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Stupid errors in In Search of Stupidity

Funny how my previous post about how dumb it is to state that dBase got eaten alive by FoxPro because dBase  needed a linker and did not get one. As mentioned, this is simply not so. It is very clear that the source this incredibly stupid statement is from the book

In search of Stupidly.

As I pointed out…it was not the fact of a linker at all that hurt dBase, but the lack of runtime option!

I decided that since such a stupid and wrong statement from the book kind of entails a closer look, then what else is wrong in that book?. I mean, if one such large dumb statement is from that book…surly more must follow?

Hum…off to their web site.

http://www.insearchofstupidity.com/

Golly…just full of misrepresentations and silly statements. I only reading from the “free samples” / excerpts.
.

Lets take a few quotes here:

<quote>

The Nuttiness of Subtractive Marketing

Subtractive marketing works by taking a successful product and subtracting key capabilities and features until the product is clearly different from, and inferior to, the original. The subtractive marketer then attempts to pawn off her second-class creation by advertising it as a “value” or a “money saver.” It never seems to work. People will, if they have the choice, always refuse to buy something that brands them as not being able to afford anything better. Even people who are thrifty like to go in style; they just don’t like paying for it.

</quote>

It then goes on to talk about the failure of the Falcon, but the incredible success of the Mustang (which was based on the same platform).

However, the real issue I have is the statement that people who are thrifty like to go in style, and that if take something away from the consumer and become a “value” vendor. Supposedly this is a bad thing?

Oh really? What about the really crappy square looking car with no frills, virtually no styling and even had a 4 cylinder motor when most cars had larger engines? We are of course talking about the k-car that saved Chrysler. This was without question a low budget no fuss car that obviously should not have sold at all according the authors of in search of stupidity (SA = Stupidity Authors)..

What is it..9 out 10 consumers will pump their own gas to save a some money, and the heck with the frills of a having a nice pump jockey. Again, the impression the SA folks give is that a image of thrifty ness is a bad marketing idea.

And, lets take the shopping experience. Gee crappy lighting, crappy cement floors, crappy and non existent decor. Crappy shelves. Ugly floor pallets all over the place. Huge line ups! And, really crappy customer service?

However, you do save a bundle of money with no frills.
Yes, I am talking about Costco which is perhaps one the greatest revolutions for consumer shopping. It is beating the crap out of traditional stores, and went from nothing to taking a huge chunk of the market. They now sell billions per year!. Again, SA folks state that no frills, and the “bargain” mentality will not fly.

They could not be farther from the truth!

The ford falcon was simply ugly…it had nothing to do with cheap!

And, in the excerpt form chapter 8 they talk about how expensive Porsches and Mercedes Benz got. However since the book makes such a strong statement on not making a budget , or striped down version of the product, they fail to mention the greatest success in the market place have actually been based on this concept of selling a cheaper version of flagship product. This is clearly what IBM was trying to achieve with the home pc that failed. It is a time horned product idea that when done right is a great idea.

For, example the book fails to mention the introduction of Mercedes C class. The c Mercedes  was a low cost budget mercies Benz without all the frills of the high end models (smaller motors, less options installed…basically stripped down models and smaller. They were for the cheaper folk. In fact, the models even had 4 cylinder motors!). This was a new low territory in terms of cost (and market) for Mercedes cars. Of course this low cost Mercedes is likely one of the great marking triumphs that Mercedes has EVER achieved.  Sales of Mercedes Benz in some markets increased by TRIPLE DIGITS with the introduction of these low cost Benz. This also generated lots of traffic at the dealers. Without a doubt the c class saved many Benz dealers, and certainly increased the potential market of their products by leaps and bounds. Even now Jaguar is entering this market as I write this.

Porsche also introduced the low cost boxer and for a few years could not even keep them on the lots. Again, those Porsche boxers are really poo poo by the real die hard Porches 911 fans. Never the less, the success of the low power, striped down Porsches has actually saved the company. When I now drive around town I CAN NOT believe how many of those Boxers are on the road. In fact, so successful is now new boxers are selling for more then 10 to 20 grand MORE then when they hit the showroom floors a few years ago. In fact, certainly one problem is now buyers are forgoing the expensive 911’s, and going for the cheaper low powered and lower cost boxers. After all, you get the Porsche name and prestigious.. Why buy a 911? Again, the Stupidly book complete ignores this concept of making a striped down product of a flagship product, or making a cheaper model of a great brand name.

From the k-car to the c class Mercedes, and the Porsche boxers are fabulous examples of making a cheaper product of established product.  The book got this concept complete backwards! The sample issues apply to retailing also!

The ford falcon example is simply an example of failure…not the fact of company making a budget edition of a flagship product or name. And, in the example of the IBM “peanut” home computer, the MAIN REASON of failure was the lack of a proper keyboard. If the peanut was all stripped down..but had a decent keyboard..then it would have sold.

In fact, the one of the main reasons of the INITIAL success of the IBM pc was a incredibly nice display (those TTL’s) , and a incredible nice DETACHABLE keyboard. We all remember that fantastic click clack those keyboards made. They were first rate pc’s and took the market by storm.

IBM could have easily striped out a lot of stuff for the peanut home PC version BUT NOT the keyboard. I remembered that peanut keyboard and instantly told the sales man it would NOT sell. He replied, well, it is a IBM, and that will make it sell. The keyboard may have been durable enough to last a life time. However, it was crap. They did not even have to use the original IBM keyboard, but they at LEAST needed a decent keyboard.

It is not a question of quality here. They could have used a MUCH cheaper keyboard for the home version. However, the keyboard for the home version was simply VERY crappy to type on. This is was not a issue of stripping down a flagship model,  it was simply a issue of a incredible crappy keyboard. It was a cheap chiclets style keyboard…worse then what MOST of even the Apples, and pets and radio shack computers had at that time.  It was not really a real keyboard..and that doomed the peanut.

The bad keyboard was really the downfall of that computer. So, again, the moral is not to make a cheaper version…but don’t make crappy or BAD product!

Here is another dowser of such incredible straw grasping from that book that I can’t believe!

<quote>
That word was “pointer.”
As in a hierarchical pointer. As in a hierarchical database pointer. As in the development group had made the decision to discard the WordStar 2000 database and replace it with a new one based on hierarchical database technology. It was an incredibly foolish thing to do and it sealed MicroPro’s fate....
</quote>

That above statement is so incredibly dumb as to warrant a book recall!

You can find the above quote at:
http://www.insearchofstupidity.com/Book_Excerpts/Chapter_Four/chapter_four.html

You see, way back then, each product had its own printer drivers as they were not part of the OS  (gee at least the SA folks got that fact straight!). So, that printer database has all kinds codes for each printer. Things like the Bold printer on code, Bolder printer off code. These are just a bunch of codes.

It is this database that the above brain dead quote refers to. The author is trying to make the case that since they used a new hierchial pointer database for printer codes, that was the reason for the fall and demise of the MirocPro word processor. I not saying the book is making this the ONLY reason, but the book tries to make a case that the old database could not be used.

Well, only if you are stupid project manager and don’t have a clue about software. Obviously, the real problem at MicroPro was managers that don’t have a clue about software. The issue of not being able to use the old database is stupidity at its worst.

In fact, a team of developers could write some code to copy those printer codes from the old database system to the new format in LESS THAN A DAY. In fact, I could move the printer codes in less then a day if you gave me the old database of printer codes.  So, it is not a big deal that you can not “read” the old printer database…but you sure as the heck can “USE” the old data as the basis for the new database.

