Alex Cho took over as president of HP Personal Systems about six months ago, becoming the head of one of the largest PC businesses in the world. HP took the No. 1 spot in 2017. In 2018, depending on who you ask, the company was either No. 1 or No. 2.

While the PC market shrank in the past year, HP sold nearly 60 million computers, and Cho said in an interview with VentureBeat that he’s impressed with the innovation happening in PCs, whether it’s the leather-bound Spectre Folio laptop case or the privacy screens on new all-in-ones or monitors.

He believes the PC is what people use when they want to get serious work done, or are very focused on a task. Cho said he is impressed with the growth of gaming PCs, where the HP Omen brand still has some pretty strong cred with gamers. He said that users want more personalization and creativity. That’s why HP launched its latest Z by HP workstations and its Sprout line of educational computers, which are experiments in new markets for the PC.

I talked with him about HP’s lineup of new products at CES 2019, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week, as well as his thoughts on the future of computing. If he’s right, we’ll be logging into the internet with our 5G modems, playing immersive experiences in VR, and indulging in esports and livestreaming.

Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

Above: Alex Cho is president of HP Personal Systems.

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: You’ve been president of this division for six months now. What are some of your observations about that first six months?

Alex Cho: I’d say first is, I didn’t capture as much previously, but now that I see the scope of the work being done in our division, there’s just a ton of innovation being worked at multiple stages of maturity across different businesses. Getting that far deeper view of all that at once is pretty exciting. Far more than I’d expected. That closer look has been a very welcome one.

I’m very energized by what I’ve seen, in the short and long term. Obviously the business is very dynamic. We’ve always looked at different types of market effects. We’ve always dealt with headwinds. The ability of the division to deal with that from end to end, I’ve been very impressed by that.

VentureBeat: What’s your basic view of the PC business overall, in the context of so many other devices that exist these days? Next to smartphones and IOT devices and all that, why is the PC still something interesting to focus on?

Cho: There’s been a lot of innovation in the PC space, adjacent to a lot of other categories in the market right now. What you see around PC that’s driving a lot of energy is different use cases. In consumer, think about the growth of gaming. It’s propelling a lot of PC-based innovation and experiences. Think about what’s happening with people what are doing in conference rooms with PC-based conferencing systems, another driver that’s very much PC-oriented.

I feel like there’s a lot more innovation happening in PC than there’s ever been, whether it’s around things like design, or security. Security is becoming very important as computing becomes more pervasive. We’re enabling different types of performance use cases. On top of the just the core innovation, we also see new innovations around mobility, including shifting toward 5G. We also see a lot of growth around everything as a service. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by that extending to the PC space. That gives us a great opportunity, through all the analytics and AI we’re building around how these devices are used and managed, to offer new value for our customers.

When we say our strategy is simple, it’s that we’re going to create the most exciting devices. That’s through insight that drives great innovations. Those will be the most exciting devices in a market with a lot of other kinds of devices. Second, we’re also building the most intelligent solutions that shift our portfolio to more service-oriented solutions for our customers.

HP EliteDisplay E243p Sure View Monitor.

Above: HP EliteDisplay E243p Sure View Monitor.

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: I remember in late 2017 you guys had moved into the number one spot, according to the market researchers. Are you still there? Where do you stand now?  [Gartner says Lenovo was No. 1 in 2018, while IDC said HP was No. 1].

Cho: We’ve always stated that we’re focused on our own thing. We’re not chasing share for share’s sake. We’re focused on growing profitable share. I’m very pleased that that’s materialized, both in terms of customer value as well as growing the business. In this past year we grew very well. We’re growing in the areas that we choose to play.

As we go forward, we see that growing in premium, as an example, is a space we’ll continue to work. We gained more than three points of premium market share in the past two years. We’re now probably one of the fastest-growing premium vendors out there. We’ve built an exciting gaming ecosystem. As I said, gaming is fueling a lot of innovation in the space.

VentureBeat: Are you talking about gaming machines, or Spectres, in that space? What qualifies as premium?

