Sam Palmisano Invites Me to India
March 27, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It’s not every day that I get an email from IBM‘s chairman and CEO, so when such an email came in to my mailbox last week, after giving it a look over to make sure it wasn’t spam, I opened it up and had a gander at what Sam Palmisano wanted to talk to me about.
As it turns out, he invited me to go to an IBM meeting in Bangalore, India, one of the hottest hot spots in high tech these days. And, as it turns out, he wasn’t inviting me personally, but me generally as part of an Investor Relations gig that Big Blue is hosting June 6 and 7.
“In my recent conversations with many of you, it’s clear that you are as fascinated by what’s happening in China and India today as we are,” Palmisano’s email read. “Specifically, some of you have asked if you could visit IBM’s facilities in these countries to see first-hand what we are doing and how it relates to our global strategies.”
Well, I have had pretty good curry here in New York, but my British colleagues tell me that it is better in London, and I have to assume it is even better in India itself. So just for fun, I logged onto Travelocityto check out flights. And, let me tell you, the carriers who fly from New York to Bangalore do a pretty bad job of keeping tabs on what their competition is charging for airfares. (Maybe they could offshore a little programming work that does comparative pricing from online reservation systems?) It costs anywhere from $1,843 to $4,755 for a round-trip ticket, and about 21 to 23 hours; it costs about $1,500 more for a few nights in the hotel. That’s a lot of dough to hear about how well other people’s economies are doing. But Palmisano was trying to be persuasive.
“The global economy is at a historic turning point, and I believe the best way to appreciate what that really means is to experience directly one of its key growth engines. We all know that vast new markets are emerging and that free trade agreements and information networks are integrating societies to an unprecedented degree. With regard to India, we’ve read the statistics that show how, by the end of this decade, the world’s largest democracy will have more than 21 million graduates and the second largest pool of scientists and technology graduates of any country in the world. However, it is qualitatively different to witness in person how enterprises of every size–both local companies and global competitors — are seizing on innovation in their business designs, processes and technologies to create opportunity and to drive growth. I also believe that IBM’s unique approach and integrated global capabilities offer especially valuable insights into both the direction of the economy and the emerging form of the globally integrated enterprise.”
While India and China are very interesting to me, and I would love to hear all about it, here’s what I want to know: How come Palmisano never invites me to Armonk? I mean, I drive a big blue Ford Taurus station wagon (pun intended), and I am willing to spend the gallon of gas and time in traffic on the New York State Thruway to get there. This would be a lot quicker and a lot cheaper, and we could still talk about India and China if Palmisano really wanted to. And we could talk a little about the iSeries and Rochester and Somers and Toronto, too.