Dell 1.0 was a religious company. I suppose you could refer to it instead as merely an intense focus on low costs in all matters of its operations, but it really went deeper than that. Low cost was an article of faith that was the deep guiding principle underlying essentially everything that the company did. Dell didn't merely tilt toward a streamlined supply chain and lean R&D, they were a fundamental part of what it was as a company.
This is not a pedantic distinction. Focus can be adjusted and tweaked; it's that much harder to change your core. Yet that's what Dell had to do. It had to respond to a world where "cheap boxes" was no longer the guiding mantra for server buyers, which made Michael Dell's public pronouncements suggesting that "Dell 2.0" was mostly about better execution so wrongheaded.… Read more