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Sonos: How to ruin your brand and piss off your early adopters (of course, do it after you go public)

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MJ DeMarco

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Sonos (which recently went public, at which point I knew the company would start to suck) apparently didn't have their "Great News!" email go off very well, which was news of planned obsolescence which in so many words, told customers to shit or get off the pot... (OF course, they just went public, what do you expect? Customer #1 stakeholder? Not anymore baby!!! Gotta beat those analyst consensus estimates!)

Basically they alluded that old Sonos equipment would soon need to be upgraded or customers would suffer the consequences. In other words, if you spent $3,000 a few years ago (back when they were a PRIVATE company) now you need to spend another few Gs to upgrade. For your great convenience, you get a 30% discount.

When I first read the email I thought it was quite a dangerous move it pissed me off a bit.

I was an early adopter and raved about this PRIVATE company.

Now that they're public, well, adios. Typical corporate BS -- private company >-- Grow like a weed >-- go Public >-- Go into the shitter.

Turns out it pissed a lot of people off.


View: https://twitter.com/barrettaudio/status/1219982763148873728


View: https://twitter.com/Jon_ITMagic/status/1220006347250569218


View: https://twitter.com/QuarterHalfLock/status/1220046844774043657


I'm guessing by the tone of this follow-up email, they were pummeled with complaints.

Not sure I will spend the money as the software/components are now buggy. They used to be bulletproof.

Screen Shot 2020-01-23 at 3.08.04 PM.png
 

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PapaGang

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Sonos customer here. I was also an evangelist. Great sound, excellent user interface. You could tell they spent a lot of money on design. Now they went all Adobe on us. What's next, I have to pay a monthly subscription to their cloud software service?

Too bad, I love my system.

Better dust off my hi-fi.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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socaldude

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I totally messed up my hearing by being a fan of high end headphone audio equipment like bose. So my doctor told me to listen to music without putting something on my ears. So i do own some sonos equipment.

Not very happy as they tried to pull a fast one and thought we were dumb enough not to see their real intentions. Hey we cant just have people buy one time and then never buy again! Lets make it so they have to get the latest one!

And lasty the typical bs PR statement from the ceo sounds contradictory. He says "we messed up" yet says they did nothing wrong and planned obscolescence wasnt their intentions. Huh?

Yeah, get ready for some more sneaky a$$ revenue generating tricks.
 

MetalGear

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What are some good Sonos alternatives?

Are there any open source programs that can replace their software?

Maybe there is an opportunity - software for old Sonos systems?

This is exactly why Dell worked with a private equity firm to go private for a while.

Shareholders don't always think long-term...nor do public companies.
 

Jambro

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Don’t get me wrong, the handling of this announcement was shockingly poor, and a great way to piss off legions of long terms fans.

I understand where they are coming from, trying to maintain seamless integration with all those services and various standards of hardware must be a tall order. I can’t imagine anybody is running a mobile phone from 2007 so the fact that Sonos has managed to keep all these systems running for so long (mostly) is a pretty decent effort.

I really hope a subscription service is not on the cards, that would destroy the brand in an instant.
 

Royce2

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Sonos is not standing out anymore. Multiple speaker companies are making their speakers par up via wifi and bluetooth with easy controls, they need to do better.

And if they plan on doing better.....with this message, seems like they have a secret product that will be so much better that the old system doesn't have relevancy to keep. Like Tesla was tesla, then all of a sudden autopilot came out.

But, who knows probably not.
 

PapaGang

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Seems like this is the go to model even for things that have no reason to do business this way, so why not?
I learned that Adobe may be considering dropping the price of their monthly subscriptions due to the rising popularity of Affinity, which is a one-time purchase of $50 per title. They are filling the gap and people seem to be happy with their software from what I can tell.
 

PapaGang

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What are some good Sonos alternatives?

Are there any open source programs that can replace their software?

Maybe there is an opportunity - software for old Sonos systems?

This is exactly why Dell worked with a private equity firm to go private for a while.

Shareholders don't always think long-term...nor do public companies.
I was just thinking about the opportunity to develop software to control old Sonos devices this morning. Too bad I don't code.
 

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BellaPippin

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Now they went all Adobe on us.

Couldn't have said it better. They enjoyed the Monopoly for way too long as they have been the standard since forever, so they knew they could get away with it.
 

amp0193

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This is exactly why Dell worked with a private equity firm to go private for a while.

Shareholders don't always think long-term...nor do public companies.

I also learned on a podcast today that the Panera Bread CEO did the same thing. Sold it to a private-equity company after going public, specifically so that they could make the long-term investments needed to serve customers, and not be pressured to make short-term cash grabs to satisfy wall street.
 

dawp

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they changed their minds. I just got another email saying there will be updates for my old sonos!
 

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SamRussell

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I learned that Adobe may be considering dropping the price of their monthly subscriptions due to the rising popularity of Affinity, which is a one-time purchase of $50 per title. They are filling the gap and people seem to be happy with their software from what I can tell.

Affinity is a great product, I've been using it for years
 

PapaGang

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Couldn't have said it better. They enjoyed the Monopoly for way too long as they have been the standard since forever, so they knew they could get away with it.
I've used their software since 1998 and right now their software has never been worse. I am constantly interrupted by prompts to join their ridiculous typekit service, or upload my design library on their cloud service (which of course you have to pay for) and waste my time playing hide and seek with tools and options that they frequently change which interrupts my workflow ("where the f*ck is that option again? It used to be in this menu, now it's somewhere else...") If you are a creative agency, your time is money, and you can't spend billable hours on converting files because one machine is running Creative Cloud 2018 and the other is running 2019. Really? I can't open an Indesign file because it is running a different version of the same cloud software? You've got to be kidding me.

Adobe is a classic example of a company that got huge because of the value they delivered and their focus on the customer need. And as soon as their priorities shifted to profit, they lost their integrity. They are truly, completely awful now. I have so many examples of how disappointing their software is, and I've made my life on using it for 20 years.

Someone is going to come and eat their lunch. And I will enjoy watching it.

@SamRussell I downloaded trials of Affinity after seeing people trolling Adobe on their own Instagram account about how they liked Affinity better.

Think about that. This is how I learned about Affinity. From Adobe's own social media account.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Adobe is a classic example of a company that got huge because of the value they delivered and their focus on the customer need. And as soon as their priorities shifted to profit, they lost their integrity. They are truly, completely awful now. I have so many examples of how disappointing their software is, and I've made my life on using it for 20 years.

Someone is going to come and eat their lunch. And I will enjoy watching it.

@SamRussell I downloaded trials of Affinity after seeing people trolling Adobe on their own Instagram account about how they liked Affinity better.

Think about that. This is how I learned about Affinity. From Adobe's own social media account.

Wow.

 

hellolin

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This is the standard procedure in the neo-liberal era of global economics: grow big and in a cozy, supportive environment built by either early adaptors that took a risk on you, or public money supplied by the Fed, then the moment you finally become big, go public on wall street and ditch your supporters that got you there in an instant. And we wonder why there is little loyalty in the market today?
 

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