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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:17 am 
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Wow, lying about noise emissions is one thing (not that I'm suggesting SilenX do that, for any lawyers reading this :? ), but lying about the fan's top speed? That's just stupid.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:40 am 
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Bluefront,

I am afraid you are wasting your time completely. Though very unfortunate, reality is that ruthlessness has more momentum than honesty - it has always been like that and it will always be like that.

The core of the matter is that it is more profitable to be ruthless than it is to be honest. Honest business people work towards long term goals based on building up a good reputation, while ruthless business people work towards short term profits by pretending to be honest. After a while, the truth comes out about the lies of the ruthless company, but I can guarantee you that the ruthless business people will not sit and cry over that, because it is part of their calculation to begin with that when the profit potential of their scam has peaked then they will dump the company like a hot potato and start over with another scam. They never started the scam company with a long-term future in mind to begin with! The honest company lose, the customers of the ruthless company lose while the ruthless business people win.

Your mom may have told you that crime never pays and you may have read business books that explain that the one who builds the most customer oriented company prevails, but both are naive representations of the real world based on the assumption that all criminals are caught and that all customers know which company will provide them with the best products and services. Reality is that we do not live in a boy scout world.

Unless you are a cop or you work for some financial oversight organization, then you cannot do much to fight the criminals head on. What you can do is to work towards better information and education for the consumers, because if they are aware of widely available, unbiased, and up-to-date information then that reduces the profit potential from being ruthless - by making it harder to get away with a scam and by reducing the time period where a scam will be profitable! If you focus your fight on SilenX (if they do have bad intentions) and we say you are successful in destroying their profit potential by informing everybody about their scam (provided it is a scam), then what? I can guarantee you that the very next day you will have to continue your fight against the XilenS, SneliX, XenilS, etc. which will pop up instead.

No matter how much you legislate there will always be somebody who is ruthless enough to find and exploit new loop holes and even if you manage to convince everybody to work towards a global standard and its enforcement there will still be years and years before they can be implemented and enforced - years and years of ruthless scams are still ahead.

If your promote 'truth in advertising' then you are either wasting your time on companies which are already truthful or on companies who could care less; but if you promote consumer information which will make it more profitable to provide good products by helping the honest companies in their fight against ruthless competitors with short-term goals, then you may have a chance to succeed. There are no guarantees that an information strategy works, but I can guarantee you that fighting ruthless people one company at the time will not work. I am 100% sure of that.

By the way, adding the sound pressure from the most quiet side of a fan to get a lower average is really clever; a bit misleading, but clever!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:39 pm 
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Perhaps what you say is true for now in most countries. But times are changing rapidly in the USA with respect to health-related advertising. In my lifetime I'm certain there will be a nationally enforced noise standard. If you say your product is xxxdb, it better be, or you will be in trouble. SilenX-type deceptions will be a thing of the past...

One person's complaint carries 100X the weight of one person's praise....believe me. I'm not wasting any time with my little crusade.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:01 pm 
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Generally, all the laws that are now enforced for truth-in-advertising and product labeling - ingredients, nutritional information, alcohol content, UL certifitication, toxicity, etc, etc, all started as the focused crusade of a tiny group of people.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:36 am 
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Bluefront,

It is a marketing rule of thumb that somebody who has had a bad experience with a product will tell it to 10-12 people, while somebody who has had a good experience only tell it to 2-3 people. This rule is still true in 'physical' person to person relations and both warnings and advocacy carries a lot of weight because the two people discussing the subject are most often emotionally linked (call it sympathy, friendship, or whatever). If the person receiving the advocacy had the exact opposite impression (not based on expereience), then the discussion will ping-pong, but will most often end up with that the recipient accepts the warning/advocacy as having more validity than his/her first impression of the product.

The emergence of blogs and forums on the Internet have changed the situation somewhat as one warning/advocacy is read by tens or hundreds of people. However, there are not necessarily an emotional link between the poster and the readers. In the absense of a personal connect with you there will be dozens of known and unknown factors which influence how receptive the individual readers are to your message.

Some of the issuest that may 'increase' receptiveness could be whether the recipient has gotten the impression that you have high credibility on the subject matter, whether you normally give good objective advice, whether you base your warning on valid experience and testing, and whether you are an opinion leader (are you a representative of 'expert' knowledge within the forum group). Some of the issues that may 'deduct' from receptiveness could be whether the recipient has gotten the impression that you are anal and gripe about everything, whether your warning appear to be a personal vendetta based on invalid experience with the product (e.g. you opinion appear to be based solely on a lemon), an irrational dislike of the company, or a hidden agenda (e.g. a fan boy bad-mouthing 'competitors').

Another important factor is whether your message and its intensity support or conflict with a pre-perception of the recipient. If somebody has seen several SilenX ads and made the assumption that it must be a professional company with good products (the core purpose of advertising) and your message conflicts with that assumption, then the rule of thumb regarding intensity is that less is more! If you 'ease' the recipient into modifying his/her assumption with convincing argumentation that slowly tear down the 'wrong' assumption to replace it with the 'right' assumption then your message is a lot more effective than if it demands an abrupt change of mind. It is human nature that people will always resist change, because the 'known' is safe while the 'unknown' may be dangerous. An intense message that attempts to trigger a change to the exact opposite provokes a defense mechanism which increases the resistance to change and thereby lower the receptiveness.

I am not an engineer, so my 'world' is not dominated by absolutes, formulas, or predictable equations. My background is sales and marketing, so my 'world' is relative and dominated by rubber principles (rules of thumb) about most likely outcomes and results.

While it is true that something negative or provocative does work better to catch the attention, it is not the complaint that carries the relative weight; it is the person and the setting that carries the relative weight while the contents of the communication is relatively unimportant.

