I've been a customer of DirecTV for just over 14 years. Yesterday, I called DirecTV and cancelled my account. To their credit, they didn't hassle me very much, and only read off a script a few times to remind me that DirecTV is better than anyone else. Let’s perform a little back of the napkin math: $100/month for 14 years comes out to just under $17,000. I've also recommended DirecTV to a number of friends and family bringing that total much higher.
In the late 90s I had the opportunity to take a factory tour of the Porsche plant in Stuttgart Germany. I watched as engineers assembled engines by hand. The only automation I noticed was how parts were delivered to each work station by robotic carts. Our tour guide pointed out that each Porsche was built-to-order and that a number of models had long waiting lists. But it was an area near the end of the tour, just off the main assembly line that stood out to me that day. In this area were maybe a dozen or so women stitching together what looked to be large swaths of leather or canvas. Looking around the plant of such a high performance car company, this particular area felt antiquated. Another man in our tour group asked the tour guide why those women were not using commercial stitching machines.
A few months ago my car wouldn't start. I narrowed the problem down to the starter motor. After doing a little research online, I decided I could perform the repair myself. I ordered the motor and expected the replacement to take a couple of hours. If you've ever replaced a starter engine, you know that getting to the starter is often the most time consuming part of the project. It didn't take long to realize the tools I had on hand were not tailored for the job. I’m a lot more comfortable around computers than I am cars. But I figured with detailed instructions in hand, I’d have my car up and running soon. That wasn't the case.
I recently had two experiences while shopping for groceries that I want to share. I do most of the grocery shopping for our family in the evenings when the crowds are lighter and the kids are in bed. I decided to try the largest grocery store in the area. Inside is a deli, bank, pharmacy and coffee shop. This store is open 24 hours. I entered the store around 9 pm, grabbed a cart and made my way down the aisles. I was especially impressed with the bakery, but when I got to the produce area, I noticed most sections were covered with large tarps. It felt like a game of hide-and-seek trying to find the gala apples and seedless grapes, but I managed to find what I came for and headed towards the checkout stands.
On my way in to work today, I was passed by a small blue Honda Civic. It raced and weaved through traffic, sporting a bolt-on spoiler, and an exhaut pipe that made it sound more like a go-cart than a legitimate driving machine. I allowed myself my moment of sarcstic thoughts. "Really? Your Honda Civic gets around with such great velocity that you need a spoiler to keep your rear axle firmly planted??" Maybe I'm just getting old, but I looked at that vehicle and I didn't see the style and power the installer may have intended. I saw immaturity and insecurity. This driver self-identified with performance and power. He didn't have the right tool for the job, so he bolted on the parts.
Most of my career has been spent working for large companies where employee manuals fill a 3-ring binder, policies number into the hundreds and metrics are used to measure the worth and effectiveness of employees. Puget Systems hasn’t been around long enough nor have we grown so large that every issue can be solved by creating a new policy. When employees don't have dozens of policies and procedures governing how they get their work done, their actions might not always been predictable.
I've seen it happen a hundred times. I'll be having a great conversation with a customer about computer needs, what the computer is currently used for, and what it might be used for in the future – but as soon as I ask something like “What type of wireless network compatibility do you need this laptop to support?”, everything screeches to a halt. I might as well be speaking Greek.
Are your customers telling you you're doing fine? Can you trust that feedback?
As one of the sales reps here at Puget Systems, I often get questions from clients who ask “Why should I buy from Puget when Company XYZ can build me the same system for less?” It’s a fair question and one that should be asked. After all, it’s your money and it’s a lot of money, so you have to do what is best.
We field A LOT of calls here from people wanting to spec out a custom PC. Their needs range from a list of specific parts to “give me a great computer”. Here to help at Puget Systems our consultants can work with any level of experience (or maybe not-so-experienced) to come up with a great Puget System. In the marketplace of custom computers you literally have thousands of choices. I know…it makes my head hurt thinking about it too. So, to start, we have done some narrowing down of the selection to a list of the very best parts available. See, it’s going to get better. Now, you can help us spec out a great custom system for you by considering three things...
If you want to work at Puget Systems you have to be ready for things to work a bit differently than your last job. You see, here, we are obsessed about a few things and one of them is failure. Everything and everyone has every failure, ever, tracked in our database. Want to know what the failure rate is for a particular stick of RAM? We know it. Want to know how many times your favorite employee has forgotten to add the required build notes to an order? We document their every transgression. We fail things for even the most seemingly inconsequential reason, right down to the smallest scratch you might not have even noticed. Perfection matters. Every week, during our staff meetings, all of the logged failures from the previous week are listed for everyone to see and you get to share with everyone your epic fail.
Tough stuff for the Puget staff, huh?
Not really. Nobody is running around, ducking for cover, while avoiding the axe from Jon. Although that might make for an interesting game it’s not what we do all of this for…it’s for you.
“For what? My entertainment?” you might ask. Nope, for your future sanity.
Some recent news from Apple is creating a lot of talk about manufacturing technology products right here in the US. This is reflecting a move many manufacturers are making by insourcing many aspects of their production.
These companies are learning what we have known here for a long time: we are better off building and supporting the things we sell.
