I joined CA in '89 and left in '98. Something missing from your in-depth piece was a clear understanding of CA under Charles Wang. The concept that CA was merely transaction-driven back then is, from my experience, not the case. Transactions are the lifeblood of a business. Nevertheless, a strong emphasis was always placed (although not always managed to at the divisional level) on repairing and building relationships.
My first experience with this emphasis came in the first 10 days of my career with CA. We'd been brought to Garden City, N.Y., for a two-week training exercise. On the last day, Charles came in. As he left, he told us, "When you make your first calls on your clients and prospects, you will get a strong push back from them. Remember that the degree to which someone may appear to hate you when you meet them, it is to that same degree that if you work hard for them and bring them real value, they will respect you and buy software solutions from you." This isn't the observation of a man managing a company "transactionally."
There's a big difference between in-your-face-marketing and just plain alpha-dog attempts to intimidate people. I've found over the past several years that senior executives often maintain a nice-guy image in public and revert to Mr. Hyde out of public view.
It surfaces more when executives are under the gun to perform and those not under their direct control aren't supporting their agenda. More than a few have gotten where they are on window dressing and polish, and now they've got to really do something--run a company--and they just don't know how.
The really successful ones know how to get the best and brightest working for them. That seems to be dissipating on executive row.
Brian K. Seitz Principal,
Intellectual Arbitrage Group
If MySpace and all the other social networking sites are serious about restricting access by minors to their sites, or functionality within them, then they need to require that new signups supply the only real and widely deployed "age verification" system available: a chargeable credit card number ("MySpace.com To Bolster Security Measures: CEO," March 3).
Thomas Leavitt Business Manager,
Godmoma's Forge, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Correction "About Face" should have said former CA CFO Ira Zar was convicted and awaits sentencing. Also, CA selected SAP and Accenture to overhaul its ERP systems in December 2004.
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