Category: Moving People

MacFarlane quits Sonos

flf-JMZhJohn MacFarlane has announced his resignation as the head of Sonos, the outfit he founded 15 years ago.

Sonos makes wireless multi-room music systems for the home and had been doing well. MacFarlane was planning to clean out his desk and move on when Amazon released its Echo speakers, which started to see off his company from the market.

Writing in the company’s bog, MacFarlane said that the changes need to fight back were complete, now it’s about acceleration and leading. “I can look ahead and see the role of Sonos, with the right experiences, partners, and focus, with a healthy future. In short, the future of the home music experience, and the opportunity for Sonos has never been better.”

Sonos has become more competitive with UX updates and increased compatibility with music services like Spotify and Apple Music. Last year MacFarlane laid off employees.

The role of CEO will be filled by Patrick Spence, who is currently serving as the company’s president, after four years as COO and stints at RIM and IBM Canada.

MacFarlane will be staying on at the Santa Barbara-based streaming hardware company in a consulting role, but will be resigning from its board of directors.

Father of the laptop dies

The British bloke who is credited with inventing the first claim shell laptop has died. John Ellenby was 75.

Ellenby managed the development of the Alto II before starting the company that built the world’s first successful “clamshell” laptop.

Ellenby played a critical role in paving the way for the laptop computer. He saw his pioneering work came to fruition in the early 1980s, after he founded Grid Systems, a company in Mountain View, California. As chief executive, he assembled an engineering and design team that included another Brit –  industrial designer William Moggridge.

The team produced a clamshell computer with an orange electroluminescent flat-panel display that was introduced as the Compass. It went to market in 1982. The Compass is now widely acknowledged to have been far ahead of its time.

In the 1980s, NASA used the Compass as backup navigational devices on the space shuttle. One survived the wreckage of the Space Shuttle Challenger and John Poindexter, America’s national security advisor during the Reagan administration, described them as “built like an armoured tank.”

In those days the data storage cost $8,150 which has the buying power of $20,325 today.

Clever programmer did nothing for six years

1fd8edac-8027-46da-b052-0ce9ff022a1bA clever programmer who automated his own job and did nothing work related for six years is somewhat disappointed to find himself fired.

The bloke FiletOfFish1066 was moaning on Reddit that he had been fired. The “story” was that for six full years did nothing except play League of Legends, browse Reddit, work out in a gym, and basically do whatever he felt like. He was paid $95,000 per year by the company that did not know what he was doing.

In the first eight months of his software testing quality assurance job, he wrote code, which automated all of the programming tasks.

“From around six years ago up until now, I have done nothing at work. I am not joking. For 40 hours each week I go to work, play League of Legends in my office, browse reddit, and do whatever I feel like. In the past 6 years I have maybe done 50 hours of real work. So basically nothing. And nobody really cared. The tests were all running successfully. I shit you not, I had no friends or anything at work either, so nobody ever talked to me except my boss and occasionally the devs for the software I was testing.”

Needless to say he is pretty miffed he lost his job. Mostly because he has completely forgotten how to code, having relegated all that work to the computer, and now possesses no marketable skills.  He is also addicted to League of Legends and beer.

“I think once I study everything I forgot, my motivation will come back. I always liked software dev, I just was a lazy ass.” FiletofFish1066 said.

He has since deleted his account, probably reasoning that such posts will make him even less employable.

Creepy Cruz makes Fiorina his running mate

carly-ted-marriage-cheat-575x351Ted Cruz, who is standing on a non-masturbation ticket, has picked former HP CEO Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate [surely running away from mate. ed]

It is a last-ditch move to regain momentum after being mathematically eliminated from winning the GOP presidential nomination outright.

It is hard to see what Cruz and Fiorina have in common. He wants to turn the US into a right-wing Christian fundamentalist state where masturbation is a criminal offence and Fiorina wants to make the country as great as she made HP.

“After a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States that I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee Carly Fiorina,” Cruz said during a rally in Indianapolis.

