Imagine A World Without Dell

The word on t’internet is all about “so what’s Michael Dell up to?’ Is he fed up with trying to justify why, what, when to a doubting market? Does he have a new game changer that will make him fantastically rich if he owns it all himself?

I have no idea. Or when I woke up this morning I had no idea. As the news filtered into my waking factual, logical left brain, my right brain started to fire out fantastical ideas of its own.

What happens next is that normally most of those get dismissed for being the ridiculous fantasises that they obviously are; and I get on with my day being a logical businessman.

But sometimes they stick, for whatever reason, and they turn out to be the best ideas I have all day, and not quite as crazy as they appeared in the morning light.

So where does Dell figure in this? Listen up….

In the 80s I worked for a ground-breaking, exploding technology company called Wang. We sold newfangled word processors in huge numbers to big banks and drove IBM and DEC nuts. We adored our glorious leader Dr. An Wang – a true revolutionary of the time.

To cope with the stratospheric growth we built a distribution centre in Limerick, transforming the fortunes of this sleepy Irish town.

Within ten years our glistening carriage turned to a pumpkin as Dr. Wang and a sales force who generally thought they were walking on water sunk almost without trace, having not predicted the arrival of the personal computer.

It wasn’t long before the fortunes of Limerick received a life-saving boost and as Wang sank without trace, that new jobs were created by the new darling of the market, Michael Dell. Talk about the luck of the Irish. Now they had a company that wasn’t only bigger and better than Wang but built but by one of their own!

But is that cunning Chinese genius now having the last laugh? The factory space he had built for himself is faced with the possibility that their current owner is about to witness a similar fate. And not only is it due to a belated realization that the world wants something different now, but also because someone else is making something better and cheaper… and they are Chinese.

Is it just me or is there a fascinating predictability about this industry? Or is it just my warped right brain at work too early in the day?

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Alan Haley is the founder and MD of Europa Communications, which provides outsourced business development and marketing services to the enterprise technology sector. Before founding Europa in 1994, Alan held sales, marketing and operational roles at Cap Gemini, Wang, Comshare, Mantix, Intelligent Office Co, Mancos and even Chrysler. Alan has a BSc (Hon) in Maths and Computing, a high golf handicap and a passion for cooking, sailing, travel and Newcastle United.