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Surprising Science

To Sell More, Drop the Sales Team

A former Apple engineer who launched his own wireless networking start up puts his customers in direct contact with his engineers. Running a lean business keeps him competitive.

What’s the Latest Development?

Former Apple engineer Robert Pera left the world’s most successful technology company because he wanted success faster. As strange as that sounds, Pera’s company, Ubiquiti Networks, had the largest profit margin of any publicly traded company last year (Apple took second place). Pera builds lean hardware/software packages that establish wireless communication networks across the globe. He is particularly active in the developing world where underground wires have never existed.

What’s the Big Idea?

One of Pera’s techniques in building a lean, competitive company has been to operate without a sales team. Instead, he has built a virtual forum where customers can interact directly with the company’s research and development crew. “The forum now has 110,000 registered users, several hundred of whom are on the site every day, exchanging ideas about everything from new features to billing schemes.” The forum takes the place of a customer support desk and is always monitored by engineers.

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