JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 69 : November 25, 2001
Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
- Anti-terrorism technology - 9
- MIT-Review: Technology vs. Terror
- Soft solutions for hard problems
- Invensys still stewing
- UK Worst bosses - Invensys 2-out-of-5
- Yurko gone, Marshall still there
- Future Forecasts
- The world in 2050
- Office fantasies of the future
- Dec. 4 event: Pinto predictions for the 21st. century
- ABB big chief resigns - US losses mount
- Foxboro culture change after Siebe
- Virtual visits cannot replace hugs
Anti-terrorism technology - 9
This is the cover story and special report in the December 2001 issue of
MIT Review December 2001. Four feature articles show that technology is
valuable in sensing terrorist attacks of all kinds and in making our built
environment more resistant to destruction.
MIT-Review: Technology vs. terror
Lives could be saved by sensors and therapies now under development -along
with software that could help distinguish an anthrax assault from an
outbreak of the flu.
Networking the Infrastructure
New classes of detectors, plus safer building designs, point to an
"intelligent city" that senses danger.
Will Spyware Work?
Monitoring voice and e-mail traffic sounds like a good way to thwart
terrorism. The problem? Sorting through the results takes too long for
Recognizing the Enemy:
Creating a central database of photos to identify terrorists through face
recognition is a bureaucratic nightmare.
The Shock of the Old:
MIT-Review articles Technology vs. Terror
On 9/11, a nation primed for a futuristic attack failed to foresee a
low-tech assault. Why?
Soft solutions for hard problems (continued)
My theme brought a big flurry of comments, suggestions, ideas, and
opinions. The irrepressible Jake Brodsky bounced back with a million ideas.
It is Ignorance that exacerbates the gap between rich and poor. This
follows from our previous thesis: "Stupidity is more destructive than
Malevolence". Ignorance is just like stupidity in that they both have low
traffic flows. The difference is that an Ignoramus may have the capacity
for higher traffic, whereas the Stupid does not.
We need to evangelize our principles. We need to educate the world. We
need to use all tools at our disposal including propaganda, advertising,
broadcasting, networking and so forth...
Democracy only works in an educated society. We ought to engage and
evangelize, not withdraw support. Again, Malevolence is less destructive
when a society is no longer ignorant.
Centralization is highly vulnerable. Not Science. Redundancy and
parallelism will solve that problem by not exposing single points of
Capitalism is but one support of a society. Morality, Religion, Freedom
and Education are additional supports. Saying that just capitalism doesn't
solve the problem is accurate, but incomplete.
We must encourage entrepreneurship at smaller and smaller levels. Cheap
communications with free movement of information are key things here. The
easier it is to find out who is doing what, the easier it will be to make
Your own inputs, ideas, feedback, commentary, suggestions and encouragement
will be much appreciated!
eSpeak to me:
Invensys still stewing
Invensys’ interim results for 6 months ended 30 September 2001 were
announced by the new CEO, Rick Haythornthwaite. Apparently, a lot of
investors felt that the worst was over, and the stock jumped over 100 (from
a recent low of 27) - not bad!
Haythornthwaite warned that it is entirely feasible that Invensys will be a
very different looking group and warned that a break-up cannot be ruled
out. He confirmed that a variety of businesses would be sold off, but the
new shape of the company would not be revealed until February. He announced
that another $0.5m might be spent in another shake-up; even as he spoke,
Foxboro and others reported more RIFs and layoffs.
One distraught Foxboro employee reported:
"On bloody Monday, Nov. 12th, 150 people were axed in the USA, Business
Solutions was slaughtered and Performance Solutions was decimated. 125 were
axed at EMEA, with additional reductions in the Pacific Rim. VP of
Technology Larry Gozzard, who was brought in about 2 years ago, was let go
on Friday. 500 more Invensys employee layoffs are planned."
Another long-term insider gave this news:
"After being split a couple of years ago, Foxboro's systems division and
the M&I (Measurement and Instrumentation) divisions are being merged
(again) by March 2002. Out of this, one Quality Manager, one Test
Engineering Supervisor, etc. will survive the cuts. All for the good of the
A source close to strategic high-command at Invensys whispered:
"Invensys will completely ditch the Process Solutions side of the business,
and will concentrate on the hardware and the servicing of their hardware
alone. Talk about being myopic, it really signifies the beginning of the
end. Most companies acknowledge the fact that the I&C market in North
America is shrinking, and growth lies in service. Invensys will swim
upstream to (maybe) spawn, but certainly die. I guess that a process
solutions market value of $5 billion dollars is not worth it to them. So,
is this what Leo Quinn the new President of ISS is doing?"
When rumors persisted that GE is buying Foxboro, a knowledgeable major
"GE is smart enough to NOT fall for the fluff - it
would be a complete surprise. We have been in talks with Invensys about buying
pieces and I think that they would surely tell us to try to get some
bidding going, but who knows."
UK Observer - Jury is still out on Invensys
Invensys' new boss says it will survive
All the Invensys you could possibly stand at MotleyFoolUK site
UK worst bosses 2000 - Invensys 2 out of 5
Last year, the UK Investors Chronicle ran a story on Britain's worst bosses
in 2000 - five people who had tried and failed to live up to their jobs.
The five included 2 from Invensys:
Britain's worst bosses 2001: where are they now?
