Have you ever felt like a rock star?
One evening about four years ago, I was with some coworkers at a sales kickoff in Florida. We were having dinner at a local restaurant, and periodically some ladies at the next table looked over. Finally, one approached and asked, "Aren't you Matt Kohut? …"
Four male coworkers. One beautiful woman. For five minutes, I was a rock star. I had groupies!
I was amused because someone recognized me from one of my presentations. Yeah, I get animated in front of our sales teams. I bang a few notebooks. I use dramatic language. Men cry. Women swoon (well, not really…) But in the end, it is a show meant to convince them of something I already know personally – that we make the best engineered PCs on the market.
Today I'd like to introduce you to a REAL rock star, a guy that really deserves the accolades. Lenovo has just announced a new blog by our very own Mike Schmedlen. Mike is our Director of Education for Lenovo. If you've ever met Mike, you'll know this guy is the real deal and not another greased hair, white belt, white shoes, chain-smoking used car salesman.
In this industry there are a few market segments that are acknowledged to be "owned" by a particular vendor.
Motion Computing owns hospitals.
HP (desktop) owns Wall Street.
Lenovo owns higher education.
This is in no small part due to Mike. He'll be bashful and tell you that it was a "team effort," but this man is responsible for building Lenovo into the educational powerhouse that it is today. When you say "ThinkPad U," our competitors quake. Mike realized how important it was to not just offer good hardware, but to incorporate the best ideas from educators on the front line into our hardware, software, research, and development offerings. In addition, he truly walks the walk by serving on multiple boards of education based organizations.
I have had the good fortune to be on the same agenda multiple times with Mike. Most recently at a large Northeastern University that starts with Har and ends with vard, he quoted poetry. AND IT FIT. It was genuine. It showed the crowd assembled that he and Lenovo understood what education was about. (Hint: Not just delivering cool machines.)
One of the things I love about Lenovo is that we allow some truly excellent people the freedom to do their jobs in the way that makes sense. They get to follow their dreams without a lot of bureaucratic nonsense. And they shine. Mike is one of these people.
One of my friends, Kevin, stated the other day that corporate social media needs to take the next step beyond just posting another viral video. It will thrive by allowing true experts to dive deeply into topics that they are passionate about – even if they do not fit with the mainstream definition of what most people want on the web – quick digest versions of the latest gadget. I am glad our management team recognizes this.
I realize that many readers of Inside the Box are here to read about hardware. I'm not changing my mission. However, stop by Mike's blog every now and again. You'll see excellence in action. And you just may learn something.