Topic: The difference between Chumby Industries and HP
The topic may be a bit ambiguous, but what it means is that there's a big difference between happy little companies that support their users and huge conglomerates that have been running for several decades and are more interested in profit than customer happiness. Guess which is which. As I own several discontinued products, I picked the ones that may be the most prominent for members of this forum: The Chumby (Of course) and the HP TouchPad. Now, let's get into this. I've compiled my information from a lot of sources, too many to list (Not for this post). First, how to be a small company. Chumby Industries may be outside of the norm, as usually start-ups get sold to a large company, such as Google, Yahoo, or Twitter, just for their personnel, and the start-up closes its doors soon after. There's a tumblr page, called Our Incredible Journey that goes through all of these start-ups and how they put such a pleasant spin on the fact that they're closing, if you want some examples. Anyway, here's the step-by-step list on how to be like Chumby Industries.
1. Invent a great idea for a consumer device that's been never done before, and start work on it with a revolutionary (for the time) embedded system.
2. Distribute a few hundred prototypes to attendees at a hacker con to get apps and feedback on your device.
3. Hold back the device to the next year, past the Christmas season, to increase the quality of said device.
4. Release device to (mostly) glowing reviews.
5. Due to circumstances out of your control, no one wants to buy the device anymore, since they can't afford to pay the price for a device they don't know what it does (Although they still would love to buy whatever iCrap comes out).
6. Release a mass-market, cheaper version of device, and try to get companies to licence your hardware.
7. With large install base, release another, larger, version of device. Less people buy it, but it still gets positive press.
8. Discontinue hardware (Your plan all along) and try to just sell your software and backend.
Here's where it gets interesting.
9. Company goes out of business, but servers stay up, albiet virtualized, and paid for by several entities. An ex-employee starts to maintain the servers, and help people with technical issues.
10. Funding stops. With a number of days left, said ex-employee successfully keeps users' devices from turning into bricks, and promises increased functionality as time goes on. They also pay for the servers out-of-pocket, keep helping users with problems, and get to work making the old servers cheaper to maintain.
This is pretty admirable. Now, let's see how to be HP.
1. Buy a company with the technology to make it big, but not the money. Let it release a pre-developed device under their branding, but you own them.
2. Announce more devices at the next CES.
3. The first device, an incredibly small phone, releases. While it may have mixed reviews, it's a solid device.
4. Release second device, a tablet, at Apple prices. Press goes wild about this, comparing it to the Apple iPad. While it costs the same amount, it has less apps, and a number of glitches.
5. Release a firmware update, fixing the glitches.
6. Go insane. Device doesn't sell up to expectations, so instead of cutting price, start selling it for $100 for 16 GB model, and $150 for 32 GB model. At the same time, announce discontinuation of device. Several other devices that were completed go unreleased.
7. Other sales of device start several months later, and immediately sell out. Sell remaining stock to woot.com to sell at their online store (where I got mine). Also announce open sourcing of operating system.
8. Open-sourced version of the currently available software comes out. Months later, updated version of software that can run on multiple devices, such as Ubuntu, comes out. However, currently available devices are unsupported for it.
9. Sell company responsible for the development of the open-sourced version of the company to another company, which plans on using the software for smart TVs, of all things.
10. Homebrew community realizes that the security certificate expires in July 2013, and if HP doesn't do anything about it the devices are rendered useless. As of May 26, 2013, nothing's been done.
While writing this, I realized that HP isn't interested in profit, but screwing over their users, which they've done many times. Anyway, which company would YOU rather be like?