A You Got The Funk award has to go out to David Churbuck, who we talked to on the phone a few minutes ago.
David gets it at a deep level.
A month ago I posted a modest proposal of using blog monitoring to proactively deal with service issues rather than using monitoring as a paranoid defense against assaults by product haters. The game changed a few years ago when users began using forums — the classic BBS, thread discussion groups born in USENET — to bitch about their product woes. Then the game changed even more profoundly when free blogging tools let anyone and their dog light up a platform for screeching about their issues. The old days of setting up a hate site — “PRODUCTSUCKS.COM” — got a lot easier when one can fire up a Blogger account or WordPress.com blog in five minutes and start howling about how mistreated you’ve been at the hands of the Man. In the old days, vendors lived in horror of people who bought ink by the truck load. Now everyone gets ink for free.
David has plenty of passion, is evidently a good writer, and understands that Thinkpad is a brand that requires and deserves careful stewardship.
Are we doing this because we’re trying to earn a halo? Look, it’s simple, Lenovo is the steward of one of the most premium and trusted brands in technology — the Thinkpad. Our users are fanatical about these machines. They love the keyboards, they howl at the slightest design change (the appearance of a Windows key, changes of color in the mouse buttons, intensity of the keyboard light) and they obsess about the details. They have been watching us for the slightest sign of cutting corners or letting down the standards established by IBM. That’s not going to happen. That cannot happen, nor will it happen.
I believe in the Cluetrain Manifesto. Thesis #1: “markets are conversations.” Well, this is where the conversation is happening. Not on the back cover ad of Fortune. Not in the email spam that just landed in my inbox. Not on the billboard on Highway 101 in Milpitas. It’s here. It’s on Shel’s blog. It’s on Jeff Jarvis’ blog. It’s on Thinkpads.com. I can either read it and do nothing, read it and post promises, or read it and post promises with action.
Amen brother.David even takes Scoble’s advice and posts his cell number. He is also close to Shel, an influencer of note. He already has readers saying they will buy Lenovo next time just because of his blog …
Lenovo needs to beat Dell and HP in the marketplace. If it is the most Cluetrain-enabled laptop and PC vendor it may just do so. Listening to your customers- its not rocket science but it does take a commitment. Its great to see someone talk to tech support as a mission, rather than a cost. I have a feeling his post is going to resonate widely in the blogosphere… which can only help Lenovo.
David evidently has the commitment, as does his boss, Deepak Advani (we go back to his time at pSeries).
This one will be fun to watch. Lenovo has some very interesting plans afoot.
Disclaimers: I use a Thinkpad. Lenovo is not a client, but we’d like it to become one.