I was reading Tim Cook of Apple:
“It’s interesting to me—and I think this is a privilege for Apple—just like we’re sitting down at this table today, I get e-mails all day long, hundreds, thousands per day from customers who are talking like you and I are talking, almost like I’ve gone over to their home and I am having dinner with them….But the point is they care so much they take the time to say something. It’s not a letter like you might think is written to a CEO. It’s not this formal kind of stuff. It’s like you and I are having a discussion, and we’ve known each other for 20 years, and I want to tell you what I really think. I love it. I don’t know if there’s another company on earth this happens with. It’s just not people from the U.S. These are people from all over the world. I look at it, and I go, “This is a privilege.” “
In contrast, a colleague was describing a vendor event he went to this year:
"It was like going to the neighborhood summer party of the neighbor that everybody hates…you’re happy to see your friends and have a couple of beers, but there’s an awkward feel to the entire thing."
And it occurred to me he could have been describing events of so many technology vendors today. Big Brand names that Wall Street supposedly loves.
Two terms popped up as I heard what he said. Zombie customers who would get you if you even slightly tripped. And the concept of “Bad Profits” that Fred Reichheld, the famous Bain consultant defines as
profits as earnings at the expense of customer relationships--whenever a customer feels misled, mistreated, coerced or abused; profits from that customer are bad.
I have a different term for it - "empty calories" and you find many examples of vendors continuing to milk the list of low value/over priced IT spend items I had identified back in 2006
The sad thing is most of these vendors brag about how Wall Street loves them. Investor first, Customer a distant second
So, it is interesting to hear Marc Andreessen say
"The public right now hates technology, just hates technology...We're in a tech depression."
Marc, Wall Street can see through passion-less, even hostile customers and overpriced products. It's time for a change in equlibrium. It's time to start drooling about customer letters and conversations that Cook has. It's time to make the neighborhood summer party enjoyable again. Wall Street will follow.