Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is your sense of entitlement?

In my last post I mentioned that Altium have stirred the pot with their new pricing model. Well now they've gone even further with a web-based advirtising campaign and billboard promotion. The text is a little hard to see in the photo so I've included it here:

1,000,000 people overseas can do your job
What makes YOU so special?
Altium. Next generation electronics design solutions.

Not surprisingly, its caused a rise out of more than a few people with one person stating that Altium should sack their ad agency and the foolish executives who approved this indignity. It is certainly a stark departure from the "You're so special" sort of advirtising that we're used to seeing.
But it has got me thinking about the sense of entitlement that we have around our work, our skills and our job. What is at the core of our indignation over someone overseas taking our job?
Karl Faase, a regular "life moments" radio presenter, recently had this to say on one of the local community radio stations:

The present generation has grown up believing that every child needs good self esteem. Every child needs to believe in themselves and their ability. But is there a potential down side to this attitude? Over the past 20 years American children have grown up being told they are special and can achieve anything and now there seems to be a growing gap between American kids’ self esteem and their abilities.
In a study of maths skills tests among students in eight nations, Americans ranked lowest in overall competence and Koreans highest, but when researchers asked the students how good they thought they were, the results were exactly opposite; Americans highest, Koreans lowest.
We need to be realistic about our abilities. As writer Steve Salerno says “In the grand scheme of things, knowing one's limitations may be even more important than knowing one's talents.”

When it comes to designing electronics products, the days are gone when our value was implicit in the degree or qualifications we had earned. We have jobs for the simple reason that we add value to the companies that employ us.  It is an issue of economics and not entitlement. The only defence is continuous innovation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Altium's new pricing model

I can hardly believe it's been over a month since my last post.
Things are progressing nicely on our target project but it has taken quite a few twists and turns over the past 6 weeks as has the focus of the objective.  I can't say too much at this point 'cause it aint public yet but all will be revealed soon (very exciting!).
Last week we released new pricing for Altium Designer. It's been really interesting to see the user response to it on the forum.  A number of people have reacted to the fact that our huge reduction in price has severly depreciated their purchase. Others have just been happy that Altium tools will be more accessible to the broadest possible range of designers.  Yet others have taken the synical view that it is simply a grab for cash in tough economic times. From the inside though, I can honestly say that I am excited about the pricing decision as I know it will help a lot of struggling engineers and companies out there and it will ensure that price is much less of a barrier.
So let me know what you think.  Is it still too much? Or is it too little - i.e. will the "you get what you pay for" adage work against it?