Back at SGI, the company did a pitful job explaining who it was, what it did, and how it did it, not to mention why it was important.
This is marketing, basic simple, get the message out marketing.
In the 90’s, SGI was a great company. We had at the time, great products.
And, as we naively believed that the world would beat a path to our door in order to get them, we sorta … kinda … forgot to tell people about what we did and why it was important.
Though I should point out, that occasionally, a flash of marketing brilliance would shine through.
This is one of those flashes. I’ll give you an anecdote after you view the video below. I expect that someone somewhere will complain about copyright, or song ownership and redistribution rights … so expect it to be gone soon.
This was, IMO, the clearest, most succinct expression of what we did and why it was valuable that I ever saw. I showed the video (on VHS) to customers, to friends. Everyone loved it. They got it.
SGI never did though. When it was released, it was during a sales meeting in 1996 or 1997. Apart from the VHS cassettes, our customers never saw this.
And the anecdote.
I protested to internal discussion groups that it wasn’t going to be seen by any decision maker, or by recommenders, as it was largely an internal use only video. I suggested (half in jest) of accidently getting it into the hands of some friendly media folks I knew.
I was slapped down.
Turns out they didn’t correctly license the music for replay, so they couldn’t distribute it.
Yes, thats right. A humorous, and yet informative commercial from 10+ years ago, making the case that we could help in all aspects of hard data collection, computing, storage, visualization, and decision making, was placed in cold storage because someone somewhere didn’t want to pay a few hundred or thousand extra dollars for the excerpt redistribution rights.
This little video said in 30 seconds what SGIs completely ineffective corporate marketing folks couldn’t or wouldn’t say in the preceding years.
If you sense anguish in my writing on this, you are correct.
How in heck do you run a great company with fantastic products, and then disable yourself telling the world about them?
Of course those were the days when SGI made their own products. And didn’t try to out-Dell Dell.
I expect this video to be gone in a week or less … hopefully not …
Let this be an object lesson in abject failure in getting a message out.