As I write this, I am looking at my old FoxPro 2.6 (dos). (grabbed one of my old archives with Fox on it to check out the linker subject I just posted on). The FoxPro has a printer database of printer codes. In fact, it has 104 printers. No doubt, building up this database of printer codes is a valuable asset for any piece of software. So, in the case of FoxPro, we have drivers for likely the most popular 104 printers in the market place.

The only important fact here is that the printer driver code only needs those codes. The layer or database engine code you use will not effect the process for the printer driver in any way.  The MicroPro failure here is NOT the fact of using a pointer or weird database. This is just nonsense on the books part.

The failure here is that no one was smart enough to simply write some code that would read the old data base of printer codes into the new database format (this is a one time thing). The SA author makes a good case that two software development teams where NOT cooperating, and that fact seems just fine. However, the author then goes on to tell this stupid story about how the new database could not use the old printer codes format due to some werid pointer database stuff!

Sure, but a small piece of code to read that old data into the new format is a trivial programming exercise.

All the printer driver code needs is the bold on code or the bold off code for a particular printer . The software layer that grabs those codes does not really matter It is a trivial matter (I REPEAT) TRIVIAL MATTER to copy those old codes from the old database to the new database…regardless of whatever technology was used.

This book has got so much stuff wrong. Time after time, a idea or concept is proposed and then examples given to make the case . The problem here is that the points like the linker example, or the cheaper version example just don’t fly one bit here.

Has anyone else read this book? Anyone have some opinions to counter my initial HORRABILE impression? I really do hate to shoot down a book that I have not read. I would certainly welcome some counter arguments to what I have observed so far.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com
http://www.attcanada.net/~kallal.msn

Albert D. Kallal
Saturday, February 21, 2004

The book is meant to be funny... And though it's not correct in every detail (the author, Rick Chapman, is a marketer and not a programmer) it  is quite accurate about the big picture of what happened in the early days of the PC software industry. 

And it's FUNNY! Really FUNNY!

The author is the kind of person who has forgotten more about software marketing than you or I will ever learn.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Saturday, February 21, 2004

"is a marketer and not a programmer"

In other words it's like when Scoble talks about technology of past.  Not always correct, but a good story.

Cowboy from FMJ
Saturday, February 21, 2004

Gee, perhaps I will just have to purchase a copy of the book.

I really don’t mind some issues of technology not being 100% correct. To tear apart every little spec out of place would also not make, or break this book for me. It is not a book about the software development process anyway.

I also hope I did not come across too harsh.

However, there does seem to be a bit of a writing style issue here that does clash with how I see things.

It is not such a problem that some technical issues in the book are not up a developers knowledge level. Really, I  have little problem with that!.

My real complaint is that some ideas used to support his views and ideas as to why some products were failures don’t fly with how I see these things.

Perhaps , we are dealing with that typical clash that is so often observed between technical type people.. and marketing type people…

My motivation for this post was some input…and perhaps a bit a whack on the brain as to how to read/view the book.

It would seem that a light hearted approach is needed here.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com
http://www.attcanada.net/~kallal.msn

Albert D. Kallal
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Then maybe you should read Winners, Losers & Microsoft.
It's not funny and it takes more time and concentration 
from reader, but authors tried to look more scientific and
accurate writing about similar products and events Stupidity
Author did.

VPC
Sunday, February 22, 2004

OK, Albert.  While I've decided to not participate on a regular basis on this forum because some of the Yahoos here practice identity theft, I think I can answer some of these points at this juncture secure in the knowledge that people will know it's me responding to you, not some socially inadequate geek.

Let's take these one by one.

+++As I pointed out…it was not the fact of a linker at all that hurt dBase, but the lack of runtime option!+++

Sigh.  Factually wrong.  Ashton-Tate certainly DID have a runtime  option.  The problem was, A-T wanted to charge for it.  Developers didn't want to pay A-T for it.  Hence the development of compiler technology, which bypassed the A-T runtime offering and made Ed Esber very, very angry.

+++It then goes on to talk about the failure of the Falcon, but the incredible success of the Mustang (which was based on the same platform).+++

This is not "talk."  This is one of marketing's most famous examples of  a "build towards" marketing campaign ever executed in any business, which is why I make reference to it.

+++However, the real issue I have is the statement that people who are thrifty like to go in style, and that if take something away from the consumer and become a “value” vendor. Supposedly this is a bad thing?+++

Yes, this is a bad thing.  People don't like being told they can't afford any better.  People like to think they're getting more for their money, not just a fair exchange.  Marketing 101.

The Ford Falcon was marketed from the day of its conception in the US as a car for the average Joe who couldn't afford any better.  And guess what.  No one thinks they're an "average Joe who can't afford any better. "  Everyone thinks they're an average Joe who DESERVES better and is smart enough to buy it.  Hence the success of Mustang.

+++What about the really crappy square looking car with no frills, virtually no styling and even had a 4 cylinder motor when most cars had larger engines? We are of course talking about the k-car that saved Chrysler. +++

Sigh.  Complete, utter, ignorance of the facts and history.

Albert, there never was a "K-car."  There was the K-chassis design, which Chrysler sold via a top down branding campaign.  (To understand what this is, READ ISOS.)  Many differenct Chrysler cars were built on the K-chassis, including Chrysler's more profitable luxury offerings, as well as mid-line cars such as the Aries and Reliant.

"K" was sold as a combination of technology, economy, and power.  And what helped make Chrysler profitable was doing things like chopping off the top of Aries and Reliants and turning them into convertibles, throwing turbo-charged engines into Omnis and creating the GLH (goes like hell) and inventing the "pocket rocket" concept, all example of "build towards."  Let's not forget the mini-van, of course.  Built, I believe, on the K-chassis.

+++What is it..9 out 10 consumers will pump their own gas to save a some money, and the heck with the frills of a having a nice pump jockey. +++

Sigh.  More ignorance of history.  Albert, up till the oil shocks of the 70s, most people didn't pump their gas because it was included as part of the standard service.  After the oil shocks, standard service was withdrawn from most gas stations, replaced by self serve.  The public did not clamor for this; it was driven by a shift in the economics of oil.

+++The ford falcon was simply ugly…it had nothing to do with cheap!+++

But the car, oddly enough, sold well in Australia! And why?  Because it was marketed as a fun set of wheels and sold with many enticing options!

Now, maybe Australians are just inherently attracted to ugly things?  Or perhaps the marketing approaches to the respective audiences differed?

Hmmmm?

+++And, in the excerpt form chapter 8 they talk about how expensive Porsches and Mercedes Benz got. +++

Yup.  I do.  I focus on the MB 190, which came into the market at about $15K and ended up selling for about $45K.  And we're talking 1980s dollars. 

About the same pricing curve occurred with the  Porsche 944, also mentioned.

+++For, example the book fails to mention the introduction of Mercedes C class. +++

Sheesh.  The introduction of the C class, which occurred years later, proves my point.

The MB 190 was a four-cylinder small car selling for the SAME price as the Lexus and Infiniti brands introduced by the Japanese in the 80s.  These high-end cars, targeting the E-class MBs, sold for about 40K.  They were six cylinder models that were larger, had more features, and were in line with market expectations about what you should pay for a car in this class.

MB expected it could get away with its pricing schemes based on the strength of the MB brand.  Well, they couldn't.  They lost large amounts of market share to the Japanese and were forced to come up with C class concept years later in order to regain lost ground.

It would really, really help if you read the book.

+++Porsche also introduced the low cost boxer and for a few years could not even keep them on the lots. Again, those Porsche boxers are really poo poo by the real die hard Porches 911 fans. +++

Since the events I discuss in the book occurred in the late 80s, the event YOU discuss occurred in the late 90s, you haven't read the book, and are ignorant of many basic facts this is completely off the point.  Again, Porsche's introduction of these models proves my point.

