"And it feels like
You don't know my name
I swear
It feels like
You don't know my name
round and round and round we go
Will you ever know?"
-- from "You Don't Know My Name" by Alicia Keys*

I feel you, Alicia.

Working for the company(Lenovo) who bought out my former company(IBM PC Division) has been exhilarating except for one thing: our name,Lenovo, is not widely known in the United States yet. Not at all. Not by a long shot. This has been a character-building (READ: humbling) phenomena for me. IBM's PC division was purchased by a Chinese company called Lenovo about 2 years ago. Before, when asked by classmates, relatives, or strangers, I'll admit I felt a bit of inner cockiness when I'd answer the 'where do you work' question with those 3 letters. I'd leave a tiny little James Brown-like "Mmm, ain't it funky now?' pause after saying it, let it marinate in the air.

But now? Oh how the mighty 8-bar logo has fallen. Now it goes like this:

Unwitting Humiliator: So where do you work?

Me: Lenovo!

UH: *puzzled look* followed by *totally unimpressed look* followed by "Who?"

Me: We used to be IBM PC division, but we were bought out by a Chinese company called Lenovo. *smile the earnest,please say you've heard of us now, smile*

UH: Oh yeah,yeah I heard something about that on the news. You guys are still part of IBM right?

K: No. They still have a small ownership stake though.

UH: Oh ok,ok.

We've taken some wonderful strategic steps recently towards building our brand name, (and I'm anxious to see how they play out): Our NBA sponsorship of the Lenovo Stat on NBA.com, our new Williams Formula One car sponsorship, and the upcoming '08 Beijing Summer Olympics.
But hey, I've never been one to back down from a challenge, and besides, it may be a good thing to have the opportunity to teach someone about our company.

My major in college was Information Systems, and I'd always have to take an extra minute to explain to recruiters why it was not Computer Science, which was/is a more commonly known major. This always turned into a better conversation for me (and eventually a job) because, by default, I became a master at explaining why my systems analysis skills were what they were looking for in the first place.

So, if it takes a little more explaining to earn someone's business and explain why we have the best engineered computers in the world, bring it on!

*copyright 2003 J. Records. composed by J.R. Bailey/Melvin Kent/Alicia Keys/Harold Lilly/Kanye West/Williams, K