One of the things we did about a year and a half ago was an "Innovation census" for the oscilloscope software space. It was done by a guy who worked for, I believe, 18 years in one of the scope company's real-time scope division. I gave him 30 days to identify "the things that constitute the reason customers buy scope software". I was looking for features like, say, cycle-cycle jitter analysis (easy victory, since I have the patents) and compliance tests, etc. I further instructed him that I wanted to know who introduced that feature to the scope software market first, second, third, etc... Some of you have seen it in higher level discussions between our companies. It showed 76 product elements, of which 72 were done first at ASA. I have absolutely no qualms with asserting that ASA is "the imagination of the scope industry" because I have the data.
That thought exercise revealed ASA was the first in some very important areas... jitter analysis, interpreting a signal as serial data, real-time eye diagrams, compliance tests (we used to call them Application Specific Measurements or ASM's), true diff thresholding... and on and on and on. I got thinking about all of this again because a customer recently asked me a question after I gave a presentation to them. "How can a TINY company like yours possibly have so much in your product, let alone almost always have done it FIRST?". And the answer was simple... I don't ask mobs of people what should be in my product. *I* work on product design all day, every day and it's a long-held truth in the world of product design that was first driven home to me in the Advanced VAX Development Group back at DEC.... a single inspired point of view will always out-innovate a group "just doing it for a pay check", and produce vastly more elegant designs. While I wish it weren't true, I'm working on content and direction in my car, for hours when I'm doing pattern drills on my police motorcycles in some parking lot at 2am, and when I'm at the movies or out sailing... but it shows in the product.
If you want uninspired product content made by a room full of uninspired but well-paid "coders" because some talking haircut in their marketing group had an "epiphany" during a focus group... DO NOT BUY M1. If you want something from a guy who wakes up every morning thinking about how much more elegant and useful to YOU he can make his product... who employs technologies (neural nets to cal error out, knowledge capture and reuse, non-cooperative game theory) ScopeCo won't dare go near under their "just enough engineering" policies... your only choice IS M1. I don't ask "the mob" what should be in my product or what product architecture I should have. And that shows in the innovation too.
I think I'll update that innovation census and turn it into a white paper so you can see just what our track record is here. Take care.