Rewiring HP

WSJ has an article on how CEO Mark Hurd went about putting together his plan to restructure HP:

Before Mr. Hurd could attempt to fix H-P, he had to figure out H-P. So, shortly after arriving at the Palo Alto, Calif., company, the 48-year-old former chief executive of computer maker NCR Corp. set about methodically to collect information. He spent time with senior executives, conducted extensive business reviews and even traveled with salespeople to meet H-P customers firsthand. He visited H-P offices and factories from Boise to Beijing. At each site, he spoke to employees and sought feedback. In all, he has collected more than 5,000 emails from H-P staffers. With his findings, Mr. Hurd built two computer models — one financial and the other an operating model — designed to help plot the company’s course.

“I have a pretty standard process,” Mr. Hurd said in a recent interview. Getting out into the field “is some of the best market research I can get.”

Portable Computing

Dan Gillmor points to two reports [1 2] by JD Lasica on an IBM research conference. An excerpt:

The day’s opening speaker was Ian Smith of Intel Research Lab in Seattle (I snapped this photo of him in the hallway afterward). He tackled the burgeoning field of social mobile computing. Some highlights:

“A good place to dig for gold are social mobile applications.” There will be a lot of entrepreneurial activity in this space in the next few years.

A few members of the audience nodded as Smith said, “Laptops are nomadic devices — they’re put-down devices and not truly mobile.” His research lab focuses chiefly on mobile phones.

He asks the audience: How many of you have ever bought an application for your phone? Four people raise their hands. One shouts out, “I wrote one!”

Smith holds up his mobile phone: “Most people don’t even think of this device as able to run new software. They don’t think of that for mobile phones, and that’s really really weird. You can retire to Jamaica if you figure out (how to create a business model in that space).” Ringtones and screen backgrounds for your cellphone aren’t really software applications. “I’d argue there’s no piece of software that’s driving this platform today.”

Social Search

[via Smart Mobs] Ross Mayfield writes:

Yahoo views the web as a play with three acts.

* Act I: Public (e.g. Web Search)
* Act II: Personal (e.g. Desktop Search)
* Act II Social (e.g. search communities)

I got a sneak peak at this. You can save, annotate and tag any webpage — and then share it with two degrees of separation in your Yahoo 360 network, or, everyone. Social discovery happens around time, people, locations and topics.

The timing of this release may have to do with Google Personalized Search. I slammed Yahoo for not moving from Personalization to Socialization once, and don’t need to repeat myself.

When you make search social, what matters is trust, expertise and context. They may gain object centered sociality around web-pages, where stories around pages yield connections that yield stories. While this may at first glance look at a real threat to del.icio.us and other social bookmarking sites, they don’t have the social incentives quite right, yet. They either need to strengthen them (they eye personal, social and economic [ack!] incentives) or remove many clicks to get to Act III.