I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Garmin gets swallowed up in the Tsunami of social networks

Last week I had to deal with some disappointing news, not job related, or personal, no illness in the family, nothing like that at all.  There are a number of workout products which Garmin sells that I like.  I own and Edge 605 and a Forerunner 405.  My first Garmin product was a bicycle computer which fit my needs at the time.  When I purchased it I also their Garmin Training Center.  A few years ago, when I bought the Edge, I saw they had added something onto the Garmin Training Center - a little thing they called Garmin Connect.  This was, basically, a social network for Garmin Users; you could upload your data for others to see, and create contacts, or friends who also use Garmin products.  I had no need for that.  I had no need for that.  My main interest was in tracking my own data: total time, total miles.  There was GPS so I could see hills, how fast I went up them, what effect they had on my heart rate. This is what I wanted.

Back on January 3, 2013, I put in some time on my Sole 95 (Elliptical).  When I went to upload my data in to my Garmin Training Center nothing happened.  I use a USB hub, so it didn't really concern me.  Occasionally that happens.  Two days later I did another Sole workout and again there was no upload.  I checked the Garmin ANT Agent and all of my data was there, it just wasn't uploading.  After spending quite a bit of time troubleshooting, I sent an email to the Garmin Help Desk.  This is the response I received:

Garmin Training Center for both PC and Mac, has been discontinued.
Garmin is moving forward with Garmin Connect, and no longer releasingupdates or support for Training Center.  You can still upload activitiesto Training Center.  However, due to it not being updated, other programs like the ANT Agent, will not directly communicate with it.  Inorder to get information to show in Training Center, please manuallyupload the activities to it.  I apologize for any inconvenience this maycause.  If you have any further questions, please contact us.

The first word out of my mouth was, as you might suspect, "shit."

An untimely death

Then I wondered why it is everybody needs to create social network?  And of course, working in retail and prior to that in business accounting, I knew the answer: marketing.  You don't have to be a bonehead to put two and two together, or I should say thousands and thousands.  If you sell a product, and you get a large number of people gathered in a network around that product, you have a ready market for any type of upgrade or new product.  And it isn't just Garmin, it's everybody.  Every car manufacturer does it.

Most people don't even understand we are being inundated by a tsunami of social networks.  I'm a member of LinkedIn.  I recently sent a connect to my Behr Paint  rep.  When I talked to him later he said "everybody I know joined, we use it as a social network."  Isn't this contrary to how LinkedIn promotes itself?  I have the basic service, but if I want to, I can "upgrade," for a fee.  Isn't that horse shit?  Talk about putting free money in the bank.  They all seem to be doing it.  Map My Fitness, you have your basic, bare bones service, but you can "upgrade" which gives you more benefits, including Chat.  They are always reminding you there is strength in numbers, so if you want to chow down on a couple of mini-snickers you can always go online and find some bozo who's going to counsel you into not eating them.  A lot of people sign up for these services because they feel they are necessary.  Do they work?  For the vast majority of people I'd have to say "hell no."  Sure, some may say they are beneficial, but I'm a skeptic and think too many people are paying for nothing.

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