What Da Ali G Show Can Teach Us About How We Can Work With Our Global Customers

Every time I go to the UK, I watch an episode of the old Da Ali G Show on my laptop.  Sacha Baron Cohen (AKA Borat) is one of my favorite British comedians, and I usually laugh out loud on the airplane with my Scale Computing HC3 Beats by Dre headphones on.  More on what we can learn from this later.

I was recently in London on business, and over the course of the week we met with a number of Scale Computing’s EMEA customers, current and new resellers, and UK based press.  It was a fantastic week in which we celebrated the first “birthday” of our groundbreaking and industry-leading platform HC3.  We celebrated going from a standing start to over 700(!) HC3 customer implementations in the year since HC3’s release.  In addition, we had 50% gains in implemented appliance nodes and new customers in our EMEA market.  Clearly HC3 and hyperconvergence are quickly gaining momentum in EMEA.

We had customers and partners from UK, France and South Africa and guests from Poland and even Lithuania come join us in celebrating the success of HC3.  At our Birthday Celebration we had two UK customers testify as to how Scale and HC3 had changed their way of doing things.  Leonard Powers (watch the video!) from Safran Power UK, a major manufacturer of aircraft electrical generation systems, spoke of how he needed virtualization to help Safran simplify their IT infrastructure and applications.  Leonard spoke of how he evaluated HP and Dell solutions, along with VMware, and instead chose Scale over all those major vendors.  He also spoke of how the French parent company’s IT staff were amazed at how easy it was to create VM’s, move and manage them from the single pane-of-glass console of HC3, and how no special training was needed.  Everyone at Safran was pleasantly surprised when they realized there are NO LICENSE FEES to pay to Scale, ever.  Leonard told his colleagues we weren’t VMware, we are BETTER.

David Wells from Stoke Park School, a special vocational school, confirmed what we reported to the attendees that Scale’s ScaleCare premium support has world-class customer satisfaction scores from Scale customers.  We test our customer sat regularly, and most recently we posted an industry leading score of over 80.  By contrast, most companies post scores of 5 to 10.  David recounted a time he called us in the middle of the night, and a Scale engineer who picked up the phone, helped them address their issue and stayed with the Stoke Park guys through resolution.  David said Scale’s support is the best he has from any vendor.

So how does all this relate to Da Ali G Show?

Well, on the show each of Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters interviews or engages with strangers.  His characters, Ali G, Borat and Bruno have to adapt to the people he’s engaging with – or there’s no fun to be had.  One of my favorite episodes is when Ali G interviews a veterinarian and keeps asking him what war he fought in.   In another episode he interviews John Naber, the head of the US Olympic Committee and asks him why he sells Olympic Gold Medals at the market.  His evidence he says is that his “nana done bought me one that says World’s Best Grandson” so all the other real Olympic medals must be able to be bought too.  At the end of the show they do a beat-box rap together and fist bump to each other “respect”.  For Scale to be successful as a company, we have to be successful in EMEA and other international markets.  To do that, we have to adapt in some ways to how our international customers do business, and what’s important to them.

But Ali G, Borat and Bruno are all Cohen, and when everything is said and done, its HIM making the fun, not the made-up characters.  He doesn’t really change himself to get the effect, just how he relates to those he interviews.  Scale is the same – we need to be flexible and adaptable to how our international customers want to do business, but in the end we need to stick to our company mission and remember who we do this for – the mid size organization IT manager who needs simplicity, availability and scalability while still achieving the LOWEST COST for virtualization.

Then we can fist-bump our customers: “RESPECT”.


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