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Thoughts from an evil commercial interest.  

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
I promise, I won't rant for long, but I guess my "Capt. Crossfeed" nickname just wouldn't let it go.

I'm writing this because I'm offended by the ongoing references to commercial interests being evil; that Chu's continued insistance that commercial interaction would somehow taint the nature of this community. Statements like:

thomas: Yes Chu is trying to keep his site non-commercial, to keep the integrity of the forums. I'm glad that someone in this audiophile community isn't just obsessed with making money.

ai0tron: But in this case it's Chus right to struggle against the odds.

And even Jude's politically correct (though I know his true sentiments don't lie here): Who in this community (other than Tyll and Jan because they make their livings at it) is obsessed with making money?

cause me to feel pushed out unfairly from something that I love.

I think Chu is entitled to do what ever he wants with his site. I don't know what the legalities are, but he pays for the URL and bandwidth and has busted his hump maintaining it. I may think he's wrong, but he's got every right to do what he feels is best. But I also think that he, and others here, often, and mostly not maliciously, blow off commercial interest as money grubbing, and see Chu and his philosophy as "Chu the stoic creature of light that he is"(ai0tron)

I'd like to remind us that on of the problem the Stoics faced was that when they saw the beauty of pure things of light without accepting the practical balances needed by an actual working community, they would decide that living life on earth just wasn't worthwhile and would commit suicide. Then they could go on to the next place where essential beuaty could be practiced without the struggle of the necessities of the physical world.

rickcr42: Let us not forget where this all began and who did the gruntwork !

Yes, let's not. Ben Bauer invented the poassive crossfeed circuit in the early '60s and made it a product. Stax built electrostatic headphones. George Bischoff from Melos Audio built the SHA1. Joe and John Grado built audiophile headphones. Cory Greenburg while writing for Stereophile published a number of articals on headphones. And I became the first serious headphone amp maker. It is in the context of the fertile ground created by all that commercial activity that Chu could plant and sustain a headphone community site. Commercial activity, I hasten to add, that was motivated in part by the promise of financial opportunity, but fundimentally fundimentally motivated by a passion for headphone listening. Not only that but these people were willing to get off their butts and DO something; they risked their livelyhoods on promoting this passion.

I frikkin' bled to make a great display at the Stereophile Show so that the Audiophiles couldn't ignore the importance of headphone listening. I spent maybe $2000 (and my birthday) to show up at deepriver's this last weekend for 4 members of this community!!!! Most companies would call that just plain stupid and a lousy investment. I think it's good for the community, and what's good for the community is good for me.

To blow-off the importance and latent possibilities of commercial interactions with this community as "greedy" is A) a gross and missguided oversimplification, and B) personally painful. I don't need a pat on the back, and I don't want to be separated out as some kind of example of how to do business, either. What I do need is an environment where people are willing to put aside an essentially bigoted notion that as soon as someone runs a business or makes a living at something that they are automatically "out to get suckers." Sure it happens, but to lump it all into a pile that says "commercialism sucks" is discriminatory.

I'm sorry if I have a different relationship to this community than most of you may be, but it feels like being called a ****** when everyone assumes that being a businessman is bad.

I'd appreciate a re-think on this issue.
post #2 of 61
Hi tyll

I gotta agree with most of what you said

My statement about "grunt work" was more directed at what looked like a split of the community , a very bad thing in my opinion

and I was one of the very first to take the side that HeadWise SHOULD take on limited / selective sponsers . I know how **** works and there are no free rides man--I am a CAPITALIST , totally and have a family to support


As for Headroom

How you think I FOUND HeadWize ,and that before there even WAS a forum

Just a site with the accumulated knowledge to that point on all things headphone related

But even then your site ,and I might add,your print catalog,was VERY informative

If anybody took this to the level it is now I would say Headroom was the pioneer , quaterback maybe,and we all ran with it

Thanks , opened up a new world for me

As to the Stereophile show


C'mon , admit it

how you kept the "guess who swallowed the mouse " look off your face is beyond me . A total success as you know from all outside reporting ,print or other

So if you got bad vibes from me personally , let me say here and now

I hope you guys make a friggin fortune as long as you don't change


post #3 of 61

Re: Thoughts from an evil commercial interest.

Originally posted by Tyll Hertsens
And even Jude's politically correct (though I know his true sentiments don't lie here): Who in this community (other than Tyll and Jan because they make their livings at it) is obsessed with making money?

Okay, let me qualify my quoted statement. No, let me restate it completely (how'd I get dragged into this?):

I said: Who in this community (other than Tyll and Jan because they make their livings at it) is obsessed with making money?

I should have said: Who in this community (other than folks like Tyll and Jan, because they make their livings at it) is obsessed with financially profiting from the headphone industry?

