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Day August 16, 2010

The Stupid Manager Theory applied to Nokia

“I would say that the highest abstraction level of the problem is that there are incompetent people managing, ordering or directing things.”

via Rescuing Nokia? A former exec has a radical plan [printer-friendly] • The Register.

Risku believes in the Stupid Manager Theory of business failure. It’s still the overall most popular theory describing why large companies fail. It’s so attractive because it’s so simple.

However, I have several counters/questions to this theory:

  1. When did management become stupid, exactly? The same group was in charge when the company was successful and the corollary to the Stupid Manager Theory is the Smart Manager Theory for describing company success. So how and when did they become stupid.
  2. The conspiracy of simultaneous stupidity. How did *all* managers in a given company become stupid all at once? Did they conspire to lose competence together? Was there something in the water? Didn’t anybody escape the stupidity pathogen? A further observation to be made is that when one company in an industry fails, it’s usually not alone.  Motorola, Sony Ericsson and now LG are in dire straits.  Is the stupidity contagious across companies? Should we quarantine managers at firms like Samsung that have not yet been impacted? If the stupidity comes from reading market news, should we just keep them ignorant?
  3. If the managers were always stupid then how did HR get so good at singling out the stupid (or those susceptible to stupidity after periods of intelligence). Isn’t the remedy to simply act in perfect contradiction to their choices and hire only the people that HR rejects. After all, being perfectly wrong is a precious gift.

LG dreams of smartphones [Updated]

LG has decided to reduce its bloated mobile phone lineup by half to around 70 from last year’s 145.

It plans to release 20 sets of smartphones this year with 15 models being Android phones.

He said that 4.2 million phones will be Android-based, while 1.8 million will use Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system, the executive said.

via LG jacks up smartphone sales target to 6 mil.

LG’s already thin margins were wiped out last quarter.

As of the end of the second quarter, Samsung’s global smartphone share was 4.8 percent, according to IDC. But LG’s presence was negligible.

[Update] From early 2009,

LG, the third-biggest phone maker, will produce about 50 models that run Windows over the next five years, said Scott Rockfeld, a director in Microsoft’s mobile business. Seoul-based LG will use the software as its primary program for smart phones, devices that can send e-mail and browse the Web.

Microsoft Signs LG Phone Deal, Updates Windows Mobile (Update1) – Bloomberg.

Why does Microsoft and LG keep talking about how many phone models they will launch? Since when does a large portfolio make up for poor products?