+++It is not a question of quality here. They could have used a MUCH cheaper keyboard for the home version. However, the keyboard for the home version was simply VERY crappy to type on. This is was not a issue of stripping down a flagship model, +++

Again, since you have not read the book, you have no real idea of what you are talking about.  I have talked to people at IBM who were involved in the design of the PC Junior, I sold them, and I know that the machine was deliberately crippled to ensure it would not compete with the PC.  Expansion capabilities, storage, co-processing, etc were all deliberately limited to achieve this goal.  Not really a disputable point if you ever actually looked at or used a PC Junior.

+++That above statement is so incredibly dumb as to warrant a book recall!...

It is this database that the above brain dead quote refers to. The author is trying to make the case that since they used a new hierchial pointer database for printer codes, that was the reason for the fall and demise of the MirocPro word processor.+++

Unbelievable.  Albert, to someone who has read ISOS, you have no idea of how silly you sound.

No, Albert, that's not the point.  The point was that the effort to convert the database structure from its flat file format to a hierarchical one was a bad business decision based on several factors.  Which I will not explain to you.  Read the book.

+++ the book tries to make a case that the old database could not be used. +++

Uh, no it does not.

+++In fact, a team of developers could write some code to copy those printer codes from the old database system to the new format in LESS THAN A DAY. In fact, I could move the printer codes in less then a day if you gave me the old database of printer codes.  So, it is not a big deal that you can not “read” the old printer database…but you sure as the heck can “USE” the old data as the basis for the new database.+++

The fact that you are so inexperienced in this area is made grimly manifest by a statement I'd expect to hear from some kid learning BASIC in high school.  Maintaining, testing, and verifying the operation of hundreds of devices such as printers is not the work of a "day."  Especially in the pre-Wndows era.  ESPECIALLY for a company that lived and died on printer support.  I won't try to explain to you what IS involved.  Such things as a rewrite of the printer install program, the lack of any desktop tools to achieve this port, the need to rigorously text and then retest all printer operations to insure data was not mangled during the port, etc, etc, etc.  Suffice it to say that you are totally out of your league here.

You really should read the book.

Merrill R. (Rick) Chapman

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Marketer meets techie.  It's like watching a train wreck.

Cowboy from FMJ
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Dear Rick,
                To comment about the price of cars without considering currency fluctations is pretty stupid.

                Also you are limiting yourself to the USA market. The cheapest Mercedes, whether the S200 or the !90 has always sold a lot outside the USA. It's two selling points are that it holds its value, and parts are cheap compared to Japanese cars - the two are linked.

              The Mercedes reputation outside of the States is for reliability. BMW's tend to collapse after a few years (or less in the case of the smaller ones) and their spare parts are horrifically expensive, and old Jaguars or Daimlers are so disaster prone that you would pay a premium to swap one for a Lada of equivalent age; in the UK they're mainly used by unemployed rap singers who park them outside the pub and aren't too bothered if they have to walk back. American cars are considered a joke in this respect (with the exception of the Caprice Classic, GMC Suburban and Jeep Cherokee) In Europe Mercedes are used as taxis and a taxi driver is only prepared to pay nearly twice the price of an equivalent car if he thinks he'll recoup the investment.

You seem to have completely misunderstood what Allbert was saying about the printer database. He wasn't talking about rewriting the database. He was talking about converting it. As he has been working with the programs you mention since the late 80's you are on dangerous ground to accuse him of not knowing what he is talking about. Sure. testing with each printer would be a pain, but they would already have the printers from the first time they tested.

It's pretty stupid to say that the public didn't clamour for self-service at petrol stations. They didn't clamour for self-service in supermarkets either, but what happens of course is that when someone introduces a cost saving measure, and reduces prices accordingly, everybody flocks to buy there and other companies go broke or follow suit. Of course companies can also upmarket themselves; it depends on what the consumer wants, but the consumer doesn't initiate the trend.

Now of course, what you mustn't do is rub it in the face of the consumer that he has a crippled version, though that has been known to succeed (the consumer version of Photoshop is an example). You've got to make people think of the brand name, not the fact that they are buying the cheapest of the brand.

And of course for selling crippleware successfully look at Microsoft! Mind you, having a monopoly does allow you to be eclectic in your marketing decisions :)

Stephen Jones
Sunday, February 22, 2004

----" Sigh.  Factually wrong.  Ashton-Tate certainly DID have a runtime  option.  The problem was, A-T wanted to charge for it.  Developers didn't want to pay A-T for it. "----

If you had bothered to read the earlier post Albert was referring to you would have read,

--"So, developers really were NOT asking for linker…but a royalty free otpion..and that could be runtime, or some linker."-----

Albert's point was that FoxPro then, and Access now, offer a royalty free run time, and if a developer got that he couldn't give a monkey's toss about a linker.

---" I sold them, and I know that the machine was deliberately crippled to ensure it would not compete with the PC.  Expansion capabilities, storage, co-processing, etc were all deliberately limited to achieve this goal.  Not really a disputable point if you ever actually looked at or used a PC Junior."----

You're failing to get Albert's point. He's not denying that the machine was crippled. What he is saying is that this was not the reason for it not selling, but the fact that it had a crappy keyboard, which was the first thing the user would feel. He specifically mentions discussing this with salesmen, so you can hardly accuse him of never having seen one. You may disagree with his point, and no doubt having tried to sell it may know of other factors. but his point is that if the "crippling" had been done intelligently then the concept would have worked. You're saying that poor implementation  invalidates the whole concept. And surely the PC itself is the perfect example of subtractive marketing working when the economics are right.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, February 22, 2004

+++To comment about the price of cars without considering currency fluctations is pretty stupid.+++

And to have not been there and studied the subject and then presume to know what you are talking about is even dumber.

Currency fluctuations did not account for the run up in the MB 190's price.  During the 1986/87period Audi, which sold the 5000/100 at a comparable price to the MB 190 in Germany, ran an ad called "Mysteries of the Sea" in which they made fun of the MB 190 price.  The company pointed out that the two cars sold for the same in Germany and then pointed out the discrepancies in the prices between the two cars in the US.

+++The Mercedes reputation outside of the States is for reliability. BMW's tend to collapse after a few years (or less in the case of the smaller ones) and their spare parts are horrifically expensive, and old Jaguars or Daimlers are so disaster prone that you would pay a premium to swap one for a Lada of equivalent age;+++

Yes, yes, no kidding.  And completely off the point, because YOU have not read the book either and thus have no idea of what was said and the point that was made.

+++You seem to have completely misunderstood what Allbert was saying about the printer database. He wasn't talking about rewriting the database. He was talking about converting it.+++

You seem to have not read the book and thus, like him, have no idea of what you are talking about.

+++As he has been working with the programs you mention since the late 80's you are on dangerous ground to accuse him of not knowing what he is talking about.+++

No, actually, I'm on absolutely solid ground.  As I say in the book, I started off in the industry programming in Vulcan/dBase II.  The last significant piece of code I ever wrote was in 1991, a vertical market app designed to track blood gas sticks for BMHC in New Yawk.  20K lines of Paradox code.  Not a huge project, but it had to be solid.

+++Sure. testing with each printer would be a pain, but they would already have the printers from the first time they tested.+++

Like Albert, you are absolutely clueless about the impact and requirements of ripping out a critical subsystem from a piece of 80s shrink wrapped code.  There's not much point in arguing the point with you; you simply don't know what you're talking about, haven't read the book, and aren't really capable, at this point, of arguing the issues coherently.

+++It's pretty stupid to say that the public didn't clamour for self-service at petrol stations.+++

It's the facts, son.  People didn't rush to save money pumping their own gas; they were forced out of their cars.

+++Now of course, what you mustn't do is rub it in the face of the consumer that he has a crippled version+++

No kidding.  But that is precisely what IBM did.

