The fall of Fiorina
February 24, 2005
I never bought the idea that Carly Fiorina was going to be in any way good for women in the business. She was so wildly underqualified for her job — and mergers never work out anyway — that it was clearly just a matter of time until she left a huge charred mark on Silicon Valley. Plus, her leadership style was so crass, tasteless, and lacking in unselfish purpose — I especially loved the year when she got a bonus equal to the value of the salaries of everyone she’d fired — that it was clear she’d be something to live down, not someone to look up to.
Carol J. Loomis had a great piece in Fortune lately containing the theory that women tend to come up from the non-operational areas of the business, and this tends to lead to their ultimate downfall. Hopefully as more women start rising through engineering, product management, and sales — as opposed to marketing, HR, and finance — this situation will stabilize. However, I feel bound to mention that the most powerful woman in Silicon Valley, Meg Whitman, is famously a marketeer and impatient at best with technology.
Speaking of which… I’ve been wondering lately whether there’s any value whatsoever in joining a women-only business networking group. A couple of people have suggested I might want to check out WITI or FWE. But… do I really need to spend 3 hours listening to a talk called “Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life”? I get plenty of opportunities to talk to people I really look up to, which is to say engineers who built something great. Maybe this indicates the need for these women-only groups is declining?