established business vs. innovation

Chuck Murcko
Wed, 9 Jan 2002 17:44:40 -0500

Yeah, my GE exposure was pre-Welch, knowing folks from Knolls. Sorry 
about that one, overly old bits.

My CA experience was rather different than yours. When CA bought 
Platinum, I was told I would not be allowed to work on Apache and also 
work for CA, but that I had 24 hours to decide what I wanted to do.

Took about 10 seconds (8 were the result of being stupified by what I 
had just heard) to decide.


On Wednesday, January 9, 2002, at 04:26 PM, Meltsner, Kenneth wrote:

> Chuck,
> "...Think GE/IBM/DuPont and the like. I'd suspect a lot of copy in the 
> middle
> tier, less on the upper. Think Computer Associates and the like as just
> below critical mass or just dumb ..."
> Having been at GE Research and Development, I have to disagree.  GE 
> used to be a corporate innovator.  That changed during the Welch 
> chairmanship.
> They throttled the "R" part of their R&D, and the horizon for the "D" 
> part became shorter and shorter.  The hybrid approach worked well 
> (research and development, as well as central vs. product area) in the 
> past, but company-wide support for it faded away during the late '80s 
> and 90s.
> Around the R&D center, feeling (ca. 1993) was that the company had to 
> support *some* research so it wouldn't be viewed as a financial 
> services company with a few high tech appendages.  The biggest 
> problem,IMHO, was an accounting approach that charged substantially 
> more for staff at the central lab than for staff at the product 
> divisions.  Next biggest problem was that several GE product areas 
> simply did not want any sort of R&D overhead charges -- there's a 
> limited amount of innovation that can be afforded in highly cost 
> sensitive businesses like Motor.
> Since Computer Associates is my current employer, I'd just as soon not 
> comment in public on our R&D efforts, except to say that I wouldn't be 
> here if the amount were zero, or if we were "dumb."