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

rick, aren't you a successful marketeer and author? do you not have anything better to do than "argue" with anonymous IT drones on a sunday?  why not take the afternoon off to wax the mercedes, or something? Do you really want your kids to do a google search and find dad arguing with a canadian and a saudi about fox pro?

 
Sunday, February 22, 2004



+++If you had bothered to read the earlier post Albert was referring to you would have read,+++

If Albert had read the book, I'd bother.  But based on the silly statements he's made so far, there is no point.

+++--"So, developers really were NOT asking for linker…but a royalty free otpion..and that could be runtime, or some linker."-----

Albert's point was that FoxPro then, and Access now, offer a royalty free run time, and if a developer got that he couldn't give a monkey's toss about a linker.+++

Well, no kidding.  And off the point.  Ed Esber didn't like losing that A-T runtime revenue, which sparked the behavior and actions that led to the demise of A-T.  It would REALLY help if some of you actually read the book instead of throwing out pointless and off the point observations on a subject of which you are demonstrably ignorant.

+++---" I sold them, and I know that the machine was deliberately crippled to ensure it would not compete with the PC.  Expansion capabilities, storage, co-processing, etc were all deliberately limited to achieve this goal.  Not really a disputable point if you ever actually looked at or used a PC Junior."----+++

You're failing to get Albert's point. He's not denying that the machine was crippled. What he is saying is that this was not the reason for it not selling, but the fact that it had a crappy keyboard, which was the first thing the user would feel. +++

Amazing.  So, you're claiming that because the unit was crippled with a keyboard it was not crippled because the keyboard crippled it.

Amazing.  Why not read the book and you'll actually be able to comment intelligently on its observations?

And you weren't there and I was.  The first thing the aftermarket did after the introduction of Junior was rush plenty of keyboards to market.  But AFTER you'd bought the keyboard, figured out how to add a second floppy, bought the upgrade to see an 80 character screen, etc, etc, etc, why bother?  People just bought PCs.

+++his point is that if the "crippling" had been done intelligently then the concept would have worked. +++

His point, as the book points out, never seems to work.  This concept has been tried again and again and again.  And has failed again and again and again.  As Joel recently found out for himself.

As the book documents (but you haven't read it, so you don't know this).

+++You're saying that poor implementation  invalidates the whole concept. And surely the PC itself is the perfect example of subtractive marketing working when the economics are right. +++

No, it wasn't.  The PC was a nice system for its day and attractively priced.  Of course, you may be one of those types who nattered on endlessly about the 8088 not being a "true" 16 bit chip but, of course, one paid any attention to all of that.

And, of course, you haven't read the book so you're basically talking through your hat.

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Albert's not anonymous at all - he's got a site, source crode, photographs, an address and telephone number. Call him up if you want some good transaction software put together for tour buses.

> More ignorance of history.  Albert, up till the oil shocks of the 70s, most people didn't pump their gas because it was included as part of the standard service.  After the oil shocks, standard service was withdrawn from most gas stations, replaced by self serve.  The public did not clamor for this; it was driven by a shift in the economics of oil.

This is totally false. As everyone over 30 in the entire North America knows and remembers, We had full serve and self serve at nearly every gas station in the US for over 30 years. I guess Rick's never been to the US?

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Is Chapman great at marketing or what?? He comes to a website frequented by the target audience for his book and manages to post a response that has the words "read the book" 10 times.

long time lurker
Sunday, February 22, 2004

+++This is totally false. +++

This is totally true and only a kid would argue the point.  Up till the oil shocks, someone pumped your gas.  After the shocks, you pumped your gas.

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

+++Is Chapman great at marketing or what?? +++

I sure am!

+++He comes to a website frequented by the target audience for his book and manages to post a response that has the words "read the book" 10 times. +++

Yup.  Great marketing and a generous offer on my part to some to stop making fools of themselves misstating basic facts, learn from the past, and hopefully not repeat history.

ALL of which can happen if you read the book!

Excerpts at:
www.insearchofstupidity.com

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

rick, aren't you a successful marketeer and author?

Sometimes!

+++do you not have anything better to do than "argue" with anonymous IT drones on a sunday? +++

Writing a book and defending your literary reputation is a contact sport.  JOS is an important site that many people viist.  When someone attacks your book via a series of wild misstatements it behooves you to respond.

Of course, you can adopt the above it all attitude Novell displayed when MS came after them after the release of NT.  To see how well THAT approach worked out, I suggest you read chapter nine of ISOS to find out.

Also, the controversy helps build interest and sales!

+++find dad arguing with a canadian and a saudi about fox pro? +++

I don't think it would really bother them and I'm indifferent to the nationality of the people with whom I discourse.

rick



why not take the afternoon off to wax the mercedes, or something? Do you really want your kids to do a google search and find dad arguing with a canadian and a saudi about fox pro?

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Dear Rick,
                Congratulations on giving us another example of "In Search of Stupidity".

                An author publishes excerpts from his book on his web site apparently deliberately chosen to make the reader think he doesn't know what he is talking  about.

                  When this is pointed out he proceeds to tell the prospective customer that he is an idiot and ought to read the book immediately.

                    Why don't you try it out with software. Give a trial version of your program that destroys all the readers data. When the prospective customer complains tell him he's an idiot and it's all his fault because HE HASN'T BOUGHT THE PROGRAM.

                    Rick, why should we buy your book when your excerpts appear to be controversial at best, and you come across as a loud-mouthed obnoxious jerk?

Stephen Jones
Sunday, February 22, 2004

+++An author publishes excerpts from his book on his web site apparently deliberately chosen to make the reader think he doesn't know what he is talking  about.+++

What a stupid comment.  Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?

Look, if you can't argue the facts or learn them, why not go back to your cubicle somewhere, keep telliing yourself how much smarter you are than everyone else, and don't try to ever manage or start your own company?  ISOS is fun of course, but, as a guy on Amazon noted, it's also a good Rorshach test.  People who are serious about building a business will read it and avoid repeating history.

Those of you who like to repeat history and do the same stupid things already done by previous generations of idiots will just have to learn the hard way.

As I said, I'm planning a sequel.

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Well I certainly hope this is not the real chapman and is actually an imposter. Joel (who wrote the intro to the book) says Rick is a fun guy. but this 'imposter' just comes across as a creep. If it is the real Chapman, i know I would never want to read his book and if this name-calling diatribe is an example of his marketing skills, only a fool would hire him to market their products!

I remember that toy PC membrane keyboard. It really did look and feel cheap and so there was no point to even trying the computer out, regardless of what other features it had. if I want a lousy keyboard I'll get a speak and spell. Even a $5 calculator has a better keyboard.

Regarding Chapman's continued assertions that full serve was not an option after the gas crises, I think he must have been smokin too much crack during those years! Does ANYONE on this board think that you couldn't get full serve at most all gas stations (for 10 cents more a gallon typically unless it wa sTuestady and you were a lady, or any day and you had a handicapped placard in which case they charged you regular) up until around 1999 or so?

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Awww.  Have I been too hard on the Kings of Code here?  People who like to dish it out regularly?  But can't seem to take it?  Hurt your feelings?  Pointed out the facts and made you feel not so smart?

Well, well, you'll get over it.

+++Regarding Chapman's continued assertions that full serve was not an option after the gas crises, I think he must have been smokin too much crack +++

Sigh.  Amazing stuff.  Uh, no, that's not what was said.

As I said, a kid.

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Mr Rick Chapman seems to be suffering under the delusion that by acting like a socially inadequate asshole, he's going to bully people into buying his book.  Well tough luck Ricky, I'm not buying and you made yourself look like such a moron here that I highly doubt your book has any value at all. And if it this isn't the real Rick Chapman, I congratulate you for making the guy look like a supreme idiot.