Winsome Carly joined the Texas senator on stage, and Cruz’s staff changed the podium in between Cruz and Fiorina’s remarks to display a new logo featuring both their names.

“Ted could not be more right in what he said: There is a lot at stake, and in fact, this is a fight, this is a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our nation, I’ve had tough fights all my life. Tough fights don’t worry me a bit,” Fiorina said.

“Everything about this campaign, everything about this election, is unprecedented,” Fiorina said. “Let’s face it, these are unprecedented times, we face unprecedented challenges and dangers. I think this is a confident leader who knows what he wants to do for this nation and who wants the nation to understand who he is, what he believes and who he wants by his side to fight this fight on behalf of the American people.”

So tough on masturbation, tough on the causes of masturbation.

Cruz is trying to recapture the narrative and keep himself relevant after Trump seized momentum in the 2016 race with a sweep of all five East Coast states on Tuesday, which puts him closer to having enough delegates to win the Republican nomination.

America’s answer to Boris Johnson, Donald Trump responded to the news of Fiorina’s selection pointing out that Fiorina has been critical of Cruz in the past:

“Ted Cruz is just like any other politician; he says whatever he needs to say to get elected,” Fiorina says in the four-second clip. Trump’s tweet included the caption, “Agreed!”

Trump fear being used to lure tech migration

trumpuckerA Canadian startup is using the fear of Donald Trump to lure tech talent across the border.

“Thinking of moving to Canada? Sortable is hiring,” the advertising company wrote on its website over a snap of Trump.

The Ontario startup claims 31 percent of Americans would think about escaping to Canada if Trump is elected. Odd really given that if 31 percent would do something as drastic as move, you would think they could just vote to prevent him being elected.

“Now, while we don’t think Americans will actually move en masse to Canada if the election doesn’t go their way, we do want to extend an offer. Because it’s the polite, Canadian thing to do,” the advert said.

Google has reported that searches for “how can I move to Canada” surged last month after Trump proved a favorite in the Super Tuesday primaries, and the Canadian government’s immigration site is being hit with heavy traffic.

Canada is serious about poaching Silicon Valley tech talent. A group of Canadian mayors will visit California next week to encourage Facebook, Twitter, Square and Google to have a look at Canada’s growing startup scene.

Trump has been criticized for his inflammatory stance on immigration — among other things — calling for a wall along the Mexican border and a ban on Muslim immigrants. Canada’s newly elected prime minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed Syrian refugees to Canada, was elected because he did the opposite.

Still it is not clear what the US immigrants would do in Canada. True, they would get the Queen as the head of state, which is something they always wanted, but there would be a lack of guns and violence, not to meantion socialist healthcare, they will not know what to do with themselves.

Intel’s Andy Grove logs off

andrew-groveFormer Intel boss Andy Grove, who managed to save the company in the 1980s, and helped create the PC revolution has died. He was 79.

Grove’s youth under Nazi occupation and escape from the Iron Curtain inspired an “only the paranoid survive” management philosophy and made Intel the outfit it is today.

He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer in the mid-1990s but no-one is actually saying how he died.

The press obituaries politely describe him as being “mercurial” but “visionary” and certainly he did work out that shifting from memory to processors to serve the new PC industry was agood idea. At the time Intel was down the gurgler.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Grove made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. But perhaps not journalists.

Robert Burgelman, a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business who started teaching management classes with Grove in the late 1980s, called Grove “one of the most incisive thinkers that I have ever come across”. He said Grove’s technical and strategic abilities were critical in building Intel and fending off threats from Asian competitors.

“I don’t think Intel would have been Intel as we know it, and therefore the US chip industry would not have been what it is” without Grove, Burgelman said.

Grove managed to transit the company from memory to PC processors and out of the clutches of the mainframe industry. But he did not exactly win many friends with his combatitive style.  He could be vindictive to those who crossed him.

