Intel exec's bizarre memo about LeBron and Miami
In a leaked memo, an Intel executive ponders the lessons to be learned from the Miami Heat's Greek tragedy of an NBA season. The lessons might seem, to some, a little banal.
There's something about LeBron James that makes many people want to dream of taking their pugilistic talents to his manicured eyebrows.
I wonder, though, what some employees of Intel might be feeling after they read a memo reportedly posted on an internal company site and written by one of the company's executives.
This memo was purloined in clandestine fashion by those sporting opportunists at Deadspin and it will surely have many a literary agent leaping furiously to the executive's side to offer him a non-fiction contract and possibly a speaking tour.
The memo is all about what Intel can learn from the Miami Heat's loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks. It doesn't start well. The executive declares himself to be a Los Angeles Lakers fan, which is the equivalent of saying you love that oft-bland meat, chicken.
It doesn't drift into acceptability when he claims a passion for sporting metaphors transported to business.
Here is a sample of his sage advice: "In Miami's case, their great talent just couldn't come together and collaborate with clarity of roles, responsibilities, and the ability to adjust to critical game situations to achieve success under pressure."
Well, yes. Either that or Dallas played better or were coached better, had a more interesting, dynamic owner, or merely had deity on its side.
Such theories do not hold water with this searing analysis that sees John Madden lock lips with Lee Iacocca.
"Sometimes greatness is just flat out who can step up when the pressure is the greatest," he wrote. I am sure I once heard Donald Trump say that on "The Celebrity Apprentice." I am sure he said it while referring to himself.
The Intel exec's analysis can't quite resist any level of sporting intellectualism. There is the searing revelation that sometimes someone with a 3.0 GPA can deliver better under pressure than someone with a 3.8.
Then there's this: "Teams having too much of a specific attribute at the expense of another doesn't provide you with the best of the full spectrum anymore than an orchestra could get with having only great flutists."
Surely, anyone who has ever worked in a corporation knows where this was headed. Yes, to a sentence that begins "At Intel, we....."
Intel is, of course, a very fine company, one that, but certain not of, say, MySpace proportions.
However, I will leave it up to you to decide whether this memo truly motivated the latent collaborative spirit among Intel's players. Here, reportedly, is a sample comment from Intel's internal site: "I love this. Its good to know someone out there thinks exactly as I do...EXACTLY!" Is this rapt sincerity or, perhaps, ebullient sarcasm?
Here is another: "I have only one thing to say... Go Blazers!!"
Corporate motivation has moved on a little from the heyday of vacuous rhetoric. Today's employees tend to have extremely skeptical intestines, ones that don't find it so easy to bathe in sporting analogies.
Worse, when you work at a company that employs quite some engineering talent, you might get a very well-designed counterpoint to your argument.
Such as this, also reportedly posted on the Intel site: "Classic case of [name redacted] using data to support a predetermined conclusion. I am neither a Dallas or Heat fan but Dallas is a team of superstars or Ph.D.s of basketball as you will. Nowitzki-NBA All-Star & MVP, Chandler-NBA All-Star, US Team, McDonald's All-American, Terry-All-American, 6th man of the year, Butler-US Team, NBA All Star, Haywood-US Team, NBA All-Star, Kidd-All-American college, McDonald's All-American, NBA All Star, US Team, Olympic Gold Medalist, Marion-All American, JUCO Hall of Fame, NBA All-Star, US Team."
It can be ugly when uncomfortable facts creep in, can't it? For just a little more good measure, this poster reportedly added: "And the list goes on with Dallas. Compare that to Miami and you will (see) it doesn't compare. I would hardly call any of these player's 3.0 GPA equivalent, but more of a team of superstars."
The question, then, at the end of this edition of Intel Sportscenter is this: Does Intel have too many superstars or not enough?