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First Texas To Release 5 New Machines Over The Next 4 Years

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Rumors have been circulating for years that First Texas was to release new flagships, but year after year, nothing has surfaced and many began to lose faith that these new machines would come to market. Machines were only continually rebranded, slightly altered, often highly discounted, and employees were let go. Rumors began running in the forums that First Texas might be on its way out. This was far from the truth however. What was really happening behind the scenes is this company was busy hiring new talent and moving into a new state of the art facility with every intention of competing at the highest level. And now it looks like we may  soon start to see it bear fruit. These interesting exchanges occurred on Facebook 

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Sounds like we've got a lot to look forward to from the crew at First Texas, and I'm rooting for them to give Minelab a run for their money. If anyone is poised to do so, it's First Texas. 

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Smoke and mirrors.....what would be a huge game changer is if First Texas was a bit more forthcoming and transparent with their customers.  I was a FT fanboy for years, the CZ series was great in their day, the F75 family was pretty good, but going on 20 years and 10 years old, respectively, their long in the tooth now, and there are far better machines these days.   I hope FTP all the best, but I stopped holding my breath and listening to the rumor mill claiming they were on the verge of releasing a game changer years ago.   

IMHO with machines like the Makro Racers, Makro Multi Kruzer, Nokta Impact, XP Dues, and the Minelab Equinox, First Texas has a LOT of catching up to do, so it best be an epically ginormous game changer at that :wink:

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13 hours ago, Cal_Cobra said:

Smoke and mirrors.....what would be a huge game changer is if First Texas was a bit more forthcoming and transparent with their customers.

What would that look like?

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I can't completely speak for Cal, but It sounds to me like frustration that what was once his favorite manufacturer has now fallen behind, with no concrete details about what's going on. I've felt it too as I watch the gap between FT and others widen, that "c'mon guys, what are you doing?" Feeling you get akin to when you're watching a sport. I've often wondered if the secrecy we've seen with companies like First Texas, Whites etc is as necessary as they feel it is, or whether giving loyalists enough information to hold onto would outweigh the benefit of the secrecy. Many brand loyal guys are willing to be pretty patient if they know something competitive or superior is fairly imminent, but give up hope and jump ship in the absence of anything concrete. Sometimes it's hard to get those guys back. But I understand the other side of it too and how the competition can use information to tie up patents etc., and so giving up too much can hurt a project. From my perspective I'd probably like to hear something candid about the obstacles they've faced that has had them running over their desired release targets, and has often given guys like cal the impression they are crying wolf or holding an empty hand with a poker face. But I have faith that the talent and resources are there and eventually it will all come together.

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There are several problems with releasing early information on projects. One is that it gives competitors a heads-up and allows them to react quicker, maybe even preempt our efforts. Second, it can bring sales to a dead stop if people decide to wait for the Next Big Thing. Yes, it can freeze competitor sales as well, which might outweigh the negatives. Third, sometimes things just don't work out the way we planned, and those early sneak peeks come back to bite us hard. If, ferinstance, you're still waiting on a CZX or a Mosca, well, my point exactly.

FTP has a lot of stuff going on. I think it will be really good stuff and may even get us out in front for a change. But things don't move at a lightning pace at FTP, nor are things highly predictable. I thought the new PI machine would be getting released this Spring, which is partly why information on it got leaked. Not Spring. And since I can't predict exactly when it will be ready, I won't even try.

The "5 new machines over the next 4 years" should rightfully elicit a chorus of yawns from everyone here. I don't even know why Marketing says stuff like that. The reality is, if all we can muster is 5 new machines over the next 4 years, then I probably should be fired. Expect more, and demand more. But don't expect a 5-year roadmap.

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8 hours ago, Geotech said:

What would that look like?

Look at this, Carl calling me to the carpet:biggrin:  Kidding, and actually Carl I'm pleased that you asked.  First I know you've only been there a short while (well according to Linkedin, 3 yrs 10mos), so their current state of affairs isn't your doing.  

