Thank You, Dell!

BusinessWeek last week had harsh words to describe Dell’s recent freefall. (Its biggest shareholders are, to put it mildly, liquidating.) The story was of immense value for my talk at the InfoWeek confab yesterday. It underscores one of my “Top 5” points-in-life. No “business model” is “the last word.” Not GM. Or IBM. Or Sears. Or, doubtless, Microsoft or Dell. (And, equally likely at some point … Wal*Mart.)

Hats (waaaay) off to Dell! Along with Wal*Mart it did proffer a spanking new approach to “supply chain” organization and management. Most everybody, including the Army and Marine Corps, have assiduously copied.

And while there are some pretty good runs on Broadway (IBM’s dominance stretched over two decades—and “unassailable” GM was on the King’s throne for about 25 years), no model is “the last word.” “Perpetual revolution” is my message in general, and especially to the likes of CIOs who are dealing with what are still immature technologies.

(NB: I’m one of those “former Dell customers”—who cut and ran courtesy crappy service.)

On the other hand, Austin offered up a success story that also dovetails with another of my principal “teaching points.” It looks like Freescale Semiconductor will command a LBO price in excess of $15 billion—the biggest ever in the industry. Why am I giggling at that? Motorola dumped what became Freescale in 2004, because it had no great future ahead! And Freescale once again is demonstrating that misfits-“losers”—if disentangled from overbearing bureaucracies—can become winners almost overnight.

(Attached you’ll find a wee Special Presentation titled “Dell Doldrums+”. It includes some quotes from the BusinessWeek article on Dell—and a couple of Slides on what happens when “losers” are let loose.)

Tom Peters posted this on September 12, 2006, in Strategies.
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