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Thoughts from an evil commercial interest. - Page 2  

post #16 of 61
WAAAAAAAAAH!

post #17 of 61
Thread Starter 
Let me admit that my actual motive for putting up my post was a lot less personally painful than it may have apeared. And I appologies to Thomas, ai0tron, Jude, and rickcr42 if I seemed truly offended by anything they said directly...I'm not.

<<< thomas: 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.

I see that event as a result of the fact that commercialism was not being controlled on HeadWize. Chu abandoned his position of rightful authority relative to the commercial interests on his site and left a free-for-all. What you saw was the kind of thing that happens when a community doesn't "zone" it's commercial activity correctly. I will agree that it was ugly, and I'll apologies again for my contribution to that ugliness. But it was also a difficult and productive, and very rapid as these things go, road to a change in international distribution pricing practice on the part of a headphone manufacturer. (Our price on AKG K1000 headphones was cut in half, and our selling price for the product also dropped by half.) So, though it may have been very difficult, it was also a very good thing for headphone pricing, and an important example of how a community like this can cause positive changes in behaviour of undesirable business practices of large companies. Don't you agree?

Also I had intedned to apologies to Jan that his amp had a rubbing knob in our display. I am quite impressed with the build quality of his amps, and were I to try to directly compare his amp to mine, and point to where our amps might be superior, I would not be inclined to point to quality of construction.

>>>>lini (regarding corupt journalism): 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.

I have talked, on a number of occasions, to John Atkinson (Editor-in-Chief for Stereophile), Doug Schneider (Publisher of www.SoundStage.com) and other leaders of lesser known journals, and I have NEVER once felt that any of them had anything but an enthusiastic hobbyists point of view. These folks are the farthest thing from money grubbing evil capitalists that I can imagine. I remember when I used to talk with these guys on BBS's essentially JUST LIKE THIS ONE, to think they are "in bed" with advertisers is a juvinile oversimplification. This type of paranoid delusion regarding commercial interaction is VERY damaging. We can even begin to see the effects of it here a bit where Jude is beginning to feel like he has to defend himself from becomming "The Man."

And this is what my post is really all about: the lack of willingness to take the more difficult road of figuring out how to find apropriate way of including commercial participation, and a knee-jerk and intelectually lazy position that commercial interests are evil---or at best, something to put up with---causes a kind of polarizing force in the nature of our conversations. The way we tend to talk about commercial interaction is devicive because of the initial assumption that it has to be bad. It makes me want to deffend myself, which causes me to say things that can easily be misconstrued. Which causes other folks to defend thier position, which is misconstrued by people like me. And what we never get around to really talking about is what practical steps can be taken to embrace the possibilities available when we all pull together. There is a win-win solution to commercial participation, we just have to be willing to get of our lazy preconcieving asses and find it.

I'm actually amazed that nobody called me on it, but I may be the worst offender in the above regard. When I was in New York for the show, I was walking around Time Square one night and visited a Japaneese lady on the street who would write your name in Kanji (Japanese writing) and frame it for you. I had her make me one that said "**** Sony." I definately see HeadRoom as my effort to find a way to break new ground in developing commerce that is more harmonious with peoples needs and desires, and not just a mad race for growth and gluttinous consumption. And in that effort I, for personal motivation, make Sony the Goliath that I aim at. But even in that juxtaposition I realize my motives are not all so pure. I know the well established business rule that when you're the tiny guy, you can actually make gains by showing yourself as the competitor of the huge guy. But it works only untill you get significantly big, and then all the arguments you used fighting the big guy can be used against you.

The point is that I too have bashed "The Man" for building cheap crap. And am willing to mindlessly jump on that band wagon. I guarantee you that the engineers in Sony's headphone developement lab are passionate about what they do and are sincerely trying to make good headphones. The reality is that it's a hard thing to do, and a lot of times they are unsucessful. Sennheiser make some pretty horrid sounding headphones, too. As do all the manufacturers.

