It's Time for a "Chief E-Business Officer"
From Main Street to Wall Street, E-business has become a hot topic and a buzzword ("E-business," Cover Story, Mar. 22). Your increased coverage of E-business stories and your new quarterly supplement point to its importance. But can a chief executive officer focus on new E-business strategies, maintain traditional markets, and guide a company quarter after quarter? That's why it's time for a chief E-business officer (CEBO)--who will blend a company's E-business strategies with traditional corporate and strategic management. Indeed, E-business is no longer something that can be left to technology staffers.
Brooklyn, N.Y.Return to top
American Education Needs These Reforms
Your excellent article about David T. Kearns ("The mission," Social Issues, Mar. 22) presents many important issues. Could General Electric Co. compete with Sony Corp. if it shut down for June, July, and August every year? One of the most important reforms is to lengthen the school year. Students in Singapore, South Korea, Hungary, and the Czech Republic attend school for 210-220 days per year. In Arizona, it's 176 days. How can they possibly perform as well?
Teachers favor modernizing American education. Our students can't compete with those in Europe or Asia. The 7 out of 10 who do not go to college in our system have few options, while German apprentices are trained on state-of-the-art equipment, in businesses that want to hire them, and they earn $600 per month while attending school. Who would drop out?
Our schools must move from the Agrarian Age into the Information Age.
Scott L. Libby Elementary School
Litchfield Park, Ariz.
You capture the essence of David Kearns's leadership skills: vision, passion, integrity, unrelenting focus. I worked for David at Xerox Corp. for 19 years. In addition to his leadership in Xerox' turnaround, readers should know about his affirmative action leadership. When David arrived at Xerox, minority groups and women made up only 2% of the company's U.S. sales force. When he retired, the figure was 50%. This expanded pool of resources contributed to Xerox' leadership talent and success.
It is encouraging to see corporate executives like David Kearns take an interest in reforming American education. But nowhere is there any mention made of the need to upgrade teacher pay to improve schools by attracting and retaining highly capable personnel. While "quality, standards, choice, competition" are all unquestionable components for education reform, none of them will work effectively if they are implemented by teachers and principals of mediocre ability.
While taxpayers and businesses all want education reformed, most want it on the cheap. But talent comes at a price. Stricter standards for teachers may keep incompetents out, but they won't bring heavy hitters in. We need to understand the concept that every sports fan knows already: If you want quality on your team, you'll have to pay for it.
Spokane, Wash.Return to top
Malaysia's Cyber Corridor Boasts Some Successes
It's unfair and misleading to insinuate that the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is a failure ("Mahathir's High-Tech Folly," Information Technology, Mar 29). While the MSC may be facing some problems, these have been largely a result of the economic crisis which has reduced investor interest in Asia in general and affected the government's financial capability to proceed with the MSC's full implementation. A lot of money has been spent to develop the necessary infrastructure, and the government remains committed to the MSC, which continues to build up steam.
You mention Singapore and Hong Kong as alternatives for investors in high tech. But these two have their own problems--including high costs. The devaluation of the ringgit has made the MSC cheap for high-tech companies.
You say that money spent to develop Putrajaya, which you described as a noncore element of the MSC, was wasteful. Putrajaya is not part of the MSC.
You failed to get the views of Intel, Matsushita, or Dow Corning. These companies have long been established in Malaysia, and they are increasing their investments.
These investors know that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was taking aim at short-term investors who have wreaked havoc on the Malaysian economy. There is growing international agreement on the need for some controls on short-term capital. On the other hand, Malaysia has made it easier than ever for these investors, relaxing foreign ownership restrictions and improving their investment terms. The currency regulations did not affect the MSC companies.
National Economic Action Council
Prime Minister's Department
Editor's note: Putrajaya is listed as an "MSC city" in government literature about the project.Return to top