Friday, June 06, 2008

When Companies Ignore Users, Or, Why Your Science Equipment Sucks

The phone rang. It was the BD rep. 'Hi! Our local sales person said you have some feedback on our petri dishes,' she said.

'Well,' I said, 'we kind of hate them. I heard they were redesigned. In any case, we got a new box. And now our plates have furry things all over them. '

'We've gotten a lot of complaints lately; I guess they dry out too,' she said.

'Our tech never had trouble before,' I explained. 'She's been doing it for ten years now. Nothing else changed.'

'I'm sure you're right. They're doing a redesign. Actually they're changing it back to how they used to be.'

'Somehow, I'm not surprised,' I said.

So here's your PSA: BD Falcon petri dishes 351029. Don't use them, because they now suck. I am told that sometime in October they will be better again.

Here's the thing, though: they were perfectly good like they were! Why did the company change them? Apparently they thought more ventilation would be good. For your anaerobic bacteria and whatnot. Hey, company design people: we have plates like that. They're called CELL CULTURE DISHES.

This, my friends, is why equipment sucks: it appears to be designed by people who never will use it and never have. I see a niche market! Anyone want to start a consulting company with me? Wealth, power, and fame could be ours!