CEO James Adams' Address to Staffers in 1998



Here are the notes from then-UPI Chief Executive Officer James Adams' address to staffers on April 24, 1998:


Adams says feedback indicates UPI is on the right track with its vision of Internet-based products for shaping knowledge. He says: "We indeed do have the right vision." Adams also says he has a commitment from the investors for regular quarterly funding that is essential to launching the company toward success. The business model has been refined and knowledge packages are what people want.

The task now is to refine the company's team structure and continue to work to improve communications among departments and employees. The vision is to be an elite organization on the forefront of the knowledge revolution and the mission is to take the lead as a dynamic multimedia presence that will shape the Knowledge Age.

The company's operating philosophy: "We will be aggressive, team-based, creative, and responsive winners."

UPI has four major alliances and partnerships in progress:

-- A strategic alliance with Microsoft for development and beta testing of media 
software.
-- A partnership with Media Exchange for distribution and sales of UPI products 
through the Internet, which will become operational in May.
--UPI Productions, a TV documentary company.
--FingerLakes, which will have space on the B2 level of Washington headquarters,
 which is a global radio station available through the Internet.

Adams said Microsoft people have told him, "Our vision is identical to their own," and UPI is the only company in the world on the cutting edge of knowledge products and services for the Internet. He says new sales and revenue are steadily climbing.

Adams pointed out that editorially, the company has:

-- Implemented an editorial quality assurance program that has improved 
the quality of the editorial product, though more remains to be done;
-- Is starting a "skunk works" for development of new products (so named for 
the famed Lockheed development program that produced the Stealth fighter), 
and that the first UPI knowledge package is the World Cup Soccer package 
now being sold (Adams encouraged all employees to submit ideas for new 
products);
-- Is building up the Focus Desk to enhance editing and tracking of stories;
-- been gaining wider distribution of photos, including pictures published in Life magazine,
the Quill and the St. Louis Post;
-- Had a number of good exclusive stories, including stories by Pentagon 
reporter Mike Billington on Pentagon computers being assaulted by hackers 
(2-20), a teen hacker network assaulting government and corporate computers 
(2-25); and President Clinton circulating a draft executive order to devise 
a national cyberwall around critical computer networks (3-9).

In the technology area, Adams says the company is working to install 100 new desktop and laptop computers, and to install a web-based document management system and web-based archive system.

Reviewing commitments made at the last employee briefing, Adams says because funding failed to arrive on time from the investors, the company's schedule was pushed back four months. He says he has a commitment for quarterly funding in May.

Adams also says the expense report process will be streamlined, and a new expense and payment schedule will be implemented under which employee expenses will be paid every two weeks. In addition, stringer payments will be processed by the 20th of each month.

UPI's business model is to create new products via the skunk works, refine the content, then package and distribute them to customer -- with the Online, Spanish, Arabic and Broadcast teams monitoring and active in the entire process.

"We are building comprehensive integrated packages of audio, video, print, photographic, multimedia and online information," Adams says.

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