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Thank you for publishing Jessica Steinberg’s brilliantly written article (“Driving in the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” September). I read it two days after yet another horrific suicide-bomber tragedy. I had thought about the courage of the Israelis who continued to ride the buses, but I’d never thought of the bombings from the Egged management’s view. The article gives new meaning to management terms we bandy about so lightly: resilience, perseverance, loyalty, customer service, taking risks, conquering fear. Compared to the issues of Egged, our usage is downright drivel. Management is not war; sales competition is not terror. War is war, terror is terror–truths that can be confirmed by any soldier and, perhaps, any Egged bus driver.

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Susan RoAne
Keynote speaker and author
San Francisco, California

On the anniversary of September 11, I read your article about Egged buses in Israel and felt a closer bond than ever with the perils facing Israelis every day as they commute to work, shop, and live. It is something New Yorkers are beginning to share–a fear of terrorism and what will happen next. The bravery of Egged bus drivers and all Israelis who refuse to be deterred is awe inspiring and gives courage, sympathy, and strength. Thank you.

Charlotte Tomic
Golin/Harris International
New York, New York

Scorecard

Great article on HP and Carly in the September issue (“The Big Score“). Thank you for showing her with her team of managers. We all know it’s the immediate staff that makes things happen. If I see one more picture of Jeff Bezos or Larry Ellison alone on a cover, I will imagine them as the next corporate fall guy. The days of the “big guy” as messiah are over. It’s no longer about “me.” It’s about “we.”

Johnathan Crawford
President
Data Dog Marketing LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Winning P&G may have been a coup for HP, but it is yet another example of corporate America’s indifference to quality of life and employees. Your story glorifies Dan Talbott, who lives on “hot dogs and 18-hour days,” and mentions in passing that more than one person on his team has put his marriage in jeopardy. Is there any doubt that anyone on the P&G account will be expected to work at a similar lunatic pace after the service contract is in place? Is winning a new account more important than your marriage? Should a person’s life and happiness be measured by a job (ad-mittedly a well-paying, challenging, interesting job) for a huge, faceless company? This may be a success for HP, but it’s another failure for the people in this country who’ve traded their personal lives and passions for a few more dollars. As someone who holds the line on free time and having a life, I resent the pressure it puts on me. As a magazine that has promoted work-life balance, you should, too.

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Mike Strassman
Market development manager
Time Inc.
New York, New York

I was pleased to note that one of the differentiating factors in favor of HP’s “dark horse” candidacy was its people-oriented culture. However, the reference to the “soft-and-fuzzy factor–HP’s culture” slights this vital role. Outsourcing is a business imperative fraught with human emotions such as fear and worry. A company hands over its virtual nervous system. A key ingredient in this transfer is the people. These key people have the technical and business knowledge of how the systems and organization work together to produce results. Wherever culture is ignored or dismissed, productivity falters, deadlines are missed, and the long-term health of the contract is endangered.

Henry “Hank” Tarbi
Director
Cambridge College
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Carly Fiorina demonstrated right from the start that HP was committed to P&G from the top on down. Where was the involvement of the top people from IBM and EDS? I have no idea who they are, but I know who heads up HP. I presently use a Compaq computer and an HP scanner. I am willing to bet that should the need arise, HP would show the same interest in my small company.

Richard C. Sauber
President
Sauberhaus Manufacturing Inc.
Akron, Ohio

Elevator Pitch

I would imagine that many of the female employees at Enron (“The Women of Enron,” September) were also working mothers, making sacrifices tantamount to Rebecca Mark’s. I further imagine that the greater percentage of investors had some grasp of what “equity” means. I will try to imagine that Mark should be “. . . dropped from all civil and criminal charges filed in connection with Enron’s collapse.” But what I can’t imagine is the arrogant delivery of this “pitch” from a woman who walked away with $83 million, when a whole lot of women who helped make her rich walked away with a few personal belongings in paper boxes. I have no problem imagining that Mark’s let-them-eat-cake attitude is part of what creates an Enron in the first place.

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Noreen A. Apodaca
Orange, California

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