03 November 2009

Multi-core: Boring is good

Marketing in high tech often involves being ahead of the product; it's not unusual for GA to be months out. This is no insignificant challenge - over promising and under delivering gives the company a bad name while using vacuous high-level descriptors that say little does the same for marketing.

I've recently discovered a new challenge at QNX: Being so ahead of the curve that the company gets "bored" just as the market begins to take notice. Multi-core support is a prime example.

The QNX Neutrino RTOS has been multiprocessor capable since 1997. When multi-core processers came on the market in 2005, we already had a mature solution. Our current offering has award-winning mutli-core tools that not only help developers migrate legacy code but also optimize it for multi-threaded environments.

Sustaining the multi-core message for close to five years has been a big challenge for a company as innovative as QNX. There is always some new shiny pebble to promote. But, as luck would have it, we begin getting bored with multi-core just when the market begins to understand its importance.

So what's a company to do when a product really is years ahead of the competition? Keep on message. Say the same things you said five, ten years ago. It may be boring but it's the repetition that counts.

1 comment:

  1. Good point. A similar situation occurs when a competitor offers the same kind of shiny pebble as you do. It's tempting to immediately see your pebble as a boring, me-too feature -- time to promote something that is truly differentiating! But remember: If your competitor is promoting the benefits of their shiny pebble, you can sometimes leverage the awareness they create, especially if they have the bigger marketing budget. Don't hide that pebble in your back pocket.