X10: “Honestly, we don’t give a shit about branding”

It starts off like any other job interview for a world-class marketing position. Your interviewer is the typical executive of a suburban Seattle gadget company: like most corporate movers-and-shakers, he is wearing workout sweats and a wife-beater at the office, and has a strange habit of kissing his flexed biceps between sentences. His first question to you, as translated by a colleague: “Would you be willing to completely bastardize everything you ever believed about design to work here?”

Welcome to a job interview at X10.You may know X10 for their line of tiny, wireless, remote-controlled cameras, perfect for installing beneath the lip of the bowl of a ladies room toilet. But if you were on the Internet in the early part of the decade, you more likely remember X10 for filling your screen with thousands of obnoxious, pop-under advertisements… incidentally, pop-under ads generated with code they stole from three teenagers.

So what’s an interview at X10 like? According to the From the Mind of J weblog — the identity of the company is confirmed in the comments — it’s everything you’d expect. The highlights:

As a company, X10 describes itself as “sort of the Safeway, Wal-Mart low-end range type company that works with volume rather than top of the line quality.”

When asked if a subtler, more respectful approach to marketing would foster more loyalty from their customers, X10’s response: “Honestly, we don’t give a shit about branding.”

About the company aesthetic, an X10 executive notes that, while at first, he didn’t really like the company’s official website, “now whenever he looks at a [properly designed] website, he finds himself thinking “They really need some flashing text there.”

And finally, who buys cameras from X10? “Men from around age 30-40 with a little extra money who like buying gadgets and aren’t too concerned if it doesn’t work too well.”

Awesome. X10 may have just summarized in one snappy sentence the secret contempt of an entire industry for its customers.

Wow. Just wow. (Guess the company) [From The Mind of J]

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2 Responses to X10: “Honestly, we don’t give a shit about branding”

  1. Chris Furniss says:

    X10 is a miserable company. A few years ago, one of their recruiters called me up and wanted me to come in for an interview. They had seen my various websites and liked the fact that I did cartooning and podcasting and what have you. I went in and the president wanted to give me a job where I would come up with a social media website for X10 users, with podcasts and cartoons and all sorts of stuff, ribbing lightly on X10’s products. One look at their website and you can see that they just don’t give a shit. I rejected their offer. Later I found out that the president was booted two weeks after my interview. He was super shady and never above board with answers. He made sure to point out, though, that X10 wouldn’t ever go away because of a few big Chinese investors. So, job security!

  2. dculberson says:

    Yes, x10 products are utter, utter crap. I spent a few hundred bucks with them years ago and wish I hadn’t.. most of the stuff sits in drawers in the basement. I think they’re one reason why I don’t have much interest in having a bunch of fidgety gadgets around, preferring instead to have just a few well researched and actually functional ones.

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