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The envelopes, please
This week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled the nominees for the 86thAcademy Awards. And it occurred to us that unlike most other industries, the tech sector and its media, for whatever reason, has a long and storied history of "celebritizing" many of its most influential CEOs and pundits.
We know a lot about tech CEOs, especially compared to chieftains from other industries.
After all, we don't know if Mike Duke is into cupcakes or whether or not Inge Thulin is an avid sailor, right? Most people probably wouldn't be able to pick David Lesar out of a lineup of five middle-aged white guys – even if you spotted them four guesses. Zuckerberg? Ballmer? Mayer? These are household faces and backstories.
In this light, perhaps it makes perfect sense that the daughter of one of the most famous and impactful icons in the tech industry would play a key role in getting some of this year's most decorated films made.
We didn't have time or space to include all the "Best Picture" nominees, but feel free to add your own in the comments section.
The envelopes, please:
CGI Group (NYSE: GIB) gets the nod. The parent company of the contractor, CGI Federal, responsible for butchering the rollout of the Obamacare enrollment website, Healthcare.gov, definitely earned this nomination.
It's almost impossible to overstate just how big of a dud this one was. The website was an epic fail from jump street as millions of Americans were either unable to register for health care benefits at all or forced to suffer through ridiculous delays and interruptions that kept total enrollment figures at embarrassingly low rates for months.
Even after all the outrage and legacy-damaging press, the site is still riddled with security holes and pathetic shortcomings such as links for the Spanish version that take users to an English-language form.
It's the kind of debacle that can forever taint a president's legacy. If the good news is that Accenture will take the reins once the CGI contract expires at the end of February, the bad news is that it's going to cost millions more to right the ship – at least $90 million more for the next year alone.
Worse, it's still unclear just how much this Hindenburg-like disaster has cost so far. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, no David O. Russell to be sure, told Congress her agency spent $319 million on the website through the end of October and has allocated a total of $677 million and counting.
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), just like its big-screen doppelganger, is all about artistic and technical beauty and anyone holding its stock for the past year definitely appreciates what it feels like to come crashing back to earth as the stock lost about 25 percent of its value by mid-summer. Then again, those who managed to hold and let the debris field pass also know what it's like to once again rocket through the stratosphere.
But in both cases, one key question comes to mind: Now what?
With their charismatic, experienced leaders no longer of this earth, how will those left behind carry on and find the next new thing to inspire us all?