When I said that you are wasting your time, then I did not claim that nobody will listen to your message, but in relative terms you are wasting your time because of a very very low utility value of your activism. Your goal is to promote truth in advertising (not just truth in XilenS' advertising I assume), so sending intense letters full of demands and criticism of XilenS to a few resellers and venting your frustrations in this thread has a very low utility value as that will not bring you any closer to your goal of ensuring truth in advertising!

Maybe you do not waste your time in the sense that you are very effective at sending angry letters and posting complaints about XilenS, but your efficient activism still produces very little utility value in order for you to reach the goal of truth in advertising.


Rusty,

You give a few examples that "all started as the focused crusade of a tiny group of people", which is correct. However, those tiny groups of people reached their goals by lobbying politicians, creating public awareness campaigns, proposing solutions etc. - all activities that have high utility value.

I am not saying that it is a waste of time for an individual or a small group of people to actively campaign for something they believe is important, but that the energy they put into their campaign activities is wasted unless the campaign activities themselves are effectively planned to provide a high utility value from their efforts.

If you want to reduce pollution from cars, what would be the most effective way to ensure a high utility value of your time? Visiting all car dealerships in your neighborhood to tell them how bad they are and that they should stop selling cars or organizing an information campaign that explains to people why it is important that they look at emmission levels and demand catalysators when buying their next car? :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:49 am 
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Thank you for the Marketing 101 refresher course Thomas. I think most of us are familiar with the concepts involved.

Thomas-BP2 wrote:
Rusty,

You give a few examples that "all started as the focused crusade of a tiny group of people", which is correct. However, those tiny groups of people reached their goals by lobbying politicians, creating public awareness campaigns, proposing solutions etc. - all activities that have high utility value.


In 1910 Carrie Nation was smashing bars in Kansas with a hatchet. By 1917 the selling of alcohol was banned in the entire country. Don't underestimate the power of an advocate to start a movement. Yes, the end of a movement is usually orchestrated by politicians and lawyers and level-headed activists...but the start is usually some crazy wackjob with a hatchet. (present company excepted Carl. :lol: )

No one is suggesting that going after retailers is the most effective way. But it is Carl's way of doing what he can.

And in case you haven't noticed, Bluefront is active in a public awareness campaign dedicated to educating the public and proposing solutions....this site. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:37 pm 
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Educating people and the politicians who could actually do something, is difficult when you start talking about the long-term effects of noise. We all should be aware about the dangers of very loud noises, and there are even laws about exposure to to it. But it is a different matter when you try to explain that noise exposure effects add up. You listen to even moderate levels of noise for a long time, and you will suffer hearing loss.

Such a warning is mostly ignored in a country filled with noise. And noisy computers are only a small part of the total problem. It's a tough problem to deal with......but success is only a matter of time. The cigarette industry with their thousands of lawyers, and billions of defense dollars, has lost some big cases. The same sort of deceptive practices of the SilenX-type companies, will be exposed. Hopefully soon. I do what I can.....

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:27 pm 
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Rusty,

I think your connection between a string of vandalism in 1910 and the prohibition in 1917 is over-simplified and that it misses the point.

My point in my above post was that no large scale change can be made without public awareness and a public sentiment towards demanding a change. The question is whether the prohibition in 1917 was a direct result of a woman who vandalized bars in 1910, whether she created a public sentiment in favor of prohibition, or whether she was simply a reflection of a public sentiment. I just checked at Wikipedia, the American Temperance Society was formed in 1826, almost a century before Carrie Nation started her vandalism rampage, so I think it is pretty safe to say that she was a reflection of a growing public sentiment.

If Rosa Parks had not represented a widespread public sentiment of the black community, then the local black community would not have followed up on her arrest with a city-wide bus boycott, there would be no boycott to get national attention, no national attention to grow wider support of the relatively new civil rights movement for black people, and no civil rights movement to collect money needed to support the boycott and bring the case to the Supreme Court, and without a case in the Supreme Court, racially segregated busses would have continued to be reality in Alabama - at least until the public sentiment in favor of change had grown enough to change being triggered by some other event. Rosa Parks was the famous last drop, but there would have been no overflow without a public sentiment already in place.

Since you seem to have gotten the impression that I am criticizing Bluefront I think you may need a Salesmanship 101 as well, but I will not give you the whole thing, just the one about objections. The inexperienced salesman is afraid of objections and sees them as potential problems while the good salesman welcomes objections, because he/she recognizes them as a signs of positive interest and as very strong purchase signals. If you transfer those two differing perceptions of the same thing to discussions then you have the difference between criticism and critique - one is unfavorably critical while the other is supportive and constructive.

My critique of Bluefront's approach does not mean that I do not recognize his contribution to SPCR, but was suggesting that he can more effectively promote his cause and make it easier to reach his goal.

Bluefront,

It seems to me that you are trying to eat an elephant, which is impossible if you try to swallow it. The only way to eat an elephant is one piece at the time!

In broad lines, my suggestion to how you can eat the elephant piece by piece would be something like:

a) Work towards making SPCR the authoritative source of information about cooling fans. SPCR is an authoritative source of information about e.g. CPU heatsinks, but I think we can agree that the cooling fans section is seriously lacking.
b) Work towards using a standard measurement of fan noise on SPCR (if there is no such standard, then it would be necessary to suggest one, preferably in cooperation with e.g. www.stillepc.dk and other interest groups promoting quiet computing).
c) Work towards cooperation with one or more national organizations working against noise pollution and promoting standards/requirements for noise emissions.

The main problem is that not very many people care about the dangers of noise for the simple reason that they are not aware of the dangers. The national organization for ear doctors is highly qualified to explain the dangers, while SPCR is (or should be) highly qualified to explain how to avoid (the danger of) noise from PCs.