Sunday, February 22, 2004

"I think I can answer some of these points at this juncture secure in the knowledge that people will know it's me responding to you, not some socially inadequate geek."

"And to have not been there and studied the subject and then presume to know what you are talking about is even dumber."

"And completely off the point, because YOU have not read the book either and thus have no idea of what was said and the point that was made."

"There's not much point in arguing the point with you; you simply don't know what you're talking about, haven't read the book, and aren't really capable, at this point, of arguing the issues coherently."

"It would REALLY help if some of you actually read the book instead of throwing out pointless and off the point observations on a subject of which you are demonstrably ignorant."

"And, of course, you haven't read the book so you're basically talking through your hat."

"Yup.  Great marketing and a generous offer on my part to some to stop making fools of themselves misstating basic facts, learn from the past, and hopefully not repeat history."

"Ahh.  I wondered how long it would take a socially inadequate asshole to show up!"

    -- Rick Chapman

Frankly, I feel pretty confident that the person replying here is both the real Rick Chapman AND a socially inadequate geek.  You come across as a real jerk.  Try not attacking people personally just because they disagree with you, and try supporting your arguments with something other than "buy my book."  People will like you a lot better.

I'm Rick Chapman, and so's my wife!
Sunday, February 22, 2004

NO, I don't really think you had deliberately chosen the extracts to confuse; however from the extracts alone you are clearly wrong in your generalization about cars in Chapter 3:

---"the Falcon was designed from the get-go as a “people’s car.” In other words, it couldn’t go very fast, got good gas mileage, and was economical to run. Extolling these virtues was the car’s deliberately plug-ugly design,"---

Now, the fact that the car was "plug-ugly"  probably explains why it didn't take off, as Albert said, but substitute "Citreon 2CV" or "Volkswagen Beetle" for "Falcon" and you have two of the most phenomenally successful cars in history.

The truth is that there are plenty of successful example of subtractive marketing, but they do depend on accertaining the details, and the market (the 2CV would never have sold to Americans). Sometimes you can still recover from a mistake. Intel fouled up with the first Celeron, but made up for it with the increased cache and thus saw off Cyrix and held off AMD at the bottom end of the market.

You clearly give the impression in the excerpt  of Chapter Four that the change from a flat file database to a hierarchical database was the reason Wordstar 2000 did not have printer support. Moving the data from one to the other shouldn't require ---" Such things as a rewrite of the printer install program"--- any more than moving customer records from Foxpro to Oracle would require digging all the letters from customers out of filing cabinets to recreate the data. There might be other factors involved but you've not pointed them out, either in the excerpt or in your post.

Your comments on car prices in Chapter Eight still should have had some mention of exchange rates. In 1991 the Mark and the pound were higher against the dollar than they are even now, and the yen was incredibly low. The comparable Japanese saloons you mention would have been costing 50% more only a couple of years later unless the Japanese sold them as lost leaders. And incidentally, Toyota produced a "value version" Lexus that was pretty successful only a year or so later.

Actually, that number of mistakes in excerpts from ten chapters is not a bad percentage (I can't find anything else seriously at fault, though nothing to ethuse over either). But if you reckon drawing attention to the books faults, as opposed to its good points, is the way to market it, who am I to object. After all, you're the guy who knows the answers to the universe.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, February 22, 2004

+++Frankly, I feel pretty confident that the person replying here is both the real Rick Chapman AND a socially inadequate geek.  You come across as a real jerk.+++

But no one can argue that you ARE a real jerk as you practice identify theft and are coward who hides behind this "flaw" in this board.

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

++substitute "Citreon 2CV" or "Volkswagen Beetle" for "Falcon" and you have two of the most phenomenally successful cars in history.+++

Neither the Citroen nor Beatle were marketed in the US as wheels for the proletariat, the Beetle's Nazi ancestry as a "Volks" car nothwithstanding.  The Beetle in particular was the darling of academics and intellectuals, who regarded it as a "culture" statement.  It was bought by many families as a second car, or as a starter set of wheels for the kids.

+++The truth is that there are plenty of successful example of subtractive marketing, +++

The truth is that there are very few of them in high tech.  And software is an area of particular danger.

But don't let me stop you from trying!

+++You clearly give the impression in the excerpt  of Chapter Four that the change from a flat file database to a hierarchical database was the reason Wordstar 2000 did not have printer support. +++

I clearly gave no such impression.  You are unable to read clearly; I suggest you go back and persuse the excerpt far more carefully.  Actually, I recommend you buy the book and read it so that you will have a clue as to what you are talking about.

+++Moving the data from one to the other shouldn't require ---" Such things as a rewrite of the printer install program"--- any more than moving customer records from Foxpro to Oracle would require digging all the letters from customers out of filing cabinets to recreate the data.+++

As I said, you are completely ignorant of the issues surrounding such an effort.  In point of fact, the problems were immense, the product was delayed by months by the effort, and when WordStar 5.0 shipped it had a database one third the size of the WS2K product.  Again, you simply don't know what you are talking about.  The facts are on "the ground" and not in dispute.

If you want to know more, read the book.

+++Your comments on car prices in Chapter Eight still should have had some mention of exchange rates. +++

No, not really, since the huge increasess in price were not generated by exchange rates, as Audi pointed out.

+++And incidentally, Toyota produced a "value version" Lexus that was pretty successful only a year or so later.+++

And they didn't charge 40K for it.

Next. 

Amazing.  Unshakeable ignorance in full pursuit of unsupportable assertions.

+++Actually, that number of mistakes in excerpts from ten chapters is not a bad percentage (I can't find anything else seriously at fault, though nothing to ethuse over either).+++

No "mistakes' have uncovered by you or anyone else.  What has been uncovered is a particular type of arrogance peculiar to many in high-tech.  I talk about this syndrome in the video you can see on www.insearchofstupidity.com

+++ After all, you're the guy who knows the answers to the universe. +++

Mmmm hmmm.  Now, go read the book and asuage your ignorance.  You are lamentably ignorant of the past and the mistakes that were made.  I know the facts, have demonstrated that, and have accomplished what I felt I needed to do in this thread.

I don't want to upset all you fragile flowers out there any further; watching the tears tremble in the corners of your cornflower blue eyes is more than even my flinty heart can bear.  You can all repair to a room somewhere, have a big group hug, and console yourselves over your rough treatment at my uncaring hands.

And then you can read the book and actually learn something.

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

"Mmmm hmmm.  Now, go read the book and asuage your ignorance.  You are lamentably ignorant of the past and the mistakes that were made.  I know the facts, have demonstrated that, and have accomplished what I felt I needed to do in this thread."

Does that mean you'll go away again?  Please?

Will the real Rick Chapman please stand up?
Sunday, February 22, 2004

"What has been uncovered is a particular type of arrogance peculiar to many in high-tech."

I wonder if you are aware that the guy you are talking to is a high school English teacher? Knowledgable about a wide range of subjects, but not 'in high tech'. Probably you'll slam him for not being an expert next. Perhaps you could tell us about your own high tech qualifications? Many successful projects under your belt? A fair understanding of a decent number of languages?

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, February 22, 2004

+++I wonder if you are aware that the guy you are talking to is a high school English teacher? +++

Well, I suggest the teach buy copies of my book as an excellent example of contemporary business writing for their class.  It's one biz book they'll enjoy reading!

+++Perhaps you could tell us about your own high tech qualifications? +++

You can read my bio on www.aegis-resources.com and www.insearchofstupidity.com.

