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Dell VP discusses going private, innovation, and the Dell Dude

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Dell Venue 8 Pro logo
Dell Venue 8 Pro logo

As Dell continues its new lease on life as a private company, VP of commercial sales Bobbi Dangerfield recently took time to share her thoughts on where things stand. In an interview with Laptop Magazine, Dangerfield tackled a variety of topics ranging from tablets ("they’re still not a substitute for the PC," she said) to Dell's approach to innovation. "If you think back to where Dell has come from, we’ve always been kind of a fast follower versus kind of being out on the leading edge of innovation and R&D," Dangerfield said.

But going private has already paid off in one key area: focus. "We’ve always had a very maniacal focus on our customers, but, quite frankly, that focus got split some when we had to react and respond to our friends on Wall Street," she said. "You’re going to see a renewed sense of energy around our customers. And listening to them." Dangerfield also said that privatization allows Dell to be more transparent and open the public.

"You’re going to see a renewed sense of energy around our customers."

While she was somewhat dismissive of tablets as tools for productivity, Dangerfield was quick to highlight that mobile devices will grow even more relevant "as more Millennials enter the work force." Dell is mindful of prosumer-targeted products like Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro, though for now the company seems content with the Venue 8 Pro — sales of which are apparently "skyrocketing." Dangerfield even brought up the iconic Dell Dude during the interview. "That really hurt us," she now admits. "The phones would light up when that commercial came on. It was the most unbelievable thing you ever saw," Dangerfield said. But there was a major downside: enterprise customers were turned off by the character and went elsewhere for their business. "So I think we learned a big lesson."