>>>>>ai0tron (about Chu's unwillingness to cave in to commercial participation): It's so much easier to just give in and make money.

Actually, it's not. It's soooooooooo much harder to get off your abstract principles and build a sustainable integrated component of the world in which we live. Look, I DON'T want to bash Chu. In fact my biggest desire, BY FAR, is to work with him. I'm frustrated because I want to see him around for a long time, and want to find ways so that he can devote more of his time and energy to things he's passionate about. Even he, in a current thread on HeadWize, said to a member who posted an AMAZING DIY portable system, "Maybe you can make a product out of that." Why doesn't he take his own advice? My problem is that I love what he's done and I'm atracted to that, but I can't get near him in my prefered role as President of HeadRoom and recognize him and interact with him. I feel jilted. I dig the guy, but he turns away from me when I go to him in the ways I have to as a business owner.

When I look at his position, I see him as the rightful caretaker of an important part of the headphone community who refuses to elivate his property to it's potential value. It's kind of like a guy who owns a bridge but only let's private cars across and tells the trucks to go the long way around. This makes commerce more expensive than it would be if he would let the truck go over. In fact, he won't even let the trucks go over even thoug we express our willingness to pay a toll. He has the power within his grasp to make both the products in the trucks cheaper for the private people, AND he could improve the bridge for the private folks.
post #18 of 61
Quote:
I was walking around Time Square one night and visited a Japaneese lady on the street who would write your name in Kanji (Japanese writing) and frame it for you. I had her make me one that said "**** Sony."
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
that is the funniest thing i've heard in a while!
post #19 of 61
Tyll,

look at the title you gave your post:

"Thoughts from an evil commercial interest. "

Exactly after that thought had crossed your mind you should have kept your mouth shut. If you want advertising space on a forum like Headwize or Head-Fi, then you are the last person who can force this issue. Your rant strikes me as naive as jude's post about the free and genereous Headroom upgrade-service he received for his amp he won at your name-the-headphone-contest.

I don't doubt, that you are an honest headphone lover and that your motives for arguing for some form of commercialization of the forums as essential for their growth and survival are nothing but sincere and honest. But don't you see the paradox: As soon as you start bringing up this issue, your credibility is gone. What are people supposed to think other than that you try to exercise influence on these forums?

Didn't you say somewhere in this discussion with Jan that you had to pay more than a dozen employees and feed your wife and four children? Something like that. Tyll you yourself ought to realize that your perspective has changed, not necessarily for the worse (although your exchange with Jan makes me wonder), but it's certainly different from ours. This is unavoidable. We are mere consumers, you are not.

And frankly, Tyll, this statement about your Headwize retail wars with Jan Meier is priceless: "What you saw was the kind of thing that happens when a community doesn't "zone" it's commercial activity correctly." You mean Chu should have noticed that you were just capitalist children in need of correction? He just should have locked you down in the basement, out of the adults' view? He should have banned your wars for market share?

Tyll, you may have the most noble of intentions, but if you continue to bitch about anyone's anti-commercial stubbornness, sooner or later, you'll have everyone thinking that you want to turn the forums into Tyll and Todd's Excellent Adventure.
post #20 of 61

What I hope to be my last post on this issue (but I doubt it)

There seems to be a handful of folks who are totally not cool with the concept of sponsors. That's fine. We'll do what we do here -- and we'll do it with all the opinions expressed in mind -- and, of course, there will still be some who don't like it. Those who don't but wish to stay will stay. Those who don't and don't wish to stay...well, I'm sure I'll see you at HeadWize.

Tomcat, regarding your statement about my naivete: I will preface my response by first stating that there are many people who will say they've had the same experience as what I'm about to describe, and there will be those who have had different experiences with HeadRoom, but here is how my experience with HeadRoom has gone.....

