QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Ken Knotts

He simplifies complex tech terms, has effectively incorporated bungee cords into his media relations repertoire, and is leading the PC's revival.

He simplifies complex tech terms, has effectively incorporated bungee cords into his media relations repertoire, and is leading the PC's revival.

But he can't keep his pens from being stolen. Meet Ken Knotts, VP of marketing for ClearCube Technology.

Describe the company you work for Our offices are big and boxy, with lots of cubes that house evil gremlins that steal pens. We have 62 employees, not counting the extra personalities some of us have. ClearCube is a privately held company that has created the first true business computer, which was specifically developed for the enterprise. Each user's Intel-based PC is condensed into a small form factor called a Client Blade, which can be stacked in a standard equipment rack (up to 112 blades per rack).

The Client Blades are connected through the cage via a standard Category 5 cable to individual desktops distributed throughout the enterprise up to 200 meters away. I could go on, but I'm sure your eyes have started to glaze over already.

Tell us something interesting about your company Naming a company during the dot-com boom was tough. Finding an open web domain was even tougher.

After about 2,000 names, we came across SteelBlade. Seemed like a good name. The tension built as we all huddled around the monitor as the domain was typed into the browser and the page began to load. It's worth noting that our company at that time was still in its infancy, and we had yet to hire an HR staff.

Good thing too, since we would all have surely been fired for the content that appeared on the screen.

What is your greatest achievement? Being part of a team that has launched and grown a desktop computing solution in a market where the perception is that the PC is dead. Little do they know it is just changing - and we get to lead the charge. Pretty cool.

What was your best pitch/best stunt? Putting a 225-foot bungee tower in Anthony's Pier 4 parking lot in Boston and having editors take the jump. By the way, leverage is attained when you reach the top of the tower and convince the editor that writing a good and accurate story is like attaching bungee cable to your ankles - if you do it wrong, the consequences are fatal. Then you ask about the last story they published about you.

What are you working on this week? An analyst tour explaining our technology, its market value, and desktop computing's future.

What invention would make your job easier? A device that tells me if people actually understand what I'm talking about.

What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? I once called a competitor's engineers "boneheads. I thought it was off the record, but it ended up in print. Guess who the real bonehead was?

Name one surprising thing about your past I dropped out of college my senior year to help start a computer company.

What skill would you most like to have? The ability to talk to girls.

Given my profession, you'd think it would be easier.

What is the secret of your success? Learning from every person I encounter, and knowing that no matter who they are, we are always on a level playing field.

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