JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 51 : July 9, 2001
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
Keeping an eye on technology futures.
- A.I. (the movie) - Robot Love
- Honeywell & GE - after word
- Invensys: Yurko prepares for October exit
- Pharmacogenomics - Custom drugs, medication match
- Terabytes, Petabytes, Exabytes - how many LOCs?
- Rockwell clarifications
- Suggested name for a Honeywell/Rockwell merger - WellWell
- Comments on Charity
A.I.: the movie - robot love
Spielberg's latest movie: A.I. was released recently (June 29, 2001) was
about robot love - creation of a robot in the form of a young boy for a
childless couple. The mother is warned that once she programs the robot
child (with a sequence of key-words) his love for her could never be
erased. After some qualms, she proceeds, and becomes the object of his
intense and indestructible love. But then her real son (who had been ill)
recovers, and there is an interesting interchange between the two boys -
human and robot-brother.
Technical question: is it possible to create a self-aware and reasoning
entity that does NOT have the capacity for love and all the other (good and
bad) qualities we ascribe to human beings? Moral question: if we create
something that loves us, do we have a responsibility to love it in return?
These moral and technical questions are inextricably intertwined - if
humans are unable or unwilling to reciprocate robot-love, then this would
indeed be what we consider "inhuman"....
Ray Kurzweil was at the Extropy Conference (June 15, 2001) in San Jose,
discussing his book "The Age of Spiritual Machines" and his forthcoming
"The Singularity is Near". Spielberg consulted Ray Kurzweil on some of the
technical details, and Ray had just recently previewed the movie - so he
gave us some of his own perspectives and feedback.
Of course, A.I. is just a movie - but then, it's making generated intense
thinking on all kinds of questions relating to robots and synthetic
intelligence, as a precursor of what Kurzweil and others think will
inevitably happen in the next several decades of the new millennium.
Watch clips and read reviews of A.I.
Ray Kurzweil's book: The Age of Spiritual Machines
A précis of Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near
GE/Honywell - after word
I had a tremendous response to our coverage of the GE-HONEYWELL fiasco.
Apparently, no one seems to tell the underlying details.
As predicted, the Honeywell board has booted Bonsignore. My question is: if
Bonsignore was responsible for a lot of the trouble, why does he deserve a
Larry Bossidy, CEO of Allied-Signal before the merger, is now ensconced as
the turn-around manager. His stated goal of keeping Honeywell independent
for about a year, fixing it up and putting it up for sale again, will drive
both employees and customers crazy!
A Honeywell employee, not wishing to be named because "mavericks are not
cultivated here", sent this :
"With Mike getting the axe, but not falling on his sword, the question
becomes: does Allied Signal know how to run Honeywell?
If you recall, we brought up the possibility that GE under-bid the EC
demands simply because it was an easy out. Well, now Honeywell is
considering taking legal action and has retained attorney David Boies,
well-known for representing the U.S. government in its case against
Microsoft, to explore whether Honeywell has a case against GE for failing
to undertake "reasonable best efforts" to win antitrust approval of the
deal as required by the merger agreement.
"At Honeywell, some of us think of a management change as: same circus,
different clown. The last few years have not been directed to maintaining
the internal strengths of manufacturing. The recent emphasis has been on
creating a model of GE management. Not all of the changes seem well
thought out. The losses of key skills and company-ethos reflect this
"Top management tells us that the plan for the year is 20% growth, because
Wall Street expects it. What ever happened to reality? Does Allied-Signal
management have the knowledge and the culture necessary to continue the
success of various Honeywell segments? At least the GE wait is over."
Larry Bossidy, himself ex-GE and a good friend of Jack Welch, said he had a
"general conversation" with the GE Chairman on Tuesday morning, but he
didn't provide specifics. It is unclear whether Bossidy's close ties to
Jack Welch would reduce the chances of Honeywell filing that lawsuit. Stay
Honeywell's Bonsignore quits, Bossidy returns
GE, Honeywell CEOs Take Heat for Lost Deal
Bossidy, Honeywell's New Chief, Faces GE Fallout, Lower Earnings
Invensys : Yurko prepares for October exit
The UK Guardian (Friday July 6, 2001) had this story:
Allen Yurko, the embattled chief executive of Invensys, appears to be
preparing the way for a smooth, lucrative departure from the troubled
engineering group. According to the latest annual report and accounts,
Yurko's retirement package was "sweetened" this year to provide him with a
potential $7.5m pay-off through his pension deal alone.
Yurko is now able to take the contributions totaling almost $450,000 a year
which the company would have made into his pension fund in a single cash
payment should he leave after the age of 50. The Invensys website lists
his birth date as 25 Sep 1951. So, he should be able to exit on, or any
time after, that date.
The sudden change in the small print of his contract increased speculation
that he was prepared to take the blame for the 20% slump in share price to
120.75p yesterday (Thursday 5 June 2001). The stock price was over three
times that before the big decline, with a 52-week high of 277.50p and low
of 106.5. Early today (Monday 9 July '01), Invensys stock hit a low of
The sale of Yurko's $6m home in the Surrey stockbroker belt on the edge of
the celebrity-packed Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water added to the
speculation last night. The sale is said to be merely because Yurko is
tired of commuting (from the home that was close to the old Siebe office in
Windsor) and is moving his family to the similarly up-market Kensington
area of west London.
