|It's not about the technology|
|summary||Developing the craft of thinking for a high-tech corporation|
20 chapters are written from the point of view of tech marketing executive, as Karamchedu tries to answer the question of why some products gain a loyal audience and enjoy commercial success, while the others are simply additions to the dusty shelves of history. Everyone has their favorite comparison, where a technically advanced product does not gain acceptance on the market while a supposedly inferior competitor is rolling in cash. Hey, IBM built an entire theory on how it was safe to let Microsoft sell its not-so-great DOS with IBM PCs in order to push the hardware from the warehouse while the company was preparing the next revision of state-of-the-art OS/2 -- which, of course, everyone will buy on the day of release in order to replace Microsoft's software.
History occasionally teaches tech marketers some curious lessons, and the conclusion that the author comes up is summarized in the book title. The title might sound like an insult to a design engineer, but in most of the cases the success in the market is not guaranteed by superiority of technology. Karamchedu is on the mission to find out why.
The first chapters take us through a conflict inside a company. Seldom will you find a high-tech startup where marketing people do not clash with engineers. Marketers promise the features to the customers in order to adhere to the mantra of "we listen to our customers," only to see feature requests denied by the engineers, since the budgets and deadlines are fixed. Marketers then complain to the executives about lack of response from the engineering staff and their inability to deal with the new features, while engineers fight back, claiming that the product is about to miss the deadline even with existing feature set and overworked staff.
Later, Karamchedu focuses on a second problem, peculiar to high-tech marketers: after being immersed in the technology world for too long, they cannot relate to the customers. Hence grandmas in Best Buy staring at the computer described as "P4 3.0 GHz 256 DDR 40.0 GB DVD/CD-RW" when all she wants to know is whether she can check email and view photos of the grandkids. Marketers forget to empathize with the customers. They spend too much time with engineering, and like to tell customers how the new microprocessor has a much wider front-side bus, or how their new piece of software supports dual-core systems, without really telling the customer how that will improve business processes or increase efficiency.
The third part of the book takes a look at a typical semiconductor company and tries to draw the plan of attack for a starting marketing executive. At this point the book turns into a manual on high-tech marketing, which the author hopes the readers will find useful, as there are no set rules and algorithms for launching successful marketing campaigns in high-tech world.
The book is quite insightful, but one can't help but feel that it is missing something. It will probably prove to be a valuable read to anyone facing the daunting task of marketing a high-tech product, but even though I got to the last page of the book, I found the title to be too terse and dry, lacking concrete examples and not quite coherent as far as the chapter-by-chapter arrangement. The preface and the author's description of the book are available online. It's also strange that in an attempt to write a textbook on high-tech marketing, the author decided to provide no case studies whatsoever. In Search of Stupidity from Apress is a great book about high-tech marketing, since it tells the story of a failed marketing attempt and also tries to figure out the reasons, but in It's Not About the Technology, Karamchedu just tells years of his personal experience, without references to specific companies or projects, which makes the book a compilation of abstractions on high-tech marketing.
In his spare time Alex enjoys reading technology and business titles. He also keeps a collection of free books for readers on a budget." Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.