Most people are ignorant about the dangers of noise, and most people are ignorant about the possibility of making their PC quiet, but a lot of people are interested in PCs. By using the synergy between the interest group for the dangers of noise (the why) and the interest group of quiet computing (the how) and collectively influencing the organizations that are already being listened to by a lot of people (the communication channels) the message will get out to a lot of people in a 'format' that makes sense.

On their own the promoters of why and how are not being listened to by most people, but by joining forces it would be easier to influence the PC related news media (e.g. Tom's Hardware) and maybe even news media in general to bring up the subject - which will ensure that a lot of people are exposed to the message.

This is just a brief brain storm about how I would attack the elephant if I was you.

By the way, congratulations with the 3000 posts, I have enjoyed a lot of them and your descriptions of your, once in a while a bit eccentric :), approach to quieting your rigs continue to be a great source of inspiration. I am planning to implement several modified versions of the innovations you have brought up in my next build.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:59 pm 
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Firstly....I cannot speak for SPCR. But I can see a problem if SPCR would engage in uncovering lies in the fan/noise/db industry. SilenX probably would threaten to sue if their name appeared. They could always find some crooked lawyer to do it. And it would cost money to defend against such a suit. Seriously doubt that SPCR would want to risk such a thing.

And I wouldn't blame them......

On the other hand.....I too would like to see a good ranking of the many available fans. Maybe get out the word to the various fan makers/sellers, that SPCR was going to undertake a massive fan comparison. I'd like to see it. Still doubt SilenX would want to get involved.

_________________
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:08 pm 
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Quote:
Since you seem to have gotten the impression that I am criticizing Bluefront I think you may need a Salesmanship 101 as well, but I will not give you the whole thing, just the one about objections. The inexperienced salesman is afraid of objections and sees them as potential problems while the good salesman welcomes objections, because he/she recognizes them as a signs of positive interest and as very strong purchase signals.


So, let me get this straight....if someone says "No, I can't possibly afford your swimming pool/double glazing/useless widget" that means they are very interested in purchasing the item in question? Presumably also "yes" means "no"??? :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:42 pm 
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That's what most salespersons seems to think. No matter how many times or in what way you try to explain that you do not want what ever it is they are selling, they will not give up.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 1:50 am 
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Jaganath, Tephras,

As my professional background is in sales and marketing I think you would agree that it would be ridiculous if I started telling you how to dimension the circuits on a PCB or which principles of physics you should follow when designing the electronics of a hi-tech gadget. Therefore, I don't think it is unreasonable that I see it as ridiculous if an engineer pretends to be an expert in sales and marketing.

Is it unreasonable of me to expect that you respect my area of competence just as I do not question you in your area of competence? I do not think you took an engineering education unnecessarily and just for the fun of it, so why would you think I took my sales and marketing education just for the fun of it?

Your answers are exactly the reason why I consider it a lousy idea to hire engineers for a sales job and why I consider it a 'crime against humanity' to allow engineers into MBA studies!

I am not saying that we cannot discuss each other's respective areas and exchange concepts and ideas, but I demand that you respect my professional discipline just as you should demand that I respect yours. Neither of us can become experts in the other's area of competence just by reading a couple of books!

Now I am repeating myself, but I guess it is necessary to point out again that, as engineers, you live your 'fundamentalist' lives dominated by absolutes, formulas, and predictable equations while I live my 'relative' life dominated by rules of thumb with flexible principles about most likely outcomes and results. In my 'world' there is no definitive check-list with the right answers, only rough outlines of solutions with a higher probability of producing the right results! Your profession require hard facts, while my profession requires soft skills.

Did you ever consider the possibility that when you run into an aggressive and pushy salesperson that he/she is inexperienced, poorly trained, or has a background in engineering? Why do you assume the an aggressive and pushy salesperson is representative of the entire profession? Is it impossible to imagine that there could be inexperienced or poorly trained engineers as well and that they do not represent their respective engineering disciplines?

Here are a couple of more sentences from Salesmanship 101:
-You cannot sell anything, but you can help your customer make a good purchase decision!
-Do not engage in a sales process unless the potential customer is qualified; that there is a potential need for your product and a realistic ability to pay for it!
-Objections are symptoms of that there is a mismatch between your product and the needs of your customer, your job is to find out if it is a mismatch in reality or in perception!

So, if a potential customer says "I think it is too expensive", then it can mean that he/she does actually not have the money, that the product is 'over-loaded' with unnecessary features, that he/she is worried about whether he/she gets the product at the right price, that he/she want to see if you jump on the discount wagon, that he/she tries to test whether you know how to handle objections (if selling to a salesperson), or tons of other hidden issues. The good salesman will try to find the underlying cause of the objections while the inexperienced or desperate salesman will either aggressively push for the sale or jump directly to giving excessive discounts.

Bluefront,

I will give you some (I think) good answers later, but now I have to spend some time looking for a new job as the future of the company where I work has been destroyed by engineers!

Until six months ago I had a good symbiotic relationship, based on mutual respect, with the Head of Development, but he left for another job and has been replaced by an engineering fundamentalist. As he thinks he is God's gift to business management, he is polluting the mind of the company owner (an engineer as well), so I am rapidly loosing control of the sales activities through crazy directives from above and I am loosing my ability to sell as the salability of our solutions is dropping almost as fast as the level of service our techies are able to provide to our clients:(

In the past months, 30% (it is a small company) of our best engineers have fled the company, so I think it is time for me to leave the sinking ship!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:40 am 
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Bluefront,

I am not suggesting to use SPCR as your personal weapon in order to call various companies for liars and frauds, because that is just as futile as when you 'attack' resellers. Instead of feeble unstructured attacks on individual companies I suggest a coordinated strategy which uses carrots instead of sticks. Forget about XilenS for now, the problem is that you are so focused on winning individual battles that you fail to conduct the war in a manner where you have a chance of winning. What I am saying is: Fight smarter, not harder.

I will try to show you what I mean by using a few quotes from "The Art of War" written more than 2,500 years ago by Sun Tzu, the 'Father of Strategic Thinking'.

