Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up
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mattlach

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  Algorithmic takeover. Once it’s been codified, it’s time for the professional managers to move in. These are the number-crunchers, the beancounters, the benchmarkers. They’ll bring in data about how you’re doing relative to other companies in your industry, so you can “improve” your processes. What this usually results in, unfortunately, is usually the same-to-the-penny offerings and beyond-abysmal level of customer service. Because nobody else is doing any better. And it’s very easy to look at a CEO dashboard that says, “Hey, we have a 39% higher customer satisfaction rating than our competition,” without revealing that your competition’s customer satisfaction is at 9%. At this point, congratulations. You’re not a person anymore. You’re a robot, moved only by algorithms. If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to move fast enough to survive.
 
So, how do you avoid this fate?
 
While I understand this sentiment, and have felt it myself many, many times, I personally also feel very strongly that you can't improve what you do not measure. 
 
I agree that bench-marking solely against competitors performance results in in mediocrity and a stagnant industry and company, but at the same time, earlier in the book you suggested that you shouldn't do something unless you have a unique approach to it, or think you can do it better than anyone else.   How do you know if you are doing it better than anyone else, unless you measure it, and measure what others are doing?
 
Just a thought.
 
Side note:  I understand this is more of a book, and less of your typical forum post, where lots of replies are expected, so my apologies if I am out of line replying to a paragraph in a two year old chapter of a book :p
 
Oh, and two years too late, sorry for your loss :frowning2:
 
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nedifer

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  The problem with being in Manufacturing (well, I'm a Quality Assurance Engineer) is that you only get noticed when something goes wrong.   If you have a miraculous stint of a year without any problems,  no one congratulates you, gives you awards or bonuses, but as soon as the unavoidable problems arise, the bean counters in management who know nothing get pissy and start pointing fingers at manufacturing for their lack of perfection.
 
Well the bean counters certainly want to stave off anyone pointing out how they cut the Quality Assurance budget this year while ramping up production quotas...
 
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mattlach

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After work on Friday evening, I decided to check the customer service email. Until December 2013, I was the primary guy who answered customer service email, so this in itself wasn’t an unusual event.
 
This was one of the things that blew me away when I ordered my first Asgard in 2011, and a large reason why I've since ordered a Modi 2 Multibit, a Lyr 2 and a Modi 2 Uber.
 
I've always appreciated good audio, but never quite considered myself an audiophile.   My techy geekiness has instead been on the Enterprise IT hardware side of things.  (It's just a hobby, I'm not a professional)
 
So in 2011, it took me a while to figure out that my fancy new headphones - while much better than anything I'd ever had before - weren't performing their best just being plugged into the 2.5mm jack on my computer, and when I realized I would benefit from an amp, I had lots of questions, so I shot off an email.
 
Maybe I didn't realize that Schiit was a relatively recent start-up at the time, or I've just been jaded over the years by Comcast-like customer support, but I was absolutely floored when I got a personal response from the founder of the company, with extremely helpful, knowledgeable (and non-judgmental) answers to what must have seemed as pretty silly questions.  I felt more like I was emailing back and forth with one of my good friends from college, shooting the **** (schiit?) about tech, and less like I was talking to a company support line.
 
I usually take a lot of pride in the fact that I don't have any brand loyalties.   Before I buy something I always research the living dayligths out of it, to the point that when I am ready to spend my money, I usually know more about it than the sales person trying to sell it to me, and I buy not based on brand, but based on the best relevant tech specs I can get for my budget, regardless of who is selling it.
 
This is different with Schiit.   While I'm not saying I have blind brand loyalty (looking at you, Apple guys and gals) Schiit is definitely the first brand I look at for my purchases, and the first one I recommend to friends, and the only Amp/DAC brand I've bought since 2011.
 
I was a bit disappointed when I went shopping for more Amps and DAC's this year for the first time in about 5 years, and emailed Jason on his old email from 2011, and didn't get any response.  I know.  Expecting a response was probably a bit unrealistic.  The company has grown and likely has a much more exhaustive volume of customer support inquiries now than in 2011, that no one person can keep up with, let alone the person who also has to run the company.   That being said, I got great  and timely responses from the main service email, so I am not REALLY disappointed.  More disappointed in the sense of a teenager not getting a new BMW from their parents as a gift, when they knew full well it was never going to happen in the first place :p
 
I've been thoroughly enjoying reading though this book up to the current part.  It has successfully dragged me away from my Sid Meier's Civilization addiction for a couple of days now,  which anyone familiar with Sid Meier's Civilization knows is a tough thing to do.  (Just... one... more... turn...)   The behind the scenes look at a company I am a happy customer of, combined with describing situations all to familiar to anyone who has worked in manufacturing like myself (I've been a Quality Assurance engineer in medical devices, both on the design and manufacturing side for 13 years,)
 
I just hope to some day be able to work with something I love like you guys do.   (Don't get me wrong, medical devices are a very rewarding and interesting field, but it is probably not where my passion lies.)
 
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mattlach

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Sometimes R&D is extremely focused. You know exactly what you’re shooting for, and you apply the collective smarts you have in a concerted effort to hit—or exceed—the mark.
 
This was certainly the case with the previous two products I talked about (Ragnarok and Asgard 2.) We knew (pretty much) what we wanted, and set about to do achieve it. In the case of Ragnarok, it was an all-in deal with me, Mike, and Dave all contributing—and a long and winding road to the end game. In the case of Asgard 2, it was just me—and, as I said before, R&D-wise, the product was a gimme.
 
