Beginning of the End for Great Companies

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by: Sigurd Rinde

I used to love Dell and Google. was the place for a geek-in-training – study, tinker, choose, build the machine of your dreams, click, pay and have it delivered. I bought all my machines there, ditto for the companies I was involved in.

Then one day, having enjoyed another build and order experience, a salesperson called me. A what?

Always in mood for a chat with a fellow tech-head, but alas, the chap did not have a clue. One interesting question and the two-week-sales-course-buzzwords-101 came out. I brushed him off politely. But sadly, he was not the last. The place was infested!

Did I hear  "We must strengthen marketing to grow sales to get IPO to get rich!" from a board member newly elected by some VC?

Google. I hate ads in general, unless they’re funny – and quirky – or really useful. Like 0.001% of the time. But with Google and search-linked and relevant ads I had a blip of renewed belief in advertising. Useful links to exactly what I was looking for, information in fact.

But again, then one day, not along ago, as Seth Godin reminded me in his post, the ads have gone irrelevant. Now it’s the rule, the more remote the better, and you’re off on a wild goose chase and increasingly annoyed. Sales people with sales targets stretching reality for gullible ad buyers. Growth, growth, push, push? The marketing people have arrived. Interesting that it started not long after the IPO…

An entrepreneur life-cycle:

1. Make a great product or service.
2. Let people take it, grab it, use it, buy it.
3. Invite VC’s and investment banks on board and do an IPO.
4. Do not fight the marketroids, shift from pull to push.
5. Sit back with big chunk of money and wait for someone who will fill the gap you left behind.
6. Blame the economy. Collect art.

I’m now waiting for the ones who will do what Dell and Google were good at, and slowly replace them for me. Too bad the stock markets are made out of the cousins of the marketroids and really slow to react, otherwise I would start to short those two shares already.