That wasn't intended to bad-mouth Tyll or Jan or any other headphone-related retailer. Yes, I am a businessman too. And, yes, I spend a great deal of my time obsessed with how to continue to be increasingly profitable in an entirely different industry. My only point was that trying to raise money to run the forum doesn't mean I'm trying to make a living doing it, because I'm not. Obviously, I have no problems with Tyll or Jan (or J&R Music World, or Best Buy, or MARS, or eTronics, or Circuit City, etc.) making a living selling headphone-related gear -- I'm only saying it's not what I'm doing.

Let me also say, though, that I don't mind criticism from folks as long as it's constructive. That is, if someone is going to blast me for going the route of sponsors to help support the forum, I'd appreciate it if they'd concurrently face the reality that running the place costs something, and then make some alternative suggestions with that in mind (other than, as someone once PM'd me, that I should pay for it myself and, that if I couldn't, then I shouldn't have started it in the first place -- that's not constructive, that's BS).

Cripes. As though running a site isn't expensive enough from a hobby standpoint -- now I'm going to have to retain a public relations firm?
post #4 of 61
I feel that my comments have been taken out of context.

My comments were referring to why i personally like headwize so much, because from the beginning it seems to focus on enjoying music listening, rather than most audiophile sites which focus on getting the "perfect" audio system. I never said anything about all commercialism being bad, i clearly said in my post that commercialism can be positive, but it has much more potential of hurting the community than helping it. And the only reason that i made those comments was because i felt people were attacking Chu Moy unfairly, and not giving him credit for the hard work he put into developing and maintaining the site. Considering that there is somone that IS willing to do this, i felt that it would be better to put up with the problems he is bound to face, rather than risking destroying the community just so that the forums can grow faster/load faster/be more reliable/have more features.

Tyll, i have been very impressed with the efforts you have but into developing this hobby, and i never said anything about you being "evil". My comments about money grabbing referred to the many reveiw sites/manufacturer/tweek sites out there that resort to nothing less than steeling to earn their living. THey do nothing to help in the enjoyment of music, all they do is hurt people intersted the most in this hobby and turn away people new to it.

And don't tell me that the ugliest moments in headwize's history weren't caused by the long flames you exchanged with Jan over selling headphones. If commercialization of the forums isn't to blame, and won't cause a repeat of those events, then i don't know what is. Those exchanges did nothing to help us enjoy music, and forced people to take sides and attack one or the other, when we knew that both of you were perfectly respectable and honourable businesses.
post #5 of 61
Well, I'd like to add my opinion here, because of my job: As some might remember I work as editor of hardware in chief for CHIP Online Germany (www.chip.de - if you want to risk a look) and thus earn my money with advice for others. And as most online publications today, we also have to look for alternatives, as banner adverts alone will only make us bankrupt sooner or later. <sigh>

So at the moment - even if we journalists don't feel too happy about that - we just have to concentrate a little more on ecommerce. Nevertheless, you can believe me that this won't ruin our integrity - because we are customers ourselves, so our perspective is a customers' point of view. And we are quite happy about feedback from our readers and the community forums, because this will show us where we hit the spot, where we made faults and where we could be endangered to lose the customers' point of view.

Of course, in the end one should never rely on someboby else's integrity from the start, but dig into the content and carefully check, whether the information seems trustworthy. But if you want my personal opinion: Problems with missing integrity are rare. Much more problems result from editors who are too lazy to test the stuff thoroughly enough, just miss the point, made faults or were misinformed themselves. At least this is one advantage of online journalism: We can and will correct flaws on the fly, whereas printed stuff stays printed.

So in my opinion, integrity and commercial interests don't have to be opposite sides - but one just has to be honest, so others can see, whether the given advice is valuable for them. In other words: It's fair and necessary im my eyes to tell people what one's doing and why. I'd distrust obscurity, though, and recommend you to do the same.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #6 of 61
I'm glad that someone in this audiophile community isn't just obsessed with making money
TAS rules.
post #7 of 61
The BEST way to ensure the exsitence of this forum is to have commercial involvment. If Headwize had had financial support, the problem that shut it down would probably not have happened. I don't see Chu's decision to keep Headwize "non-profit" as admirable or wise. I enjoy this community too much to watch it's exsistence risked due to some "unspecified danger" some people seem to think commercial involvement would represent. FYI, we are on a server that is supported by a commercial venture right now! It may not be a headphone related business, but it is completely supported by that business. So what the hell is it these people are afraid of? An ad banner? Big deal. A commercial link? Guess what- Headwize had commercial links on it. They just didn't generate any revenue to keep the site going, is all. If you want an example of how a forum is kept in operation by commercial involvement, go look at Audio Asylum. You will discover that there is nothing to fear. The forums there are not controlled by the commercial interests. Nor would they be here. We really have nothing to fear.
post #8 of 61
right on, budgie!
post #9 of 61
And having just spent several hours around Tyll I can promise you he is not evil, greedy or dishonest. He does need to practice his playing, though.
post #10 of 61
I kinda like the way the asylum does it,main page loads and at the bottom are discrete links to sponsers

No problems there for me guys

and ALSO

I enjoy the interaction with "THE BIG GUNS"

way too much fun

AND (will this guy ever shut tf up ? NOPE )

that headroom travelling display is a must see/hear

evry damn amp and headphone worth listening to , some no longer even in production (Audio Alchemy)

just too much for one bite

ask the guys about last weekend

And belated happy birthday tyll , had a lapse of online time

better now

Rick-president pro tem of my own damn house
post #11 of 61
Tyll, very well said.

