Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Going the Extra Mile?

[EDITORIAL/RANT] As flight simulation enthusiasts, we are often quick to criticize, yet slow to praise developers. To some extent, there is legitimacy to this unbalanced approach as consumers are spending their hard earned money and deserve to be critical. This type of feedback can prove constructive and at times fuel future innovation. However, sometimes we are so busy criticizing that we forget to recognize developers who go the extra mile. Read yet another one of my editorial/rants inside...

So what does going the extra mile actually mean? Well, it depends who you ask I suppose. There are likely an infinite number of different answers to this question. So, let me tell you what I mean by going the extra mile and it is indeed very simple. Support and update your product soon after release, yes, that’s it… This certainly sounds very simple does it not? In fact, this does not sound like going the extra mile at all, it sounds more like the bare minimum to be expected from any developer. However, I’m sure we can agree this very simple practice is not always the case.
So yes, I consider those developers who immediately address issues and update their products to be going the extra mile. Now how in the world did I get started on this rant? Well, I am not one to mention specific developers or products in this type of editorial/rant type article, but let me say this. Two products that I was personally very excited about were recently released. In both cases, the developer provided an update(s) within a week. This, I absolutely love! I suppose all I’m saying is that I wish this type of update bombardment was more common practice. Now granted, not all products require update immediately, however, many do.
This article is my way of showing appreciation to those two developers, even if they are to remain unnamed. I hope you choose to do the same next time you’re impressed. Perhaps if we all did, this simple practice wouldn’t be considered going the extra mile and may just become the norm…



Anonymous said...

Many criticisms brought on to these development groups are done on their own accord and they have developed poor reputations themselves.

What you mention Mark is clearly one of the simple things a developer must do to uphold their reputation.

I think it all comes down to someone's ethics and really how honestly they care about the products they make and the reputation they develop. Many developers have no clear sense how to conduct customer service, or really, they don't care because it is simple common sense when you think about it. Treat your paying customers with respect. How you would like to be treated. Because once you ask money for something your obligations change.

These are the things that piss me off, and some may disagre, but to me my perception is reality. I will also throw out some specific names because these developers have developed bad reputations:

CaptainSim - your block payment models are underhanded. Asking customers to pay you money before the product is done and then make false claims as to how well the product works.

Airsimmer - I wish nothing but the worst for everyone involved in this criminal endeavor. Selling the product to extended team (members) or beta testers really, and then never finishing the product. While treating these members like scum on your forums....dispecable.

FSDT - your products are well done, but Umberto's rudeness on support forums is poor taste. Constantly deflecting issues with FSDT products to others developers being the cause for conflict.

Blueprint - purely a quick cash grab as most freeware products are better than what they produce.

I can go on but this post is long enough. One need only look at the reputable developers like Aerosoft, PMDG, FlyTampa to see how things should be run and how customers should be treated. These guys do it right. I imagine it's due to their strong work ethic, beleifs, and code of conduct.

These are the developers that I give my money too, the former are those where I do not.

René Dijkema said...

Who remembers Ariane Design? :)

Anonymous said...

Not all developers are equal. Some, clearly, expect large amounts of money for substandard products. Others provide quality products for a reasonable price.

One mistake that many developers make is trying to market their own products. While someone may be good at computer design and programming, they may not be good at marketing, and their efforts to market a product may very well detract from their efforts to develop new products.

But delivering a product which works as advertised and is free of bugs, at least major bugs, is not "going above and beyond," it is the minimal amount to be expected from someone selling a commercial product.

To rave about a given product because it works as promised really is fanboy behavior. I do not go on and on about how well my toaster works, or the great icture on my television. I only really comlain when the manufacturer fails to deliver a properly functioning product.

Anonymous said...

I think one should put yourself in the shoes of the developer.

Many users today ask for much increased complexity at a almost no increase in cost. While no doubt developers have "taken your money", they have a life too, whether is it family or social life, demanding a update immediately just because they have took your money is no different than a master and slave relationship in barbaric times.

Of course, this applies to most developers, but the are some infamous developers like CS, Airsimmer etc where what I just said above dont apply.

That said, developers on their part should not promise what they are 100% sure they can do. Giving release dates for updates is not a wise move if they cant fulfill it.

Anonymous said...

Listen to your paying customers, genuinely work to make issues that they have right. GO the extra inch to make an exceptional product.

PMDG products set the standard, they take a long time to make, but they are by and large bug free and the level of realism is astonishing. They go the extra mile.

I remember waiting for Aerosoft's Airbus Extended. What sold me was how friendly Matijs Kok was on the forums, answering questions, constant updates, and making perfectly clear what was included and what was not and what the fair price of the product would be.

These are a few things that develop exceptional reputations in this community.

Anonymous said...

oops, I meant should only promise what they are 100% sure they can do.

Anonymous said...

To rave about a given product because it works is a fan boy behavior BUT to praise a product where appropriate is not fan boy behavior.

If your toaster you bought works longer than expected, will you praise the brand for its durability?

If the toaster you bought does what it promises, with no misleading advertising which most product have, will you praise it for good product with accurate advertising?

Its all about reputation, and whether the product delivers. If a manufacturer/developer does what it says to do constantly, they certainly deserve praise as they never fail to deliver.

Brian said...

Holger and Tim from Orbx are the most helpful, friendly and well mannered people around if you need help and they end up dealing with your support issues, I wish more were like them, and I buy their stuff purely because I know if I ever need help, I'll get it.

Anonymous said...

One developer that is under-acknowledged for their work and customer relations is pacsim. I bought their products a year ago but did a system overhaul recently and lost all their products. I requested assistance in getting these and others reinstalled and also bought latest ones to install on my "new" system. Graham was quick to respond with download links literraly within a 10 min window and I got setup right away. He also noted that one of my latest purchase was a scenery I bought last year which I forgot all about. Before I could ask what he was referring to he refunded me immediately. Now that's what I call honest business and common courtesy. Pacsim will certainly continue to get my business for a long time that's for sure.

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