+++A fair understanding of a decent number of languages? +++

Coding?  Haven't done any serious coding since 1991.  Languages.  I used to know 6502 assembler, all variants of dBase, Paradox up till version 4.0, some BASIC of course, a smattering of DBMS packages such as K-man and similar stuff.

Also was pretty good with InfoStar, though it never really had a language per say.

Not that this is on the point, of course.  ISOS is a book about high-tech marketing.

Bad high-tech marketing.  As brought to you in the past.

For the future, I feel I can rely on some members of this forum as grist for my future efforts.  I'm sure they won't disappoint me!

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Changing topic a bit (I don't know much about the 80s), do you still think it was a good idea not to participate in Amazon's lookinside program?  It clearly conflicts with your idea of leaving people hanging at the end of your excerpts, and you've probably worked to ensure that people who know your book will know your website.  However, if Amazon believes there's a correllation between lookinside and effectiveness of pushing a book on its frontpage, you might lose out on free advertising.  And in physical bookstores the whole discussion is moot since they'll just flip through it.  So would you take the same strategy for your sequel book?

I know they've recently dropped looksinside for searchinside, but I'm pretty sure they had it when you came out with your book.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Hi Rick.  If I'm ever unlucky enough to come across a copy of your book, I'll make sure to put a copy of it on Kazaa so we can all marvel at your immense studity for free.

not required
Sunday, February 22, 2004

"Hi Rick.  If I'm ever unlucky enough to come across a copy of your book, "

I can assure that one thing this thread has guaranteed is that every clueless geek who read this thread is rushing out to get their hands on a copy of the book ASAP.  They'll do their best to avoid paying for it, but they'll read it.  You can put money on that.

The smart ones will buy the book, make notes, and avoid repeating history.

"I'll make sure to put a copy of it on Kazaa so we can all marvel at your immense studity for free. "

Awww.  Is your little feelings hurt?  The Big Bad Rick made you screw up your eyes and cry?  Mommy will pat you on the back and make it all feel better.

I'm not worried, little man.  The book's not in an E-format and you'll have to spring for the copy machine.  I'm sure you're too cheap to bother.

Sheesh.  What a bunch of whiners hang here.  Where are the manly coders of old?  The effete snivels of these second raters are dreary!

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004


Just in Case anyone is interested, the Ford Falcon is _massive_ in Australia, and has been since at least the early 1970s.

Ford Falcon and Holden (a local Australian Car brand owned by GM) Commodore duke it out for supremecy in the large family sedan market.

Taxis for example, are often Falcons.

I never knew the Falcon was originally a failed US model :)

braid_ged
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Rick told me he accidentally sent me an email instead of adding a post, so I'm sure I can mention that he said it was more his publisher's decision to make, not his.  And he explained that he's not absolutely sure it's effective since one can eventually read the whole thing with the new searchinside thing.

Apress probably has a lot of data on whether it's worthwhile; they are extremely experimental with authors putting stuff on the web.  Entire drafts of books-in-progress are up, and they're reprinting Graham's _On Lisp_ which is free online.  They've got good forums at http://forums.apress.com/ .

But whatever, as a consumer I'm satisfied with what's on your site.  In fact, I've bugged O'Reilly on using multimedia to sell books, like videos of the authors teaching something or whatever.

- - - -

Incidentally, if you wonder about programmers of yore, it seems coders are politer than before, and expect more politeness.  I've noticed this on google's usenet archives.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Sunday, February 22, 2004

+++Incidentally, if you wonder about programmers of yore, it seems coders are politer than before+++

Perhaps, but you can't tell it from this forum.

As the song says, you only get what you give.  And I've been quite fair to my respondents.

rick

Rick Chapman
Sunday, February 22, 2004

This is surreal.  Will somebody email Chapman & tell him that somebody is on here abusing his target audience and making him look like an asshole?




((( p.s. Dan Brown remembers full serve/self serve lines for the gas stations well after the oil crisis.  At least in Texas)))

Dan Brown
Sunday, February 22, 2004

braid_ged,

[An aside, completely off-topic]
The Australian Ford Falcon bears little resemblance to the old Falcon in the USA. Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if the only thing they had in common was the name. I believe the Australian Falcon was designed (or at least heavily modified) in the Australian division of Ford specifically for the Australian market. The early Australian version looks much more like a "muscle" car than the old American Falcon, and was designed to handle the temperature extremes and high speeds on the rougher outback roads; and some models were also fitted with 40 gallon fuel tanks to help Ford win the Bathurst 500 races for unmodified production street cars.

Philip Dickerson
Sunday, February 22, 2004

C'mon, be fair.  Some people here clearly turned up to a "bash the marketeer" party - why get offended (or even surprised) when he starts fighting back? 

JP
Monday, February 23, 2004

Come on guys,

we have been here (at lenght) before and this is soooo pointless.
There is no way in hell RC is ever going to do anything else besides repeat "I'm always rigth, and you are a bunch of unwashed imbeciles. Buy the book."

Just let it be.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, February 23, 2004

After re-reading this thread, I think I (and my wife!) owe Rick Chapman something of an apology.  I was initially put off by some of the personal attacks in Rick Chapman's posts, but after reading everything again, the personal attacks are all over the place, and Mr. Chapman was just responding in kind.  So, Mr. Chapman, I'm sorry I used your name (although, to be fair, I don't think anyone really thought it was you), and I'm sorry I addressed you as if you had set the tone of this thread.

My wife and I need a new name, now that neither of us is Rick Chapman
Monday, February 23, 2004

Gee, Rick, I kind of feel a little bad now. I did not want to throw a stick in a bee’s nest.  I really do thank you for taking some time to make some points about my comments.

For sure, with the guns I had on those issues, then you really are kind of forced to come in and make some points and clarifications. I would expect nothing less.

I hope you at least see that I did ask for more points of views to counter my points. Some very bright people here had some good things to say about your book. I respect those opinions. It is in this light that asked for others to “counter” my points. I did not expect the author to step in, and I thank you very much for doing this.

I also hope that this thread results in some increased clarity as to the points you make.

Perhaps the heated discussion about your book is likely good for it!

I missed most this thread as it un-folded. I was away skiing in the Mountains (Ferine) with a great bunch of friends. So, I come into this thread late.

My points about Mercedes and Porsche still stand. Sure, those companies did some stupid things, and priced some of their products right out of the market place. I have NO problem with that issue. I mean, it is no big deal that that both Porsche with products like the 944 (and the Jap cars like Nissin 300, Honda NSX etc) priced their cars right out of the market place.

That is not the point here at all. The point is that

        Is downsizing and coming out with a cheaper product is a good, or a bad idea?

It does seem that some of the most RECENT success in the market place have been due to “subtracting” marketing. That is making or moving into a cheaper low cost market. The Porsche and Mercedes examples are so stunning.

If your point is that subtractive products generally don’t work well, then ok that is fine. Perhaps you don’t see these successful products I mention as subtractive products.

There sure does seem to be stunning success in the market place based on this concept of lower cost products.

And, lets go through a few of my points:


+++As I pointed out…it was not the fact of a linker at all that hurt dBase, but the lack of runtime option!+++

+Sigh. Factually wrong. Ashton-Tate certainly DID have a runtime option. The problem was, A-T wanted to charge for it. Developers didn't want to pay A-T for it. Hence the development of compiler technology, which bypassed the A-T runtime offering and made Ed Esber very, very angry.

My point here is that the failure was not due to lack of a linker (or if you had a linker). This is simply moot! The issue is Royalty FREE runtime. I was quoting my previous post, and it is truly unfortunate that “FREE” does not appear in that above quote. If you read my other post, the issue was free distribution….not the linker.

