Competitive Takeout Conundrum

Sun Microsystems has kicked off a new sales initiative. To stimulate new revenue, 200 small but lethal "A" teams have been assigned to as many prospect accounts around the world - small but strategic/growth accounts with no Sun kit to date.

The teams were given an initial task to assess these accounts w.r.t. competitive server installed base, to help plan assault tactics. Here are the complete results of that study:

  • 104 accounts have IBM, 81 have HP, and 125 have Dell.
  • 39 accounts have IBM and HP, 58 have IBM and Dell, and 50 have HP and Dell.
  • 16 accounts have ONLY IBM and HP on their floor.

A Sigma Black Belt (an expert in SixSigma methods) was assigned to analyze the data.

How many of the accounts did the Black Belt find that did not have any servers from IBM, Dell or HP?

Comments:

I make that 14. I'll try this one on my 10-year old tonight.

Posted by Peter Tribble on March 21, 2005 at 01:45 AM EST #

Yep - a very easy problem using a set theory approach - filling in the spaces created by three intersecting circles. For those who don't properly set up the problem, it can be frustrating and difficult. Good job.

Posted by Dave Brillhart on March 21, 2005 at 02:52 AM EST #

I though the question was going to be "How many have switched to Solaris 10 within 6 months?" I am sure that answer would be considered more valuable ;-)

Posted by Dave Warnock on March 21, 2005 at 05:06 AM EST #

I tried to get clever and design my last two puzzle posts in terms of industry-specific players. I guess I could take that a step further and make sure that a puzzle's solution describes a Sun favored state. :-) But such a pattern would constrain the solution space. Nah... I'll leave evangelism to my other blog threads.

Posted by Dave Brillhart on March 21, 2005 at 06:07 AM EST #

As promised, I tried this on my daughter and she almost freaked out on terms like "Sigma Black Belt", but then I rephrased it in more familiar terms (kids in the school cafeteria with different kinds of food on their plates) and she got the idea straight away. ("That's Venn diagrams, isn't it.") And even the right answer after a couple of attempts.

Posted by Peter Tribble on March 21, 2005 at 06:35 AM EST #

Wow! Did you coach her thru the process? If not, I'm guessing your child is not a product of the American public school "system". I'd fight and die for America if she were threatened. But we home school our kids for a reason. I'll try the problem on my 9-yr old son. He's a natural at math.

Posted by Dave Brillhart on March 21, 2005 at 08:24 AM EST #

The school system in the UK is still in reasonable shape, and here in Cambridge is pretty good (everyone complains about funding, but from what I've seen the schools are better staffed and equipped than when I was going through).

She's pretty good at math anyway - probably her strongest subject, and I knew she had done the theory a few months ago, so I thought it was worth a try. As I said, I had to rephrase it (and dropped the word "set" in there just in case, but she probably didn't need that hint), and corrected an error she made before it went too far, but didn't have to coach her much at all.

She gets to go to a math club one afternoon a month most months, but I think I'm going to go search for some more puzzles like this to stretch her a bit.

Posted by Peter Tribble on March 21, 2005 at 10:39 AM EST #

testing the post

Posted by guest on April 08, 2006 at 07:46 AM EDT #

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