Long before there was ever a Head-Fi, I had purchased three pairs of headphones (SR-325's, DT-990 Pros, HD-600's) from HeadRoom. This was chronicled quite thoroughly in a series of posts at HeadWize. Read those threads. As you'll see in those threads, I received exceptionally good service then, and I mentioned as much then. They never made me feel guilty about the "audition" and the subsequent returns of two pairs of headphones. I was a happy customer. I have since bought other things from them, before and after Head-Fi opened up. And when I won the contest (before Head-Fi was even a thought because we weren't having instability problems at HeadWize yet), I called them to tell them I wanted to at least pay for shipping for the contest prizes, and proceeded to also order a few more things. Todd refused to accept my offer to at least pay the shipping costs for the prizes and the stuff I ordered (which was shipped in the same box). Both Tyll and Todd told me they were very happy I won, and seemed very genuine about it. This, again, was before Head-Fi was even a consideration or thought. Also, before Head-Fi was even a consideration, I would frequently call Todd to ask him questions about amps and headphones. Though I was sometimes put on hold for a while, when it was my turn to talk, he always took as long as I needed.

So let me ask you this, Tomcat, how naive am I based on the experiences I had long before Head-Fi came to be? I guarantee you I'm not the only one who has had these kinds of experiences with them. And I know there are people who've had differing experiences with them.

They also know I'm reviewing the new Max that I won, and so, yes, they probably want to make sure it's representative of what's actually shipping. But, still, it was generous to contact me unsolicited to have the mods put in place.

I also bought a pair of HD-600's from Jan through Odeen before any of this came about. My experience with Jan and Odeen was also extremely positive. If they treat me nice again should I decide to buy a Corda, PortaCorda or some other headphones, am I being naive in reporting that?

Truth be told, I'm a bit sick of the topic. It feels like I've spent as much time defending myself and my intent as I have posting about fun stuff. So I'll say it again: If you don't like what we're doing here, I'll see you at HeadWize. But I'm going to do everything I can to keep this place up and running for as long as the community wants it.
post #21 of 61
Whats the big deal anyhow? Just let the owner of the sites do their own thing. Why is it that any one side needs to feel defensive just because of a differing perspective of the other side.

I do however find it interesting that Cmoy just stays out of these little spits and spats. Why should anyone feel so defensive about this issue of commercialism. We don't see Cmoy down in the arena defending his choice towards a non-commercial site...and honestly does he NEED to? In fact this is probably what I love about Chu Moy...some may call him level-headed, others may call him apathetic...but whatever it is I find the trait so amusing that the one who started such a community filled with such enthusiasm and passion is the only one that also keeps the two in check. Heck one reason this spat is going on, is that even though Chu Moy doesn't feel the need to publicly defend his decision, some feel the need to act as his defense which may be causing more harm. In the end...I can only see that Chu Moy knows what he is doing...or what he is NOT doing. Patience is underrated.

If you asked the majority of headfizers...I bet most would not care that Chu Moy is continuing his non-profit site the way it is...and most would not care if Jude got sponsorship...big deal! No reason for one side to feel defensive or offensive towards the other...we do remember that there ARE two sites and not one right? Lets not be saying "I told you so" before ANYTHING even has happened!
post #22 of 61
Thread Starter 
>>>you'll have everyone thinking that you want to turn the forums into Tyll and Todd's Excellent Adventure.

LOL

>>>>What are people supposed to think other than that you try to exercise influence on these forums?

from Websters Dictionary:

1 a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans b : an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
2 : an emanation of spiritual or moral force
3 a : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
4 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : SWAY

You're damn right I'm trying to influence people. Aren't you? Coerce? NO! Manipulate? NO! Convince? NO! But influencee? YES! As you can see from the above definition, influence connotes a degree of, somehow, mystical action; a sense that through trying to, with positive but admittedly imperfect points of view, effect each other we can arrive at a place of constructive interdependance. When we shut these possibilities off with ignorant, however inocent, preconceptions, we limit our vision of what is possible for our community.

