Providing the finest product available

April 22nd, 2008 by ymendel 0 comments »

I do a fair amount of weekend traveling to nearby cities and states, and for various reasons (flying sucks even more now thanks to the TSA; public transportation sucks in 99.53% of the US, 99.982% of the southeast) this translates to a lot of driving. Finding your way around a new city is a bit of an adventure, especially so when that city happens to be like Atlanta, where directions invariably include at least one of “get on [some crazy huge highway]” and “turn onto Peachtree”. (I knew about Peachtree long before I first visited Atlanta, but nobody warned me about Old Hickory before I moved to Nashville. That was a lesson I had to learn quickly.)

Most of the people in these travel destinations were very helpful with directions. A printer turned out to be a valuable asset if only for taking along printouts of Google Maps information. Some of the people, either in the travel destinations or as part of the traveling gang, had GPS devices. I never really cared much for those things before, but that’s often the case with products geared towards a market you’re not part of. Everything changed once the traveling started.

Still, even experiencing first-hand how useful they can be and even considering that it could be a good deal considering how much use we’d get out of it, I was hesitant to spend between $300-$800 on one for myself, especially when becoming more and more familiar with Atlanta’s layout (at least for the few places that mattered during these visits) and a GPS wouldn’t help much with problems like one block of Marietta being closed (probably related to the tornado damage). But once again, that changed with new information. One of my friends showed up with a Garmin nüvi 200 he got for only $150.

Mine arrived today, and I busied myself with seeing how it thought I should get around. None of the directions matched my normal routes, but they would’ve got me there in the end. My favorite thing about it (and the company) so far has nothing to do with the functionality, but is a quote from the packaging: “Garmin reserves the right to provide you with the finest product available to date. Engineering enhancements are ongoing and may not be reflected in the pictures and specifications on this package.”

One of the biggest differences involved in moving from employment to independent contracting/business-owning was the increase in management, and a lot of that has to do with managing relationships. Much of this has manifested in the form of developing contracts and dealing with expectations. A recent bout of this involved a lawyer on the other side wanting us to enumerate before starting the work any third-party software we’d be using to complete the work. We pushed back against that, explaining that it would cause us to be less efficient and more expensive for them if we couldn’t use helpful plugins unless they were listed before we even started.

The quote on the GPS packaging brought that to mind. It’s just a shame that it seems to come from legal defensiveness, saying that they reserve the right to provide the finest product available, not that they’re dedicated to providing the finest product available. I’m not sure if that says more about me or Garmin, though.

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