Segate CEO Recants Comments about Hard Drives and Porn

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Bill Watkins, CEO of Seagate Technology, created a stir last month when, during an interview with Fortune magazine, he said,"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap – and watch porn." It was an interesting comment for an executive to make, and the reaction was outrage by some, while others applauded his frankness. Now the company has released a response, apologizing and blaming Fortune for putting too much emphasis on one small part of the interview.

In illustrating both the positive and negative impacts that the Internet and "we" as technology companies have on the world, unfortunately, and unwisely, I also used pornography as an example to illustrate a point. Fortune Magazine chose to focus narrowly on this example in their headline. I did not state this as our "mission." They are in the news business and eager to get their reader's attention and I should have known better.

Most comments on the post seem to support Watkins, which I find surprising. While I don't find his comments offensive, I think CEOs are always better off staying clear of controversial topics. The best comment was left by "Rich" from NY – My next hard drive will be a Seagate.

  • Rob

    For some reason this post reminds me of a Bill James comment about Baseball. It was along the lines of MLBs efforts to place the fan further from the center of the action and how the sports media, in desperation, was making fantastic attempts to convince fans that they were delivering the “Inside” angle on baseball. It seems to me that since Enron, the same is happening in the business world.
    As an annual-report coinsure, have you seen a shift in this regard?

    Take care

    John