In my talks I say many things that people think are too obvious to need saying. For example, I make a big point of trying to convince companies to not launch until their product is ready. You’d think that this would go without saying… Then I open the daily paper and find out that the world does need to hear the obvious.
In today’s New York Times, David Pogue writes an article titled “A Device Sold before Its Time” which is a review of Vulkano set-top TV box. suffice to say, it’s not a good review. But what’s more important is that the review points out that the company knew all about the problems before shipping the product–and before putting it into the reviewer’s hands. Pogue says:
Unfortunately, the Vulkano box is nowhere near ready for prime time. It’s riddled with bugs, problems, limitations and absurd design flaws.
Now, Monsoon Multimedia is a small company. It would seem heartless to itemize the Vulkano’s failings in a national newspaper — if it weren’t that the company asked me to review it. You would think that such a request implied a certain confidence in the product’s readiness for consumers.
And it’s not like the company thought the product was great and the reviewer was the first to discover the flaws. Pogue says:
Now, the company cheerfully admits to every single one of these problems, and says that every single one will be fixed in the coming months.
And quotes the company saying:
“Some pieces definitely need some work,” said a product manager. “We’re addressing them as quickly as we can and knocking them down.”
For now, though, it’s a train wreck. The real question isn’t, How could a box like this have so many problems? Every new product goes through a shaky stage on its way to commercial readiness.
No, the real question is, Why is the company selling it at this point? [emphasis added]
Always remember, Rule #9: Don’t Launch Until Ready. For more rules or to book my talk, please get in touch.
[Full disclosure: I am currently doing some work advising TiVo who also makes set-top boxes.]