Cho: We define that based on price point. Roughly speaking, that’s $999 and above. Our higher-end gaming systems would be captured in that. But we also have a lot of growth in non-gaming premium consumer devices, like Spectre, where there’s been great response to the innovations we’ve introduced in that line. We continue to play that game. There’s no change in that. We’re excited about what that’s meant in terms of innovation for our customers, and what it’s meant in being able to grow the business and improve profit. We’re also very much interested in our net promoter scores and ensuring that customers being our north star is where we’re delivering, quarter after quarter.

VentureBeat: I’m fairly excited about 5G, but more so on a laptop than anything else. I’d love to be able to not worry about my connection speed. It’s a basic improvement in productivity for me. How do you feel about how it’s coming along, or how quickly it’s coming?

Cho: One of the big pivots we’ve made internally is on connectivity. We’re looking at use cases and experiences more than just technology in and of itself, and we’re connecting how technology enables use cases and experiences. That’s a very big, important focus for us. When we talk about 5G, we’re looking at the type of use cases that 5G will enable.

You’re right that basic productivity, being able to continue what you’ll be able to do in a more connected location–there’s a lot of office productivity, things like video conferencing or video downloading. We also see a lot of use cases that are dependent on security. People connecting to public wi-fi are still a source of security vulnerabilities. That’s an important use case we have to solve. The other element to it for us is the ability to be connected wherever you go, and to have instant access to content in a more rapid manner. We’re focused on not just connectivity speed, but access. As we look at experiences and use cases, we’re focused on delivering them across our systems.

Omen X 65 Emperium with Soundbar

Above: Omen X 65 Emperium with Soundbar

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: As far as gaming, what do you think HP’s focus or strategy is or should be? I tend to see something like Dell’s Alienware as the big brand in the space. You guys had Voodoo, but haven’t always kept that focused on gaming. How serious an effort is gaming for you?

Cho: Gaming is a very serious effort. Let me give you the reason why, and then what we’re doing. First, the PC market, in terms of hardware alone, is reaching about $41 billion. More important, esports and gaming is becoming far more mainstream. When you look at how gaming has evolved, it used to be more around males, teenagers, somewhat of a solitary activity. Now it’s transforming. It’s far more social. The demographics are far more diverse. It’s becoming something that you do across multiple devices as well.

We have data that says almost 11 billion hours will be spent watching esports. By 2020, by next year, esports will overtake the NBA and some other popular sports that we know of in traditional environments. It’s growing like crazy. From our side, we’re pleased with our progress. For us, gaming was a small activity a few years ago. Now we’ve gained a lot of share. We’ve gained more than 12 points. We see ourselves continuing to focus not only on great devices — you need a lot of performance capabilities to deliver that — but also the need to deliver immersive experiences as well.

As you’ve seen, we’ll be introducing our Omen X Imperium 65 sound bar. That gives you a very immersive experience out there. We’re enabling the world’s first gaming laptop with the fastest refresh display rate, 240Hz. We’re putting a lot around the immersive experience. In the future, we see a lot more room for gaming services as well. We’re making progress. I’m very pleased. It’s one of our fastest-growing areas, and we see a lot more as we go forward.

To give you one data point that I was surprised when I saw it earlier, when we introduced our Omen 15 gaming laptop on JD.com, we sold the first 9000 units in 20 minutes. There’s a huge amount of demand and excitement around the work the Omen team has been doing.

VentureBeat: When you choose to go into promoting or marketing or sponsoring some of these things, what might rise up to your level as far as what you want HP to do? Like the Omen brand on some of the esports tournaments. Is there a particular marketing context behind that?

Cho: I don’t know if you’re asking about gaming or more generally, but let me speak about gaming first. It will also be the case for our other areas, but gaming is an area that we’ve chosen to prioritize, for the reasons I mentioned. It’s something we pursue across the traditional four Ps. We need not only great products, but also a promotional element, and the placement activities—when the teams pull together our strategies and what they review, they review a full four-P strategy against them.

