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?

6 Responses to “The fall of Fiorina”

  1. Sterling Hughes Says:

    You should create the “Our Lady of Blessed Accelleration” womens group. 🙂

  2. Mike Says:

    People respect Meg Whitman though? Seems everybody’s accusing ebay of trying to gouge their users. A lot of commentors at Zawodny’s blog seem to not like ebay.

  3. Kevin Burton Says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it… I think Fiorina is just pathetic not pathetic when it comes to women. I didn’t even make the connection until you brought it up.

    But we do need more women in tech… its sad and with diversity brings strength.

  4. Yet another group I won’t be allowed go join…


  5. I think it depends upon the person. Perhaps in your case a women-only business networking group may not be the most valuable use of your time, but there are other people that can derive benefit from [insert hyphen here]-only business groups.

    I admit that as a male WASP I can’t really identify with such business groups. The only such group for which I’d qualify would be a Christian business group, and I’m opposed to joining such groups on moral grounds (I don’t believe that Christians are called to create a separate network of Christian-only businesses, although I acknowledge that a similar arrangement has provided benefits to the Black Muslims.)

    My employer (a Fortune 500 company) currently has no women on the executive staff at our local office, and frankly has very few women at the upper executive levels either. The last female executive here was an engineering director (previously a deployment director), and we had a female controller a couple of years back.

  6. banane Says:

    I’m in a women’s networking group, funny you should mention it, for years now. I tend to like a type of comraderie that I don’t get in other groups. It’s very diff. feeling than witi or fwe. We diverge into cats and politics, but essentially it’s a comforting place to geek out at or not to. Can’t explain it, lurk there yourself. I view the yahoo web site, vs. getting the emails in my inbox.

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