who came.  This man had been at a large firm for many years, then became a VP at a smaller ‘nimble’ firm in a highly competitive field, where he headed a $400M, quite profitable, 600 person division.  

A relatively young and low-paid subordinate unfortunately was struck by cancer.  The group wanted to do something to help; the meaningful conclusion was that a maid service during recuperation would be of value, both for the reduced energy level and the need for antiseptic surroundings.  The business leader’s thought was that $1,000 for three months of maid service would be a generous gift, not a lot of money, but high on specific, emotional and motivational value.

$1,000 is not a lot of money, but he didn’t have a discretionary account for “miscellaneous expense.”  Which in itself said something about the constraints at many companies even for high-level executives.

He asked his controller how to do this—line item expense, or ???   The reply was, “see the HR person” whose reply was “see the SVP” who said “we have to talk to he CEO” who said “we need to ask the Board” which said “NO”.   So, he put a “donations” box in the HQ anteroom, and they quickly collected well over $1,000, none of it from anyone who’d been asked, “how can we do this?” 

It is not easy for me to imagine why the CEO felt that he had to ask the Board for permission to do something so trivial; did they really weigh in on such matters?  What a powerless CEO, would be my take. 

It is easy to imagine the reasons each level had for “why not” including setting a precedent, fairness to others, use of company funds for private tragedy as opposed to “attaboy” rewards.  We could go on and on… and maybe the donations route was the wiser choice all along.  But the upshot was when the next headhunter called, this person answered the phone with a “what are you offering?” instead of hanging up.

HP, I think, still has a heart—faintly beating, perhaps, but there are worse places.  And there are folk who believe enough to JOIN the battle to regain momentum.  MORE POWER TO ‘EM, I say.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Back after going to sleep for a couple months

Wow, where does the time go?  My last post was nine weeks ago???  Doesn't seem possible, meanwhile the world kept going.  And so did HP.  The Keysight story, admittedly, is pretty far afield. What's going on at the big mothership, at least from my perspective?

The answer, I believe, is quite a lot.  Although you'd be hard pressed to know that from the trade press, sort of just like always.  So it's got to be "ear to the ground" kind of things.

The time sink for us was centered around another physical move.  Those who know my wife and I know that we are inveterately moving, for one reason or another (usually not because we can't pay the rent).  In this case, we have mostly relocated to the Central Valley of California, in a very small town called Elderwood, hardly visible on any map.  Where it is, is a mile north of the intersection of State Hiways 201 and 245.  201 is the main road into Sequoia National Park; 245 is the eastern-most road into Kings Canyon National Park.  So we're 30 air miles from Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, and the snow-capped Kaweah range, even in this drought year, frames our Sequoia Hills Stables setting.

The corollary is that we have also set up camp in, GASP, Palo Alto, for the first time actually living in HP's old stomping ground town in twenty-one years.  Our condo / apartment complex has few HPites, at least as we've discovered it so far, but is chock-full of Googlers and Facebook 'kids.'  And they are indeed kids, mostly, although some have kids of their own.

And in this setting, you just naturally hear about HP and all of the other 'stuff'-- differently than you'd hear at Buck's or the Wagon Wheel or Zot's.  Somehow Greer Park seems remote from the top echelons, closer to the 'action' in a way.

What we hear at the park is that HP is again hiring, purposefully, looking for innovative, aggressive, eager talent--and finding 'em, and attracting 'em.  We've talked to a number of these folk.  Why'd they come?  What attracted them?  Don't they know HP is old and tired, led by a plethora of CEOs (seven have managed the helm for a day or more in the past eight years, WHEW)?

And the answer, not just from the newbies, but from long-term colleagues and friends who are still there, is that the reign of terror is over, Robespierre was guillotined along with the rest, and sanity is prevailing.  Meg, it turns out, IS a devotee of the old HP Way, and people are feeling less fearful, more empowered, and hopeful.  One grizzled 24 year veteran yesterday told me: "The years from 2002 through 2011 were frightful; we're back believing again."