On gaming itself, part of the traction we’ve made in the area of how we’ve been successful is not only looking at the products, but the right types of sponsorships we might do, whether it’s with League of Legends or—we were at TwitchCon just a few months ago, where we had a gaming event as part of the convention. It’s definitely part of the overall gaming strategy. It’s part of what’s made it exciting, part of what’s helped it move along. The teams review that as a part of their overall strategy in how to grow the category and grow our presence within it. That would be similar in our other initiatives as well, looking at a full four-P approach across any of them.

We were talking about League of Legends. I don’t know if you know this, but when you search now for “LoL” on Google, laughing out loud isn’t necessarily the top results. Sometimes you’ll see League of Legends, crazily enough. Gaming is hot.

HP Envy 34-inch curved all-in-one.

Above: HP Envy 34-inch curved all-in-one.

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: I’m curious about the other end of the spectrum, too. It seems like the baby boomers are aging, getting up there, and the graying of the population is going to be a big deal. I wonder if that enters into your thinking at all. PCs have never been as easy to use for old people. They’ve never been designed with old people in mind. That could be a problem going forward, it seems like.

Cho: Very specifically, as we focus more on use cases and experiences, enabling the devices to be more personalized, more intuitive, is a key part of what you see our focus on. I’ll give you some traditional examples that have come out, and you’ll also see some other elements that are adjacent.

As an example, making our devices more voice-friendly and integrating Alexa. As you know, search is increasingly becoming instigated or initiated through voice. Second, one of the things you’ll see within our CES unveiling is that displays are such an incredibly important part of the computing experience. That’s very much the case with an aging demographic. Larger displays, more vivid displays, wider viewable displays. We’re announcing a host of new innovations across our products that allow for better display capability. That includes, on our Spectre line, the world’s first AMOLED display, which improves various dynamics of what we see people are doing, like shopping. Having colors match what you see, increasingly people are looking that, as well as the ability to see in different lighting conditions.

Those are some core areas of continuing to provide experiences for multiple generations. Then there’s the area of security and privacy and safety. What we’re finding is that security and privacy is a key part of what the older demographic is looking for, as well as the mobile demographic. We introduced, in our Spectre line, a camera that has a privacy switch on the side to turn it off. You’ll see on our new displays and all-in-ones, we have a webcam that pops in and out to give people the assurance of the camera not being on. On our Elitebooks we have a privacy camera shutter that you can physically move to assure yourself that it’s not visible.

We also look at additional ways of prioritizing security, such as what we have in our Elite lineup around SureClick, to ensure that you won’t be introducing any malware onto your device when you click on a bad link. That’s increasingly on the minds of a broader demographic.

Earlier this year we introduced a dedicated health care portfolio that looks at the specific needs around safer, more sanitizable, and smarter devices in clinical environments. We’re also looking at needs in that space. As we look more at our customers and use cases and experiences, we’re finding that gives us a rich set of areas to deliver an expanded set of experiences that might be core to the device, or adjacent to it, or even new segment opportunities.

HP's first AMD-based Chromebook.

Above: HP’s first AMD-based Chromebook.

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: I was impressed with Microsoft’s effort this year, announcing their Inclusive Technologies Lab and creating their new controller for the Xbox. That was an interesting direction for a big company to go in, thinking about increasing accessibility to console gaming. It seems like that kind of effort should happen with the PC as well.

Cho: I think what you’ll see, at least from us, is that we’re continuing to sub-segment the market and look at different customer segments. From there, we’ll identify—I mentioned examples before around how we can offer more ease of use experiences for customers.

VentureBeat: For CES, do you think there will be big trends that you’re going to care about more, or that you’ll notice more, relative to other things? We’re assuming that AI is probably going to be front and center for almost everyone.

Cho: It’ll be interesting to see what actually catches attention. I think there’s going to be continued focus on AI. Quite frankly, right now it shows up in many different forms. You’ll also see a lot of progress continue in the whole area of displays. We’re doing a lot around display technology. As we continue to show new technologies around how to get increased performance that’s relevant environments—gaming is one key area in that. We’re introducing, as you’ve seen, not only more immersive experiences, but just higher performance and better refresh rates, so these experiences are even more engaging and more dynamic.

