Attacking Sony: Can we take a breather?

Started Jul 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Mel Snyder
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Attacking Sony: Can we take a breather?
Jul 16, 2013

I'd like to suggest that we take a breather from attacking Sony here on the forum.

"Attacking" comes in all forms here. "Since Sony didn't choose to favor us with a fast zoom," is a mild example.

Constant bashing of kit zooms is the worst, because the overwhelming number of people who buy cameras want to buy a body and a kit zoom. They have absolutely ZERO interest in buying a camera Chinese menu style. They want to put their money on a box, charge the battery, and start taking photos. Knock the kit zoom and you kill the brand for the mass market.

Anyone who's tried to get better behavior out of a teenager knows that the bashing psychology so abundant here doesn't get the behavior you want.

And it's no more effective with persuading a corporation to do what you want it to do. In fact, it's the least likely tactic to get, say, fast zooms.

There's a business reality cycle here that many forum denizens don't seem to recognize:

1. You start to attack Sony for some deficit in a camera or lens

2. Others, for a variety of reasons, begin to pile on. Sort of like wolves joining a fellow pack member trying to bring down a deer. Hey, if my buddy is successful, I may get the scraps...

3. Thousands of people all over the world see the discontent here. Potential NEX buyers see the malcontents spouting here, and check out the MFT threads, and there, it's mostly sweetness and love.

Guess what they buy.

Sony may or may not monitor the forums, but bet your bippy they monitor sales. They see sales going up at their competition, and not on their brands. The brand manager who asks for more money at the next marketing meeting gets shut down.

"Do a better job with the money we've already given you." When he asks for more development money for a fast zoom, he's told, "Show us you can sell what you've already got, and then come back for that funding."

There's a sad reality about business, my friends:

"If the wagon moves by itself, a company will invest in a horse."

Now that's stupid, you may think: How could a wagon move by itself?

It doesn't - but companies still hope that a few press releases, getting the first units into the hands of friendly bloggers and reviewers, and some online ads will make a new wagon move with little investment. If it does, they'll really invest. That's especially true in Japan, home of the "nail that stick up gets hammered down" psychology.

The brand manager must make a forecast to get R&D and marketing investment. If it isn't pretty aggressive, he won't get any. But if he doesn't make his numbers after 3-4 quarters, he won't get more until the brand does better.

And so, all the criticism here works against that brand manager. You pee on his brand, people buy the competition, he doesn't make his numbers, he doesn't get more money...

And your chances of getting that fast zoom you want get lower and lower.

Finally, at one of those Sony USA corporate marketing meetings, some guy from McKinsey Consulting comes in with an analysis of marketplace brand performance, and proposes that Sony could improve its bottom line by focusing its investment in, say, Alpha DLSRs, and leaving the mirrorless market to bit players like Olympus and Panasonic. Everyone sagely nods acceptance.

At the break, the NEX-USA brand manager goes to the toilet, throws up, and goes to his desk to freshen his resume, and to begin calling headhunters.

When the meeting resumes, no one notices his absence. Just before the meeting resumes, the VP of marketing took the VP of communications and VP of sales aside, and proposed they meet next week on how to handle the brand shutdown while liquidating inventory and protecting distributors.

When decisions like that get made, it's hard to keep them secret. Back in Tokyo, someone has a friend who used to work at Sony but now works at Sigma. They meet for beers at an after-hours bar off the Ginza, and after the third beer, the Sony guy tells the Sigma guy the NEX brand is toast.

Next day, there's a meeting at Sigma to decide what to do - is this a break for us, or not. They decide to finish the products about to go into production, but to kill off any further development. "Once those poor bastards on the NEX forum get the word, they'll be desperate to buy what they'll see Sony won't ever deliver" - the same psychology that makes soy milk sell when the real milk is gone before a hurricane hits.

That, fellow forum posters, is how it works in business, from a guy who spent too many hours in those meetings over the decades.

And why bitching about Sony products does not get you the results you claim to want.

Help that brand manager make his wagon move, and you just might get you the fast zoom you want. Bitching about what he sells today may make you feel good. But yelling at your teenage son to clean his room, or telling your daughter she can't get a tattoo is likely to be more successful.

 Mel Snyder's gear list:Mel Snyder's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha 7 Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 +13 more
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