"Constructive Criticism" and the Destruction of New Startups

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by aerochristian, Feb 2, 2016.

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  1. Feb 2, 2016 #1

    aerochristian

    aerochristian

    aerochristian

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    So what's the deal on this site? Its has members that love anything homebuilt. It has moderators. It has a strict anti-attack clause.


    Yet everytime a new startup or claim comes along, the "constructive criticism" goes through the roof and is sometimes left unchecked. You're forced to fight, run or fall in line and say yes sir. If you run, you get mocked for "taking your ball and going home." If you stay and fight, let's face it the numbers are not on your side and you will get destroyed.


    The rich turbine guy, fly nano, jet black machining, icon aircraft, raptor aircraft, synergy aircraft, and lately Risen. And those are just off the top of my head.


    Why is there such anti startup sentiment on this forum and the constant need to criticize someones decisions whether it be design ideas, business plan or intentions/integrity?


    The turbine guy was bringing the wrong aircraft to market. Fly nano was a joke. Jet black was gonna put his cnc out of business. Icon was too much marketing and too high a price. Raptor is doing it all backwards. Synergy is both a quack and doing it all wrong. And finally Risen is dumb for a v-tail and overpriced.


    And all the negative talk is always followed with "well they asked for it", "better get a thick skin", "I just call like I see it", and "welcome to the internet" lines.


    Is that really what you want to be known for? You want to be the "told yah so" guys? Or worse yet, you want to blame the "internet", like its some kind of out of control force. Each and everyone of you is a human being just like the guys you're degrading. Obviously the blue glow of the computer and a catchy screen name offers just enough anonymity for some to show their worst.


    By now, everyone knows that outrageous claims and flashy shapes get press. And press gets interest, and interest opens the door to better financial possibilities.


    Its weird that all everyone wants to talk about on here is wacky designs until someone tries to actually build and sell one. Then all you want is boring, uninspired, unemotional, everyday machines that can be easily proven, "made for the common working man" at $20,000, all sold by a stable, humble, old man.


    And that's another thing I don't understand. Isn't selling a $20,000 toy to a guy with $2000 in his bank account just as disingenuous as selling a $400,000 toy to a guy that drives a Ferrari?


    I myself don't agree with most of what these companies are doing and sometimes cringe on how they are doing it, but I for one, love the fact that they got skin in the game and are generating buzz.


    You have 14,000 members and an untold number of non-member visitors (the general public) Out of those members, only 1-2% actually contribute to the conversation and drive the discussion. Don't you see it as your duty to not be the ones bashing the latest planes and companies that the general public sees in magazines, shows, news and internet? Don't aviator businessmen have enough struggles in the publics eye, only to be slammed, I mean "constructively criticized", by their homebase?

    Sincerely,
    Chris Christiansen
     
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  2. Feb 3, 2016 #2

    Topaz

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    First off, there isn't an "anti-startup" sentiment on this forum. I've been here over ten years, and my impression is that people here are very supportive of new entrants to the field of sport aviation.

    However...

    We also get a lot of people here who have spent little or no time learning to design airplanes, or actually have and then gotten themselves out on a limb with a pet theory, and come to the group with an idea that is contradicted either by theory or long experience of other inventors having tried the same thing, or something very similar. And then they ask the group, "What do you think?"

    And we tell them.

    A few take constructive criticism for what it is, and buckle down to learn. Eventually - and I've seen this happen more than once and consider myself to be a working example - they learn enough to design something really viable, or at least possible. (The real-world jury is still out on the viability of my design skills, but one can hope.)

    A few get in a huff and storm out. Which says that they weren't actually looking for a constructive critique of their concepts, but rather wanted a rubber-stamp approval of their dream-child, regardless of physics or other forms of reality. There are plenty of forums out there that can provide this service - Concept Ships comes to mind - but we're not one of them.

    And a few get in a huff and then take it out on us. They asked us for an opinion, knowing full-well that they don't really know what they're talking about, and we gave them exactly what they asked for. How they twist that into it being our fault, I don't know. But this tactic really doesn't end well.