Quote:
The commander who lacks strategic thinking and planning but simply advances his troops to engage the enemy in a frontal attack will be captured.


You will continue to run your head against a wall unless you give serious thought to an overall strategy for promoting truth in advertising through carefully planned steps that will bring you towards your goal one step at the time.

Quote:
In war, do not launch an ascending attack head-on against the enemy who holds the high ground. Do not engage the enemy when he makes a descending attack from high ground. Lure him to level ground to do battle.


Do not try to counter the power of their marketing budget, because then you are fighting from a position of weakness. When companies exaggerate the performance in their marketing to resellers and customers, then you should think of a way to level the playing field that does not involve directly calling them liars. Counter their lies with objective product comparisons that cannot be touched by defamation and libel law suits.

Quote:
In war, it is not all a matter of numerical superiority. If you are neither fighting a war of attrition nor launching a direct frontal attack, then numerical superiority is not a crucial winning factor. The alternative way is to first carefully analyze your enemy's intent and strategy and then consolidate your forces and strike against the enemy's most vulnerable target.


Your fight is not solely about resources for marketing and lawyers. If you do not attack to ruin the company through lawyers or by matching or surpassing their marketing budget, then the resources they rely on will not be those resources that win the war. You already know that their intent is to mislead retailers and consumers into thinking that their products are superior and that they do this by fudging the results/methodology and distribute their claims with a large marketing budget to ensure that they win more new (and ignorant) customers than they lose unhappy customers. By working towards making SPCR the authoritative force in objective reviews of PC components (esp. cooling fans which is where they make a lot of money) then you have consolidated you strength and can attack them with objective results where they are the most vulnerable; retailers and customers who are ignorant of objective comparisons.

Quote:
Tong is the freely accessible ground where both you and your enemy can come and go at will. In this type of terrain, you must occupy the high, sunny ground first and make sure that your supply line is totally secure. This will confer great advantage to you when you do battle with your enemy.


Your 'Tong' is the Internet and email newsletters (not angry emails!), because that is where both of you have equal access to address retailers and consumers - the SPCR forum is an additional advantage, because that is your home turf. This give you the upper hand in choosing your battleground (also of Sun Tzu origin), which is objective information about performance. In order for you to hold the indisputable source of objective information you need to ensure that you are standing on the moral high-ground, and that methodology, interpretation, and descriptions of results can stand up to scrutiny and that there is a continuous flow of updates and adjustments of the lists of recommendations. As your opponent cannot stand up to scrutiny in their supply of test results, you will have the upper-hand.

Quote:
Regarding encampment at a hilly location, you must choose the sunny aspect and your main force must be flanked by ancillary forces as well as shielded by the hills at the back. These actions fully capitalize upon the contours of the landscape and provide you the positional advantage in waging a war.


To protect your position of honesty and objectivity you could ally yourself with other like minded sites and work towards a standard test methodology (horizontal cooperation on your left flank, and horizontal standards on your right flank) while you can seek cooperation with one or more medical organizations to cover your back by validating and endorsing the importance of your quest. In this way you will be able to attack from a superior position instead of a position of weakness.

Quote:
The best policy is to thwart your opponent’s plans by superior strategy, the second best is to weaken the enemy’s alliances by the use of skilful diplomacy, the third option is to resort to military operations and the last is to besiege a fortress.


My suggestion is that you resort to the two first options, because by taking the high ground with objective information you can easily target the resellers as well.

It is pretty safe to assume that the resellers are promoting the 'wrong' products because they do not know better rather than being based on ill will. I think there are two things you may not have considered: Why would they stop selling a product that sells well just because you (one person) send them your opinion? They have to make a living, so why would they stop carrying a product that apparently sells well if there (from their point of view) is no better alternative? Without addressing those two issues you will not get anywhere!

If you want the resellers to change to a 'better' behavior, then you have to help and support them, otherwise it is just as fruitless as telling an alcoholic to stop drinking!

If SPCR (or any other site) had up-to-date information about how different fans compare to each other when compared objectively, then you could send a reseller a mail with something like:

Quote:
Dear reseller,

I am working with the National Hearing Loss Prevention Association in an effort to educate the public of the dangers of noise produced by computer components and to assist computer resellers and costumers with selection of parts and components that are more gentle to their health.

Currently, one of the worrying issues is the lack of standards in noise testing of products as specified noise emissions cannot be compared based on manufacturers' specifications. As we are aware that most resellers do not have the equipment and necessary resources to test the noise emission of all the products they carry, we have started a campaign to educate the public and help resellers, such as yourself, provide better service to customers based on objective comparisons across product categories.

In order to help your sales staff make better recommendations to your customers we have produced the enclosed information sheet to support our interests in reducing the risk of noise induced hearing damage and your interests in providing the best possible service to your customers as well as working towards the highest possible customer retention rate.

Should you find our service of interest, then we encourage you to share the enclosed newsletter with your sales staff and to visit www.whatever.com/newsletter_service/ to sign up for future newsletters. About once a month we will send you a newsletter with the latest test results and recommendations for a component category. The next newsletter will have a PSU test round-up. On our website you will find continuously updated test results of all categories and I would also like to invite you and your colleagues to tap into the resources of our forum, where our fellow quiet computing enthusiasts will be able to help with questions, concerns, or need for recommendations.

Best regards,


There is no guarantee that my outline is the best possible strategy, but based on my experience in sales and marketing this strategy will give you much better results than the strategy you are currently following. Of course there are a lot of mile-stones before you will be in position to 'launch your attack', but at least it allows you to work effectively towards your goal.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:20 am 
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Well thanks for your input.....I'm listening even though my opinion of salespeople in general, is rather low. Where I work, the large sales-force is a standing joke among the rest of the company.....and it's been that way at every place I know of. I'm sure you're different though.... :)

And you really don't know the other methods I've been using in this little crusade. The people who can really change things are the people who write the laws. I'm well aware of that. The word needs to be widely gotten out, and I'm trying in a number of ways. Just need help and a little time.....