He is also famous for one of Intel’s most famous PR cock-ups. In 1994 , Intel’s flagship Pentium microprocessor had a major calculating flaw which it turned out Grove knew about but thought it  too insignificant too fix.

Grove’s response to the outcry was to require customers who wanted to return flawed chips to call Intel and convince the company they needed a replacement. Later he gave in and set aside nearly a half-billion dollars for a no-questions-asked exchange programme.

Grove wrote several books, including “Only the Paranoid Survive,” a 1996 treatise on the science of managing crises, and his 2001 autobiography, “Swimming Across,” a harrowing memoir of Grove’s childhood.

He was born in Hungary as Andras Istvan Grof. He fled to America by boat in 1957 and westernised his name.  He survived scarlet fever at age 4, though it permanently damaged his hearing. As a Jew growing up in Nazi-occupied Hungary, he survived the Holocaust by moving frequently, boarding with family friends and taking on an assumed name. Then he survived Stalin in a run for the Austrian border.

He arrived in the US aged 20 with no cash, with poor English – which makes his career all the more rags to riches.  His personal fortune is believed to be  $400 million, according to Forbes magazine.

He enrolled at the City College of New York, where he studied engineering and paid his way by working as a student assistant. He moved west with his wife, Eva, and earned a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, after which Grove landed his first post-Ph.D. job at Fairchild Semiconductor, founded by the “traitorous eight” employees who left William Shockley’s legendary Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory.

Two of the eight, Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce, went on to found Intel. Noyce also invented the first commercially viable integrated circuit during his time at Fairchild. Grove was Intel’s third employee, though Intel considers him one of the Santa Clara, California, company’s founders.

Grove was named Intel’s president in 1979, took the chief executive job in 1987 and in 1997 added the chairmanship to his duties. He stepped down as CEO in 1998, and relinquished his chairman title in 2005.

Time declared Grove its Man of the Year in 1997. It said he was the “person most responsible for the amazing growth in the power and innovative potential of microchips,” the core ingredient of the digital revolution.

Time wrote: “His character traits are emblematic of this amazing century: a paranoia bred from his having been a refugee from the Nazis and then the Communists; an entrepreneurial optimism instilled as an immigrant to a land brimming with freedom and opportunity; and a sharpness tinged with arrogance that comes from being a brilliant mind on the front line of a revolution.”

India’s Micromax suffers

15-days-yoga-meditation-and-trekking-retreat-in-the-indian-himalayasIndia’s Micromax which surprised the world by vaulting past Samsung to become India’s leading smartphone brand is in trouble.

Its market share has nearly halved, several top executives have resigned, and the company is looking for growth outside India.  Apparently it is being seen as a case study for those who try to make a quick buck off India’s hyper competative smartphone market.

India is the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market. Shipments of smartphones jumped 29 percent to 103 million units last year. This rapid growth created local brands, which outsourced production to Chinese manufacturers.

Now the Chinese are entering the Indian market with their own brands, depressing prices and forcing Indian mobile makers to rethink their plans.

Micromax was founded by four partners in 2000 but only began selling mobile phones in 2008. It built its market share by working with Chinese manufacturers such as Coolpad, Gionee and Oppo to offer affordable phones quickly. In 2015, it launched more than 40 new models.

In 2014, the founders brought in outside managers to lead the company at a time when Micromax was challenging Samsung to become the largest mobile phone maker in India.  However the new blood rowed with the founders and these conflicts undermined Micromax’s attempts to raise funds for expansion.

Last May, Alibaba walked away from a mooted $1.2 billion purchase of a 20 percent stake, citing a lack of clarity on growth plans. Now those executives who left said that the lack of fresh funding undermined a proposal by the new executives to move Micromax’s research and design operations, which had previously been outsourced, in-house.   The plan was to move away from making Android clones.

But all that folded and Micromax struggled to attract other investors who would have been key to Micromax’s plan to invest in software R&D and hardware design.

At least five senior executives have resigned since November. The latest was Vineet Taneja, chief executive since 2014, who quit last week.