    There is one particular scenario that never plays out well here: Someone comes on with a "revolutionary" idea, but won't present enough details to allow anyone to evaluate their claims, citing "proprietary" knowledge or impending intellectual property protections. And yet, they claim their idea is the Best Idea Ever, even if it seemingly contradicts proven practice, known history of "what's possible", or even basic physics. They let dribble little hints here or there, but never come clean with any real information or data. We've had some prominent examples of this over the years; some recently. If you're not willing to disclose enough information to allow people to make a valid judgement, don't ask for opinions or expect accolades. You'll get neither, and quite properly, IMHO. Better, in that case, to say nothing and surprise the world with your fait accompli, than to expect people to take your word on mere faith.

    Aircraft design and aircraft building are deep and complex disciplines. HBA is the most welcoming and constructive place I've found for people who really want to learn those disciplines. I came here and remained here because I really believe that. But people who are looking for a rubber-stamp or aren't really willing to learn what it takes to design or build a real-world airplane? They're not going to find what they want here.

    Now, all that said, yes, aviation is probably one of the most conservative fields of endeavor there is (given the current status of the election cycle, I mean this philosophically, not politically). Over history, the pilot and engineering population have stridently and angrily resisted things like enclosed cockpits, flaps, metal airplanes, instrument flying, fly-by-wire, composite airplanes, flat-panel instrument displays, and so on. It's incredibly hard to get the pilot and engineering community to accept new ideas. That's a fact of life.

    But the difference between these situations that I've just listed and what you're talking about is that the new ideas were proven with genuine research, prototypes, and real-world testing, not just some guy coming onto the forum and saying, "I've got the best idea in the world! Don't you guys think it's great?" If someone were to come here with an outlandish idea, but had research and testing to back up their claims and was willing to release enough of it for qualified people to form a valid judgement, I think you'd find them being well-received. Of course there would still be skeptics, but there always will be such.

    The one area where I think you have a genuine point that I think we should all heed is that, presuming the guy-with-idea is willing to listen at all, we are sometimes too harsh, IMHO, and tend to dog-pile a bit. That's unfortunate, and I agree that we could be better about being more constructive in our criticism in some cases. But if the person isn't willing to listen to any criticism at all, and is clearly so in love with their pet idea that they're beyond reason on the topic, I can't really say that there's much we can do about it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  3. Feb 3, 2016 #3

    BJC

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    Chris:

    How about an update on the Paradox?


    BJC
     
  4. Feb 3, 2016 #4

    BoKu

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    Touchy-feely unicorns-farting-rainbows unconditional approval is the universally accepted response to a child's drawing or essay or JavaScript snippet or participation award. You give them an A for effort and find the most praiseworthy aspect of their achievement to admire.

    But when an adult presents an idea identical to one tried and found unpromising, or which requires contravention of the known laws of physics, or which could be tested and explored more cost-effectively on paper or in miniature, I think that the best bet is to treat them like an adult. With compassion, of course, but also with honesty. You assume that they are not children playing with inconsequentials; that they are grown-ups proposing to wager grown-up portions of time and money on an idea.

    Thanks, Bob K.
     
  5. Feb 3, 2016 #5

    bmcj

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    To reinforce what Topaz is saying in this paragraph with a couple of examples, we were all skeptical of Malish with his ducted fan design or Cooolwyp with his wingboard concept. We expressed legitimate engineering or safety concerns quite vocally, but both have presented us with a working craft or flight tested model. We still offer constructive critique at times, but we are all also very accepting and supportive of these projects.

    Another example would be a young man, Holtzy, that had starry-eyed dreams of building fighter replicas to learn to fly in. We were a bit brutal (necessarily so) in our admonitions on how he should approach his desire to fly with lessons first, then tackle a build once he understood more. Holtzy is now on his way with his license and working on other ratings. He has had a great many opportunities offered to him having taken this new course in life. I am certain that Holtzy will confirm that our vocal guidance has served him well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  6. Feb 3, 2016 #6

    Pops

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    Truth is such a rare commodity in today's society that we don't know how to react to it at times. I'm sure some of the truth that has been dished out at times in this forum had saved lives.