I too, as many of you are I'm sure, am tiring of this discussion. But I feel it's worth forging on because I see opportunities for a better (in terms of a more exciting hobby for the enthusiast) Head-Fi. I'm about to head off to Europe for three weeks, and will be talking to many headphone manufacturers there. (Geez, JAN!, let's have lunch.) And I want to believe that I can convince them that supporting this community with their expertise through participation as members is a strongly benefitial investment. But that is not going to be an easy sell.

If you were in my shoes, what would you say to the head of Sennheisers R&D is the benefit of participating here? How both functionally and in profit magnitude, would an investment in time and resource in Head-Fi participation compare with other avenues of product promotion?

Would you like to have access as a community to the researchers and specialists at the big headphone makers? If they serve your desires in that way, how are you going to serve their desires? Amd remember, you are not a large enough group to just say, "We'll buy stuff," and make a convincing argument.
post #23 of 61
How can anyone claim that headwize is non-commercial. By allowing Jan to perform his sales actions through the site, it became somewhat commercial. Do not get me wrong, I do not think this is "bad" since both Jan and his buyers did benefit from it. However, what would be wrong with commercial entities paying for that privilege and therefore helping to maintain the site for us non-commercial entities. Anyway, I'll visit both sites as long as they survive since they are both quality sites and I appreciate the work and vision of both Chu Moy and Jude. Gracias Boys.

Now, when is there going to be another contest so I can win me a max from headroom. There is no way I can afford to buy a new one right now
post #24 of 61
Tell ya what....I'm going to do my best to stay the heck out of this argument (it'll be tough, if not impossible, I'm sure).

Here are the plans in brief (comment on them as you see fit):

We are going to create a separate forum area for sponsors (similar to what Audio Asylum has with its manufacturer-specific forums). This is where the sponsors can essentially support the community by paying to participate. They can pretty much say whatever they want over there, and we the forum members can choose to read and contribute to their areas or not.

Sponsors will also pay fixed membership fees (haven't finalized the exact structure of this yet) to be able to participate in the main forums, but they will be STRICTLY limited to what they can and can't do in the main forums. No more sales actions in the main forums. No more sales-related stuff in the main forums. I think most of us would agree that this would be a better thing. This will prevent spamming -- though this hasn't previously been a problem at all. The sponsors will be identified as such in their title and/or avatar, and will be able to still answer questions and contribute editorially in a non-sales-oriented manner in the main forums. We are not helpless in policing this. Anyone here who participates in the forums at Audio Asylum can tell you that. If someone steps out of line, it's almost invariably called out.

The impact we can have with direct communication with key people from various manufacturers and retailers is potentially huge, and can benefit us all. And I will do everything I can to get them to lend us their ears and eyes.

There are several other non-sponsor-related things we're arranging to make the place groovier. I'll unveil some details soon, but please do realize that a lot of things for the forums are only worked on when we can free ourselves up from our job jobs.

And, at the end of the day, if you still don't like what we're doing, I'll see you on HeadWize.
post #25 of 61
Not what I meant by non-commercial. Obviously his site reports everything commercial. Obviously the passion in itself is about buying commercial products. And obviously there is passion in providing commercial products. And there are NO non-commercial entities visiting either head-fi or headwize, unless you are sitting there without any headphones, and are just reading these boards with no intention of ever getting headphones, or you plan to make your own headphones out of sticks and stones in the backyard.

What I meant by "non-commercial" I was hoping would be more obvious. A non-commercial site treats all the participants more or less the same. Commercial site will have some sort of differentiation. I don't have a particular preference myself.

In AudioAsylum I notice that the commercial entities are either not allowed in forums or for some reason choose not to participate, or are confined to some sponsor cage. I also notice the users are extremely careful whenever they plug something.

Course I'm amused that a sponsor would want to pay to have restricted access.

I can tell you that if this site was already like AudioAsylum...this thread would not exist IMO. Already broke major rules.
post #26 of 61
Quote:
Originally posted by Tim D
Not what I meant by non-commercial. Obviously his site reports everything commercial. Obviously the passion in itself is about buying commercial products. And obviously there is passion in providing commercial products. And there are NO non-commercial entities visiting either head-fi or headwize, unless you are sitting there without any headphones, and are just reading these boards with no intention of ever getting headphones, or you plan to make your own headphones out of sticks and stones in the backyard.