We're not seeing this in the products just yet, but I've never seen it miss--if the employees are jazzed, and empowered, good things happen.  Even at a big place like HP.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Keysight Data

Courtesy of Schwab (notice that the San Jose Biz Journal has yet to run a story re this 'storied' company

Keysight Technologies at a Glance
Who We Are
The world leader in electronic test and measurement
Sept. 19, 2013 – Agilent announced plans to separate into two publicly traded companies through a tax-free spinoff of its electronic measurement company
Jan. 7, 2014 – Keysight Technologies revealed as name of new electronic measurement company
Aug. 1, 2014 – Keysight to become legal entity, wholly-owned subsidiary of Agilent
November 2014 – Keysight to separate from Agilent; stock distributed
Naming Background
The name Keysight is derived from two English words: key, meaning indispensable or essential, a means of access; and insight, meaning the power of seeing, having vision and perception. The name connotes seeing what others cannot, having the critical or key insight to understand and unlock the changing technology landscape.
“Unlocking measurement insights for 75 years” commemorates the birth of the original Hewlett-Packard Company, from which Agilent’s electronic measurement business originated.
Keysight’s symbol is a stylized waveform – the shape and form of a common electrical signal. The symbol represents the company’s 100 percent focus on electronic measurement once it separates from Agilent Technologies, as well as a tribute to its legacy that dates back to the beginning of the electronic measurement industry as the original Hewlett Packard Company.
Company colors:
The corporate signature’s colors are Keysight Red and Keysight Gray.
Fast Facts
FY13 revenues forecast *: U.S. $2.9 billion
Number of Employees: 9,500
President and CEO: Ron Nersesian
Headquarters: Santa Rosa, Calif.
Key Markets and Rankings:
Keysight holds the #1 position in its industry segments of
Communications (wireless data)
Aerospace and defense
Industrial, computers and semiconductors
*FY13 numbers are estimates based on the midpoints of company guidance provided on Aug. 14, 2013. These are not confirmation of guidance.
Source: Agilent Technologies Inc.
Agilent Technologies Inc.
Amy Flores, +1 408-345-8194

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Feedback outside

From an long-term Intel employee:

Tarri wrote: "The first thing that popped into my head before reading your blog is "Keystone." I know you and you have nothing to do with oil and gas but the word Keysight doesn't sound tech. It has the unfortunate transition of an 's' and includes a 't' in the second syllable. Where does it go when the market ascribes a short moniker? Key Tech would have been better. Short and no where to go with it."

Feedback from the "troops"

From a long-term HP, then Agilent, and now Keysight employee (retiree recently)... (emphasis added by CH)

Hi Guys,

The main subject for the meeting was the "new" company that would be comprised of Agilent's Test and Measurement group.  After the change, Agilent will consist of just the Life Sciences products.  "KeySight" corp will be the current EMG group (that would be us)

Jay Alexander presented the story, with Hamish ?? also speaking.  I laughed when I heard the new corp. name.  I thought they said KeyLite, - which sounded to me to be a beer name!  Anyway it comes with a new logo which looks like a scope trace, -not bad for us.

As far as retiree benefits, we will be covered by KeySight.  They foresee no changes in 2014 and 2015, because they will be totally occupied getting the new corp. going.  They had no idea what might happen in 2016.

The whole thing appears to have been driven by the Life Sciences group.  Evidently they could not understand our business.  Maybe they want to stick to "drug testing"!!  They think there will be higher growth opportunities in Life Sciences.  Jay mentioned that the scopes part of Danaher is estimated to be less than 600M.  We (CSprings) have grown between x2 and x3 times between 2002 and 2013.  Rohde and Schwartz is a larger competitor to KeySight than is Danaher.  EMG as a whole has been flat.

Corp HQ will be in Santa Rosa.  Bob Witte runs the KeySight part of Agilent Labs.

Regarding the schedule of the split, I understood that KeySight will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Agilent this year.  Next year KeySight will be separated.

I hope you find this interesting.