You’ll see a lot more performance. You’ll see a lot from us around the wonderful world of displays and how important that is for our customers, the opportunities to innovate around them. And then around things that are more smart and personalized. The whole area of personalization in design is a key part of what we’re highlighting. As we look at our customers, 79 percent of them are keeping on top of the latest technology trends, but they also want great design. More than half of millennials say that design is one of the most important factors in choosing a PC.

Not only is design important on the outside, but they’re also very much interested—talking about displays, again, they very much want design in terms of how it comes across in what they can see. That’s why we introduced the Spectre Folio a few months ago, and we’re introducing a new CMS, Bordeaux Burgundy, which reaches out to a broader audience. We have a 4K display option. Increasingly we’re finding that these devices are very much a reflection of who people are. They’re looking for more personalization. We have our new Spectre X360 that has the world’s first AMOLED display on a 15” laptop, but as well, it has this new CMS, Poseidon Blue, that’s been an important part of continuing to provide new types of design language and new facets of design for the X360 itself, to provide new styles among our lineup.

Not only do we see that in the whole space of consumer devices, in commercial devices as well—we design our commercial devices to be rugged and commercial in all senses of the term, but also to have a design aesthetic that users would want. When we introduce our devices at CES, our new X360 or 800 series line, that has all the aesthetics a millennial would be looking for, but it has all the capabilities of our commercial devices.

You’ll also see the demonstration of our next-gen Sure View. People used to put screen filters on their notebooks, with the little tabs on the side, so you couldn’t see the screen from one side. We introduced the world’s only integrated electronic privacy screen. By pressing F2 you can toggle between normal mode, and then you press it again and you can only see the display when you’re standing right in front of it. It’s been one of the most exciting innovations that the teams have delivered. It started in the commercial space and we’re now introducing it into the consumer space. We’re now on to Gen 3, which has increased performance.

Our first design center, interesting enough, was coffeehouses. We were following a lot of millennial workers, and they’re working a lot more in coffeehouses and other public spaces. They were always trying to make sure people weren’t peeking over their shoulders. One of the areas that’s been most meaningful for me, and we’ve gotten a lot of feedback, is the tremendous value on airplanes. It’s very valuable for me because of all the time I spend on airplanes. You feel more free to be working on your sensitive Powerpoint slides or whatever it might be while you’re on a plane.

One of the announcements we’re making at CES is that we’ll be introducing it in the world’s first implementation around all-in-ones and larger displays. With all of these open offices — in the U.S., estimates are that up to 70 percent of offices have an open layout – privacy is one of the things that people are looking for more. We’re excited about what we can offer with Sure View, the technology we’re taking from our notebooks to our all-in-ones and our displays. You can imagine that in an open office, people will have a lot more privacy, and that’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking to ensure that even in an open environment, they’ll have a lot less of what they call “visual hacking,” where people look over your shoulder and try to figure out what you’re doing. That’s an important part of what we’re announcing.

Z by HP

Above: Z by HP

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: One of the areas that doesn’t seem to have caught on like everyone expected is VR. Where do you think that is right now as far its growth or momentum?

Cho: The current market around VR is more on the consumer side. People are aware of VR in that space. We’re participating there. Where we see that there’s a lot of growth opportunity, though, is in the commercial space going forward. That’s important because in the commercial space, we see use cases, whether it might be product design or architecture or location-based entertainment. Those are opportunities for a lot of innovation in commercial VR. Again, yes, we participate in the consumer space. But we think the market will be larger in the commercial space, where there will be a lot of opportunity as we go forward. If you think about that market, it will reach about $25 billion as we go forward.

