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.