    Dan
     
  7. Feb 3, 2016 #7

    aerochristian

    aerochristian

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    Its unfortunate that my statement about not bashing peoples ideas is equated to the above phrase. Apparently, we have fundamentally different views of whats appropriate and what's not.

    For example, read through the Synergy threads again and you'll see the the type of "constructive criticism" i'm talking about. Hardly life saving truths and compassionate honesty.

    Chris
     
  8. Feb 3, 2016 #8

    SVSUSteve

    SVSUSteve

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    Not to mention lives and additional bad publicity for GA if they actually get to flying something.
     
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  9. Feb 3, 2016 #9

    aerochristian

    aerochristian

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    Don't you guys ever wonder why there's no greats or heads of the industry commenting or contributing on here?

    Chris
     
  10. Feb 3, 2016 #10

    SVSUSteve

    SVSUSteve

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    If you want someone to blow smoke up your ass, go to your local fetish club.

    And there in lies the heart of this matter. If you want to function in business or science, you develop thicker skin and abandon any sense of entitlement or "I deserve a trophy and a juice box for showing up!".
     
  11. Feb 3, 2016 #11

    SVSUSteve

    SVSUSteve

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    RETRACTED IN THE NAME OF CIVILITY
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  12. Feb 3, 2016 #12

    SVSUSteve

    SVSUSteve

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    Actually, we did have one but cancer took him from us. As for why people like Rutan, Heintz, etc aren't on here cheering us on....go on your average small business forum and ask why you don't see CEOs of Fortune 500 companies aren't on there mentoring people.
     
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  13. Feb 3, 2016 #13

    don january

    don january

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    I find every member and visitor here is a "head"-Great" in the industry of what they build and fly. I read your OP three time's before I chimmed in and I get the feeling your upset about some thing that you failed to lay out in the opening post! I must ask, what have you contributed to the aviation market and this forum alone?? Wy so bitter? IMO . Don
     
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  14. Feb 3, 2016 #14

    Dan Thomas

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    Especially so for E-AB. The numbers are bad enough now.
     
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  15. Feb 3, 2016 #15

    aerochristian

    aerochristian

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    Pretty simple. I hate to read through the posts and see hard working guys like John, Alberto at Risen, Pete at Raptor and all the others take such a beating.

    Chris
     
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  16. Feb 3, 2016 #16

    SVSUSteve

    SVSUSteve

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    Two related questions before we go any further because they are critical in understanding how you are framing what you see as a "beating":
    How old are you?
    What's your educational/work background?
     
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  17. Feb 3, 2016 #17

    rv6ejguy

    rv6ejguy

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    Design it, Build it, Fly it, Prove it. Otherwise, best to keep quiet about how it's going to revolutionize the aircraft world before it's even flown.

    The business plan was clearly unworkable here, going down the same path as hundreds of other non-starters. You'd think that someone so clever to design a revolutionary aircraft would have enough common sense and math skills to figure that out, but evidently not as we've seen it many, many times before. Business 101 would be a good course to take before aerodynamics 101.

    Prove the basic theory as cheaply and quickly as possible before refinement and start generating cash flow as soon as you can. Break these simple rules in the aircraft world and you have a very high probability of failure.
     
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  18. Feb 3, 2016 #18

    BoKu

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    I think you might be correct. The marketplace of ideas within which I was raised questioned everything from physics to morality, and demanded questioning in return. Only the ideas that survived such treatment have proved worthy of pursuit.

    You are, of course, entirely welcome to participate and contribute in the way that makes you the most comfortable.

    Brutality in the marketplace of ideas is a heck of a lot more compassionate than brutality in the marketplaces of physics and economics.

    Thanks, Bob K.
     
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  19. Feb 3, 2016 #19

    D Hillberg

    D Hillberg

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    My contribution is this design. lets see yours!
     

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  20. Feb 3, 2016 #20

    mcrae0104

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    Nope. I don't like presenting my work to people who are armchair experts in my field either. Don't blame 'em a bit.
     
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