Interview with former CEO David Nagel of former Palm
At the Recent Palm Developer's Conference ("What, us worry?") Palm once again rocked the high tech world with several major announcements. Our intrepid Java developer, Palm Treo owner and ace reporter Nate Orenstam managed to corner CEO David Nagel to get the full scoop.
Q. So like, couldn't you have picked a better day to resign?
A. Ah, thanks for your question. I have been wanting to spend some time with my family and so, this appeared to be the right time for me to ah, transition to a more, ah... Who is this guy?
Q. Ok, I get the jist of things. So when you came to Palm you had a lot of ideas and enthusiasm based on your experience at Apple. How did that work out for you?
A. Well, I think I brought some of the strengths and lessons learned from Apple Computer where I worked on the Pink operating system. During this time we managed to get the operating system running on several major slideshows and we also boosted our market share from 5% to around 3%. So relatively speaking, Palm has been a major success for me. Heck, it's the first job I've been able to keep for more than eighteen months. I mean until today.
Q. And when you say you worked for Palm, like isn't that two companies or something?
A. Yes, that's correct. There is a hardware company called PalmSource and a Software company called ah, no wait a sec. I think I've got it backwards again. The software company is called PalmSource and the hardware company is called, ah, it'll come to me, ah, they have that Treo thing, it's quite good. The hardware company is called, ah, Palm. No wait, I mean it's called PalmOne. That's right. Because there are two companies. Originally I wanted to call them PalmOne and PalmTwo to demonstrate clearly that there were two companies. The board didn't like that. Thought it would be confusing. So we went with, the, ah, well the two names I already told you about.
Q. And so, like you're the president of these companies or what?
A. Yes, I'm CEO of PalmSource. Or rather I was, but those ba--, I mean, I've decided to resign. Originally I was the CEO of the Palm OS Unit, but then we decided to split the two companies. That was in order to make sure we had better synergy and leveraged assets across the growing digital marketplace as the, ah, well you know, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Q. Dude, what were you thinking?
A. Look, it was all Benhamou's idea. He figured if one company was worth half a billion two companies should be worth twice that. We had all been drinking that evening, toasting the recovery of Nasdaq and so, we went along with it. Believe me, I'm as pissed about this as anyone. I used to have a pretty cushy job, a lot of stock options, and now I've got, I mean now I'm going to spend more time with my family and all that.
Q. So how do you get to be president or whatever?
A. Well, I'm not sure that this, ah--
Q. I mean, you're not running the show anymore, right? So who's to say that maybe someone with a bit more technical background, maybe a hotshot Java programmer, couldn't do a better job?
A. You need years of experience before you can--
Q. Like maybe I could bring the two companies together again and that would be way cool. I mean, what if we called them both Palm? That would be awesome.
A. I, ah, I'm not sure that--
Q. No, look it's totally awesome. You just need to get into the recursion a bit more. You know, feel the groove. Sometimes when I'm programming, I'll get, like, totally stoned and then the code just kind of comes to me, you know? One time I had to write this application for a client, kind of a trading system, ya know, and I was behind schedule, so I got really baked on some purple urkel from Humboldt and the next thing you know, this app has, like, morphed into a whole operating system. I mean, it was awesome. There was recursive code everywhere and the app was just instances of itself only smaller, and each Java class was intertwined with the code from a mega-class that did all the hard stuff I couldn't figure out, which I called the Oracle-class, cause it knew all the answers. Then next morning I woke up and I had packaged this whole operating system and sent it to the client. Only I couldn't find the source code any more since it was stored in itself, like encrypted. But the whole thing totally rocked.
A. Yes, well I guess that is a lot like being CEO.
Q. So what are you doing later on?
A. I'm supposed to give my final keynote this morning, in fact, I've got to wrap up, they need me to get started in about fifteen minutes.
Q. And then, you're like, out of here?
A. Well, they won't have old David Nagel to kick around any more, that's for sure.
A. David Nagel, I'm the frickin' CEO of PalmSource--
Q. Oh, yeah. I thought you were saying Bagel, like that virus thing--
A. Only, I'm not the CEO anymore, those bastards--
Q. So, hey, chill out, man. You know, I think you need to relax a bit more. I got something that could set you right.
A. Pardon me?
Q. Look, I got a couple of blunts, killer weed, man. This'll be one keynote they won't forget.
A. No, I really couldn't. I mean, it's not like I've never... Back in the day, me and Larry Tesler, well, lets just say, he was quite a connoisseur.
Q. C'mon man, it's your last day. Who's gonna know?
A. Well, I supposed I could just have a taste for old time's sake.
Q. There you go... ok... hey take it easy, man... This is a lot stronger than what you--
A. (loud coughing) Jesus, ah... (more coughing)
Q. Hey, that's the spirit. Man, ok, ok, ok. I told you this is killer stuff. You shoulda tried this before you got fired. I mean resigned.
A. Ah... Ah... The whole recursive thing... It ah... makes sense to me know.
Q. You know what you should do?
A. Wow. I mean, what?
Q. You should, like, make Palm back into Palm. Can't you, like sell yourself back the name or something?
A. I think you could be on to something.
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