In response to yesterdays post about passion reader Richard writes:
“I have always believed that in a Technology company, you should NEVER appoint an Ops guy as your CEO. The very qualities which make for a great Ops guy – caution, discipline, methodology, risk aversion – are anathema to the process of developing and executing on a vision.
As a person who built his career outside of the audio industry, I think one big problem the high-end has is that it is built to serve a niche customer base, yet spends its time self-flagellating over why it fails to make significant headway in mainstream consumer markets. The high-end functions as an immature industry. The skill set needed to serve its existing market ill-equips it to serve the other. It is seriously fragmented, and lacks organizational cohesion and leadership. Not within individual companies, but across the industry. Leadership is a person that makes people want to quit their jobs and go work for that guy. Who in the high-end fits that bill? Who is the high end’s Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Elon Musk, or Bill Gates? I hear a lot more of the opposite – business owners who people wouldn’t care to work for!
The high end routinely wrings its hands over the great white hope which is the mainstream consumer market. We all get the desirability of great sound. But we make the mistake of trying to sell the great unwashed on our vision of audio nirvana. We try to turn them on. But mainstream consumers don’t really want great sound, even if they might like it when they hear it. They want a lifestyle choice. A lifestyle choice is something you feel the need to have. We buy what we need, we commit to it, but we mostly content ourselves with coveting the things we want. As an industry, our challenge is to conceptualize a lifestyle choice that EVERYBODY is going to feel the need for. Like the iPhone, they won’t know what it is until they see it. Who in the high end has that vision?
But wait … the iPhone WAS that vision! The iPhone has already brought high-end music to the masses. We all know that iPhones are phones, they send texts, you can blog on them, play games on them. But most of the ones I see have a set of headphones plugged into them. This is the lifestyle choice that meets Joe Public’s needs. Dammit, I have an iPhone (and a pair of ATH-CK100′s), and it meets MY needs, such as they are, for portable music! This IS high end music reproduction for the mass market. And the mass market is very happy with it.
Don’t quite know how I got here. It wasn’t what I planned to write when I started typing…”
Thanks. I am glad that came out. It is well said. We need both.
Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.