The front page here on this web site (Joel) mentions that a reason for dBase failure was lack of a linker (and you are quoted as the source for this fact).. Why then is the issue of a linker brought into this argument?  This is my beef here! This is what I needed to be clarified here. Are you still staying the problem was the linker issue? Perhaps Joel quoted you out of context. I am only pointing out that the linker here NOT the issue. It is FREE distribution.

And, it just is bad that my quote did not use the word Free, but if you read the other post...Free is the issue...not linking.

+++Albert, there never was a "K-car." There was the K-chassis design

Well, once again…a bit of miss-quote. In Canada, the Plymouth Reliant, and the dodge Aries were always refereed to as K-cars. Some even had a logo on the side to this fact. Further, you can even hear the term “k-car” used in the song “If I had a million dollars”. It is a common term (at least in Canada).  And, as turns out…that popular song above is from a Canadian band!

Once again, the issue here is not one of the fact that in the US they did not sell, or call the k-car as such!

So, to clarify, when I used the term k-car, I mean the cheap little boxes called the Dodge Aries, and the Plymouth Reliant. This is what we mean in Canada when referring to k-cars (there is not a car salesman in my country that would say otherwise. I am quite surprised it is different in the US..but it might be).

Here is the Lyrics:

http://theorem.ca/~yaacov/lyrics.php?key=song_title&ID=44

Regardless, k-cars are very cheap little boxes for the budget kind of guy. In fact, that song above is making fun of how cheap such a k-car is to buy if you had a million dollars. So, k-car means those little cheap boxes Aries and Reliant. I could even perhaps make the argument that k-car in my Country refers to any real crap box.

Surely a popular folk song in Canada would not use a technical industry term k-car “chassis” for a song to make fun of how cheap the car is!

However, once again, lets not try and hide behind the issue of what a k-car is. I have clarified this common use of what k-cars mean in Canada and how they are cheap..and MORE importantly viewed as a real poor mans car! So, lets not get twisted up that k-cars were not a product in your mind.

In your response to me you do correctly point out that other products like Mini vans, and even those high performance Omni cars were based on the k-car platform (I just used the term k-car in your context here!). However, you fail to mention in your response that those other products like Mini vans etc came YEARS after the success of Aires/Reliant cars. Once again, my ONLY point here is that the cheap stripped down cars for average Joe will NOT sell according to your book. However those cheap Aries/Reliant were a great success.  I could not have picked a better term and use of "k-car".

In fact, those cheap Aries/Reliant cars gave Chrysler the seed money to go on and built great products like the Mini vans. (Once again, my only point here is that the cheap poor mans car sold well. There are MANY examples of this concept in marking..and the VB beetle is another.

Again, MY point here is that cheaper products can work very well. In fact, when you start throwing in options and  other stuff..you actually can get more out of the consumer. The low ball entry product is often a great way to get consumers on the band wagon. Palm did this last year with the super cheap-o low end pda’s. The result is a whole new crop of people now upgrading to nicer and fancier palm pda models. So, again, this cheap-o approach can work for technically based products also. Once you get the consumer hooked on your cheap version…it is a LOT easier to get them to started on the upgrade path.

And, I remember when I purchased my apple ii+ (and I wrote lots of assembler on that puppy too!). The appleII had a VERY reasonable entry price since things like the Monitor/or TV and cassette were NOT included. However, by the time the consumer got out the door….often that consumer had spent much more then a full pre-packed machine like the PET, or the Radio Shack that forced you to purchase a cassette or monitor intially. However, I sure came back and spent a ton of money later on when I did purchase a real nice true apple green monitor!.

Again, I feel sorry that the term k-car is not used where you come from, but I did mean the Aries/Reliant. And, again, my point still stands.

And, I also gave the example of CostCo. In all these cases, I am simply pointing out that being cheap is not always a disaster. In fact, often it is the best route.

++The public did not clamor for this; it was driven by a shift in the economics of oil.

Well, gee, we again seem to see this one a bit different. Right now, there are MANY gas stations with both self serve, and full service. Perhaps this trend is due to the aging population. I really don’t know. Or, perhaps now people are willing to have nice service and not be viewed as being so cheap as you state.

However, several posters pointed out that choice in the marketplace has been there for some time. In your response to me you point out that much of the change over to self service was dictated by the oil industry, or the oil shocks. That is quite a long time ago. And really, while some of the change over to self service may have been industry dictated, it still does NOT explain why so many choose to be their own poor pump jockeys when THEY DO have a choice?

Once again, my point is that when the consumer IS GIVEN THE CHOICE TO use a poor and less costly product…they often do. 

So, lets once again forget about those cases where consumers don’t have a choice for self service…but concentrate on those situations where consumers DO have a choice.

The fact is that consumers in MANY areas have had a choice between full service and self…and they choose the cheaper embarrassing route of pumping their own gas. Again, I am talking about being AT that station where both choices are available. Even more incredible there is  LOT of people standing around to see you embarrassing yourself as you get out of your car. It might be one thing to go to CostCo and save money since people don’t know where you bought the product from. Further, all of you in CostCo can get embarrassed together!

The self serve gas one is great example of my case.

Again, we are talking about getting out of your car in full view of the people in the way nice full service line looking at you ..and even laughing at you! (at Costco…at least you are all equally cheap!). Again, my original points and augments stand up well here about consumers going the cheap Joe boy route and pumping their own gas WHEN THEY HAVE a choice! And, even worse is that everyone in the full service line can see you! So, again, why talk about some lame issue about the oil industry and forcing a choice on consumers. In my example I am talking about the case when consumers do have a choice…and they time after time take the cheap-o route. Accoring to you this is the wrong route.


++No, Albert, that's not the point. The point was that the effort to convert the database structure from its flat file format to a hierarchical one was a bad business decision based on several factors.

I just pointed out that converting the database is real easy.

In several response in this thread you do FINALLY point out that testing and setting up a NEW printer driver is the real problem here. In other words, the issue I point out of copying the old codes to some new database format is really once again NOT the issue. Why then say the above is a bad decision?

As I mention, it is trivial to copy the data from the old database to the new database. So, if copying the database is NOT the problem, then just what is? Once again, here you state that changing the database structure from its flat file to the heretical one as a bad business decision. I totally disagree here.

The real problem was obviously re-writing the printer driver. A simple database of printer codes was not at issue here. You correctly point out to others in this thread that testing and verifying and making a good robust printer driver is LOT of work (I agree with you!) . My point here is that the database IS NOT the problem. The above quote mentions the problem of the old and new database format being a bad decisions! How can this be a bad decision when converting from one database format to another is simple?
It is silly to state such a thing!

I mean, really! One could have easily moved the data to the new database format, but kept the old printer driver system. In fact, you could write some code to read the data in the new hiarchial format, and produce ONE database record that was in the old format and continue to use the old driver system in that fashion. Again, my point here is that that the database was not the problem. You start talking about this cool quote about some new database format and some new cool hiarchial database thing that was a big issue here. It was not the issue and you should not be stating so.

Tell me that the NEW printer driver that was being written was going to take a very long time to function well in the marketplace. Sure, that was a bad idea. The real issue is the new driver was not battle tested..not some choice of a new database format. The database format could have been change with ease, and I stand on this statement.

++Maintaining, testing, and verifying the operation of hundreds of devices such as printers is not the work of a "day."

No, but moving the database is a one day affair. I make no such claim that the new printer driver is easy, or trivial. The failure point here had little, or nothing to do with a new database format.

Once again Rick, thank you taking out time to clarify some issues….and I will get your book!

My apologies if I miss represented you, or you book in any way.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com
http://www.attcanada.net/~kallal.msn

Albert D. Kallal
Friday, February 27, 2004

+++Gee, Rick, I kind of feel a little bad now.+++

You ought to, because you have actually attempted to critique a book you have not read.  It doesn't get much dumber than that.

