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6/25/2014
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David Wagner
David Wagner
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After Ballmer: 8 Execs You Love To Hate

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer created the kind of love-hate relationship that tech users can't resist. These tech bigwigs can bring it like Ballmer.
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Steve Ballmer was like the star of his own reality show -- tears, laughs, crazy stunts, and business deals that brought weekly drama. Whether he was pretending to stomp on an employee's iPhone to make a point or crying on stage, Ballmer attracted attention and headlines, as well as his fair share of haters.

It was never going to be easy for anyone to follow Bill Gates, and despite his significant business success, Ballmer has always been shrouded in controversy. Ballmer was too interesting to simply hate. He created the kind of love-hate relationship that is sort of fun to have, much like how you hate a rival sports team.

With Ballmer retired, I decided to think about some of the current technology leaders who could fill his shoes as the guy (or gal) you love to hate. I didn't want to just make a list of people nobody likes -- that's too easy. It's hard to imagine that former Paypal CEO and Facebook investor Peter Thiel, for example, had many fans after he announced he didn't support a woman's right to vote. But there's nothing fun about that.

What I looked for are complicated figures -- people who are probably a real hoot at dinner but who, because of business reasons, interesting character flaws, honest disagreements, or an amusing inability to keep their mouths shut, offer us endless entertainment. Dig into our slideshow for a list of executives I think can bring it like Ballmer.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
6/27/2014 | 10:48:26 PM
Re: Mayer & Telecommuting
@Joe Re: "but I do note the hypocrisy of the idea of "woman who has it all" while we never make any such observations about men." True. I tried to think of a common comment that might equate to the quote you mentioned about women. "That guy is Mr. Right" is the closest version directed towards men that I could think of.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/27/2014 | 6:45:14 PM
Re: Eh.
@Joe- It is funny. I didn't care one bit about the bib either until some running friends of mine started treating him like Satan. I still don't claim to fully understand it, but in that world, it is about the worst violation you can commit besides knocking someone down before the finish line. It really is akin to identity theft for them. 

Bezos is an interesting answer. Can't say that I thought of him. what is your problem with Bezos?
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 6:26:34 PM
Re: Mayer & Telecommuting
Yes, I am by no means a Jezebel feminist, but I do note the hypocrisy of the idea of "woman who has it all" while we never make any such observations about men.

Want to talk about Marissa Mayer's spot on this list?  You can just stick to the facts that she got rid of telecommuting, fires and replaces people mercilessly without trying to tap existing potential, continues her predecessors' strategies of buying other companies just to kill them or let them languish, makes a poor impression on clients, and oversleeps for meetings.  (Although I did feel a bit bad for her on that last bit of news.)

Makes you wonder -- was Scott Thompson's resume embellishment really so bad?
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 6:21:20 PM
Eh.
Crowley's dally with the marathon bib bothers me not one iota.  Seriously.  Not one.  It exposes what a stupid scam these races are anyway.

And even if it did bother me, the fact that he did it for the woman he loves would give it some redeeming qualities.

I would have replaced him on this list with someone like Jeff Bezos of Amazon or John Chambers from Cisco.

Oh!  Oh!  What about GM's Mary Barra?

And are we stuck in the private sector?  If we can include public sector, I think John Koskinen takes the cake for the #1 spot.
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
6/27/2014 | 4:50:14 PM
Meyer and telecommuting
@susan I completely agree She needs to be more realistic. But I think being a CEO is not about pleasing employees but getting the company coffers filled, or increasing the visibility of the company in this technologically advanced world . It is a rat race
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
6/27/2014 | 4:44:21 PM
work life balance
@david let us know what male CEO answer about work life balance . should make subject for interesting conversation!
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
6/27/2014 | 4:39:19 PM
Execs you love to hate
Marisa's Meyer really took the IT workforce by storm when she took away telecommuting from yahoo workforce. I think even now she gets a lot of flak for it! And oh the males joined the fuming female population and used her gender as the reason for the step she took.... So much for women,s liberation!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/27/2014 | 2:31:18 PM
Re: Wait a second
@gev- right now? I don't know. Probably in San Francisco. :)

I lef thim off the list so people could have some fun. Why do you hate him?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/27/2014 | 2:30:21 PM
Re: Mayer & Telecommuting
I also find it weird that she is always asked about how she balances familiy life and work life when, as you well mentioned, no male CEO has ever been asked the same thing, at least not to my knowledge. 


@both Susans- OK, let's change that. I mostly interview CIOs, but I do interview the occaisonal CEO. Among my more typical questions, I'll start throwing in the work-life balance question. Maybe I can do an article on it. Find some male CEOs who take the balance seriously for themselves and for their employees.

I think that is an excellent idea, and one that will appeal to modern dads and moms everywhere.
Hospice_Houngbo
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Hospice_Houngbo,
User Rank: Moderator
6/27/2014 | 10:28:14 AM
Re: Mayer & Telecommuting
@Broadway0474--"Does anyone still use Foursquare ?" Foursquare has dropped in popularity and seems to be declining. Users no longer feel the excitement of being the "king" of a place when there is no true benefit to it.
<<   <   Page 4 / 9   >   >>
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