After the SolidWorks 2013 media day a couple weeks ago, we heard people coming out of the meeting saying that “solidworks handled it with class“, or something to that effect. Enough people said it, that it had the sound of being prompted.
When you’re on top, reacting to competition can only call attention to your competition. In this case, silence has nothing to do with class, it has more to do with fear. Fear that you could tip people off that there is another choice out there. I know first hand that there is a fair amount of information that users would find valuable, but SW withholds just because of fears of what the competition would do with it.
Second, when you lob a grenade into your customer’s idea of the future, and then clam up, I don’t think silence is classy in that situation either. Making a statement on media day doesn’t count as communication with customers, and it doesn’t make up for 3 years of silence. Further, avoiding what you know to be the real questions is just more of the same nonsense. It’s not like you don’t know what the questions are, and it’s not like you don’t know they aren’t important to customers. It’s just that you know your answers will not be satisfactory.
Third, I’ve had a couple of individuals make overtures at communication, and then not follow through. That is definitely not classy.
And finally, there are a couple of individuals who take a lot of sniping shots at critics. And that isn’t classy.
I do give SW credit for the information that did come out of media day. Thankfully I didn’t have to travel and waste a couple days to get a canned demo and a couple of newsworthy sentences. I’m not sure you can blame them for only saying what they know you will like, stopping short of telling the rest of the story.
Now I don’t claim to value “class” much. It’s a perception more than anything, and I think there are other things that are far more valuable. Honesty for example. But this is a company that wants you to think that starving you for information is a good thing.