September 20, 2004

they are no longer customers, they are now consumers


A startup I know just got big and sexy. Now the people doing the actual work are pissed off because suddenly the management are starting to believe their own publicity. Suddenly the fancy-talk consultants are moving in. Suddenly for the first time the CEO is closing the door to his office so his underlings can’t hear him talking with the recently-hired marketing guys.

Suddenly all transparency went out the window. This is amusing because the actual product is all about making their corporate clients more transparent.

Suddenly plain speaking went out the window. This is amusing because the actual product is all about making their corporate clients more plain speaking.

Suddenly the workers no longer feel they’re part of something, except perhaps making their bosses rich.

The early adapters who first used the product with relish and spread the word during the company's infancy are no longer appreciated, nor is their feedback actively sought any more. They were useful once, but now they have served their purpose. They're now told to go back and get in line with the rest of the plebes. They are no longer customers, they are consumers.

We both already know how this story is going to end.

Part of my current job is helping prevent companies from falling into this trap.

Feel free to write me if you wish to know more:

hugh at gapingvoid etc.

Posted by hugh macleod at September 20, 2004 11:35 AM | TrackBack

I used to consult with companies who wanted to learn how to value those who gave them a chance in their infancy.

I found that if I got a 3 inch dowel and bashed the CEO's head in, that the company re-adopted its creative roots and really grew.

And it made me feel better too.

That's what's great about consulting! :-)

Posted by: Brian at September 20, 2004 12:32 PM

isn't it ironic when a company doesn't take its own medicine?

i did a website for a small home-run business, and they somehow got hooked up with a web marketing person/firm. they emailed him and cc'd me, to ask if I could work with them to help their site's rankings (tho I'd already been through most of the tech of it with them, they don't listen and pay any attantion till they've paid 2 or 3 times to get to what I said the first time - different story though).
so I check the guy's company website, and then tried every search term I could to locate his website/company via a half dozen search engines. I couldn't find it.
Beware the internet marketing company who can't be found in a web search...

Posted by: nick santilli at September 20, 2004 4:02 PM

sounds like movable type (though I'm sure it's not them):

Posted by: mr D at September 20, 2004 6:46 PM

I just wish my company will grow to the size that I can start making those mistakes :-(

Posted by: Ron at September 20, 2004 8:40 PM

mr D, I thought the same thing: Six Apart. Sounds like them, right down to what their product is supposed to be "all about."

Posted by: Dave Strus at September 20, 2004 11:24 PM

Well, MT-Bashing is nothing new in the blogosphere.

If somebody guesses the company I will be SERIOUSLY surprised. Heh.

Posted by: hugh macleod at September 21, 2004 12:43 PM

yo pal! my e:mail is shout me soon j:-)

Posted by: Jo at September 23, 2004 5:40 PM