An Invensys insider provided this not-surprising insight: "If Allen Yurko
left, Invensys would collapse in short order - there is no internal
Concurrently, 2 separate sources reported that Kathleen O'Donovan (Invensys
CFO, who came with the BTR merger) is also looking for an exit. With the
recent pay-cut and pay-freeze, and all options massively underwater,
friends report that she wants a quieter life.
Read the Guardian story
On the Invensys website, you'll find an excellent video interview with
Allen Yurko: a controlled, yet arrogant response to questioning about the
ugly preliminary 2001 results. Judge for yourself.
Pharmacogenomics: custom drugs - medication-match
The biggest problem with many significant medications today is side effects
on some people. TV advertising lauds the benefits, and then quickly
(double-speed talk) warns of the side-effects - the primary reason that
doctor-supervision is required.
Pharmacogenomics is the study of how an individual's genetic inheritance
affects the body's response to drugs. The term comes from the words
pharmacology and genomics and is the intersection of pharmaceuticals and
Pharmacogenomics holds the promise that drugs might soon be tailor-made for
individuals and adapted to each person's own genetic makeup. Environment,
diet, age, lifestyle, and state of health can all influence a person's
response to medicines. But, understanding an individual's genetic makeup is
the key to creating personalized drugs with greater efficacy and safety.
New technology will allow doctors to separate people into different
treatment groups based solely on variations in DNA sequences and then to
develop the targeted drugs most likely to work for them.
The huge volume of data from the Human Genome Project is bringing a
startling transformation in drug science. The old, problematic
one-drug-fits-all approach may soon be as outdated as one-color automobile
manufacturing; mass drugs will give way to miracle drugs tailored to fit
the individual patient's DNA profile.
Good, easy-to-read article: Your DNA or your Life?
Benefits of Pharmacogenomics
Terabytes, petabytes, exabytes - how many LOC?
In his latest Technology Report (June 2001) George Gilder describes the
"exaflood" of data on the Internet as best measured in LOCs - 20 terabytes
(20 million megabytes) equivalent roughly to the contents of the Library of
Congress translated into digital form.
A megabyte sums up to around a 400-page book, and so an LOC is about 20
million big books. An exabyte is 50,000 LOCs, which comes to a trillion big
books. 15 exabytes of Internet traffic means more than 15 trillion big
In the new age, it may be best to get your lingo straight. Stop thinking
about mere megabytes and gigabytes. Start brushing up on terabytes,
petabytes, exabytes, zettabytes and zottabytes - each 1,000 times more than
Bits & Bytes unplugged - good review of definitions
Interesting estimates of data contained in various media
Regarding our coverage of the Rockwell "boondoggle" Ryder cup golf-tour,
Joe Lupone [email@example.com] wrote:
Pinto postscript : I just heard that Joe Lupone himself has recently
resigned from Rockwell UK to join an un-related US-based company. Perhaps
he himself was the other "senior" person, confused as leaving to join ABB?
"I am the currently the Sales Director for Rockwell Automation UK. I have
been an avid reader of your newsletter each month since I arrived in the
"I know you want your letter to be accurate. So let me comment on 2 areas,
which you reported on (eNews No. 50-July 3, 2001) that were inaccurate and
"Inaccuracy #1: 2 senior people left the Rockwell Automation UK
organisation to join ABB.
"The Facts: No senior people left Rockwell
Automation to join ABB. One Sales Manager did leave us to join ABB - no
other people left the organisation to join ABB."
Joe Lupone continues:
"Inaccuracy #2: $300k is being spent to send Don Davis, senior executives
and their families to the Ryder Cup.
"The Facts: Rockwell Automation
participation in the Ryder Cup is solely for the purpose of building
business relationships with customers. The families of Rockwell Automation
Senior Executives are not attending the Ryder Cup. 70% of the attendees
paid for by Rockwell Automation are UK customers -the rest are local UK
Rockwell Automation employees and 2 Senior Executives. By the way, our
total cost for participation in this event, executive travel and all is
less than half of what you quoted (Maybe the strength of the dollar!). And
you are right that, except for travel, everything was paid for in last
"My compliments to you on an insightful newsletter & thank you for
clarifying the mis-information from eNews No. 50."
Robert D. Wagner [RDWagner@ix.netcom.com] suggested another name for a
possible Honeywell & Rockwell merger:
In response to my web-article on Charity, JW in Ohio wrote this:
"Jim, I have read and enjoyed your viewpoints on a variety of topics for
quite some time now, but I think you've missed a major point in the topic
of charity, even accounting for the satirical tone of the piece.
"While I certainly agree that many well-intentioned but misguided believers
and some organizations preach the tenet above as you've stated it, it is
certainly not a principle supported by the doctrines of most Protestant
Christian denominations, our nation's most visible religious group.
Charity is indeed an obligation of the believer but not, as you suggest, an
investment plan with heavenly returns based on the degree of your earthly
"Instead, charity is an acknowledgement that all things are a gift from God
and a means to share in one's personal blessings. There is no guilt or
strictly legal requirement involved - the Biblical tithe suggests 10% but
believers are instructed throughout the Bible to give according to their
"Charity is not about assuaging personal guilt, earning a better place in
heaven, or avoiding eternal damnation - it's an opportunity to give, as you
suggest, "without personal gain" to provide someone else with a better life
and a chance to enjoy the blessings that you've received."
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