1) Anyone who has spent any time here, on the HeadRoom site, or buying anything from your company can tell that this isn't just a business to you -- it's also your life. You make amps and spread the good word on headphones not just because you make money off of it, but also because you're passionate about it.

2) As Jude and Neruda have pointed out MANY times, eventually there will be a need to have commercial involvement here. That is NOT a problem. What would be a problem is if Jude let such involvement ruin the forums. Does anyone here thing Jude would really let that happen? I don't.
post #12 of 61
Okay, I was an English major, so I'm going to nitpick. Commercial involvement/interest and base advertising are two different things. Sponsors and advertisers are also different, or should be. What makes Headwize and Head-Fi rare, if not unique, is that the community includes those with the means or production and the end users (and everyone in between, like the DIY'ers). Just because Chu's "business" model isn't sustainable elsewhere in the web world doesn't mean we shouldn't support his efforts to do what he can with what he's got. Just as we would support Jude's decisions to take Head-Fi in another direction. Either way, what you get out of any community is what you put into it. I will continue to support Chu in his decision and hope that my involvement with Headwize will help sustain the community there. Same goes for here.

Tyll, I think it's obvious not only from your involvement here that you are not the norm for "commercial". If anyone is still unsure, just read the Headroom "ads" in Stereophile. Your business model is partly based on the spirit that makes these forums work and I think Headroom has benefited from the enthusiasm that goes into these forums.

I don't think the involvement of individuals with commercial interest in the subject matter is the problem or what the people here are afraid of. I am afraid that these forums might descend to the level of ad campaigns from people who aren't accountable for their products. That is, if we have problems with a Headroom product or a Corda amp, we can ask a member of our community directly for answers. I haven't succeeded in having a substantive dialog with any of the advertisers on any other site. In my eyes, that makes the product people on these forums unique. So, I don't think you should worry so much that we think of the Headroom folks as only out for money. Besides, it's obvious that you and Jan are nuts about the products and the community.

So, dear fellow headphone freaks, I descend from my soapbox.
post #13 of 61
there was only one thing missing from the traveling headphone geek show, rick: the earmax pro. Not a big deal of course, and the meet still kicked ass. I might just have to make a trip to wherever they go next! man, tyll's gunna be so sick of me...
post #14 of 61
I like Chu because in capitalist America, GNP >8 trillion, he still seems determined to avoid commercialism. It's so much easier to just give in and make money. Yet he adheres to a belief that some of you find very strange yet obviously makes alot of sense to him. Then those who believe otherwise assume that Chu has somehow become disconnected from reality. I do not think this is the case. I think the idea that commercialism makes the physical world worth living in is a delusion. I think the idea that enjoyment of life's small indefinable aspects is somehow intangible and constitutes a desire for suicide is a delusion as well. The whole capitalist world is a mad delusion founded on mad delusions IMO... And there are many reasons for that statement that I will avoid for the sake of staying on Topic. Tyll, we all know you are a decent guy. Some capitalists probably look at you as deluded for thinking you can run a business that operates on such a personal level. I personally appreciate it. Conversely I think you should be more understanding of Chu's personal desire's regarding the community.

Mind you all, I wish to live comfortably in the future. I don't want to live in the woods and join nature etc. because I am excited by the accomplishments of mankind. I like the idea of taking space and forming it to my will which concieves of my home. In order to achieve my vision I need money. And someday I will have a family and friends and they can come over to my place and hang out etc. I won't be charging admission or asking them to fill out questionaires, or to try this beer from my sponsor, or to check out the advert on the back wall of my house. They can come over free of charge and I will give them food that I paid for out of my pocket.
post #15 of 61
Originally posted by ai0tron
And someday I will have a family and friends and they can come over to my place and hang out etc. I won't be charging admission or asking them to fill out questionaires, or to try this beer from my sponsor, or to check out the advert on the back wall of my house. They can come over free of charge and I will give them food that I paid for out of my pocket.

That's very nice of you, ai0tron -- these hypothetical, yet-to-happen parties of yours. Maybe one day I'll be invited.

I have family and friends over my house all the time. It's pay-per-view sports event central for my friends and family. And no, smart aleck, I don't charge them a dime for the sports or the food.

But I don't think you quite understand the costs involved here. Already I could lease myself a Mercedes sedan (though I much prefer American cars) for the monthly cost of running this place and all that has been put into it. Every single month. And it will only get more expensive as it grows.
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