But I strongly believe that R&D shouldn’t always be so focused. There’s value in making sure your engineering staff has time to play with crazy ideas.
 
I feel like what you are talking about here is the difference between R & D.
 
Sometimes all you need to do is develop a product for the market.  You know what you need to do, you just need to do it.
 
Sometimes there is Research involved.
 
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mattlach

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  • We don’t make what they want. Whether it’s black gear, or DSD, or power switches on the front. And that’s perfectly cool. We can’t please everyone all the time.
 
Lol.   This remains my only issue with Schiit products.
 
Maybe this picture illustrates why:
 

 
...or to zoom out a bit.  (older picture, when I was using an Asgard plugged straight into the RCA outs on the back of my Titanium HD)
 

 
(Yes, I know the speakers are crap.  LOUD crap, but crap none the less.   They just won't die, and while I have expensive tastes, I can be stubbornly cheap when it comes to replacing things that still technically work)
 
Because of my larger than average monitors, my desk real estate is at a premium.   Right now I have to get up, and lean behind my screens to turn the Modi 2 Multibit and Lyr 2 off.   I used to just pull my Asgard out to do it, but I cant now.  Don't want to risk whacking the tubes against the bottom of the screen :p
 
I've even contemplated drilling holes in the front of the chassis, running wires and moving the switches manually, but I'm not an electrical engineer, and with all those caps in there, I've been reluctant :p
 
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mattlach

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  Read that again. You can’t say anything. Period.
 
Because the moment you do, you kill the sales of the current line. If we’d had a Lyr 2 and Valhalla 2 in the pipeline, and we’d told people about them, then we wouldn’t be able to move Lyrs and Valhallas with boxcars of Ex-Lax.
 
Yes, I know. This sounds selfish. This sounds unfair. What if I just bought a Lyr and there’s now all of a sudden a Lyr 2? you might be thinking.
 
And yes, there’s the chance of being caught buying a soon-to-be-discontinued product right before the new one hits. It’s unfortunate, but let’s be brutally honest:
 
  • At least the company will most likely be around in the future to service your product, rather than going out of business by having to take write-downs of unsold products they couldn’t move after blabbing that the new version was coming.
 
That's the Osborne effect, yes?
 
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franzdom

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Lol.   This remains my only issue with Schiit products.
 
Maybe this picture illustrates why:
 

 
...or to zoom out a bit.  (older picture, when I was using an Asgard plugged straight into the RCA outs on the back of my Titanium HD)
 

 
(Yes, I know the speakers are crap.  LOUD crap, but crap none the less.   They just won't die, and while I have expensive tastes, I can be stubbornly cheap when it comes to replacing things that still technically work)
 
Because of my larger than average monitors, my desk real estate is at a premium.   Right now I have to get up, and lean behind my screens to turn the Modi 2 Multibit and Lyr 2 off.   I used to just pull my Asgard out to do it, but I cant now.  Don't want to risk whacking the tubes against the bottom of the screen :p
 
I've even contemplated drilling holes in the front of the chassis, running wires and moving the switches manually, but I'm not an electrical engineer, and with all those caps in there, I've been reluctant :p
 
 

http://www.ihomeaudio.com/isp5wc/
 
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mattlach

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http://www.ihomeaudio.com/isp5wc/
 
I thought of using something with a remote power switch, but I didn't know if there would be any difference to the dac/amp by using their own power switches, or hvaing power just appear to them, by using an upstream power switch.
 
If I'm going to go down that path, I'll probably just use something like this though:
 

 
I'm not a fan of this modern "wifi in everything" trend.   Keep it simple whenever possible!
 
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The Schiit amps still have their built in delays when hit with an external power strip just like the switch on the back. These wifi switches do work really well though, I am enjoying them quite a bit!
 
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http://www.ihomeaudio.com/isp5wc/

Sorry, but that page does not exist

Error 404


 
 
 
http://ihomeaudiointl.com/experience/smarthome/#compare-features
 
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Lol.   This remains my only issue with Schiit products.
 
Maybe this picture illustrates why:
 

 
...or to zoom out a bit.  (older picture, when I was using an Asgard plugged straight into the RCA outs on the back of my Titanium HD)
 

 
(Yes, I know the speakers are crap.  LOUD crap, but crap none the less.   They just won't die, and while I have expensive tastes, I can be stubbornly cheap when it comes to replacing things that still technically work)
 
Because of my larger than average monitors, my desk real estate is at a premium.   Right now I have to get up, and lean behind my screens to turn the Modi 2 Multibit and Lyr 2 off.   I used to just pull my Asgard out to do it, but I cant now.  Don't want to risk whacking the tubes against the bottom of the screen :p
 
I've even contemplated drilling holes in the front of the chassis, running wires and moving the switches manually, but I'm not an electrical engineer, and with all those caps in there, I've been reluctant :p
 
larger than average seems to be a bit of an understatement...is that 40"?
 
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mattlach

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larger than average seems to be a bit of an understatement...is that 40"?

It's a 48" 4k (3840x2160) Samsung JS9000, with two 20" 1600x1200 Dell 2007FP's in portrait on the sides.

It's actually a little bigger than Ideal. The pixel size is a little bigger than I'd like. On a 40" the pixels are a little small though. I think the ideal size would be 42"-44" somewhere.

I absolutely love all the screen real estate though.



It has become particularly useful when working on huge FMEA's.

God I hate those things. Necessary evil I guess.
 
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Deal breakers for me:
 
1) Sounds bad.
 
Reason why deal breakers don't apply:
1) Sounds great.
 
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