06:06 PM
Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney
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Economic Spin

While we contemplate the wisdom of locking Eliot Spitzer and Geraldine Ferraro in a room together for all eternity, let's take a deep breath and give thanks for some positive economic news (Go, Dow, go) and wonder what in the world they're smoking over at the freshly renamed NetApp.

While we contemplate the wisdom of locking Eliot Spitzer and Geraldine Ferraro in a room together for all eternity, let's take a deep breath and give thanks for some positive economic news (Go, Dow, go) and wonder what in the world they're smoking over at the freshly renamed NetApp.Yes, with so much noise parading as news today, you may have missed the record gains posted by the stock market -- up 3%, its best day in more than five years. The surge apparently came in response to the Federal Reserve's decision to pump $200 billion into the economy. As gas prices close on $4 a gallon here in California, I now read phrases like "... as recession fears mount" as so much economist irony.

Still, after the last several weeks, I'll take positive news about the economy wherever I can find it. Between lost jobs, soaring oil prices, and mortgage fraud, there's been precious little to celebrate, much less stave off the sense this downward slide is far from bottoming out.

Still, in a bit of verbal or intellectual gymnastics, NetApp officials told attendees at its recent analysts' day that the shaky economy helps them. Never mind, as this story points out, that NetApp blamed economic conditions on a revenue shortfall last year.

Budgetary pressures will prompt customers to rethink storage and focus instead on improving capacity utilization, reducing energy costs, and lowering expenses. To paraphrase only slightly: the more you spend, the more you'll save.

I think we can mostly agree it's unlikely that spending like a sailor on NetApp arrays will somehow protect your company against entire divisions getting cut, or bring back bigger raises or higher head counts. Still, when the economic indicators look this grim, maybe the smart vendors put on the happiest faces imaginable. Project confidence, like that Annette Bening real estate agent in "American Beauty." Do the vacuuming in your undies if you have to, just sell, dammit.

In fairness, doom and gloom doesn't sell (unless you work for or near Homeland Security). Like me, I'm betting customers are hungry for some good news, too, but not to the exclusion of the negative headlines. Spin it out how you like, since the economy and consumer confidence haven't been tested like this since the weeks after 9/11. But don't be surprised if your storage purchases don't single-handedly rescue your company, or the stock market.

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