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Why the attacks on Broadcom's founder may be misguided

Henry Nicholas, founder of Broadcom, may well have been merely trying to execute his company's strategy to the letter. And beyond it.

2 min read

While so many pundits and otherwise wise people have expounded at great and critical length on the allegations of drug-fueled friendsy leveled at Broadcom founder, Henry Nicholas, has anyone stopped to consider just what a dedicated CEO he might have been?

It is easy to mount one's 18-hands stallion and scoff at his methods.

Supposedly, he showered clients with chemical and human pleasure providers to close deals.

Some say he openly authorized cash to be paid to drug couriers as well as pizza delivery boys. And, most bizarrely, he is accused of smoking so much marijuana on a plane that the pilot had to don an oxygen mask in order to resist dopiness at the controls.

It's hard to know what drives most people. The cranial machinations of Jennifer Aniston and Bill Belichick, for example, have always perplexed me.

But suppose for a moment that, despite looking a little like Tom Selleck after cut-price surgery, Mr. Nicholas was determined to be the ultimate embodiment of everything Broadcom stood for.

Broadcom's tag line is "Connecting Everything."

Is it possible that Mr. Nicholas, in his determined quest to connect humans to his chips, humans to other humans and humans to their inner other humans (hence the pilot episode), simply got carried away by an enthusiasm for his organization not seen since Dave Thomas of Wendy's burger chain (who appeared in over 800 commercials for his company) or perhaps even Pope John XII?

Tom Purves

Pope John was smoked into the Papacy when he was 18 and appeared to decide that the Organization needed to be an expression of his own youthful exuberance. It all seemed to go a little far.

He received a letter from the German Emperor Otto I: "Everyone, clergy as well as laity, accuses you, Holiness, of homicide, perjury, sacrilege, incest with your relatives, including your sisters."

But no one considered that, in an attempt to counteract deleterious forces, he might have been merely researching the seven deadly sins so as to know how to better combat them for the benefit of his organization.

When I advise clients about marketing and creativity, I always talk to them about deciding what their company stands for, how their company wants to be seen and trying to protect and embody that vision as much as possible.

Business is a peculiarly seductive activity and who knows just how deeply Mr. Nicholas might have been gripped by the need to deliver on his corporate vision?

He clearly had circumstances stacked against him. His company was based in Orange County.

Anyone who was privileged enough to watch Fox's seminal drama series "the OC", or, indeed, Bravo's "the Housewives of Orange County", knows just how difficult connectivity is to achieve in that especially cold-hearted and forbidding part of America.

Could it be that, in his enthusiasm to embody his company's promise, to connect everything, Mr. Nicholas simply became disconnected from himself by the monstrous impossibility of his task?