- Allen Yurko, Invensys CEO till 6 weeks ago
During Yurko's tenure, shares in Invensys fell from an all-time high of
400p to less than 30p recently, wiping out more than $15b of shareholder
value. During the recent announcement of results Haythornthwaite, the new
CEO, gave a damning indictment of the way Yurko had run the troubled
company. Yurko had spent so much time on "excessive restructuring" and
shedding jobs that the company had failed to look after its customers. In
less than three years Yurko had shed 23,000 jobs and issued a series of
profit warnings, till he eventually "resigned" (with a $ 7.5m pension in
his pocket). He was paid about $1.5m a year, while the new CEO gets "only"
In the midst of this lambasting, Yurko "agreed to remain" till January
2002; one wonders what he is doing, and is he actually being paid a salary
in the interim. Still a young man (50), where will he turn up next? Perhaps
there is still someone out there who hasn't read the headlines and can
still believe the Yurko yuck.
- Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge (to give him his full title)
The pompous and xenophobic chairman of Invensys (and also British
Aerospace) is responsible for talking Yurko into merging Siebe with
pig-in-a-poke BTR. He sneakily sidestepped the blame as Yurko was ditched.
Now Invensys is close to dismemberment, and BA (the airline) faces perhaps
its biggest challenge yet. Under pressure to resign, Marshall gave up the
deputy chairmanship of BT; one wonder when he will actually be booted out
of his remaining charades.
The world in 2050
Shell joined together with The Economist to launch with "The World in ____"
writing prize in April 2000. The aim of the competition was to encourage
debate and thought about the social, political, environmental,
technological and economic issues that countries, companies and individuals
will face in the middle of the 21st century.
William Douglass, age 29, from Houston, Texas beat more than 3000 entrants
from 75 countries with his essay 'Dear Nestor'. The essay takes the form of
a letter written by a young Bangladeshi boy to a friend in the USA in a
world governed by 'The Network' where oilrigs are obsolete, and special
genes and limited duration marriages are the norm.
The judges chose this entry because of the connection made between advances
in technology and the unchanging importance of human relationships.
Read the winning entry for The world in 2050
Office Fantasies of the Future
FORTUNE magazine recently asked four of America's largest office-design
companies (Knoll, Herman Miller, Haworth, and Hon Industries) to predict
what our workplaces might look like 50 years from now. Unlike today's cell
phones, pagers, faxes, and e-mail, which interfere with our personal
interactions even as they enable them, the technology of 2050 will
encourage face-to-face communication, or at the very least an excellent
holographic facsimile. So say the designers. These visions may reveal the
future of the workplace.
Fortune: Office Fantasies of the Future
Pinto Predictions for the 21st Century
On December 4, 2001, I will be speaking on this subject to the San Diego
chapter of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs).
TiE is a worldwide networking and mentoring organization chartered by high
profile entrepreneurs, corporate executives and senior professionals,
including, but not limited to those with roots or interest in the Indus
region (the Indian sub-continent).
Each month TiE San Diego has a networking meeting with guest speakers from
Silicon Valley and successful enterprises to share their experiences for
the benefit of TiE member entrepreneurs.
4 Dec. '01 - TiE speech: Predictions for the 21st century
Commenting on the ongoing decline of the industrial automation biz, a
knowledgeable industry observer wrote:
"ABB Chairman of the Board Percy Barnevik has just resigned, admitting that
things were a pig sty and that he has to share the blame. The US is really
bleeding in my estimation. This year, Siemens is losing over $400 million
in the US."
Jerry VanEe, [firstname.lastname@example.org] an ex-employee commented on the culture
change at Foxboro after Siebe acquired it:
"In the early '90's, I entered the big bad world of selling, first for
Honeywell, then Taylor which mutated to ABB-Kent Taylor. Finally, in 1995
I joined Foxboro and within 3 days of joining I realized I had made a big
mistake. The problem is wrapped up in the comment you made in your last
email; that is: Capitalism cannot succeed through ME-ism. If I were to sum
up the pervading atmosphere at Foxboro in a single word, it would be
Mike Bresler disagreed on my suggestion that family get-togethers be
replaced by virtual visits:
I am not sure how this type of thing happens in companies, but when a
significant number of people in the organization put their own
self-interest before everything else, the organization is in big trouble.
I stayed at Foxboro just long enough to confirm it was the worst place I
had ever worked, and I left after 6 months. I took the first job offer
that came along.
Bear in mind that 6 months there hardly qualifies me to speak about the
over-all corporate culture. I just know that what I saw in my short time
there. I also heard from several previous long time Foxboro employees that
things used to be much different."
"Do you really feel the fear of terrorism should keep us from being near
our loved ones? Should we surrender the thrill of hugging a grandchild and
sharing Thanksgiving dinner in exchange for a sense of increased security?
But, you were just kidding right?
"Most of us have a far greater chance of being killed in a traffic accident
than by a terrorist act. If past statistics are a reliable indication, more
than 6000 people have been killed on our highways since September 11.
Where's the outrage and fear of driving? And since the highways are so
dangerous, maybe I should quit driving to the grocery store. Had all those
e-grocers not gone bankrupt I could ask them to risk their lives getting
groceries to my home. And while they were here I could pay them to open my
mail, knowing there's a possibility (one in several billion) one of the
letters could contain anthrax. Where does it end?"
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