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:38 am 
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Bluefront wrote:
Well thanks for your input.....I'm listening even though my opinion of salespeople in general, is rather low. Where I work, the large sales-force is a standing joke among the rest of the company.....and it's been that way at every place I know of. I'm sure you're different though.... :)


LOL, I have the exact opposite experiences :roll:

I worked a couple of years at a company where the engineering side had the decision power (the managing director was an engineer with an MBA, and he had gone to the technical university with the head of development). In four years the company burned a 12 million USD investment, managed to create the world's most sophisticated but completely unsellable product range, and went bankrupt. It wasn't a pretty sight, but it sure was a hell of a ride!

Over the years I have worked for or almost worked for dozens of companies run by crazy engineers. The wasted investment dollars are in the tens of millions and the missed out opportunities range in the hundreds of millions. Even though the salespeople in your company are a joke, it sounds like it is a joke that still manages to put bread on your table 8)

:idea: Maybe I should go on a crusade for better understanding and peace, love, and harmony among salespeople and engineers.
Bring out the beauty queens! :!: :?: :!:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:41 am 
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Thomas-BP2 --

It's clear you know of what you speak, and I am in general agreement.

Another related PoV is that to change an organization or culture (probably the more appropriate term), it's more effective to work on the inside rather than to battle from the outside -- unless you have the advantage of overwhelming force, which silencers don't. This has been my approach with the PC industry. SPCR is more or less accepted as part of the tech media and thus I have decent access to industry personnel, even though most of them may see me as a pain in the rear end. :lol: I use this access to help publicize their products (and the companies) through SPCR while at the same time critiquing devious marketing, incomplete product development, etc -- ie, both carrot & stick. Over the years, I have directly helped to improve more than few products -- noty just the ones where I have played a consulting role. Of course, educating general PC users to the pros of quiet computers and the cons of noisy ones has been an unwritten rule from day 1. (SPCR gets branded as a geek site often, but in fact, I work very hard to try and keep the language accessible to computer users who are not techheads.)

How successful has my approach been? Well, it's hard to say for sure, because there were signs of the anti-noise computing brigade emerging before SPCR came to be, but I think it's safe to say that SPCR became the vanguard of this brigade, coalescing & focusing interest & attention, and it is now clearly in the role of the leader in this field. Quiet PCs and components are pretty well established as a niche market today, and every PC product marketer pays lip service to the idea of quiet. So, I like to think it's been reasonably successful.

In line with your comments that SPCR should be examining fans in the same methodical way that we examine PSUs and heatsinks, I'm pleased to say that we are finally ready to embark on that massive fan survey project that I first talked about (Calling All Good Fans!)... oh, some 2 years ago. :oops:

We're now equipped with tools that will enable a complete range of tests to be conducted fairly efficiently, and we'll be releasing the results in sections, starting with the most widely recommended quiet fans.

The gear includes:
* new infrared tachometer
* anenometer
* B&K SLM
* upgraded sound recording system

We have a few silenx fans that forum members have purchased and sent to us (as per the linked forum thread above). A local Vancouver retailer carries the whole SilenX line and can probably be persuaded to lend or give us samples for us to test. If there are any others that people would like us to test, by all means, send us samples -- minimum two, preferably more, to get some kind of handle on variance.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:04 am 
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In line with your comments that SPCR should be examining fans in the same methodical way that we examine PSUs and heatsinks, I'm pleased to say that we are finally ready to embark on that massive fan survey project that I first talked about (Calling All Good Fans!)... oh, some 2 years ago.


This is great news, for some time now people have had to make do with rumours and amateur/user-initiated fan testing in order to evaluate which are the quietest fans, these were well-intentioned and very informative but it's simply not the same as proper professional SPCR-sanctioned reviews. Particularly glad to hear that an anemometer forms part of the test setup, we all know that more CFM = more noise (for identical fans), so some kind of CFM per dB statistic can be measured.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:32 am 
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as engineers, you live your 'fundamentalist' lives dominated by absolutes, formulas, and predictable equations while I live my 'relative' life dominated by rules of thumb with flexible principles about most likely outcomes and results. In my 'world' there is no definitive check-list with the right answers, only rough outlines of solutions with a higher probability of producing the right results!


I am not an engineer, but I think you would be surprised by how similar the two disciplines actually are; from the outside, science and engineering looks like it's all hard and fast rules and inviolable principles, but actually when you look closely many of these rules are not so hard and fast after all; for example, ordinary common sense says that a person cannot walk through a wall, correct? But at the quantum scale this kind of thing is happening all the time, and is called quantum tunneling. In effect what quantum mechanics has been telling us for decades now is that even though the "macro" world may appear orderly and predictable, it is really fundamentally non-deterministic and probabilistic. If only it was true that the natural world obeyed neatly formulated equations in an entirely predictable way, it would make engineers' jobs a lot easier! :wink:

You (Thomas) seem to have had some bad experiences with engineers, so I don't blame you for blaming them (although it is perhaps a little unfair to blame them for everything that ever goes wrong in a business, which you seem to be doing, after all Enron was not brought down by engineers); but it is also engineers who have been behind all the developments in computing and increased living standards across the developed world, so maybe they are not so bad after all? :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:54 pm 
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MikeC,

I am definitely not a techie, so the fact that I keep coming back to your site and the forum for more information is a sure tell-tale sign that your efforts are successful :)

However, the lack of easily accessible quality information is not the reason for the 'impotence' of silencers. I think that lack of publicity and therefore ignorance among the general public is the big problem. Two-three months ago I was one of the uninitiated as well, but then I found your site.

