Zeroes to Heroes?

Dell Hell, the blog storm incited by Jeff Jarvis was the moment when the penny dropped for me on all this 2.0 stuff. Up until then whenever Richard Edelman had banged on about blogging and social media changing forever the relationship between companies and brands and their stakeholders, I had led the cat calls. But when I visited at his behest I Hate Dell.Net, I realised that I was going to have to eat my words. I still use screen grabs from this site in presentations to demonstrate not just that angry customers can now find each other and vent their spleen for the world to see, but that the old silos we used to rely on no longer exist. On the site you could (and still can) find customers talking to employees (not customer service employees . . . real employees). You can find potential employees talking to the subordinates of the person they are about to be interviewed by for a job. And at one time, if you ‘Googled’ Dell, the site was right there, one below Dell.com for all the world’s media, analysts, legislators and investors to see. It was as if the company had been turned inside out and all it’s dark corners were made visible to everyone.

Business Week’s lead in the latest online edition is the meeting of Michael Dell and Jeff Jarvis and story comes full circle as Jarvis relates how the firm has changed based on their now very direct relationship with their customers via the blogosphere they tried to ignore for so long. They now fully participate and facilitate the conversation through sites like IdeaStorm and direct2dell.com and actually appear to change the way they operate and the product and service offering based on this input. On his blog, Jarvis goes as far as to suggest:


“In my first draft of the piece, I wondered whether Dell had even become a Cluetrain company. I had to abbreviate that to being “bloggish” because it just took up too much space to explain the Cluetrain. But as you read the column, note Dell’s compliance with the manifesto’s first three theses:

1. Markets are conversations.
2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.

I don’t know whether this is the end of my saga of Dell Hell: the story come full circle. As I say in the column, I thought that end came three months after this began, when I returned my Dell. But it turns out that was the start of the real story”.

I guess in a couple of years we may have more case studies of companies that have changed for the better because of this new intimate relationship with customers and stakeholders, but right now Dell is about as good as we have. Here’s Jeff Jarvis’s interview with Michael Dell which is sort of painful to watch, but is in my view, required viewing.

http://blip.tv/scripts/pokkariPlayer.js?ver=2007100301
http://blip.tv/syndication/write_player?skin=js&posts_id=436086&source=3&autoplay=true&file_type=flv&player_width=320&player_height=248

[Tags] Jeff Jarvis, Michael Dell, Dell Hell[/tags]

Categories Technology

5 thoughts on “Zeroes to Heroes?

  1. David

    Thanks for the commentary and perspective. I think Michael Dell speaks to the place of Ideastorm in changing ways we do business, as well as the value we find in listening and learning to conversations every day. In fact, he talks about change, business growth and mistakes for any major company and how they impact organizations. At Direct2Dell you will also find an interview we did with Jeff Jarvis when he was here. While we are a far ways from perfect or even where we want to be, we continue to forge forward and use “web 2” as a way to better understand, listen and interact with customers.

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  2. Thanks Richard,

    FYI I am into day three of my Vista loaded XPS M1330 and it is absolutely brilliant.

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  3. I wrote about my own Dell Hell story on my blog and sure enough Dell picked up on it, sent a courier to collect my broken laptop, and returned it by courier at no cost to me, even though it was 3 years old. They told me to let them know if I had any future problems. That was so impressive. But I can beat it.

    I use Microsoft LiveWriter to write my blog posts, but one day I couldn’t add any pics. I wrote about it using the WordPress software asking if anyone else had similar problems. Within an hour, a Microsoft member of staff contacted me to explain they had made security changes to LiveWriter and I would need to make changes through my host server. I was clueless about this, but provided Microsoft with enough information, and the authorisation, to sort it out for me, which they did by the end of the day. I still email this guy if I have any problems. Isn’t that fantastic?

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  4. Very cool…..so this conversation stuff does sometimes work!

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  5. David, I think we both know that “this conversation stuff” works. I can also tell you I have had so much fun from it and met some great people.

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