By Troy Vetter, COO
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through “Big Blue”
Not a system was whirring, it is sad but so true;
The Mainframes were set in the corner with care,
In hopes that some Big Bank soon would be there;
The consultants were nestled all snug in their ‘vettes;
While visions of billings danced in their heads;
And Ginni in her ‘kerchief, and I in my redhat,
Had just inked our plans; a new company begat,
When out on the web there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to my “windows” I flew like a flash,
Went straight to the Google and typed in “merger dash”
The results were aligned like ash on fresh snow,
Stealing the lustre of our post-signing glow,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a complete techno thrashing with a smattering of fear
With little old ladies mourning dividends to pick,
I knew in a moment that I might be sick.
More rapid than eagles the bad news it came,
They whistled, and shouted, and called Ginni by name:
“What, Cash! who, knew! why Bluemix and Cloud!
On, Europe! on, Asia! on, the U.S. so Proud!
To the top of the exchange! to all of street; Wall!
Take cash away! cash away! cash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Will the money all have invested flee to the sky;
So up to the exec floor all of us flew
With the file full of ploys, and St. Whitehurst too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard from the roof
The clacking and clicking of each journalist’s proof.
As I doodled on pad, and listened for sense,
Leapt from his spot St. Whitehurst devised a defense.
He was dressed all in wool, from his head to his ankles,
And from the stories of tarnish he had become quite rankled;
Of the facts and the figures, he had a strong grasp,
And he quoted his value as he tightened his clasp
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his mood quite contrary!
His droll sense of humor beginning to light,
And his appeal to the market would start on that night;
The stump of a pen he held tight in his teeth,
The ideas, they swirled and circled his head like a wreath;
With a face that is kind lit by mischievous blue eyes
sparkling as he spoke, our spirits began to rise.
He was confident and ready, to work on the quo,
And we laughed at his passion, sure of a strategy grow;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know we had nothing to dread;
He spoke no more words, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the filings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up we all rose;
He sprang to his feet, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Merry Merger to all, and to all a good night!”
What do you do when Santa brings a RedHat for Christmas?
1. You keep the hat and pass the torch.
In the movie “The Santa Clause” when Santa slips off the roof and vanishes leaving his suit (and hat) behind. When the protagonist of the story puts on the suit, he “becomes” Santa. The job is as much the uniform as it is the person. This is what most people, including me, are hoping happens with this merger. Ginni quietly disappears and James Whitehurst puts on the uniform and takes over the job.
2. You pass the hat around seeking donations.
Money is lifeblood even for a large public company and the way a company like IBM keeps that blood pumping is thru goodwill and good news. These two things that have been in short supply for IBM over the last 5 years. RedHat has had both of those to spare – since day one. Given that IBM paid more than twice what RedHat was worth on the stock market, money and stock value is going to be paramount for the next few years.
3. You use the hat to hold the stuff you care about while you throw the rest away.
IBM has a bunch of stuff that they sell. RedHat has a bunch of stuff that they sell. Much of that “stuff” is overlapping. The new company will have to go thru their catalog with ruthless efficiency and pick winners, dumping the rest.
4. You use the hat to choose names.
To be honest, one of the best (but most difficult) outcomes of a merger is the opportunity for the new company to trim the fat, cut unnecessary costs, and recharge their remaining personnel. This will be doubly critical to a company as bloated and overburdened with historical obligation to people, process, and partners as IBM.
5. You hand out a bunch hats – and everyone wears them with pride!
For the people that remain with both organizations as the merger is completed, this should be the jumpstart that is needed to drive IBM into the future. Rebuilding a new culture that is more appropriate to the “cloud age” could be the best outcome of this overreach of a merger.