The reason why it’s very exciting in the commercial space is that the benefits are around efficiency, around better accuracy. I’ll give you a great example. We just opened up our new Houston site last month, in December. Other than the ground-breaking day, when I was there, I actually didn’t have to travel there. I could get updates, because we had a VR visual of the environment that we could use to provide feedback. You get the immersive experience. You can give real time feedback. We see that as just one example of how VR has a lot more opportunity to add value into the commercial space.

If you think about location-based entertainment, we have a Jurassic World experience, one of the largest VR rollouts in North America, that’s powered by HP VR solutions. It’s at Dave and Busters around the U.S. That’s another example of how VR has a huge opportunity to provide value in the commercial space going forward. It’s still nascent, but we have a lot of pilots and deployments. You’ll see a lot more from us as we go forward.

VentureBeat: If you think about other things that are going to push the PC forward, looking at VR and the hopes people had, what else do you see that’s on a similar scale?

Cho: We look at a few different areas of rich innovation and change. We call them opportunity experiences of the future. One is gaming of the future. We talked about gaming becoming more social, more diverse, and all the experiences moving to services.

We talk about our vision of delivering the office of the future. The office of the future will power a lot more workers who are more mobile, working from home, and a lot of gig workers. The office of the future will provide more connected environments among sites and among buildings. It will drive a lot of rich innovation around room computing.

The third area where we see a lot of excitement that will drive growth is around health care, as we mentioned, the health care of the future. As we go toward more telemedicine—I believe it was last year that the number of video consultations versus in-person in the U.S. among key health providers, that actually exceeded 50 percent. If you think about the rich computing needs in that environment, and security for all of that data, that’s very important.

We’re also investing in the education of the future. As learning experiences for K-12, as well as in higher ed, become much more immersive, that’s where our technologies around immersive computing have been a key catalyst for continuing to find new experiences for students and teachers and faculty. And finally, we also see retail. Retail is undergoing a lot of shifts. It’s no longer traditional brick and mortar. You see a lot of these omni-channel experiences, online and offline. You see the importance of data security, obviously, in stores. We introduced, earlier this year, an updated lineup of our retail point-of-sale devices.

What’s great about things like retail point-of-sale, and also some of the other areas I’ve mentioned, is the opportunity to deliver them as a service. That opens up a lot of new opportunities for us. We can take traditional transactional offerings and offer them through an analytics platform that optimizes devices and makes them more personalized, as well as more secure, for our customers. HP Device as a Service is a key platform we’ve made a lot of progress on this past year, and you’ll see a lot more for us going forward.

Z by HP

Above: Z by HP

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: I also wanted to ask about Z by HP, Sprout, and these other more experimental areas of expansion around the PC.

Cho: Let me talk about Z. I love our workstation business. Z is a part of our workstation business which is not experimental. It’s an important part of our overall business. We’re a leader in several segments in the workstation space, and we see the need for higher-end computing, particularly for design, continuing to grow. That’s a very important part of what we do.

We also see the whole space around machine learning continuing to be supported and enabled by our Z devices. When customers want the best performance they’re looking for workstation devices. They’re looking for HP workstations. Anything around real time rendering and computer-aided engineering. We see that our devices will be a key part of machine learning is introduced into more use cases.

Creators are an important area in this space as well. A lot of creation happens in the film industry. Motion picture studios are using HP Z workstations. We also see that continuing to grow around creativity, the more traditional creative pro, as we go forward. When I talk about VR, commercial VR, our workstation solutions will offer VR solutions. That will be powered by our Z devices.

Talking about immersive, last year we announced our HP FitStation, which uses our scanning capabilities and has integrated them into a custom shoe recommendation solution. Not only did we start there, but we extended it to custom insoles. We’re actually printing custom insoles using HP 3D printers and delivering them to our customers. That’s an exciting area where we’re using some of our more immersive capabilities as part of the broader HP portfolio. We also announced that we’ll be introducing, in 2019, not only custom shoe recommendations based on your specific scan and your gait, and not only custom insoles, but fully custom shoes. We’ll be announcing more about that later this year.

