You would think Seagate Technology CEO Bill Watkins would tread carefully while his company completes a merger with a major competitor.
But in a Fortune magazine interview, Watkins lets down his hair, warts and all, in an unvarnished, candid, straight-talking chat about the technology industry. (My hyperbole is intentional.)
Let’s face it, we’re not changing the world. We’re building a product that helps people buy more crap – and watch porn.
People worry that newspapers are going out of business. So what? It’s the content that’s important. No one gives a s**t about the delivery mechanism.
The Valley (Silicone Valley) is no longer about building a company and a culture. It’s about making money for the top guys.
You never ask board members what they think. You tell them what you’re going to do.
Outrageous? Not really. If you don’t take the porn comment out of context, Watkins clearly and repeatedly describes an industry where old business models have to prove themselves or die, money and power speak louder than loyalty, and being savvy is more important than being dignified.
He knows that the financial markets are watching his company’s last quarter results and sales projections more than they are parsing his comments to a journalist.
Seagate is working to freshen up its brand. Having a visibly outspoken CEO won’t hurt them in their attempt to attract the attention of consumers who, until the advent of external storage devices, had little awareness of hard drive brands.