I was taught as a young person to tell the truth, admit when you’ve made a mistake and to stand behind what you say and do. I can close my eyes and flash back to a heart to heart talk my Dad and I had when he said, “it’s hard to gain a reputation for being honest and having integrity but it’s really easy to lose them both.”
Today, I’m dismayed and disappointed by the actions of a certain person and high-end audio company. I’m not going to be specific for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t want to bring any more attention to them and their campaign and second, I don’t want to get into an argument. They don’t deserve the effort.
But what would you think of a company that seems to be a crowd sourcing addict? They’ve had tremendous success in raising large sums of money on the usual crowd sourcing sites by offering affordable audiophile gadgets. But their their pitch is over-hyped, contains factual inaccuracies and is just plain fuzzy when it comes to hard facts. Supporters of their campaigns have committed a lot of money to their “variations on a theme” concept without anyone ever having heard their devices! So it seems all the more curious that they’ve launched yet another campaign for another “variation” when several supporters of the first product campaign are complaining that they haven’t received the device that was promised to be delivered back in January!
But here’s where they stepped over the line…at least for me. Crowd sourcing sites require that you produce a short promotional video. The video tells prospective supporters about your project, explains the features, may include testimonials and other relevant information. However, how would you feel if company “A” ripped off someone else’s promotional video or portions of it? That’s not cool!
I noticed that they’ve changed their video and removed the original “appropriated” segment of the Pono promotional video. I’m guessing that Neil Young’s lawyers were not amused by the appropriation of the rock star testimonials and didn’t appreciate the humor of the torn up Toblerone candy bar wrapper in the foreground of the video.
So now, according to the update posted on the campaign, there are about a half dozen young people shown reacting to the “incredible life like sound” of the new device, which hasn’t even been built yet! I’m a little dubious when you notice that half of the people raving about the sound quality are wearing ear buds…like you could even make an evaluation with reproduction that limited.
And I flash back to the challenge that MAXD did months ago at Venice beach. They played a regular CD track and then their “processed” MP3 track and asked the participants what they thought. Everyone was over the top with praise about the MAXD processed version…in spite of the fact that the MP3 was juiced in the low and high ends AND 10 dB louder! You can read the previous post by clicking here.
It’s not hard to impress someone with a device if you don’t compare apples and apples. Just playing a track louder will usually do the trick. Disappointing..and misleading.
Company “A” is still using parts of the original video. The part with Neil Young’s “Harvest” album showing the background remains along with a lot of other album covers. And they are rapidly climbing their way to their new financial goal. I guess double speak, misleading marketing, theft of other’s intellectual property are all necessary parts of their strategy…and it seems to be working. And for a product that isn’t even built yet. It’s their way of pre-selling an idea for a product, take your money and then smile all the way to the bank. Hopefully, they will actually deliver the goods…whenever.
My Dad would be disappointed…but he’s been gone for almost 50 years. I know I am.