No one wins when competitors diss each other

Posted: 04.23.07

When a new technology is introduced it always has some bugs with it, as do products designed to work with it.

No new thing has, or ever will be, introduced without mistakes

For example, when PCI Express was introduced the first wave of graphics AIBs had problems, despite all the testing and pre-qualifying the GPU vendors did. When Windows XP was introduced as the most solid, trouble-free, and secure operating system ever, even the demo Bill Gates gave got a blue screen. DVI had difficulties because suppliers could choose how to interpret some of the specs, and every copy-protection scheme is busted almost before it ships.

No new thing has, or ever will be, introduced without mistakes, errors of omission, and unforeseen consequences. And anyone who has been in the business for more than five years should know that.

BackPages01Consumers are slow to learn and long to remember. That’s another thing any five-year or more veteran should know. In fact, it should be tattooed on the top of the right hand of anyone who wants to work in marketing.


One of the problems with this industry, and to take a sidestep for a moment, we don’t really have that many, is the ado-lescent football game attitude some of the people have. They view the business as a competitive sport, and use sports metaphors to describe their plans or the competitions. That, to use such a phrase, dangerously takes one’s eyes off the ball. I have observed some amazingly child-like behavior in senior managers at various meetings, and the ridiculous comments used, trying to look macho, and convince the rest of the attendees that they really really do have a superior product that’s going to kick butt, waste so much time of all the people and distract them from the real issues and opportunities. One simply has to question the speaker’s real understanding of the business and the product.

Consumers are slow to learn and long to remember

When company A is having problems with its flazamatraz that’s supposed to work with company B’s new bifurcated phen-modulator program, if company C uses that temporary difficulty to embarrass or harass company A, everyone in the industry, company A and company B, and the potential customers of both companies will remember it.

As mentioned in the story on OpenGL in Vista in this issue, misunderstanding and misrepresentations hurt everyone and set the industry back. In the case of OpenGL, for instance, the consumers not knowing what is true will simply do nothing, and there’s no ROI when consumers go on strike.

I’m not suggesting everybody has to be lovey-dovey, but I am suggesting you think about the bigger consequences of the impact of your comments and criticisms on the consumers and how they will rate, react, and potentially reject a category, if not the industry, rather than your hoped for result of just rejecting your competitor. Like it or not, you are your brother’s keeper and we’re all in this industry together.