Thursday, October 12, 2006

實架的永恆計數機

在科技日新月異的年代,如果你還在使用1981年設計的計數機,聽落似乎是天方夜譚。但這回事,偏偏日日在中環發生。由現時正修讀CFA(註冊金融分析師)的新晉中環人,到不少具備一定年資經驗的賓架,口袋裡面除了一部電子手帳(PDA)、手機這類新科技產品外,還必備一部在1981年推出,到現時仍在生產,兼且還在售賣中的計數機HP12c。
若果計算一下,不難發覺這部科技產品的壽命已有25年,不能不說是奇跡兼異數。而由於HP12c永遠不死的傳奇,大家可以思考一下,除了成為公開專業考試的指定用機外,怎樣設計科技產品,才會成為永遠長青呢!

回想當年,會計師、銀行賓架等,若果出外見客,需要計數的話又怎樣應付呢?當然那時手提電話並未普及,除非你是公司極高層員工,但怎能夠每次都打電話回公司,請求同事幫手篤電腦?故此當時很多人都要一部「機」,可以不用「叉電」,又可以很快地計算出整盤數據的結果,而機身外形更不能太失禮人,所以就有HP12c這部財務計數機的誕生。最初HP12c發明時,就連現時英特爾(Intel) 80x86系的CPU(中央處理器)也是剛剛面世而已,當時手提電腦更是幾乎不存在。話雖HP12c外形「好娘」,但同HP早期的產品一樣,甚具貴氣。其他牌子的則欠缺這種特質,而這貴氣對一眾賓架來說,卻是一件相當重要的身份象徵。

還有一件事,由於這部計數機除了可用作應付CFA專業試外,賓架們更時常會放在身邊東奔西跑,原因之一是「跌唔爛」,尺碼也剛剛好能夠放入西裝袋。而照禤中怡的經驗,HP12c的抗跌能力,比任何PDA同手機都強得多,因此HP12c賣得比人貴,連在網上拍賣時,即使貴過人也有很多「同道中人」有興趣買。禤中怡身邊那部HP12c,都跟了自己6、7年,同時期禤中怡的老友所買的日本機,就已經被送去堆填區一段時間了。

科技產品不一定要夠新,個樣娘而不失禮,解決到基本問題,相信已能夠永遠長青。但真的講就容易,要做到上述幾點查實很難。如有手機生產商推出一款類似規格的2G或3G手機,相信很多中環人會搶住買。其實,這個世界不用樣樣都要那麼花巧的。

謝國忠剖白退下感受

做人難,做高層更難,心底話讓大家分享也不易。因一封電郵外洩而離職的摩根士丹利董事總經理、亞洲策略分析師謝國忠,事情原來還有下文。《21世紀經濟報道》找到這位明星級分析員,他指,電郵是給內部同事看的,目的是給他們提供一些觀點及啟發,從來沒有想過會流出外面;不過現在回頭看來,確實寫得太匆忙,用詞不夠小心,可以說是有點傲慢。

他因在新加坡舉行的國際貨幣組織(IMF)及世界銀行年會後,向內部同事發出電郵,質疑這個重要會議為何在新加坡舉行,甚至以戲謔語氣談論出席晚宴的新加坡總理李顯龍而犯下大忌。電郵發表後,摩根士丹利內部有人將之流到外面,很快被新加坡當局知道,向摩根士丹利強烈抗議,而大摩可以做的,當然只有放棄這名猛將,保住新加坡這個大主顧。

謝國忠又指:「我從來沒有想過內部電郵會外流,我當時只是有感而發,希望向銷售隊伍提供一些觀點,這封電郵寫得很倉促,有些文字只是隨手寫出來,並不恰當,但我不認為我的觀點不對。」對於市傳可能加入其他國際投資銀行或基金管理業,他指現在言之尚早,想先休息一下,而心情也不壞,這段期間去了上海看朋友,之後到廣州陪父母過中秋節,剛回香港。他對是次事件的感受是:「我們總要面對一些從來沒有出現過的事情,例如我從來沒有想過內部電郵會外洩,但這是沒辦法的事,只有從容面對。」所謂高處不勝寒,做大機構高層真要事事小心,否則萬劫不復。

(於10月11日刊於《am730》)

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