Tech turnaround stories are very rare. I like to cheer for these to succeed because I’m partly sick of everyone using Apple as their turnaround example. These things are hard to do but it sounds like Brian Lee knew what he had to do, even at the cost of user experience:
It’s had a “Crazy Eddie’s used car lot” feel at times. But while apparently juicing revenues…
So Lee has undone the financial damage. But can he fix the customer experience? Clearly, he will need a better plan than a crazy quilt of endless, varied promotions.
via Whoa: Struggling ShoeDazzle is now cash flow positive. Brian Lee may actually pull this off.
A followup piece on Pando about the ShoeDazzle debacle. Sarah Lacy says that Strauss was a spreadsheet guy.
Still, Strauss should not be the scapegoat in how ShoeDazzle got here. People close to the company point out that he had little understanding of branded experiences or celebrity, and was accustomed to running a more mature company. He never seemed to understand what made ShoeDazzle tick. People say over and over again he is a spreadsheet guy and not a customer guy. (via A ShoeDazzle Hail Mary is coming in 2013. But is it just too late? | PandoDaily.)
I don’t get this. If you’re a spreadsheet guy, you’re data driven and you don’t kill businesses with great economics unless something was terribly wrong. Even if you do, you don’t leave money on the table unless there’s a huge risk to doing so. Also, your board shouldn’t have let you do this either unless they were on board and believed in whatever new plan Strauss had. There’s something we don’t know here.