Whether noise pollution from computers is dangerous or not is not very important, because everybody, without exception, would like to have a quiet computer, but a majority does not even think it is an option. When I have discussed my new interest in quiet computers with friends, colleagues, and family I have never had to explain the pros and cons of quiet computers. Without exception the answers have been in the area of "I didn't know there was a difference in noise level between different brands", "I would love to have a quiet PC, but I didn't think it was possible", and "I thought most computers were as quiet as they could be".

If somebody who has always had noisy computers and who does not know about that a PC can actually be quiet look at two fans where one truthfully says 20dB(A) and the other lies about 14dB(A), the 14dB(A) product will be chosen. As the fan is installed, the new PC is just as noisy as the old one, but since the average Joe has no idea about noise levels, he/she will not come to the conclusion that he/she has been tricked, but will think that it was a successful purchase, because otherwise the new computer would have been even more noisy! You, and now I, know that the customer has been cheated, but the customer lives with the happiness of having a computer that is only producing 14dB(A) though it is actually 20dB(A) or more. The problem is that his/her point of reference differs greatly from yours, which is also why you will not be able to 'convert' anybody simply by making quality information available on SPCR, because they do not look for something they do not know exists. That is the reason why I think it is important to help the just as ignorant retailers become aware of that noise levels based on objective tests are a significantly different point of reference than what is written on the products. Another group of ignorant 'consumer consultants' that are just as important are the computer magazines and sites that review products. Often they will, just as the ignorant retailers, quote the noise level printed on the box, because they do not know better.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:54 pm 
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Thomas-BP2 wrote:
Jaganath, Tephras,

As my professional background is in sales and marketing I think you would agree that it would be ridiculous if I started telling you how to dimension the circuits on a PCB or which principles of physics you should follow when designing the electronics of a hi-tech gadget. Therefore, I don't think it is unreasonable that I see it as ridiculous if an engineer pretends to be an expert in sales and marketing.

Is it unreasonable of me to expect that you respect my area of competence just as I do not question you in your area of competence? I do not think you took an engineering education unnecessarily and just for the fun of it, so why would you think I took my sales and marketing education just for the fun of it?


Just for the record, I'm not an engineer, my area of competence is quite closely related to yours.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:57 pm 
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Tephras,

I am sorry, I promise that I will not call you an engineer again :)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:24 pm 
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Thomas-BP2 --

You make good points about general PC users. You're right that they don't know there is a choice... although I also have to say that for complete PC buyers, the ratio of noisier computers versus quieter computers that are easily available to buy is probably about 100 to 1. It's only by engaging the interest of the general media that more peple can become aware of the existence of this choice.

I've been reasonably successful in getting mainstream media attention to SPCR and to the issue of PC noise by taking every opportunity to cooperate with and help mainstream journalists write about it. There have been articles in Newsweek, MSNBC, Wired, NYT, Washington Post, Wall St Journal, VancouverSun, etc... and they've all contributed to increasing traffic to SPCR and awareness of PC noise/choices.

And overall, PCs are probably quieter than they were 4-5 years ago. Take out the gaming PC, and you'll find that 30-35 dBA/1m is not unusual in many computers. Apple has certainly made great strides with their iMac - Core/Core2 line...

Anyway, there are many hurdles to making quiet prebuilt machines easily available to everyone. Among them...

1) financial incentive for the makers -- is it more profitable or can they sell more?
2) enforced noise measurement and reporting standards -- like with fridges and airconditioners, for example. Who will create the standards and who will enforce them? Huge issues that will take big players.
3) broad media support -- which would come if 1 & 2 were already there.

This kind of discussion requires face-to-face exhange [preferably with drinks in hand]....

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:31 pm 
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jaganath wrote:
You (Thomas) seem to have had some bad experiences with engineers, so I don't blame you for blaming them (although it is perhaps a little unfair to blame them for everything that ever goes wrong in a business, which you seem to be doing, after all Enron was not brought down by engineers); but it is also engineers who have been behind all the developments in computing and increased living standards across the developed world, so maybe they are not so bad after all? :wink:


Jaganath,

You are right; non-engineers can be bad as well. I have just updated my point of view, so now it is both engineers and greedy people who are the root of all evil ;)

Seriously, I have actually met a few engineers who do not fit my description. Most of the engineers I have met are actually very intelligent people; the problem is just that a large part of them are not very smart!

Engineers may be brilliant at creating products for other engineers, but a majority of them don't know dick about the needs of 'normal' people. Most of the fights I have had with engineers over the years have been because they simply cannot fathom that there can possibly be another way of looking at for example user friendliness. For them user friendly means piling on as many features as possible, but they cannot understand that an abundance of features are seen as confusing by most non-engineers, so they always kick, scream, and bite when I force them to remove some of the clutter. If I cannot rely on mutual respect, then I know that I have to keep the engineers in a short leash if they are supposed to produce a saleable product for non-engineers and when I commission them to build a new product I almost have to provide them with a list of precious metals and stones that they are not allowed to even consider using.

To be honest, I have actually worked in successful companies as well, where the engineers did not pose a threat to the company's survival. Common for all the positive experiences was that I could rely on that the engineers respected that I have a better understanding of what our customers need while they can rely on that I respect that they have a better understanding of what goes on inside the product. If an engineer does not understand that the design of a product has to be a symbiosis between his knowledge of technology and the salesperson's knowledge of needed functionality, then the engineer is completely useless in customer oriented company.

I am not saying that there are no bad businesspeople, because I have actually run into a fair share of them as well - and they were not all engineers :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:36 pm 
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Thomas-BP2 wrote:
Engineers may be brilliant at creating products for other engineers, but a majority of them don't know dick about the needs of 'normal' people. Most of the fights I have had with engineers over the years have been because they simply cannot fathom that there can possibly be another way of looking at for example user friendliness. For them user friendly means piling on as many features as possible, but they cannot understand that an abundance of features are seen as confusing by most non-engineers, so they always kick, scream, and bite when I force them to remove some of the clutter. If I cannot rely on mutual respect, then I know that I have to keep the engineers in a short leash if they are supposed to produce a saleable product for non-engineers and when I commission them to build a new product I almost have to provide them with a list of precious metals and stones that they are not allowed to even consider using.