We have a lot of things we’re working on. We categorize these into core, growth, and future. Core is delivering today, and it’s the majority of what is delivered. Growth is in segments that are smaller in size, but that are rapidly accelerating. The future is areas that are farther out there. They’re more category creation. They’re exciting because we’re able to invest and work on experiences that could scale. They’ll take a bit more time, but we’re pushing the innovation envelope in order to get there.

Female players are changing esports and broadening its appeal.

Above: Female players are changing esports and broadening its appeal.

Image Credit: Playgroundz

VentureBeat: Speaking of interesting use cases, the streamers out there seem to be getting bigger and bigger. That’s becoming a pretty amazing ecosystem, where people are making money streaming their gameplay and other things.

Cho: I mentioned TwitchCon. This year was my first TwitchCon, and I was just blown away. You look at personalities like Ninja—think about these people, who are streaming Fortnite and getting viewerships–I think he’s in the 27 million range, and growing? That’s why the earlier discussion around gaming is an important one. Not only are games growing, but the entire ecosystem around them, whether it’s the devices or accessories or services. There’s streaming. There are new kinds of fans. There are events. There are personalities who are growing out of this environment.

Then you see the adoption of esports, even in education environments. In higher ed, esports is being embraced and invested in by institutions as a way to build more social connectedness. It’ll be fascinating to watch. What’s exciting about what we’re doing, we’re very much staying close to the ground and remaining connected to gamers themselves. We’re doing that in multiple geographies around the world. We’re also investing a lot in the innovations that enable not only the core experience, but the experiences around that. We’re partnering with key partners and promotional opportunities so that we can cultivate the entire ecosystem.

I’ve been very pleased so far. It’s been a very small category in the past, but it’s become one of our growth areas. It’s a material vector for us.

VentureBeat: We’ve talked about opportunities. Are there clouds on the horizon that you worry about, things that would require someone bigger than HP to clear up, like potential trade wars or anything else?

Cho: There are always things that I’ve found in this business that present a headwind. In general I’d say that the one constant is the different types of dynamics that are a part of the PC ecosystem, whether it be component availability or trade, like you said. We’re staying focused on our customers. We’re focused on managing how we navigate around those headwinds. We’ve done quite well at navigating across several headwinds in the past year. We have a variety of things we work across our end to end teams to go do that.

As we look forward, we stay focused on what we know. We’re not going to speculate on things that are outside of what’s definitive. I feel good about the focus on execution. You asked me before about what’s impressed me. One thing is just the breadth of innovations, but the other is the machinery from our supply chain to our category teams to all of how we manage the business daily. It’s truly world-class. I tend to not worry about them. We’re more focused on executing on our game.

HP's latest mouse can read your fingerprints.

Above: HP’s latest mouse can read your fingerprints.

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: Are there any other big topics on your mind that we haven’t mentioned yet?

Cho: Another area where you’re going to see a lot more from us is around sustainability. We care very much about this business, but we also care about the larger impact. It very much stems from what we think is right for our customers, but also, for us as a business and our employees as well. People are expecting more from their brands in general.

It’s been a very gratifying part. It’s not actually that new, even though we may be sharing more about it externally, but the focus on sustainability internally is something that has only been ramping for the last several years. What we’ve now just formalized is how we’re going to do that across the planet and people and communities. We’re doing that in order to better coordinate the different activities that are happening within the company in these three areas.

When we talk about the planet, we have many different areas where we’re driving toward use of more sustainable materials. We’ll continue to do that and work toward more sustainable PC products as we go forward. We talk about people, and that’s a very important one for us. Gartner recently gave us 10 out of 10 for our ethical and socially responsible supply chain. It’s very important for us in this business to be aware of what we do in the ecosystem around us.

Third, around community—as you know, education is an important focus of our business. Not only are we interested in delivering education in the future, but we want to make sure we’re improving learning outcomes in underserved communities. Last year, we had made the commitment to continue to improve learning outcomes around the world. We installed more than 100 HP Learning Studios in 15 different countries last year, and we’ll continue to invest in that.