Santa Rosa Biz Journal re Keysight

Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 9:48 am

Santa Rosa-based Agilent division renamed Keysight

   Emphasis added by InnovaScapes
    SANTA CLARA — Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced the name of the Santa Rosa-based electronic measurement company it expects to spin off in early November as Keysight Technologies.
    Keysight TechnologiesThe name Keysight conveys the ability to see what others cannot, offering the critical or key insights to understand and unlock the changing technology landscape, the company said. The new company’s tagline, “unlocking measurement insights for 75 years,” commemorates the 1939 birth of the original Hewlett-Packard Company, from which Keysight originated.
    “Keysight reflects our rich heritage — a direct line from both Hewlett-Packard’s standards of integrity and innovation and Agilent’s premier measurement business,” said Ron Nersesian, president and chief executive officer of Keysight.
    “This name captures the spirit of our organization — innovative, insightful and forward-looking,” said Mr. Nersesian, who added, “While Keysight is built on ‘firsts’ dating back to the birth of Silicon Valley, as a new company we are committed to bringing our customers a new generation of firsts — unlocking insights for them so they can in turn bring a new generation of technologies into the world.”
    Executives reviewed thousands of potential company names, analyzing them in six different languages, according to Mr. Nersesian. Employees helped whittle the list down to seven, and marketing experts made the final call. He declined to mention the runners up.
    Keysight does not yet have a stock symbol. That and the exchange it’ll be traded on are set to be revealed in March. The process is scheduled to be complete in early November.
    “We’re all really excited, rolling out the new name all over the world,” said Mr. Nersesian. “The celebrations started early this morning and will go on all day.”
    Keysight will concentrate solely on the electronic measurement industry, focusing on its test and measurement customers. The business, currently part of Agilent, is the world leader in test and measurement, holding the number one position in its industry segments of wireless data ecosystem; aerospace and defense; and industrial, computers and semiconductors. The new company will include the entire portfolio of Agilent electronic measurement products and the largest sales and support team in the test and measurement industry.
    Expected to become a standalone company in early November, Keysight ( will be headquartered in Santa Rosa and have approximately 9,500 employees in 30 countries.
    Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A, is the world’s premier measurement company and a technology leader in chemical analysis, life sciences, diagnostics, electronics and communications. The company’s 20,600 employees serve customers in more than 100 countries. Agilent had revenues of $6.8 billion in fiscal 2013.
    On Sept. 19, Agilent announced plans to separate into two publicly traded companies through a tax-free spinoff of its electronic measurement business. The new company is named Keysight Technologies, Inc. The separation is expected to be completed in early November 2014.

    See original story at 

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

    HP "Spawned" Biz's

    Someone asked re the last post, just what did HP Test and Measurement fund and spawn.

    Here is my version:

    First acquisition, in 1958, was a majority interest in Moseley recorders.  This was 55 years ago in November 2013, and HP's current website credits this (correctly) as the beginning of HP's imaging and printing business.

    Second acquisition, in 1961, was Sanborn Medical.  This became a big business for HP for quite awhile, eventually with some key products including pioneering ultrasound imaging.  Sold to Philips from the Agilent team circa 2002.

    Third acquisition, HP Associates, was formed in 1961 as a joint venture, bought outright in 1966.  This group, an early "Silicon Valley" semiconductor company, never got much prominence in the trade press, but its evolution was huge in impact.  Some 90% of all gallium arsenide communications devices (think satellite transmission for the worldwide communications infrastructure) and about 80% of all LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes, those little red lights on your old VCR, or your newer auto taillights, and NOW the White Light headlights on most new cars) were built by HP for the world from 1965 through 2005 when this was all sold to Philips and a private equity firm.

    Fourth acquisition:  F and M Scientific, an analytical chemistry measurement company (think Beckman competitor) which became the basis for the Life Sciences work that is the cornerstone for the "new" Agilent Technologies.

    Fifth venture, Scientific Computing, was started with an acquisition in 1965 of a smallUnion Carbide group.  This became the HP 2116, morphed into the HP 9100, and then the HP 35 handheld calculator.  Arguably some of the world's mod pioneering computer architectures and successful products of any company, measured in volume, users, and distribution if not revenue.  The Computer History Museum, and most computer historians, are loathe to consider this branch very important, which is a total pity and misreading of true computer history (howze that for a personal opinion?).

    Sixth venture, Business Computing, was started with a morphed HP 2116 into the HP 3000.  This marked the start of a great adventure in "real computing" culminating with the Spectrum family under Birnbaum and team.  Eventually, before the Dick Hackborn / Wim Roelandts shoot-out over the hegemony of enterprise vs. PCs, HP had virtually wrestled IBM to a tie in enterprise computing, a position of rough parity that exists to this day.  HP machines (via the Tandem and DEC acquisitions through Compaq) are the backbone of much of the free world's banking systems among other things.

    The EDS acquisition is not included in Greg's analysis, because it happened after the Agilent split.

    So--on balance, what's the scorecard?  Hummn, what today is a $5 billion business (Test and Measurement for the new Keysight) has funded, e.g. spawned, well over $150 billion in annual revenues, which total some $1.5 trillion dollars since Agilent split from HP.  That's a lot of moola.

    Can't wait to see what they do next