I’ve written before about the sad fate that befell Novell’s flagship product NetWare. In the list of mistakes and mess-ups made by my former employer I never included the inattentiveness of a CEO. However, I’ve just discovered a sort of mea culpa from our old CEO Eric Schmidt. Mr Schmidt, now CEO of Google, says via a ghostwriter in 2014’s “How Google Works” that “he should have been spending more time on NetWare”.
It’s a startling admission for someone so senior to make. Here’s the full quote from p168, it’s from a section entitled “Spend 80 percent of your time on 80 percent of your revenue” (a piece of advice given to Eric by Bill Gates):
“That shiny new stuff can be much more interesting than the boring old core business stuff, but it’s the core stuff that pays the bills, and if you make a mistake there, you probably won’t be able to recover. Even though Eric thought he was heeding Bill’s advice, in retrospect he should have been spending more time on NetWare. You have to focus on your core business. You have to love it.”
I hope Eric is now “loving” the “core business” at Google a bit more than he was at Novell.
ps – my prediction for NetWare eventually finding a niche didn’t work out too well either. What’s left for NetWare, Open Source?
Eric Coulson is a milblogger writing from theatre inside Iraq. He’s consistently served up pithy insights from the front line and thanks to his regular appearances on the BBC World Service’s World Have Your Say and The World Today (and BBC domestic radio — about 18 months ago I got home, turned on Radio 4 and heard Eric being interviewed on The World Tonight who had obviously snarlfed his contact details from the WS system . . any intial anger was tempered by theÂ good interviewÂ I was hearing)Â Â has illuminated many a listener’s horizon with the military POV.
Sadly Eric has decided to end his milblog.
Ask any journalist about how difficult it is to get serving military to speak to the media and you’ll get a shrug and a fuhggeddaboutit type look. With me it was always a nice assignment. Sure, Badger 6 was always restricted in what he could say but as any BBC editor will tell you, just hearing a soldier’s voice out of Iraq gives an important dimension to this most multi-dimensional of stories.
Thanks for the blog Eric and thanks for the airtime.