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Even the good get BADD in an ugly way

Sood Sayer Arrogant dragons will have cause to repent
Thu Feb 15 2007, 09:18
OVER THE YEARS the INQUIRER has become a key source of information for me - and many of my colleagues. No matter what anyone in the industry tells you - we all read it and though some may not admit it - it's a homepage or top bookmark for many industry executives.

That said, I presented an opportunity to Mike Magee where I would write articles for the Inquirer, linked to my blog, in exchange for a charitable donation for Autism. He thought it was a grand idea (at least I think he did?) and here I am now.

So with that, I wanted to start my first official article on BADD, or Blind Arrogance Developmental Disorder.

Every now and then we witness people in powerful positions somehow affected by a virus which causes "Blind Arrogance Developmental Disorder" (BADD) -- anyone have a better acronym?.

When a company, country, or team is led by someone affected with BADD they usually end up turning a corner they wish they never had. There are many examples of BADD in our industry and they almost always end up with unfavorable, sometimes devestating results.

Rahul-soodTake Nvidia, for example. Many years ago people thought it was unstoppable, its products were excellent, ATI was way behind, and they didn't expect a change to come. BADD hit, and ATI just skated by. I'm talking way back when the Radeon was introduced. It most definitely wasn't ATI's ability to execute better than Nvidia that put it in the lead; it was Nvidia's own BADD that caused that to happen. Since the failure of the 5800 (way back when), legend had it that Jen-Hsun Huang had a major internal meeting with his team where he openly recognised the company failures and humbly stated "never again…"

Remember when Intel was in a similar position? Intel thought AMD would never break the mainstream - in fact, Intel never even mentioned the “A” word ever, it was as if it never existed. BADD set in and ultimately AMD beat Intel out of a few major contracts.

During the lengthy beating of Intel I can only assume that the engineers at AMD truly felt that they were well ahead of the game. Judging by current events one might assume that some sort of BADD set in somewhere at AMD because it entered this new war unprepared.

A few years ago a mild form of BADD hit Voodoo. We assumed only a few competitors in our space would remain. We were under the assumption that Voodoo would grow with few challenges. It seemed that out of nowhere, new companies began coming out of the woodwork. Many were just little guys with big hearts - although some of them did not possess gaming DNA. Then larger OEMs jumped in and validated the space. Thankfully we didn't stay blind for too long, and now we're in a fantastic position.

In February of 2005 Kevin Rollins was quoted as saying something to the effect of "The iPod is little more than a fad". Months later I had a conversation with Michael Dell, who happens to be incredibly intelligent; yet he commented that Apple was spending as much on R&D as Dell, therefore "Dell was more profitable". I'm no numbers guy, but I certainly don't need to tell you what Apple's valuation is - and at the time I don't believe it perceived Apple as a major threat. I guess even the smartest people in the world get BADD.

Have a dekko also at my methodology for calculating BADD - the BADD 40 Scale. µ


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