If you aren’t familiar with the entrepreneur-in-residence model, typically it is a way for venture capital firms or investors to nurture a big idea and successful company and then invest in the new venture at the end of the EIR’s term. Most often, the EIR has successfully started and sold companies and can bring that expertise and passion to the job.
When I sat down with Ingrid to discuss this concept, the first thing we talked about was – why would Dell do this? Obviously, Dell isn’t a VC and EIRs aren’t common in the technology sector. But when you think about the way Dell designs and brings solutions to market — inspired by the thousands of conversations we have with customers each day and the needs we are helping them address — this makes total sense. It is critical that we create technology solutions that solve real business problems, in this case the needs of small and medium businesses. In creating the EIR, Dell is expanding the ways we connect with, learn from and understand the needs of growing businesses so we can bring solutions and services to market that help them succeed.
For Dell, the EIR program 'brings the outside in.' The customers’ point of view is always our number one consideration and having an EIR sitting with us and helping drive strategy takes our ability to listen and act on what customers need to the next level. As EIR, Ingrid will help us create an even more meaningful bridge between Dell and the SMB marketplace and how we best serve them.
As Dell's first EIR, Ingrid will play a role in a few primary areas:
- Identification, assessment and potential adoption of new business and technology solutions for SMBs;
- Serve as a representative and media correspondent for Dell at key SMB events, such as Inc. 500 coming up in September, and on the advisory board for the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network;
- Ingrid will be helping us determine if this pilot is something we should role out more broadly worldwide and establish an “EIR heritage;” and
- Ingrid is looking at developing her next business venture during her time as Dell’s EIR.
Ingrid has deep Texas roots given her time at the University of Texas Business School and mentor Dr. George Kozmetsky. Dell got to know Ingrid through our inaugural Dell Womens’ Entrepreneur Network event in China, and we’ve watched her grow in her career, ventures as founder of Green Girl Energy, and as a significant role model and advocate for women and green IT. We see these areas – SMB and sustainability – as being critical investments for our company, as well as being global economic priorities for job creation and growth.
We need entrepreneurs like Ingrid to be wildly successful, and Dell is committed to help power that success by developing technology solutions that help their businesses increase productivity and grow. We couldn't think of a better fit for our first EIR than Ingrid with her track record as a CEO, public spokesperson (as a former CNBC host), and a peer to the small and medium business, a market that is so critical to our global economic recovery.
Look for updates from Ingrid here on Direct2Dell and follow her on Twitter at @ontheroadwithiv. If you have questions or suggestions for our EIR program, we’d love to hear them.