I’m spending a late night at the office, going over some white papers regarding the new DIGIC 6 chip – yes, in the fucking weekend (see how hard I work?) – and decided to take a break only to end up totally fucking pissed off. I was trying to relax, just browsing around while taking sips of my cappuccino when I came across the below video interview by Michael Reichmann with Phase One CEO Henrik Hakonsson.
Now, before I get to why I got pissed off, let me first point out that I got really excited to see Reichmann publicly state how difficult it is to work with the Japanese. I mean, you guys have watched me complain on this blog for over 4 years now about dealing with the fucking morons in Japan, but now you can get confirmation from someone else in this industry who has the balls to openly state this on camera. And here’s the quote which begins at roughly the 25:00 mark:
I will tell you that in all the years that I’ve been working with the Japanese camera makers and I go to product launches or I sit in on meetings where they’re looking at future products and I’ll go “oh that doesn’t work right, what about this and this” and the American – and I’m saying this and I’m gonna get into trouble for it, but I’m going to say it anyhow - the American product manager or Canadian says “you know what, you’re right, gee I hadn’t thought of that, hadn’t seen it.” Another journalist will say “yah, I agree with Michael.” …… Nothing happens! It goes back to Japan and the feedback loop doesn’t exist. Or, it’s 2 years later when there’s a new model, even though it might have been fixed in a new firmware update. So that is, I think for me, is it a question that you’re a European company rather than an Asian company? I don’t know. Is it a cultural business ethic approach, is it even a language approach? [...] But it’s so frustrating when a manufacturer brings out a product and doesn’t respond to the feedback.
Michael, on behalf of the entire goddamn executive team here at Canon USA, I salute you! Thank you for this. This is so fucking true man, and it’s frustrating as hell. I’ve gotten into intensive care because of these people more times than I care to remember. Major blood pressure issues and almost lost my health insurance too. I will say that we did make some progress since 2011 which shows in the 1DX, the 5D Mark III and the new flash system. It’s amazing what a carefully crafted petition and a large amount of threats of violence directed at Japanese executives can do. And while Canon Inc. improved and started listening, things got worse at Nikon and they’re feeling the consequences of that right now.
Dealing with Japan remains a tough challenge to be sure. If you guys want an idea of how tough communications can get with the Japanese, just listen to the conference call below.
Now why did I get pissed off? Well it’s because of Mr. Henrik Hakonsson referring to Canon Inc. as a “Toyota factory” in his Ahnold accent. Actually the exact quote at roughly the 37:15 mark is:
That’s the medium format environment, and then there’s a couple of big Toyota factories just behind us, you know, which we also take very seriously.
You guys know that I often like to make jokes about Canon Inc. Honestly, who doesn’t enjoy a good Canon Inc. bashing? But when it’s done by the competition, forgive me for this, but then it’s not funny. In fact, not only is it not funny, but it fucking pisses me off. Who the fuck does this Hakonsson guy think he is?? I just sent an email to Mitarai with a link to this video and told him he needs to respond to this pronto. The last thing we need right now is a Phase One CEO openly making fun of us in public. It’s a good thing he also admits taking us very seriously though. Cuz lemme tell ya Hakonsson, you guys are fucking going down in 2014! You’ll hear more about this in a few months. That’s all I’m gonna say right now. Enjoy making fun of the Toyota factory now while you still can. Your ass is grass Hakonsson; your ass is fucking grass.