Saw this in an eWeek article about Demo2004...

Convoq, of Lexington, Mass., is headed by former Lotus Development Corp. executive Chuck Digate.
I've been at Lotus for almost ten years, and this name didn't immediately jump out at me.  Visiting Convoq's website helps address that memory gap -- it looks like Digate was at Lotus before my time.
A google search on the string "former Lotus executive" has 136 hits, and there are, of course, other search strings that would yield hits as well (for example, searching eWeek's print edition recently finds the string "former IBM executive" applied to a former Lotus individual contributor!).  Two questions --
  • How long does one have the ability, or the right, to trade on a former employer's name?  My resume and bio mention my time at US Robotics, but it's been almost ten years.  However, I can't really drop the reference, because it's important to show that I've had other work experience besides Lotus/IBM, and continuity from that job to now.
  • Also, how important is the intervening work?  Mr. Digate has been away from Lotus for at least ten years, and had several other roles since then.  So why the reference to Lotus?  Was that from him, or the reporter's files?  And does the reporter have an obligation to fact check biographical data?
I suspect that the celebrity ex-Lotus personalities like Mitch Kapor, Ray Ozzie and the like would sometimes prefer to escape their past.  Others seem to want to cling to it as long as possible.  What is the right balance?  How do former employer associations make you feel about someone's background and credibility?

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