I’m very proud of that. I’ve been a part of HP for 23 years now. The past few years have been a time where the energy of the HP employee base is excited about what we’re doing for our customers, what we’re doing for broader communities, and also how we do it. We’re doing it our way, doing it with integrity. You asked me up front what’s hit my radar. There’s an incredible energy and passion to the HP organization that I’ve been very pleased to see. Even my family says, “You seem so much more energized.” When your wife tells you something like that, you know there must be some merit to it.

We’re doing things we believe in. We’re building solutions for customers that we care about. Yes, we’re focused on short-term needs, but we also have long-term ambitions around delivering these experiences of the future and doing that in sustainable ways. There’s a momentum around that. That’s another part of what’s happening behind the scenes, and we’re very excited about it.

Above: Esports is big, but it needs to monetize better.

Image Credit: VY Esports

VentureBeat: What about your personal background still comes to the fore in your daily work? What experiences have been useful to you so far?

Cho: One thing is, I’ve been with the company for several years. I’ve been a part of many different businesses in many different regions. I’ve been able to see how we execute. Great strategy is important. Translating the strategy into how we execute day in and day out is an important part of what we do to be successful. That’s one element I bring.

The other thing is, having worked and lived and been closer to multiple geographies—I spent some time in Europe. I spent some time in Asia. That’s important. I talk about insight-driven innovation and we’re very serious about that. We have an official process by which we drive that. It’s about getting closer to our customers. I remember when I was in France and we were doing some customer segmentation. I was struck by how meaningful it is to have local insight. That’s a key part of what we’re doing a lot more of – customer-driven, insight-driven, and making sure it’s locally relevant as well.

There is something to the HP way. I wouldn’t have quoted it earlier, because it was a very broad term. But the tangibility of the focus on innovation, the focus on community, the focus on integrity, the focus on making a contribution—what I mentioned to you about sustainability, it’s so much more tangible now. It’s motivating as a broad place to engage. How to enable that for our employees—I just get the value, having been here and seen how those values are a key part of who we are. It’s materializing and accelerating in how we make HP a better place for people to work and make better solutions for our customers.

As an aside, I go grocery shopping more in the holidays because I have more time. A few years ago I actually bumped into somebody I went to school with at the local grocery store. They said, “Hey, where do you work?” and I said, “I’m at HP.” They said, “Oh, you’re still there?” I remember hearing that and thinking, “Why would you say that?” [laughs] The same thing happened this past holiday, with someone different. My first kid went to college this year, so I passed on that update, and I mentioned again that I’m at HP. This person said, “Omen Gaming, that’s the coolest stuff. My son is so into games.” It’s such an interesting thing. I think the energy and the momentum of what we’re doing is really permeating in multiple areas.

HP has a partnership with Zazzle to let you create your own laptop skin.

Above: HP has a partnership with Zazzle to let you create your own laptop skin.

Image Credit: HP

VentureBeat: You don’t have to worry so much about the HP brand versus something like the Apple brand.

Cho: I feel great about the progress we’re making. Our brand perception is improving significantly. Among Windows consumer brands we’re number one. Our net promoter score is now equivalent to Apple. I can go on about this, because if you think about our premium share, a lot of that growth has been on the heels of Apple’s share. There’s a lot of innovation energy and new things being developed. It’s happening out of the personal systems space at HP. There’s momentum we’re excited about and excited to continue.

VentureBeat: One last thing I was curious about—I was surprised that Nvidia and AMD were hit by this deflation of the crypto mining bubble in the last quarter. It came almost three quarters after Bitcoin started melting down. It’s such an odd sequence of events. I wondered if you saw any effects from this, if it created a bubble in PC sales and a subsequent inventory problem.

Cho: Speaking from the HP side, our growth has been very much balanced across all of our business. There’s not just been one element that’s pre-eminent. Crypto isn’t even an area of internal analysis for us. Our growth has been very balanced across all our businesses and across the world. It’s been on the heels of innovation in multiple areas, whether it’s gaming or health care or education or office. That’s not been on my radar. Our results aren’t reflecting anything unusual.