Ray Lane is taking hell for a photo which shows him with a MacBook at home. The sky is falling – how can the Chairman of HP be so un-PC? Shades of the poor Fedex man who supposedly got fired for carrying a Coke can into Pepsi HQ. Or that of Citibank supposedly rejecting employee expenses charged on personal Amex cards.
I have known Ray for over 15 years now. Trust me he can be extremely proud and defensive of his companies. I have had heated debates with him when he was President of Oracle and I was a Gartner analyst. And he is an early adopter of many of their products. He rode an early Segway ( a Kleiner company) into a commencement speech, he drives an early Fisker Karma EV (he is on the board), and he was sending emails from his HP Veer shortly after it was released this May.
He has been one of my first calls as I started research for each of my books. He is always full of suggestions – and has introduced me to a number of Kleiner portfolio companies and to execs at HP. But he has also talked nicely about Google, Apple, Amazon, eBay and plenty of others. And he has also clammed up when I reach into topics he would rather not comment on given his fiduciary or moral responsibilities.
Go on be snarky if you want. Personally, I wish more industry leaders were as open-minded as he is.