To be honest, I have actually worked in successful companies as well, where the engineers did not pose a threat to the company's survival.


Going kind off topic here. Engineers posing threat to the company's survival? Ehmmm, they are the ones creating a product, without them you wouldn't have to sell anything... :roll: You should probably be more respectful to them. Maybe the reason you've had bad experience with them is because everyone worth his salt left the company because they didn't want to put up with management and didn't like being kept on a leash? I heard rumors of companies that micro-managed engineers down to 30 minutes, it's not you by any chance, is it?

Lots of features? Usability? Please tell me how user requesting showing all 900,000 (yes, that's nine hundred thousand) rows of data in a single table is a sensible request? How can that possibly be usable at all, let alone friendly usable? You need options to restrict the data for it to be any meaningful, couple of comboboxes there, text boxes there to limit the search results. Is that the clutter you're asking to remove?

How about requesting dates to be shown in d/M/yy format just because management/salespeople (and not necessarily the customer) think it looks better, but which makes all dates misaligned in table, hard to read, and ruins sorting which requires several hours to fix, not to mention performance hit?

How about requesting gridlines in a table because it's supposedly easier to read (not really true), but which makes table wider and then whine that not all columns fit now. You asked for it, you got it, there is nothing I can do about it.

And how about requesting a feature, that's rarely if ever used, but which has a ten-fold performance hit and then coming back and whining that everything is slow and demanding to make it faster (without actually defining what "fast" is)? Make it go faster, I don't care that it's practically impossible without putting hundreds and hundreds of man hours or may be even completely impossible, I don't care that it's the features I requested that make it run so slow, just make it go faster. :roll:

How about requesting complete implementation of several features that requere several days of work if not a whole week for a potential customer that hinted they might be interested in a product if those features are implemented? Well, there is nothing wrong with going after potential customers, but there is something wrong with going on a limb just because they showed some interest. If they are interested, let them sign contract, define features they would like to see and deadlines - we will deliver. How is bending over and wasting company's resources without any commitment from potential customer a sensible thing?



So forgive me, but I can only laugh at your snobbish attitude...


PS this recent twist in the thread made me remember this page, sad, but very typical.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:42 pm 
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JazzJackRabbit,

JazzJackRabbit wrote:
Going kind off topic here. Engineers posing threat to the company's survival? Ehmmm, they are the ones creating a product, without them you wouldn't have to sell anything... :roll: You should probably be more respectful to them. Maybe the reason you've had bad experience with them is because everyone worth his salt left the company because they didn't want to put up with management and didn't like being kept on a leash? I heard rumors of companies that micro-managed engineers down to 30 minutes, it's not you by any chance, is it?


No, that is not it. It may be that engineers create products, but if the products do not meet the needs of the market, then they are wasting time and money. As the people in sales and marketing know more about the needs of the market but little about how to create the products and since the engineers know more about how to create the products but little about the needs of the market, it is necessary for both groups to cooperate in the creation and sales of the products. If the engineers cannot or do not accept that, then they need to be kept in a short leash so they do not pose a danger to sound business practice!

If you read what I have been saying, I am not saying that all (100%) engineers are educated fools, but that a majority (>50%) of engineers are. From my experience alone, I would say that I am talking about 85-90% of engineers, but though I have been in contact with a lot of engineers in several countries, I have not been in contact with a representative sample of all engineers. Therefore, I just say that it is a majority, though probability speaks for that it is about 75% +/- 10-15%.

My problem with the majority of engineers is that they behave just like religious extremists as they are narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning - their view of the world is the only thing that counts, there can be no other valid point of view, and those who disagree are ignorant and primitive.

Try to follow me in this example: A father tells his two sons that he will buy them a Ford Explorer each. One son says that he would prefer his Ford Explorer in ruby red metallic while the other son says that he would prefer his Ford Explorer in white. The father buys two Ford Explorers, one in ruby red metallic which is a bit more expensive than the one in white. Then he goes to a salesperson and a fundamentalist engineer (the narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning type) and asks them, "Did I give my sons the same present?". The sales person would answer, "Yes, though one Explorer was a little more expensive, both your sons got the car that made him the most happy." The engineer would answer, "No they didn't. The salesperson does not know what he is talking about, because it is absolutely clear that the two Explorers do not have the same color and that one is more expensive than the other, so no matter what you say, the right answer is that they did not get the same present."

I am not saying that your examples are not valid examples of poor salesmanship, but that there are salespeople who are not good at selling is not valid argumentation (why did you rob the liquor store? I read about a guy who robbed a bank!). I have never claimed that salespeople are all perfect and I have actually met salespeople who did not do a good job either!

Fact is that unless an engineer is open to other points of views, then he/she will never understand the concepts behind "the customer is always right", "less is more", or "everything is relative to the customer". Instead he/she will interpret the concepts literally and get mad at everybody who does not interpret them fundamentally like he/she does.

A big leap forward is when an engineer starts to understand that his/her job only has value if somebody is willing to pay for the outcome and that it is the customer who pays his salary and not Linda over in the finance department!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:14 pm 
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Thomas, much of what you say may be right and I agree with your main points, but those foolish engineers may be more willing to listen to you if you didn't start your posts with "engineers are idiots who don't know anything about the real world lolol." Currently, this is the feeling that I get. It may not be what you mean, and I do realise that English may not be your native language, but honestly there's no need for "narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning".

