Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Search of Stupidity = Dilbert Principle?

Haven't read the book yet, but it sounds an awful lot like Scott Adams:  we try to avoid the Peter Principle by not promoting programmers to their level of incompetence (management / business) but that results in the Dilbert Principle - putting idiots in management / business positions.

Jamie
Friday, August 01, 2003

This deserves some clarification.... In the Dilbert Principle, you promote the guy who isn't doing anything to the position of manager because you don't want to take the other people away from the "real work."

I've seen it in action.. Get a random group of people together and the most non-techie person becomes the de-facto manager because they can't do any of the work.

www.marktaw.com
Friday, August 01, 2003

Isn't there an act or regulation that enforces the Dilbert Principle in the Governmant and/or Civil Service?

BTDTBTTS
Friday, August 01, 2003

Merde!

Government

BTDTBTTS
Friday, August 01, 2003

I dunno, but the design of Chapman's website doesn't fill me with confidence in his ability to ferret-out stupdity.

Tiny font;  text that's red but isn't a link;  lots of italics;  verbose writing.

Pot, meet kettle.

J. D. Trollinger
Friday, August 01, 2003

I thought the exact same thing about his site.  Not only that, but his other book (maybe he has more than one other) is a marketing book.  It's all about all the tricks to great marketing, with a focus on software.  But, you can't buy the book in any major retailers; you have to get it from his website.  Is that great marketing?

On top of that, the book is chock full of quality issues.  The first chapter ends in the middle of a sentence!

Full disclosure - I haven't read the book, but my brother-in-law is currently reading it.

The guy may be very bright and may have lots of great info, but his methods of delivery don't give the impression of quality.

David
Monday, August 04, 2003

+++text that's red but isn't a link;  +++

Uh, most sites use blue as the default link color.  Then black. 

+++lots of italics;  +++

A standard style choice.  Many publications put quotes and the name of publications in italics.

+++verbose writing.+++

It's a site about a book with excerpts from the book.  Ergo, a fair amount of text.

Book sites tend to be like that.  There's an assumption people want to read stuff from the book, not bullet points about how great the book is.

rick

rick chapman
Monday, August 04, 2003

> Uh, most sites use blue as the default link color.  Then black.

BLACK???? never. If it's black it doesn't look like a link. Links turn either red or purple... Maybe  your default browser settings tell old links to turn black.

www.marktaw.com
Monday, August 04, 2003

+++Not only that, but his other book (maybe he has more than one other) is a marketing book.  It's all about all the tricks to great marketing, with a focus on software.  But, you can't buy the book in any major retailers; you have to get it from his website.  Is that great marketing?+++

No, it's a basic business decision.  "The Product Marketing fHandbook for Software" is a very niche publication. I have been approached from time to time by publishers who want the rights, but after analyzing the royalty structure of the publishing system and estimating what I would make by going into distribution vs. selling the book directly I have decided against it.

The economic argument for staying direct is compelling: I make more money this way.  A publisher will not market and sell a narrowly targeted book such as this in such a way as to expand the readership to the point where I make up the revenue I garner by staying direct.

Many software publishers make similar serious misassumptions when thinking about distributing their products.  Dealing with distribution systems is time consuming, expensive and frequently fatal to your financial health.  I do cover the software distribution system in, well, "loving" detail in the Handbook.

+++On top of that, the book is chock full of quality issues.  The first chapter ends in the middle of a sentence!+++

Oops!  HUGE formatting error!  Got by three people.  Sorry about that!

+++The guy may be very bright and may have lots of great info, but his methods of delivery don't give the impression of quality. +++

From a sales standpoint, my sales are of very  nice quality indeed!  And that's the point of the book.

OK, OK, the cover IS ugly (though some people like it), but this book ain't mean't to win design awards.  It's all about information and things you need to do.  Not a good fit for your coffee table.

rick

rick chapman
Monday, August 04, 2003

+++BLACK???? never. If it's black it doesn't look like a link. Links turn either red or purple... Maybe  your default browser settings tell old links to turn black. +++

Well, I won't argue.  People can go to web sites and make up their own mind.  I put the book title in red since the book designers used red as the chief color in "Stupidity's" jacket design.  Red is a nice color!  I think a bit of colored text is OK!

rick
(A colorful guy)

rick chapman
Monday, August 04, 2003

After I posted my point about marketing via your site versus book stores, I thought that the real reason was probably margins.  You confirmed that.

It's kind of ironic, because I'm working on a software product that I plan to distribute the same way.  We'll sell it over the Internet either as a download or direct ship a CD.  Much better margins that way.  The irony comes in because one of my developers read your book, loved it, and then used it to tell us how difficult it is to get into retail channels and how we needed to get started on it right away because it takes time.  He also insisted that we HAVE to sell via regular retail

So, basically, he used your book to try to convince us to go the standard way, while you sell your book the way we want.  Kind of funny, I think.

David
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

+++It's kind of ironic, because I'm working on a software product that I plan to distribute the same way.  We'll sell it over the Internet either as a download or direct ship a CD.  Much better margins that way.  The irony comes in because one of my developers read your book, loved it, and then used it to tell us how difficult it is to get into retail channels and how we needed to get started on it right away because it takes time.  He also insisted that we HAVE to sell via regular retail+++

The value of a channel will be a substantial increase in sales IF you can demonstrate demand for your product via your direct efforts.  Normally, software distribution systems (with the exception of the catalogers, who make their real mony from advertising) will not take a product if you, the publisher, have not established demand (50K a month run rate is the typical minimum figure a major distributor wants to see).  The decision of when to go into the retail system is a matter of timing.  As the Handbook says, expect that if you are an unknown it will take between 12 to 18 months.

Whether you need to sell retail is a matter of price and market category.  I can't say more without knowing these.

rick

rick chapman
Thursday, August 07, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home