+++I hope you at least see that I did ask for more points of views to counter my points. +++

Since you have not read the book, just what points did you imagine you have to offer?

+++Perhaps the heated discussion about your book is likely good for it! +++

In point of fact, probably yes.  Controversy sells books.

+++My points about Mercedes and Porsche still stand. +++

No they do not.  Since you have attempted to transpose events about a decade apart, not a debatable point.  Particularly in light of the fact that you have not read the book and are completely ignorant of the point made by in this chapter.

Sure, those companies did some stupid things, and priced some of their products right out of the market place. I have NO problem with that issue. I mean, it is no big deal that that both Porsche with products like the 944 (and the Jap cars like Nissin 300, Honda NSX etc) priced their cars right out of the market place.

That is not the point here at all.

That is exactly the point, but since you have not read the book you are completely ignorant of why this is so.

+++Is downsizing and coming out with a cheaper product is a good, or a bad idea? +++

Telling someone that you are coming out with a cheaper product because that's what you think that's all they can afford is a bad idea, yes.

Read the book.

+++It does seem that some of the most RECENT success in the market place have been due to “subtracting” marketing. +++

No.  Read the book.

+++That is making or moving into a cheaper low cost market. The Porsche and Mercedes examples are so stunning.+++

Since you have not read the book, you have no idea what you are talking about.

+++If your point is that subtractive products generally don’t work well, then ok that is fine. Perhaps you don’t see these successful products I mention as subtractive products. +++

Since you have not read the book you don't understand how off the point this is.

+++There sure does seem to be stunning success in the market place based on this concept of lower cost products. +++

Read the book.

And, lets go through a few of my points:


+++As I pointed out…it was not the fact of a linker at all that hurt dBase, but the lack of runtime option!+++

+++My point here is that the failure was not due to lack of a linker (or if you had a linker). This is simply moot! The issue is Royalty FREE runtime. I was quoting my previous post, and it is truly unfortunate that “FREE” does not appear in that above quote. If you read my other post, the issue was free distribution….not the linker. +++

My point is that since you have not read the book this is completely off the point.

+++The front page here on this web site (Joel) mentions that a reason for dBase failure was lack of a linker (and you are quoted as the source for this fact).. +++

When you read the book you will understand why Joel said this.

+++Albert, there never was a "K-car." There was the K-chassis design

Well, once again…a bit of miss-quote. +++

No, that's not a "misquote."  That's your ignorance of the facts and history.

++In Canada, the Plymouth Reliant, and the dodge Aries were always refereed to as K-cars. Some even had a logo on the side to this fact. Further, you can even hear the term “k-car” used in the song “If I had a million dollars”. It is a common term (at least in Canada).  And, as turns out…that popular song above is from a Canadian band!+++

Since you do not understand the concept of top down branding as explained in ISOS THIS is off the point.  There never was a "K-car": not a disputable point.  In the US "K" was put on many Chrysler cars.  Why?

You do not know.

+++Once again, the issue here is not one of the fact that in the US they did not sell, or call the k-car as such!+++

The issue is precisely that, but since you have A) not read the book and B) are ignorant of history you are off the point.

+++So, to clarify, when I used the term k-car, I mean the cheap little boxes called the Dodge Aries, and the Plymouth Reliant. This is what we mean in Canada when referring to k-cars (there is not a car salesman in my country that would say otherwise. I am quite surprised it is different in the US..but it might be). +++

The Dodge Aries and Reliant were cars.  The mini-van was a "car."  The Omni was a car.  The LeBaron was a car.  The Daytona was a car.  The TC was a car.

They were all built on the K-chassis.  Not a disputable point.

+++Regardless, k-cars are very cheap little boxes for the budget kind of guy. +++

Really.  But when they chopped the top off a stretched Reliant and sold it as a fun convertible it was no longer for the "budget guy."

Again, you have no idea of what you are talking about.

+++However, once again, lets not try and hide behind the issue of what a k-car is. +++

There's nothing to hide behind.  You are ignorant of the facts and I'm not.

+++Mini vans etc came YEARS after the success of Aires/Reliant cars. +++

No they did not.  Development on the mini-van began immediately after Iacocca joined Chrysler.

Again, complete ignorance of the facts and off the point.

+++However those cheap Aries/Reliant were a great success.  I could not have picked a better term and use of "k-car".+++

Aries and Reliants came in a wide variety of trim lines, were mid-line cars, and sold well because they performed well against the American competition of the day.

Facts of which you are ignorant.

+++Again, MY point here is that cheaper products can work very well.+++

Off the point since you have not read the book.

+++Well, gee, we again seem to see this one a bit different. Right now, there are MANY gas stations with both self serve, and full service. +++

Kid, before the shocks they pumped your gas and after the shocks YOU pumped your gas.

Not a disputable point.

+++That is quite a long time ago.+++

Maybe to you, kid.  But I remember history and learn from it.

+++ it still does NOT explain why so many choose to be their own poor pump jockeys when THEY DO have a choice? +++

Anyone who's pulled into a gas station knows the answer to that one.

+++Once again, my point is that when the consumer IS GIVEN THE CHOICE TO use a poor and less costly product…they often do.  +++

And they often do not, but you do not understand why this is so.

+++ the cheaper embarrassing route of pumping their own gas. +++

What planet do you come from?  No one is "embarassed to pump their own gas."

+++I just pointed out that converting the database is real easy.+++

No, Albert, it was not.  This is not high school work of the type you seem to do.  This was big-time development with many ramifications and issues to be dealt with.  ALL of which you are totally, utterly, ignorant of.

+++In several response in this thread you do FINALLY point out that testing and setting up a NEW printer driver is the real problem here.+++

No kidding.  Of course, if you'd read the book you'd already know this.

+++In other words, the issue I point out of copying the old codes to some new database format is really once again NOT the issue. Why then say the above is a bad decision? +++

Because you are totally, utterly ignorant of the issues involved and would not be allowed within ten feet of a serious development issue in this area.

+++As I mention, it is trivial to copy the data from the old database to the new database. +++

WHAT database Albert?  Oh, wait, I forgot.  You haven't read the book so you have no idea of what I'm talking about.

+++ I totally disagree here. +++

Who cares?  You are totally, utterly ignorant of the issues and haven't read the book.  Why should anyone pay attention to someone talking through their hat?

+++The real problem was obviously re-writing the printer driver. +++

As I said, totally, utterly ignorant.

+++My point here is that the database IS NOT the problem. +++

My point is that A) you don't know what you are talking about and B) the database was the problem as the facts of the situation proved.  As documented in the book.

+++I mean, really! One could have easily moved the data to the new database format, but kept the old printer driver system. +++In fact, you could write some code to read the data in the new hiarchial format, and produce ONE database record that was in the old format and continue to use the old driver system in that fashion.+++

Amazing.  A complete neophyte who has zero experience in this area lecturing us about things he has never done.  Albert, there are people on this forum who E-mailed me to discuss this very issue.  They are laughing at you, Albert.  You have no idea of what you are talking about.

+++ The database format could have been change with ease, and I stand on this statement.+++

WHAT database format, Albert?

+++No, but moving the database is a one day affair. +++

Well, Albert, you right ahead and do that.  Just make sure you have a data dictionary, have documented what you are moving, have made sure your map is bulletproof, decided how you're going to maintain the database, made sure that all ports are solid, that everyone thing has been tested, that all installs are retested, etc, etc, etc.

You have no idea of what you are talking about.

+++My apologies if I miss represented you, or you book in any way.+++

You completely mispresented me because you actually attempted to critique a book you have not read.  Furthermore, you have never worked in a shrink-wrapped development enviornment and have no idea of what you are talking about.

rick

Rick Chapman
Friday, March 05, 2004

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