Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Visions of You redux

Since my last post a couple of things have happened to illuminate and educate some of us in IT, at least me. Staff members have been sharing some hard data from the recent layoffs. What I assumed was a close to a 10% cut across the board was not. One group took a huge cut to their program and project managers, which is one of the areas wrote about in my last post. Some groups had a far lower percentage of reductions. Cuts were more targeted, and they did go after some specific areas. I didn't give IT staff enough credit for making targeted cuts, and they did a better job than I assumed. In the future I'll try to keep my trap shut until I have better data.

A senior IT staff member also started blogging a couple of weeks ago. I think this is the first blog from an IT staffer. He talked about hard decisions that had been made, perhaps got a little defensive about the work they have been doing, and acknowledged there are gaps and work TBD from a leadership perspective. Huge kudos here for stepping up and blogging, more kudos for calling out that there are some gaps. Only recommendation is step back on the defensiveness. I know you want to brag about the good stuff you've done and how hard you guys have worked to get it right, but timing is everything.

Other internal blogs are very active, and people are feisty. Our most infamous internal blogger, Jeff M., has not been blogging much and is apparently tapering off his activity. He has escaped the grip of IT for another group at Intel, which apparently won't leave much time for writing. My first thought is: it's about time the guy got a real job and retires as the Intel blogger-laureate. Despite being funny, often insightful, provocative, and could be cathartic for IT (and other) employees, he was sucking all the air out of the blogosphere.

For a year now I've had to battle not trying to copy or follow him with every post. About half the time I want to write about a topic, Jeff beat me to the punch. Commenting on quarterly update or all-hands meetings? Jeff was already there. Viiv? Jeff. Redeployment? Jeff. The new CAO. Jeff. And once he's written on a topic, I don't dare go near it for fear of looking like an unfunny copycat blogger. How would you like to be the kid in class who had to read his short story right after Hemingway. No thanks. Trust me, bloggers across Intel are breathing a sigh of relief that this guy is letting his pen cool off.

But even worse was having to put up with his intolerable celebrity inside the company. I'm out here toiling away in anonymity while Jeff has groupies following him around like he's a rock star. He'd show up at a local pub and Intel people surround the guy asking if they can buy him drinks. We're subjected to melodic calls of "Hi Jeff" or "Great blog today, Jeff" across the cafe or down the halls. You'd think having a bunch of nerdy computer guys yelling compliments at you would be embarrassing, he just takes it all in stride. It's like being in high school and watching the cheerleaders flock around the football captain. The guy is a comedian, folk hero, essayist, and IT geek all rolled into one.

Best of luck, Jeff. Let me know next time you're heading to the local pub so I can buy you a beer.