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Carly’s not that good

Posted by John Reed on

Carly is getting too much credit and too much of a pass on her resume.

Her claim to fame is that she was CEO of Lucent and HP. She spins those jobs as huge successes caused by her and that her firing from H-P was wrong. Her main enemy at H-P now says he was wrong and she’s brilliant.

She is fundamentally what I call an external validation seeker. That is, she spent her entire adult life going hat in hand to various boards and committees and commissions asking them the anoint her or promote her. Two did.

The other businessman candidate—Donald Trump—in contrast, is an entrepreneur.

Carly has a $68 million net worth she got as bureaucrat salary from those who anointed her. Trump has a $4 billion net worth from entrepreneurial activities.

Carly is more suited to polite company than Trump, but her “accomplishments” are not much more substantive than Hillary’s miles traveled. They each presided over years of stuff, but whether that which they presided over were great or caused by them is nebusoul at best.

Trump had successes and failures in business because he tried all sorts of different things and went through numerous booms and busts. He was in the following businesses: airline, pro football, beauty pageants, high-rise hotel and office and residential and golf course and casino development, TV reality shows, ice-skating rink renovation and management, a wide variety of service businesses, entertainment, clothing and accessories, entertainment, food. Many of his businesses failed or at least were discontinued. His casinos went bankrupt four times.

Because Carly was a head bureaucrat, it is hard to say which good things and bad things she was responsible for at her companies. For example, her claiming she doubled H-P sales is misleading because she leaves out how she did that: by buying a company—Compaq—that had already sales equal to H-P’s.

She had those two job from 1996 to 2005, the time of the dot-com boom and bust, which she had nothing to do with.

Since he was the entrepreneur and owner, there is no question who is responsible for Trump’s many successes and failures and his net success.

She is a Stanford grad. That’s impressive. But her MBA is from the University of Maryland. It has been said that all American lawyers have either a degree from Harvard Law—Obama, Romney, Cruz—or a rejection letter from there. I actually have a rejection letter from Harvard Law School. Most of the others don’t advertise it. Warren Buffett admits to having a Harvard Business School rejection letter. He got his MBA from Columbia where he met his mentor Professor Benjamin Graham.

I’ll bet her Maryland MBA means she has rejection letters from the MBA programs at Harvard, Stanford, and maybe some of the others like Dartmouth, Chicago, Duke, Columbia, and even Wharton, where Trump went for two years and got a bachelors from barely Ivy League Penn.

To give you some perspective on getting rejected by Harvard Business—if she did—after I entered there, my wife met my classmates and she knew me. She figured if I and those guys could get into Harvard Business School, anyone could, then she applied and proved it. We each got MBAs there in 1977 and 1978. And it was easier for women to get in during Carly’s era. She is five years younger than my wife. So whatever she did after Stanford did not impress Harvard if she applied there, not to mention any of the other top business schools.

Oddly, she also got a masters in management at MIT. What the hell is the difference between a masters in business administration and a masters in management? I know guys who went to MIT. Netanyahu went there for an MBA. I did not know him but one of his wives was my sectionmate from Harvard. The MIT MBA program was noteworthy mainly for its only taking one year instead of two

Their management degree is not scientific as you might guess given MITs main reputation. That second degree in business sounds like a course of action taken by a newly minted MBA who did not get an acceptable job offer coming out of the MBA program at MD. Some people use grad school as a place to hide from a bad job market or a personal lack of job offers. Hillary, it must be said, went to Yale Law School. All current U.S. Supreme Court justices either went to Harvard or Yale law School.

In short, if you want a successful business person in the Oval Office, Trump runs circles and figure 8s around Fiorina.

She went hat in hand to the voters of California in 2010 seeking Barbara Boxer’s senate seat. She got killed and all the stuff used against her effectively will be brought out again in 2016 if she is the nominee. It has not yet been brought out because she is not yet the front runner. For example, in CA, where I have lived since 1977, she ran as a moderate in the primary against a conservative Republican. Now she claims to be Ms. Conservative. Ms. Opportunist is more like it—an accusation that has been leveled against Trump as well.

And she is now going hat in hand to the U.S. voters. She is somewhat good at going hat in hand before groups to ask them to anoint her, but she has no successful experience or accomplishments other than being anointed by groups. The age-old rule for business success is find a need and fill it. That is what Trump has been doing or trying to do his whole adult life.

Carly has merely being trying to find plum jobs and fill them. She did that twice. I suspect she benefitted greatly from her gender and affirmative action during her CEO career. Trump never did.

Should Carly be VP or a cabinet secretary? I think there are lots of people who are better qualified and may be willing to serve, albeit not to run for president, but worse things could happen than Carly being president, VP, or a cabinet officer. I am just annoyed by the media deciding to make her flavor of the month. Her past is just impressive titles, not accomplishments. I suspect a detailed, competent analysis of her tenures as CEO would show her to be an average or below-average CEO. There are, by definition, lots of above average CEOs out there if that’s the way we want to go. But they won’t run for president. 

I was especially annoyed by her well-received military speech where she recited how many ships, Army brigades and marine battalions we need—apparently the product of nothing more than taking the current numbers and multiplying by 190% or some similar figure. 

She apparently has not read my article “U.S. Navy surface ships are sitting ducks” if she thinks more sitting ducks will make us a stronger military power.

Carly’s claim to fame is “breaking two glass ceilings”—at a time when U.S. corporations were eager to anoint female CEOs. That’s it. The rest of her impressive presidential persona, if you’ll pardon the expression, is the product of extensive reading and well-rehearsed speeches about stuff she never did.

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