 

 

Blackberry’s Heins booted from another outfit

MTIyMjk0NDQ1MTMwNDE2NzQyThe bloke who contributed to the fall of Blackberry CEO Thorsten “beans make” Heins is still not finding much luck with a new career.

After first assisting to make Blackberry successful as a manager Heins replaced the double headed CEO monster which were the company co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis which was effectively tearing the company to bits.

Heins made sod all difference, although to be fair the mess was created long before he got there. So the question was if Heins would have better luck in his post-BlackBerry business endeavours. But it turns out he didn’t.

Now according to ReCode Heins is being ousted from his current position as the CEO of wireless charging company Powermat as part of a settlement with some members of its board of directors.

He had been sued by three Powermat board members for allegedly “operating without an approved budget and steering the business into insolvency.” The suit alleged that Heins and three other executives have created a “serious trust crisis” by running the company without an approved budget.

Heins and Powermat are denying all these accusations. But the settlement between Powermat and the board members mandates that Heins clean out his desk along with several other board members. Oh dear.

HR man becomes Nintendo boss

Nintendo_former_headquarter_plate_KyotoFormer card maker Nintendo has shuffled its management deck and appointed a human resources executive to President.

Tatsumi Kimishima, 65, will succeed the legendary and now dead Satoru Iwata, the company said Monday. Kimishima has worked for Pokemon and was chief executive officer of Nintendo of America where he oversaw the US introduction of the Wii console and the 3DS handheld device.

Kimishima has his work cut out improving Nintendo.  Its business model has been undermined by competitors’ free-to-play games on mobile devices and weak sales of its Wii U machine.

Nintendo’s revenue has fallen six straight years, dropping to 550 billion yen ($4.6 billion) in the 12 months ended March 2015. That is less than when Iwata took the role. The company has sold about 10 million units of the Wii U since its introduction in 2012.

Nintendo is set to release its first game service for smartphones this year and is preparing a new console code-named NX.

Kimishima said that the basic direction and strategy won’t change and he will continue along the path set by Iwata.

Iwata was the face of Nintendo for 13 years, fronting everything from product announcements to analyst meetings. Iwata, the first president from outside the Yamauchi family since the company was founded in the late 19th century, tripled revenue through new devices and interactive figurines called Amiibo.

The company last week announced a new Pokemon title that uses a Bluetooth-ready button to interact with characters displayed in the real world. Nintendo has 32 percent of Pokemon’s voting rights.

Nintendo also is working with Universal Parks & Resorts to offer attractions based on its intellectual property.

Since his death in July from bile duct cancer, the Kyoto-based company has been led by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario and Zelda series, and Genyo Takeda, the architect of the Wii console.

“We thought it’s better that Takeda and Miyamoto manage hardware and software, and I control administration,” Kimishima said. The new system is meant “to bring up the next-generation executives of Nintendo,” he said.

Miyamoto and Takeda will take the roles of “Creative Fellow” and “Technology Fellow,” respectively.

Microsoft’s Brad Smith made president

20090414155721Smiths_-_Strangeways_here_we_comeMicrosoft’s top lawyer, who helped transform the software giant from an aggressive bully has been appointed the company’s president.

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella promoted Brad Smith to the title of president and chief legal officer.  It is the first time Vole has had a companywide president since Rick Belluzzo fled the office in 2002.

Smith, 56, is a Microsoft veteran, having joined the company in 1993. He was promoted to general counsel in 2002, when Vole was at war with everyone.

Smith became a Volish peacemaker. He brokered deals to settle many of the most contentious cases, shelling out billions in the process.

After settling much of Microsoft’s most acrimonious litigation, Smith has gone on to become the face of its public-policy efforts. He has been Microsoft’s top executive on government surveillance, intellectual property, and computer science education.

In an email to employees, Nadella said Smith would continue representing the company publicly on policy matters. He added that Smith will also “lead the work needed to accelerate initiatives that are important to our mission and reputation such as privacy, security, accessibility, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion, to start.”