I started following Steve Felices successful career back in the late 90s when Id flagged a Dell support problem and got kind of vocal about it. Back then several of the other firms actually started making fun of me for pointing out what they thought was a non-problem -- until their own customers asked them why they too werent both reporting it and doing something about it.
Steve, who was working at Dell at the time, rather than stonewalling, looked into what Id pointed out, confirmed there was a problem and put resources on fixing it. After making a number of staffing changes Dell support improved dramatically. He then went from job to job inside of Dell fixing problems and improving the units he managed.
I cant tell you how rare it is to see an executive who first looks into issues before firing from the hip, someone who actually spends more time on the problem then shooting the messengers. If Steve had been the one in power, the problem putting Dell in the news this week would not have occurred. Im confident with him in his new role it wont happen again either.
My meeting with Steve at Dells event confirmed he was still that kind of guy. Hes focused like a laser on improving Dells PC business. I dont envy anyone that gets in his way.
Erin Nelson, who now heads marketing for Dell, is one of those rare people who has a solid background in both marketing and has been working in and around Dell long enough to understand its unique needs.
She has driven consistency into Dells marketing, has begun doing solid demand generation work, and has eliminated most of the ad hoc advertising efforts and most of the massive number of advertising agencies that seemed to be paid by Dell to confuse and confound customers.
Trust me when I say that you dont see this kind of talent often and that, to me (who also has a bit of a marketing background), running into it is always a treat and one that I value highly. The only issue is that she is under resourced against what she could be doing. And, Ill bet, were she given a larger fraction of the budget an Apple has she could do some amazing things.
She has a daunting task because Dells image is tainted but she is one of the few Ive met who is by background capable of addressing it.
On top of that there is actually some really interesting stuff going on inside the company and the surprising success of their secret OEM group left me almost speechless. I left expecting amazing things coming from Dells future and with the thought that sometimes its the things you didnt know about that redefine a company in ways you couldnt imagine.