Career Change – I depart CXO for Lenovo

January 16 will mark a major personal transition for me as I leave the world of online media for the world of online marketing and global technology. I will be joining Lenovo as Vice-President of Web Marketing, relocating to Raleigh-Durham and the Research Triangle, where I will be working under Lenovo’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Deepak Advani.

  

 

I’ve had a great eight months at IDG since joining on May 2, 2005, working with the CXO team to realize the value of CIO.com, CMOmagazine.com, CSOonline.com and Darwinmag.com. Traffic is up. Revenues are strong, and the strategy to really make the business takeoff and soar is in place.  CEO Mike Friedenberg has put the company on a solid course towards success, and IDG President, Bob Carrigan has imbued IDG’s global publishing operations with the kind of energy and direction that will insure IDG’s continued status as the preeminent global IT publisher. I’d like to thank my team at CXO Online for their dedication and passion. They are:

 

  • Janice Brand, executive editor
  • Todd Borglund, chief of production
  • Jennifer McCarthy, producer
  • William Hall, Custom Producer
  • Paul Kerstein, Editor
  • Chris Lindquist, Editor
  • Joseph Nguyen, Producer
  • Irinia Gabecchia, Advertising Operations
  • Sandy Kendall, Editor
  • Chris Murray, Director of Technology Services
  • Sean McCracken, Developer
  • Judah Phillips, Analyst

I offer my best wishes to Rob O’Regan, editor-in-chief of CMO Magazine and former McKinsey and PC Week colleague.  Lew McCreary, CXO’s editorial director, Abbie Lundberg, editor-in-chief of CIO, and the many colleagues within CXO and across IDG who have made the past eight months some of the most productive and fulfilling of my career.

Now to answer the question, "why Lenovo?"

Lenovo is best known in the U.S. for its acquisition in late 2004 of IBM’s PC business (that acquisition was completed in the spring of 2005),  taking over the Think line of laptops and desktops. Prior to that deal, the company had a low profile in the US, known in its former incarnation of Legend Computer, the largest PC company in China, a market that Lenovo still dominates with nearly a third of the market share. Lenovo markets its own line of PCs in Asia, separate from the Think line, and is a major player in cellphones and consumer electronics.

Part of my portfolio of responsibilities will be the blogosphere, to build the Lenovo brand online and develop an online strategy that emphasizes Lenovo’s commitment to "innovation that matters." I’ll be operating globally.

The combination of best-in-class products (I blog this on a ThinkPad and lust for an X41 Tablet), an incredibly dynamic global corporation, the  challenge of building the brand (my family and friends all ask, "how do you spell that?"), and my love for the online world ultimately made the decision to join Lenovo the right one.

I will remain reachable through comments here, and on my personal mail david at-sign churbuck dot. com. 

 

 

Jim Forbes: Intel to Modify Its Branding

My Weblog: Intel to Modify Its Branding

 The always-provocative Jim Forbes on Intel’s rebranding announcement going down at CES this week.

"I wish someone would take Intel’s Paul Otellini aside at CES next week and tell him that unless you’re Apple, almost no one buys a computer based on branding."

Hmm. Dunno if I buy into that theory. "Dude, you’re getting a Dell?" Cow boxes from Gateway? Charlie Chaplin? If PCs are toasters — as Forbes once postulated to me when he asked the question: "Ever wonder why there is no trade rag called `ToasterWeek?’", then why do people buy $300 toasters from Williams-Sonoma?

There is always a bit of a bling-bling contest in business class on any airline. Do you want to be Mr. Mediocrity with a clunky notebook that looks like something out of the former East German republic or do you want the thinnest, most platinum, most decked out little cutie on the fold-down tray? It’s all about minimalism, about sleek, about the unobtainable. The commodity in computing is the apps and OS — that’s why Apple is differentiated — but the differential is the quality of the box, the horsepower, and the status of ownership. Having lugged a woefully underpowered, but delightfully designed Fujitsu P2040 Lifebook around Europe, I can attest to the envy that little baby induced in my fellow passengers.

Forbes is right that Intel has to do something about impermeable brand designators like the "Centrino" – who knows what it means? 

Addictive Tool – Sony IC Voice Recorder

As a recent acolyte to the Getting Things Done (GTD) movement — living my life around to-do lists, inboxes, and open loops (read David Allen’s book) — I am always looking way to squeeze the most of the temporal situation. One of Allen’s tips is to organize to-do lists around settings, ie, have a seperate to-do list for when you’re home, running around doing errands, and another for when you are at your desk. Segment the items to the time and setting. Clear your inbox and catch up on reading on a long flight. Make phone calls at your desk when you have an open hour.

Car time is an interesting gap to try to fill. I use my commute to listen to podcasts, return some phone calls (I don’t use a headset and drive a stick-shift, so phoning is not my preferred activity), and thanks to a four-year old device, get some serious work done.

The device of which I speak is the Sony IC Recorder, specifically the ICD-MS1, which I purchased over the summer of 2000 when I joined McKinsey and had the crazed idea that I could use voice recognition software to dictate a novel. (voice recognition is well and good if you train it, but the amount of background noise in a car makes the recognition difficult at best).

The device gathered dust until I read Allen’s book and started using it to dictate my daily to-do list on the ride into work. The controls are intuitive enough to figure out in the dark. I hit record and blurt out whatever random thing I need to do into the microphone, hit pause, think for a second or two, hit pause again and blurt out another item. When I get to my desk I pop out the Sony Memory stick, stick it into an external USB drive, open up the voice recorder software on my Thinkpad, and transcribe the results into a Microsoft One-Note list.

It was pretty expensive at the time — more than $200 — but has paid for itself over the past three months.

 

Definitely a keeper and I’m sure Sony has a more modern version somewhere in its catalogue. A microcassette recorder would work as well, but the software that Sony provides is very amenable to transcription, with slow-down functions and the ability to archive files into folders.