Bilbo Baggins was middle aged and a bit rebellious for a hobbit, but had never been more than a few miles from his home. His life completely changes when he begins an unexpected and transformational journey across Middle Earth. The movie comes out this week, I would guess that most people reading this blog read the book many years ago.
I attended a panel session of Dell executives at Dell World earlier this week. They took questions for half an hour and there were a few recurring questions or themes. One theme was - How far along is Dell on it's transformational journey?
Bilbo had never been beyond the Shire (his neighborhood in Middle Earth) and never seen or done anything like this journey before. If somebody had asked him along the way - How far along are you on your Journey? I suspect that his answer would have been specific to his own expectations and experience thus far into his journey. When he set out he only knew vaguely was he was going to do. Only near the end would have appreciated how far he had to go when he first left.
Michael Dell answered these questions about Dell's (the company) journey as well as could be expected. He basically said that Dell is in a continual state of change and that their transformational journey is a constant. He said that they are embracing change and will continue to change over time. They realize that the endpoint is not clear while they know that they must do many things to get there.
After Bilbo's journey is complete he writes a book about his adventure and calls it There and Back Again. No doubt a completely changed person from his Journey, Bilbo writes about the great things he saw and did. The key events in his life are what happened on this adventure and he wouldn't be the same person without these experiences. He also couldn't have even started on the book until the Journey was over, he wouldn't have had the context to understand what was the beginning, middle, and end.
Dell has entered into a key phase in it's corporate life. It is working to become more than just a maker of hardware. At the end of this phase it will still most likely make hardware in many forms, but it will also be other aspects of the IT business. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
Seems like some people at Dell World had the Hobbit on their minds this week.