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Customer Review

69 of 86 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Carly's a superb marketeer and spinmeister., October 16, 2006
This review is from: Tough Choices: A Memoir (Hardcover)
Having lived through the Carly era at AT&T/Lucent, she definitely has a revisionist, rather than unbiased, view of the impact of her actions. She is truly charismatic, bright and riveting to watch and interact with. Through her career; however, she has consistently made poor decisions in terms of contracts, partnerships, acquisitions, organizational structure -you name it. The key criteria was that it make a splash and look good at the time, although many of her key decisions had long-term negative consequences. (Note the vendor financing scandals at Lucent, which she excaped before that exploded.) The impact of those decisions never marred her reputation, as she was always on to the next rung of the ladder. Her ending at HP was inevitable and, even now, she can't see that she has always been about perception versus reality. It is a shame that such a talent couldn't have focused on real business growth and achievement rather than focusing on their self-promotion. In that regard, I find her to be very representative of US business (and other) culture where perception is everything. In the end,she does not represent a particularly uplifting model for female leadership, as she fully bought into the prevailing system, which desperately needs to be changed.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 29, 2010 2:20:23 AM PDT
She tells us what she thinks we want to hear, not the truth. After she raped and pillaged Hewlet Packard, she ran out with millions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I certainty wouldn't vote for her!!! She is like Golden Sacks and all the filthy banks.

Posted on May 25, 2010 2:11:47 PM PDT
of course she has that view. All successful people think they are the best. otherwise they wouldn't have the confidence to do what they try to do. your points on splashy perception are well taken. most of those are only attempts to influence the stock price in the short term, and never help the company do well in the long run.

Posted on Mar 16, 2015 2:55:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2015 2:57:55 PM PDT
Andrew Furst says:
I disagree that Carly has the talent that could have been used for business growth, if she'd focused on that instead of marketing. Carly's one talent is selling herself. But it's all fake, an empty veneer, a Potemkin village, a house of cards. The Lucent vendor financing (especially to PathNet) is typical Carly. Carly supposedly "pumps up" sales for Lucent, making herself a star and raking in millions for herself. But it wasn't a real sale, it was a giveaway of equipment in return for worthless IOUs. Carly had already jumped ship to HP before the bottom fell out of the Lucent scam, and naturally she accepted no blame for Lucent's stunning collapse (just one year after she had left).

As for "marketing", when Carly joined HP she convinced the board that she should spend $200 million on "re branding". What she did instead was to again market herself, appearing in the tv commercials as if she were worthy of such an appearance. In the ads she talked about how the company had lost its way, but she was going to bring it back, and there would eventually be some great products to buy "just watch". As if she were saying "Don't buy anything from HP now, it's garbage, but now that I'm here we might have something to sell you in the future". Brilliant way to juice the current sales Carly, no wonder they tanked. Oh and Carly also added "invent" to the HP logo, was that a big help in marketing for HP (What did that even mean, that HP invents things? That if you have HP gear then you too can invent something?)? Seems to me the logo change was about as helpful as the laughable "sloppy circle" logo that she gave to Lucent, designed by her mom (and wonderfully parodied in "Dilbert" as a coffee mug stain).

Carly was a terrible manager and terrible "leader" at HP. She asked employees to take a voluntary pay reduction, with the implication that jobs could be saved with enough participation. Yet a month after an unprecedented 91% of HP employees agreed to the reduction in pay, Carly decided to enact 10% layoffs anyway. At the end of that year, she paid herself a huge bonus in company stock. A real leader would have sacrificed along with the troops, not thrown all that in their faces. In the end, when her disastrous reign was brought to a close, she pointed the finger at gender bias and perhaps trusting the wrong people, rather than accepting any blame personally. Now she tries to spin her HP time as a success, noting a doubling of sales revenue (shades of Lucent) rather than pointing out the acquisition of Compaq that brought that about, or the halving of HP's share price on her 5 year watch. Bottom line is that whatever talent Carly has is strictly limited to marketing herself; but look deeper and she's as phony as a $3 bill.
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