The bottom line as I see it is: without a marketing department, engineers may be able to produce something that will sell well. It doesn't have to happen, but it may, and so a company composed solely of engineers has a theoretical chance to stay afloat. Excepting situations like consulting, a company without engineers and with nothing to sell won't fare very well.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:19 am 
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qviri,

Is self-centered, arrogant, and aggressive better than narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning? English is not my native language, but I do know what those concepts mean, that is why chose them over misunderstood, persecuted, and friendly.

If you look closely at my posts you will see that I have been careful to emphasize that I do not talk about all engineers and that all the opinions that I have presented are backed up by argumentation - valid argumentation that is, unless my right to have different opinion is not being recognized or unless all non-engineers are seen as incompetent and stupid.

If any engineer who reads my argumentation see that as an attack on the entire engineering profession, then that is just as simple-minded as when right-wingers in the USA claim that it is 'anti-American' when somebody criticizes the foreign policy of the Bush administration - and thereby ignore the fact that the Bush administration does not represent the views of every single citizen of the USA - not to mention that the USA is not the only country in America ;). Taking 'collective offense' and pretending to speak for everybody is very typical of people with an extremist outlook on life!

If you look at the responses to my arguments, then you will see that many of those completely ignore my argumentation and are focused on telling me why I have no idea about what I am talking about. Objectively, that a lot of the replies have 'targeted the man and not the ball' just proves my point about the existence of narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning engineers to be valid.

I have never said that I am the only holder of the undisputable truth or that all engineers are idiots; what I have said is that a very large part of engineers should take a good look at themselves and their self-righteous and arrogant behavior towards everybody who does not see life from an engineering point of view. I accept that engineers look at issues from a different angle than I do, and that the best solution is a compromise between those two ways of perception - all I am asking is that engineers return that kind of openness, tolerance, and respect towards me as well.

Without a compromise between the 'wisdom' of engineers and the 'wisdom' of sales and marketing people a company will fail to perform to its full potential. It may be that engineers could be able to produce something that sells, but, even if the company does not go completely bankrupt, the company will never be able to perform to its full potential, so 'something that will sell well' is very relative. A business that is only able to sell for USD 400,000 when it could sell for USD 10,000,000 is just as inefficient and unprofessional as a company that goes bankrupt because it could not even sell for USD 400,000 to keep the company going. Both have lost a lot of potential sales from being incapable of finding the optimal compromise between engineering and sales!

If an intelligent and smart engineer ends up in a job where he/she is being micro-managed and held in a very short leash, that does not necessarily mean that the business manager is evil, because it is his job to protect the money invested into the company by limiting risk as much as possible. If he, like me, has predominantly had experience with extremist engineers then that means that he MAY be less willing to provide the freedom and respect an intelligent and smart engineer deserves! It is very likely that unreasonable work conditions for intelligent and smart engineers is a direct result of that a lot of their colleagues are narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning engineers, which should make their extremist behavior a concern for the good engineers as well.

I do not have my own company yet, but the day that I do, I can guarantee you that if I need engineers then they will be kept on a very short leash until they have proven themselves to be both intelligent and smart. This is very unfortunate, because everybody should deserve the benefit of doubt, but that is simply a risk that I and most other business people cannot afford to take.

I do have 'success stories' about cooperating with engineers as well, but that does not change the fact that, in my work life, narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning engineers is the single group of people who has caused me the most grievances in terms of lost job satisfaction (preventing me from doing a good job) and personal financial loss (loss of a job/stable income, preventing me from earning enough commission to make a decent salary, and misleading me to waste my time and money by pretending to be open and honest). They may pretend to respect me as a person, but why should I respect them if they clearly have no respect for my skills and abilities? Isn't respect supposed to be a mutual thing?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:50 am 
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Thomas, you need to calm down and think about the faults you are purportedly pointing out in the engineering profession:

Thomas-BP2 wrote:
self-centered
Thomas-BP2 wrote:
...the single group of people who has caused me the most grievances in terms of lost job satisfaction (preventing me from doing a good job) and personal financial loss (loss of a job/stable income, preventing me from earning enough commission to make a decent salary, and misleading me to waste my time and money by pretending to be open and honest).


Thomas-BP2 wrote:
arrogant
Thomas-BP2 wrote:
If the engineers cannot or do not accept that, then they need to be kept in a short leash so they do not pose a danger to sound business practice!


Thomas-BP2 wrote:
aggressive
Thomas-BP2 wrote:
My problem with the majority of engineers is that they behave just like religious extremists as they are narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning


Thomas-BP2 wrote:
intolerant
Thomas-BP2 wrote:
I can guarantee you that if I need engineers then they will be kept on a very short leash until they have proven themselves to be both intelligent and smart.


Thomas-BP2 wrote:
condemning
Thomas-BP2 wrote:
A business that is only able to sell for USD 400,000 when it could sell for USD 10,000,000 is just as inefficient and unprofessional as a company that goes bankrupt because it could not even sell for USD 400,000 to keep the company going. Both have lost a lot of potential sales from being incapable of finding the optimal compromise between engineering and sales!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:27 am 
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Thomas-BP2 wrote:
If you look at the responses to my arguments, then you will see that many of those completely ignore my argumentation and are focused on telling me why I have no idea about what I am talking about. Objectively, that a lot of the replies have 'targeted the man and not the ball' just proves my point about the existence of narcissistic, intolerant, and condemning engineers to be valid.


Devonavar,

Thank you for your technical evaluation of the form of my post. Do you have anything intelligent and smart to say about my message?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:10 am 
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AND, that brings us back after a detour to the original topic of Bluefront's thread and the question about whether it is more effective to try to force one's opinion down the throat of somebody else without respecting the other party or whether it is more effective to look at where there is an overlap of interest and use that as the foundation of a cooperation to reach a common goal ;)

(besides, I am getting really tired of all the less than intelligent personal attacks on myself for not being an engineer)


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