What I meant by "non-commercial" I was hoping would be more obvious. A non-commercial site treats all the participants more or less the same. Commercial site will have some sort of differentiation. I don't have a particular preference myself.
Since headphones are not my job but my hobby my spending money on them is not commercial in nature. However, Jan makes money on headphones and amps, it is not a hobby but a commercial business. His sales actions also advertise his web site. This is neither good nor bad. However, his selling should be differentiated from those of us who sell/trade items because we are tired of them or merely want to upgrade. I see nothing wrong with that and I applaud Judes plans for such distinction on head-fi. My interest in this is purely selfish. I do not want to be without somewhere to research headphone related topics as happened when headwize was shut down. If that means commercial participation, then so be it. If it means a site supported by a philanthropic millionaire with no commercial sponsors, then so be it. I see little long-term viability for anything between the two without membership or selling fees and that does not seem as viable either. IMHO.
post #27 of 61
Jude I get the feeling you took that as an insult. However I meant it, as far as my immediate conscious mind is aware, only to point out the possibilities that Chu might want to keep headwize totally free for the benefit of the relationships he has and that the members have.

Tyll, anti-capitalism is an intellectually lazy philosophy? I dunno. Intellectually being anti-capitalist requires constantly assessing yourself(state of mind) and your morality in the face of the oncoming charge of hideous conformatism... America is a strange country because we are not pure in any way, shape, or form. Everything about us is a mixture... Even our so called "freedoms" or "rights" have been changed especially in recent past. Aside from that Democracy and Capitalism both stray wildly from the textbook definition here in America. For me capitalism is not the answer. In fact I think most people would acknoledge taht pure capitalism is seriously flawed in the long run. However it's the only answer consrdering the alternatives that I am willing to accept. I like Chu for considering other alternatives whether they seem ridiculous in this world or not.
post #28 of 61
I find it interesting when these threads pop up, inevitably it seems that Jude is forced to take a position that requires him to defend some economic decisions that are being made. It has been reiterated on numerous occasions that the bottom line goal is to ensure community stability and not have the site be taken off line for economic reasons.

When HeadWize had to shut down, and Head-Fi became a reality how many comments did you read about "withdrawal?" The reality is that the site costs, and I think it terribly unfair that the expectation is for Jude and Co. bear that burden themselves. In one of C. Moy's posts on HeadWize he acknowledges the volatility of a self funded and self directed volunteer forum:

Quote:
Originally posted by C. Moy @ HeadWize

Just a reminder: HeadWize is entirely a volunteer venture, and like all hobbyist sites, does not really have a sense of permanence. Of course, in this world of dot.com flops, even commercial sites don't have any promise of permanence. Still, with the many devoted HeadWizers around the world, I would hope that if, for any reason, I could no longer run the site, that there would be others interested in taking over the job.
Not that I am planning to give up my job as webmaster, but I have seen many hobbyist sites disappear of late. GBStation.com, one of my favorite hobbyist GameBoy sites, is shutting down. And running a website is not exactly a "set it and forget it" proposition. It is important that HeadWizers keep reasonable expectations about this site as well. For now, the site is here for everyone to enjoy!!
Isn't it time to leave this issue alone and exersize your own right to choose whether or not to frequent this site when it becomes sponsored?
post #29 of 61
Quote:
Isn't it time to leave this issue alone and exersize your own right to choose whether or not to frequent this site when it becomes sponsored?
Well said, JMT! Even though I myself have expressed doubts about commercialism intruding on this site, I realize that sponsors are inevitable, and I trust jude and company to do the right thing and not be compromised. That said, I'm looking forward to a very long and interesting (albeit expensive) relationship here at Head-Fi.
post #30 of 61
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