Most of these companies are making the decision to bring manufacturing lines back to the USA for financial reasons. Although every company has to make a profit to plow ahead I think there are some other reasons, besides the financial, that drive our decision to keep virtually all of our operations in-house. Here at Puget Systems those other reasons are also the two big drivers in our decision making process: customer experience and quality of product. No place in our business do those two values show more than in the production department. Here, the craftsmanship of PC building is taken on by a dedicated staff of technicians that leave their personal touch on every system they build.
Last week Microsoft announced sales of Windows 8 licenses have reached 40 million. They provided few details other than adding that most of those were upgrades and that Windows 8 was selling at a faster clip than Windows 7 did three years ago. Of course, this comes several weeks after Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, told a French newspaper that sales of their new Surface tablet, running Windows 8 RT, have gotten off to a “modest” start.
What does it really mean to have a 'silent PC'? Many companies these days advertise quiet computers, and some even bill theirs to be silent, but few vendors ever define what they actually mean by those terms.
Last summer I took my car to the local self-service car wash and was surprised when a man approached me as I toweled off my car. Dressed in cowboy boots and accompanying hat, he introduced himself as the new owner of the car wash.
He explained that the previous owner had provided very little in regards to whom his customers were, so he decided to spend his days meeting them face to face.
After we chatted for a few minutes, he extended his arm to shake my hand and thanked me for visiting his business. This is not something I’m accustomed to. If the vacuums aren’t clogged and there’s plenty of foaming soap on the brushes, I’m generally satisfied.
One of the services we offer here at Puget Systems, aimed at high-end gamers and enthusiasts, is overclocking. It is a practice that has been around for quite some time which involves pushing the processor in a computer beyond its rated clock speed. This can provide an additional performance boost without the need to spend more money on a faster processor, though there are some trade-offs involved: additional heat and stress above and beyond what the CPU may have been designed to handle.
It is not uncommon for our sales staff to field requests from people searching for a computer that is made in the USA. We suspect this uptick in interest originates from those looking to support American workers, especially in times of economic uncertainty. We also believe that many American shoppers are demanding a higher level of after-the-sale support that an US based company is often better positioned to deliver.
Last December, we got together at Puget Systems and talked about our industry, how we see computers evolving, and how Puget Systems can continue to grow as a leader in our industry. We mapped out an exciting long term plan, with some ambitious goals for 2011. I am happy to announce today one piece of that plan -- Puget Labs. What is that all about?
Posted on April 27, 2010 by Chris Bristol
Over the last few years, Puget Systems has made a strong effort to get more involved with our local business community. Keeping with this theme, we're proud to announce our participation in the 2010 Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Trade Show. We are both a sponsor of the event and a exhibitor. For those of you in the Seattle area, we encourage you to stop by the show and say hello. The show is May 12th and we're in booth number 225. Hope to see you there!
As a promotion for the show, the Chamber stopped by and made a quick video highlighting Puget. Enjoy!
We all seem to like our products with lots of features, especially when it comes to computers. After all, the personal computer is supposed to be the most versatile piece of electronics that you own, right? How can it be versatile without a long list of features? When it comes down to deciding what product to buy, one of the first things we do is put the features side by side, and see which gives us more capabilities for the dollar. What are we missing?
The website ResellerRatings.com has been around for a very long time, and is the de facto standard for checking out just about any online retailer in the industry. It provides a place for unbiased reviews of companies by people who have purchased in the past. However, in the last few years it has become increasingly easy to get a 9/10 score or better. Can the scores still be trusted, or has ResellerRatings.com become nothing more than a marketing platform? If so, how is that possible if the reviews cannot be affected by the companies being reviewed?
This isn't a normal thing for me to blog about, but I've had the desire recently to share more about Puget Systems behind the scenes: what makes us tick, what we value, and how we do things. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is something that we have been particularly strong at. I want to talk about the misconceptions about SEO that are out there, talk about why we are strong at it, and why I'm not worried about sharing these secrets to our competition!
Posted on December 7, 2008 by Jon Bach
We recently ran a special on all our systems, offering a free upgrade to a three year warranty. To be honest, in the current economy, I did not expect it to be terribly successful -- I thought that (at this time) price was the biggest factor, and that monetary discounts might yield better results. I was wrong! The free warranty upgrades were wildly popular, and we showed a 300% boost in sales during that time. Why do you think that is? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!
Social media has exploded in popularity over the last few years. MySpace, Facebook, Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon -- each have a huge user base, and there are hundreds of other sites just like them. With that many people collected together, anyone in advertising or marketing knows that social media is the bright new frontier for promoting their company and products. I've been approached by several marketing firms saying they hold the key to successful marketing in this space, but I've turned them all away. Why? Because I already know the secret!
Posted on March 14, 2008 by Melissa Hermanson
My job title at Puget is ‘Director of Inventory’, which is a fancy way of saying that I’m responsible for keeping track of any parts that aren’t currently inside a computer. Among other duties, I have the delightful job of arranging Return Merchandise Authorizations (RMAs) with our suppliers – just as our customers come to us for warranty support, we can go to our suppliers or the manufacturer to get defective parts replaced. It’s rewarding to see a stream of broken parts go out the door and come back in a couple weeks as shiny, functional equipment, but trying to get warranty support can also be one of the greatest hassles known to man.