Yesterday, Herb Greenberg, a CNBC hero, really confirmed his place in my heart.
I’ve always liked his well placed and deserved cynicism, enough so to give him a shout out in my acknowledgments, but yesterday he pulled a cultural coup.
He singlehandedly restored the once famous Baby Huey back to his deserved place as a cultural icon.
Even I, who used to read, Baby Huey comics religiously, really couldn’t recall much about his character, other than his exceptional physical size and equally large diaper.
As I dusted off the cobwebs of the only portion of my brain that actually worked as a child, I realized that Greenberg was right. Baby Huey was an earlier generation’s Rodney Dangerfield.
The point of the 140 or less character post made by Greenberg was that Hewlett Packard was now in danger of becoming this generation’s Baby Huey.
WIth what I would imagine a throng of people speeding to Google to discover just who Baby Huey was and a subsequent re-birth of that brand, something else has to give.
In a universe where matter can be neither created nor destroyed, a re-emerged Baby Huey can only come at the expense of something else.
As I sit on my shares of Hewlett-Packarad, I really hope that it’s not HP.
Since these days I am more concerned about generating options premium income rather than capital gains on the underlying stocks, I’m not asking or hoping for much.
And I wasn’t disappointed, because HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker’s appearance on CNBC and subsequent conference call, did nothing to raise the respect level.
So I wasn’t asking for much and I didn’t get much. Maybe even less than I asked for.
But I realized, as I looked through our electronically contemporary possessions, we actually own only a single HP product and that one is definitely not contemporary.
And that single product was an introductory level digital camera that I bought for my wife a number of years ago, as I was looking for something non-threatening to help her enter the 19th century.
As I further thought about the absence of contemporray HP products in our household, it just further reinforced that Baby Huey metaphor. Using an anything but contemporary cartoon character to illustrate a “high” tech company, with a bumbling CEO, was inspired.
Perfect, Greenberg. Just perfect.
Then I also remembered an HP laptop that we purchased for my son as he was getting ready for college. Fortunately, his 6’6″ body could lug that beast around, although he didn’t have to do so very long. A dead hard drive during finals week and battery that wouldn’t hold a charge were enough for him to move elsewhere.
All of a sudden, as more cobwebs are sequentially dusted, I realized that I’m not so happy with HP. But I also realized that I was part of the problem.
So I went to Best Buy’s weekly circular and looked for the HP product that I just had to get. Something to make me feel complete and to perhaps, in whatever small way, help out HP’s bottom line.
While doing that, I also looked through the DVD titles to see if there was a Baby Huey Anthology on sale.
No surprise. Both of my searches turned up nothing.
Apparantly, the IT guys buying servers and services get the same circular that I do and they haven’t been overly impressed lately, either.
So if HP can’t make it happen on their technology, are they really in danger of becoming another Dell Computer?
The reality is that Dell was always Dell. It never innovated, it just assembled and marketed well, until the “Dude, your getting a Dell” guy was busted on marijuana possession.
HP need to distinguish itself, otherwise, there’s not much rationale for a premium price, neither on its products nor on its stock. Although, if Apotheker got busted on dope charges there might be an entire legion of new found fans willing to buy HP just for the show.
Maybe the answer is growth through acqquisition, as Apotheker said. Maybe they’ll one up Microsoft and offer $10 billion for Skype.
Maybe they should bid for the New York Stock Exchange.
Remember, there are no bad ideas when brain-storming. Only stupid ones.
One idea that did come out today was the proclamation that HP would no longer be playing for the subsequent quarter. That might actually be very nice if another one of the big boys decided that longterm was the way to go.
We’ll see how long that philosophy can last in a fast food mentality world. Most people don’t really want to know what McDonald’s is whipping up in its research kitchens. They want to know what’s on the menu now and get it delivered in a consistent fashion.
Thank God, that at least eBay is keeping up with the times.
I’ll see if I have enough left in my PayPal account to pick up a mint copy of a Baby Huey comic. on auction
That’ll make me happy.
Thank you, Herb Greenberg.
Any ideas for Sad Sack?