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Posted by on May 12, 2011

What’s in your box?

Part of my mid-life and daughter-going-to-college-soon plan involves building a recording studio in my basement. (There are worse ways to handle this phase of life.) I like to play the guitar and drums, and apart from occasional purchases that have to be carefully explained in advance of the credit card statement arriving, it’s all good.

If you thought some of your friends were snobs about their stereo sound systems or home theatres, you ought to talk to musicians. They salivate and practically genuflect over the really good equipment, and go out of their way to trash-talk inferior products – it’s almost personal to them. They get angry about bad product.

In looking for the equipment I need – mixers, mics, audio interfaces, DI boxes, pre-amps, etc. – one thing I have noticed is that some companies go to great lengths to build a box that makes their product look very sleek and high end. But when you read the reviews and user opinions they are withering in their criticism.

It’s an interesting strategy – make your product look like something it’s not. Maybe you can fool enough people to get rich, like if you put a really attractive label on a bad bottle of wine.

Where does your energy and effort go? Is it about building something great, or making something mediocre look great? Is it mostly about packaging, “messaging” and covering?

No one faults beautiful design that covers beautiful product, but most people figure out eventually when there is a mismatch.

The great organizational sin of flashy PowerPoint slides must be mentioned here. Some people, with few original ideas, valuable contributions or insights will spend a lot of time making their presentation look oh so good.

Others spend the time on the ideas and concepts, and focus on conveying those clearly and effectively. If you have ever sat through a whizzy PowerPoint presentation but not really know what the point was at the end, you know what I’m talking about.

What’s in your box?

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