Marketing and engineers

There is long standing battle between engineers and other departments like marketing. And very often they are going out of sync. For example, engineering team would like to produce nest product and it became quite expensive. Or marketing team forces engineering team to product cheap product and it is not reliable. Sometimes it moves company to quite bad spot. Let me explain in detail.

Long time ago I dreamed about Logitech high end gaming mouse. I thought that Logitech is the best in that area. And some time ago I got it as present. It was great mouse, but left mouse button stopped working after 2 years. It was $120 dollars mouse and to be honest I didn’t even play that much. Yet it failed. I was trying to repair it, but I was told that it is cheaper to buy new one. As result I after that I never buy expensive high-end mice from Logitech because they fail at same rate as entry level gaming mouse.

I personally liked Gigabyte as company and I last few years I bought many their products. Basically, if I see something in the same price level as Gigabyte I will choose Gigabyte over other product. I was happy with results. I think it called brand loyalty and many companies spend a lot of money to establish it.

Then one day I bought entry level gaming mouse and after some time I realized that plastic feet on the mouse bottom are worn off. Not a problem, I can buy new feet, but there are no new feet. They simply do not produce spare one. And every player knows that this is replaceable part and sooner or later it should be replaced. And I checked few other Gigabyte mice and there was similar story. So, at the end I bought Logitech mouse because I can easily buy spare feet.

Next example is motherboards. All modern motherboards have VRM that converts drop voltage from power supply to level that CPU accepts. Usually there are few of them to make it more stable. Typically, you have 4 phases. Good motherboards have 6 or 8. So what Gigabyte did they make it looks like 8 but in fact they have system that worse than 4 phases, but it is hidden under heatsink. So, from pictures it looks like 8.

So, after that changed by mind Gigabyte and now in my mindset Gigabyte is the same as any other company. I will still will buy it if reviews look good but now they have to earn right to get my money. No more brand loyalty.

Another example is Samsung. Sometime ago I bought Samsung notebook. It looks great and was quite expensive. It could be beginning of nice relationship but after some time I realized that that notebook needs more memory. Not a problem but any attempt to add memory leads to overheating and freeze. I tried like 12 different memory modules, different speeds. Nothing helps. So, I stuck with 4GB of memory. Next after sometimes screen started to fail. Started to blink. Contacted Samsung and even that notebook has “Worldwide warranty” sticker USA support told me to repair it in country where I bought it. There no point to do so as ticket will cost more than notebook. Next Ethernet connector failed and now I would not buy any Samsung product unless reviews are extremely good (like their SSD)

Next example is new Mac. Apple so rushed to release new notebook with latest Intel CPU that they completely ignored engineers who required case and cooling redesigned and released new CPU in old case. As result new notebook is actually slower than old one because it is overheating and throttling. And Apple has reputation that they produce expensive but quality stuff. And now that reputation is ruined.

Another example with big airline. New CEO decided to do not keep spare parts for planes and buy they when they need them. As result until there were parts in warehouse everything was great, and that CEO got big fat bonus and moved on. And then when planes need parts that were not in warehouse it leads to big delays, financial losses, losses in reputation etc. Saving were not even close to losses.

My point here that earning trust from customer is quite long process, but it can be destroyed very quickly. And then it will be very hard to return trust back. So I wish that companies stick to balanced approach and do not try to cut corners where they should be cut.