HPC sales viewed in the context of watching a horror show …

So we have a number of customers looking at particular configurations. Like many others, they get quotes from all over. Including from companies that don’t really have the slightest clue about what is being asked of them.

Which means, we as often as not, get quotes tossed back to us with a note saying “you are at too high a price”. While the quotes they are comparing to aren’t even meeting the basic spec.

I have this … I dunno … horror movie watching experience in my gut when I watch someone commit a sizeable fraction of $1M USD to something that won’t work. I feel bad for the people about to make the terrible mistake, and I try to caution them that they are about to make such a mistake. Yet, this caution is usually ascribed to a competitive bit of FUD and is ignored.

In the past, when I’ve seen this happen, if the person wasn’t a strong player at the company or group, they were reassigned or fired, and some quiet back end communication with us on how to “re-engineer” a ‘solution’ to actually work, was done.

Just saw one with a customer we’ve known for years. They are about to make a bad mistake, and I’ve tried warning them. But, ya know … when price is the only thing that matters …

Well, they’ll see when they plug it in, try their first large run. My warning will be prescient. Or it will seem this way.

Its like a horror movie. You know they shouldn’t open the door. You know they shouldn’t stick their eye up to the view hole. But they do it anyway. And you shouting and yelling at the screen? Ignored (well, for obvious reasons in the case of the movie or show, for very wrong reasons in the case of the purchase).

We gain the most as a business when our customers are successful. Its in our interests to see that they don’t make mistakes, whether they buy from us or not. And what I am learning from all of this is, when you find someone (or some group/company) that really knows what they are talking about, its probably a good idea to leverage that knowledge, and work with them.

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2 thoughts on “HPC sales viewed in the context of watching a horror show …

  1. I’ve seen this go the other way too, with a vendor pushing an unsuitable solution.
    Just last year we had a well known specialist storage vendor trying to push a 16TB super fast system on us because, well you know, it was really big and fast!
    Even after we explained that 80+% of our workload is totally CPU bound and produces only MBs of output, and thus we wanted small, flexible and resilient, not big and fast, they kept pushing and insisting!

  2. @Chris

    I think we are saying the same thing. Take a second vendor, who listened to your requirements, architected something you needed, but were say somewhat more expensive than the first solution, the one that won’t work. I am viewing it from the perspective of that second vendor, the one with the working solution, watching the customer make a terrible mistake by purchasing the solution that won’t work.

    Yeah, sales folks can be pushy. This is a fact of life. If the solution doesn’t meet the needs, it shouldn’t be purchased. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen spec’s sacrificed on the alter of price.

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