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Meg Whitman Is Not Carly Fiorina

Hewlett-Packard's HP-12C, first introduced in the early 1980's

Photograph by Mze/Wikipedia

Hewlett-Packard's HP-12C, first introduced in the early 1980's

HP’s market research found in the late 1980s that the users did not trust results obtained too quickly and so the CPU speed was never improved from the original 200 or so kHz.

—”HP-12C,” Wikipedia

I once showed Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO Carly Fiorina my HP-12C. She made all the right comments and murmurs. I was less than convinced that Fiorina understood the majesty of the calculator’s internal calendar. (Available to those of the cult to absolutely nail Net Present Value.)

I once showed the HP-12C to a smart executive. He said with pride that he had no clue what a calculator of 1981, and aggressively still in use today, could possibly be worth. I explained Reverse Polish Notation. He picked up the phone and called HR.

I have enjoyed two HP-12Cs. One is buried in a ditch in Fairport, N.Y., 14450, after flying off the roof of a car. The other I treasure.

Hewlett-Packard once defined “Technology.” Not the pseudo-Innovation of 2012. They are in trouble as defined by their share-price collapse.

There is hope.

I would suggest that present CEO Margaret Cushing Whitman is most comfortable with HP-12C in hand. She understands, and will reverse, Reverse Non-Technology Notation. Meg Whitman is not Carly Fiorina. Discuss.

Keene hosts Bloomberg Surveillance 7-10 a.m. ET on 1130 AM in the New York metro area and nationally on SiriusXM 113.

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