The big computer company with no headquarters

William Amelio, CEO of Lenovo, shows off new MID device

Lenovo CEO William Amelio, who above is holding one of its new MID computers during a presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, told me that Lenovo doesn’t have a headquarters.

I think that’s brilliant. Why? Because I’ve watched at NEC and Microsoft and other big companies as people who aren’t at the headquarters get marginalized and forgotten. Worse, many times great ideas get shot down if they didn’t come from someone working at the headquarters.

Amelio told me that they see great ideas come from everyone around the world, so why would they pick one place to have their headquarters? He works out of several offices and does lots of video conferencing. They’ve arranged Lenovo around several innovation hubs/research labs.

Here’s a video I filmed of William at Davos last week where he talks about why they don’t have a headquarters and also shows off several of its new products, one of which won CNet’s “Best of Show” at CES two weeks ago.

I hope to get to follow Amelio around soon to see this interesting company.

Don’t know who Lenovo is? It’s a Chinese owned company that bought the Thinkpad line from IBM several years ago. They still make the best keyboard in the business and are sponsoring the Olympics in Beijing this year.

27 thoughts on “The big computer company with no headquarters

  1. They make the best keyboard in the business? Tell us more! (You’re not thinking of the DiNovo, by Logitech, I hope!)

  2. They make the best keyboard in the business? Tell us more! (You’re not thinking of the DiNovo, by Logitech, I hope!)

  3. It’s not about “talent and skills”, “being noticed”, hippie new-agey “global villages” nor any other whiny personality issues, and not even about “outsourcing”, it’s having a place where customers can come and do deals. Simple as that.

    “Askbankruptcycoach” is more like it.

    Besides, in reference it outsouring, tech is learning the lessons that GM learnt in the 80s, save on labor, but lose in infrastructure, speciality, distribution, raw materials and political climate costs. And if you think outsourcing always works for the software industry, go ask Quark.

  4. It’s not about “talent and skills”, “being noticed”, hippie new-agey “global villages” nor any other whiny personality issues, and not even about “outsourcing”, it’s having a place where customers can come and do deals. Simple as that.

    “Askbankruptcycoach” is more like it.

    Besides, in reference it outsouring, tech is learning the lessons that GM learnt in the 80s, save on labor, but lose in infrastructure, speciality, distribution, raw materials and political climate costs. And if you think outsourcing always works for the software industry, go ask Quark.

  5. I am always amazed at the complexity of simplicity!
    Here you have a CEO who is clearly more concerned with talent and skills than brick and mortar. Rather than build a central monolithic structure, he invests in people, ideas, and productivity all over the world. Talk about a global village, this guy is present in every endeavor (think connectivity) and is reaping a harvest of gold. And it’s really quite counter-intuitive. Most great minds function that way.

  6. I am always amazed at the complexity of simplicity!
    Here you have a CEO who is clearly more concerned with talent and skills than brick and mortar. Rather than build a central monolithic structure, he invests in people, ideas, and productivity all over the world. Talk about a global village, this guy is present in every endeavor (think connectivity) and is reaping a harvest of gold. And it’s really quite counter-intuitive. Most great minds function that way.

  7. I agree that if you don’t hang out at corporate you can get lost and you may not get traction. But as we become more technology savvy there will really be no need for a corporate headquarters and you won’t have to be concerned about being noticed in-person because you’ll have the same opportunity as everyone else. You’ll just have to be very proficient at using technology. The most inventive users will be noticed. The fact of the matter is that everything can be outsourced today and headquarters is just a LOGO which can be placed anywhere for advertising purposes. It’s already happening, companies are downsizing real estate and we know about the outsourcing already.

  8. I agree that if you don’t hang out at corporate you can get lost and you may not get traction. But as we become more technology savvy there will really be no need for a corporate headquarters and you won’t have to be concerned about being noticed in-person because you’ll have the same opportunity as everyone else. You’ll just have to be very proficient at using technology. The most inventive users will be noticed. The fact of the matter is that everything can be outsourced today and headquarters is just a LOGO which can be placed anywhere for advertising purposes. It’s already happening, companies are downsizing real estate and we know about the outsourcing already.

  9. Rumor has it with a loaf of bread ,jug of wine and a spreading chestnut tree,
    attached to your Mac Book Air your headquarters shall be in your head with your work ethic !

  10. But it has headquarters, actually two of them. It’s real HQ is in Beijing, People’s Republic of China and indirectly in Morrisville, NC. But rather easy to understand WHY going the “no HQ route”, marketing China isn’t in their best interest and Morrisville…I mean really, not much to brag about there.

    They SHOULD develop a real HQ, as HQ’s are not simply around for the benefit of employees, rather for CUSTOMERS. The Street says China is too cheap to develop a real powerhouse USA HQ, not seeing much market benefit. So he spins it like that. Brilliant? Hardly. Desperation is more the theme.

    Service and support sure flew out the window, as well as build quality serious, least in their Tablet lines. IBM they are not.

  11. But it has headquarters, actually two of them. It’s real HQ is in Beijing, People’s Republic of China and indirectly in Morrisville, NC. But rather easy to understand WHY going the “no HQ route”, marketing China isn’t in their best interest and Morrisville…I mean really, not much to brag about there.

    They SHOULD develop a real HQ, as HQ’s are not simply around for the benefit of employees, rather for CUSTOMERS. The Street says China is too cheap to develop a real powerhouse USA HQ, not seeing much market benefit. So he spins it like that. Brilliant? Hardly. Desperation is more the theme.

    Service and support sure flew out the window, as well as build quality serious, least in their Tablet lines. IBM they are not.

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