Marketing By Other Means

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You don’t use a company’s feelings, you use their products.–Ed

A fellow by the name of Clausewitz once said “War is a continuation of politics by other means.”

In this day and age, substitute “Public relations” for “War,” and “marketing” for “politics.” You get “Public relations is a continuation of marketing by other means.”

Recently, two rather interesting examples of that came to my attention when reading about Via. One place stated
that Via had a moral dimension not found in other companies, since its head, Wenchi Chen, is a born-again Christian.

The other rather went out of the way to say that the gentleman showed “outstanding self-confidence” at some dog-and-pony show.

Christian Computing Company?

While I certainly have no reason to doubt Mr. Chen’s personal beliefs and would welcome the introduction of morality in this industry (just for a change of pace if nothing else), I have to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

Beliefs by themselves do me no good. Actions based on those beliefs do. I cannot honestly say I can look at Via’s recent history and actions and find any great or even noticeable moral tone.

Without that, any claim of religious faith just becomes yet another marketing tool.

What I have seen from Via is dubious quality control and a marked reluctance to own up to a string of errors.

Maybe that’s how some of the engineers at Via occasionally solved circuit problems. They put their faith in God, said “We believe Jesus will work a miracle here” and made that part of the circuit design.
If so, their faith must be much smaller than that of a mustard seed, because that kind of “Christian engineering” isn’t working too well. 🙂

I once worked in an office with a particularly religious secretary. The supervisor asked her to get a (reasonable) number of tasks done in a week.

After a week, the supervisor came back to see what was finished. One item was done. When asked why the other items were not done, she replied, “It’s good enough for God.”

Maybe that’s what Via was really trying to say about the KT266 chipset. 🙂

Actually, Jesus wouldn’t buy that. He said not to be obsessed with the things of this world. That’s not a blessing on shoddy work. He never said, “I am the Eternal Excuse.”

One can and should live one’s religious beliefs through one’s earthly vocation. That doesn’t mean preaching all the time during work hours. The best preaching doesn’t show by words, but by example. Dedicate that work to God and giving Him your best through that work.

In Via’s case, a little less PR evangelism and a little more engineering would be more blessed.

Self-Esteem As The Be-All and End-All

I guess I was particularly sensitized to terms like “self-confidence” after recently seeing this comment in an American history encyclopedia:

“William T. Sherman had low self-esteem.”

I’m sure this will come as news to those American Southerners and others who still recall his March To The Sea.

Is this supposed to make those folks feel better? He wasn’t really ripping the South apart; he was just boosting his self-esteem!

To any Confederates in Sherman’s way in 1864 or 1865, it didn’t matter one little bit how he felt about himself. All that mattered was what he and his army was doing to them and theirs.

There seems to be this belief nowadays that all you need to do in life is to think highly of yourself.

This is absurd, because this view never asks if you have any reason to think highly of yourself.

If I thought myself a better basketball player than Michael Jordan, I don’t care how high my self-esteem and self-confidence is, it ain’t so. In my case, MJ would have to be dead a few years before it would even be an even match.

Sure, self-esteem and self-confidence play a role, but it is not the level but rather the lack (or too much) of it that can become disastrous.

Napoleon never had a problem with self-esteem. Even at Waterloo.

Sure, if you think you’re a completely worthless piece of dung, you probably won’t do very much in the world, but the answer to that is not just to think you’re Superman and nothing else. That’s not self-confidence, that’s self-delusion.

Don’t work on thinking you’re wonderful, work on being wonderful, and that means doing wonderful things.

Obviously Mr. Chen isn’t quite that down in the dumps, and the following is not to suggest that Via did anything wrong in this P4 patent issue.

But no display of self-confidence (whether real or play-acting for an audience) is going to make Intel say, “Gee, we’d better not sue Via, he’s got too much self-confidence.”

No judge hearing any patent case is going to say, “Yeah, Intel, Via broke twelve of your patents, but Mr. Chen is so brimming with self-confidence today! I’m going to have to rule for Via.”

If you were a major shareholder in Via, would you really want a chief executive who was a fountain of self-esteem saying, “Build the board and steal all the patents you want! I’m sure we can get away with it?”

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

A Man Is Not The Company

There’s a more fundamental problem with both these views, though. They presume the man equals the company, whatever the man is, the company is.

While not impossible, it is extraordinarily difficult for someone to imprint himself upon a large, bureaucratic organization.

When you look at a big company, don’t look at what the generals are saying. See what the master sergeants in the trenches are doing.

Most of the time, there’s going to be a sizable gap between the two, and in this case, the general isn’t making the chipset for that mobo; the master sergeant is controlling that.

Again, don’t listen to what they say, see what they do.

Email Ed

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