Posted by Tom Foremski - September 13, 2010
About six years ago I wrote my first post on SIlicon Valley Watcher, it was about the quality of backpacks at the Intel Developer Conference.
Intel is notorious for being penny pinching. When times are tough cubicles get smaller, and the conference backpacks fall in quality. My tongue-in-cheek post was that you can divine how well Intel is doing at a particular point in time simply by assessing the quality of its freebies.
Here is an extract from my very first blog post: Tech Watch: The secret barometer of Intel's health reveals... - SVW
In lean times, the backpacks are flimsy and made from lower grade materials. About a year ago, the quality of the backpacks at IDF jumped dramatically. And for good reason, revenues were strong and growing faster than expectations. Intel was raising revenue forecasts, not cutting them.
The spring 2004 IDF again produced a top quality backpack, black and electric blue, with good quality ballistic nylon, and stylish use of yellow trim. It was clear that Intel was expecting a good year.
At the Fall 2004 IDF, the conference backpack looked to be of comparable quality. Closer examination, however, showed that there was some downgrade in quality, but that it was minor. Conclusion? Slight downgrade to Intel's fortunes, but still betting on a solid business outlook for the next six months.
... UPDATE-Thursday September 23
Joe Fay from Computerwire is reporting that there is a strange smell emanating from his IDF backpack. He has confirmed it with colleagues.
It was true, the slight fishy smell was there once it was pointed out and it became more noticeable over the next few days. I had to abandon my backpack to the neighborhood children by leaving it on a street corner.
This year I can attest that the IDF backpacks are of excellent quality with no fish smells at all. Things must be going well for Intel [INTC].