That said, for starters a less ambiguous statement then "huge game changer" that carries zero substance without context.  As Steve H. pointed out, that's the same blurb that's been used for the past 5 years or so.  Sharing anything about future plans would be 100% more the what FTP has shared with us in the past.  I have no doubt that FTP is working on something, nobody invests money to build a new state of the art facility for not.  

We just witnessed a "huge game changer" release, and Minelab wasn't making claims four years ago that their deathstar was almost operational.  Nobodies asking FTP to release their source code, secret sauce, or any proprietary information, but the silence has been deafening.  How about product road map?  It doesn't have to be a five or ten year road map, start with something within grasp, like two.  Again, something is better then nothing, which is exactly what's been delivered basically since the F75 was released (not counting all the mid to lower end machines that've effectively been derivatives of other models). 

No offense, but IMO saying "One is that it gives competitors a heads-up and allows them to react quicker, maybe even preempt our efforts." that's a cop-out.  I've been working in Silicon Valley as an engineer for the past 20 years, and been involved in many large product projects from inception to release (think six digit data center & core switches), and all of the projects have one thing in common....customers.   Nobody is releasing the PRD's and functional specs to the customers, but sharing a basic road map is a good place to start.   I hate to see the American detector industry following suite of the American auto industry, and although I doubt FTP will be on Capitol Hill with their hand out any time soon, as I'm sure they sell plenty of machines to afford that shiny new facility, yet you can only sell a K Car for so long, at some point, people are looking to you for a Viper , but instead we get minivans.

Carl I realize your not the CEO of FTP, but right now, simply put, the overseas vendors are running circles around FTP.

OK, we now return to your regularly scheduled programming :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Geotech said:

What would that look like?

You just did it Carl. I know it is marketing’s job, not yours, but the fact is an interaction like you just initiated is in my opinion the number one thing FT or any manufacturer can do to break the bubble. One company that came out of nowhere is still probably being ignored by U.S. manufacturers because of their current small market share. However they are steadily stealing away customers and building a reputation for caring about and directly engaging their customers. It is the closest thing to interactive detector design I have seen. A certain Australian company was similarly ignored once. I digress however. The main point being, just seeing you here this morning makes an impression. Even if you relay little genuine information, it does show you care. You took your time to engage.

Except as much as you are a really great guy, and I love discussing things directly with engineers... you should be locked in the lab. I would suggest what you just did is the job marketing is not doing very well if at all.

Thanks for taking the time Carl. It really does make an impression. I for one am waiting patiently on the PI. If it matches or exceeds the ATX for performance but weighs less, I would be quite pleased. Right now ergonomics is starting to matter to me more than anything else.

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Cal:

I spent 21 years at Analog Devices & Maxim doing chip design. Our road maps were highly confidential, shared only with key customers under NDA. Most competitive new product development is done that way, whether chips or cars or metal detectors. As you point out, Minelab gave no hint of what they were working on until a few months prior to release, except to key people.

When I was at White's I used to be a bit more liberal with development information, partly because there was no Marketing Dept to keep me in check, but also because it was some pretty exciting stuff. None of that exciting stuff ever made it to market, and it wasn't because it didn't work, but rather other factors. Maybe it will some day.

At FTP I tend to keep a lot quieter about what we're doing, not because I'm not just as excited -- I am -- but because I don't want to make grandiose claims that may not live up to the hype. (Plus, Marketing has a big club, and it hurts.) Hell, I'm even pretty quiet within the company, not even telling the boss (and especially not Marketing!) what I'm working on. My preference is to get it working first, then I can make promises I know I can deliver.

Steve:

25 years ago Minelab was dismissed as a nobody. 10 years ago XP was dismissed as a nobody. Today, I hear the same kind of talk about other New Kids, and I wag my finger at the naysayers. Never dismiss anyone, it's arrogant.

But you're right, my job is simple: get a new product out. To that end, I have largely locked myself in the lab, and I'm finally making good progress. The pinpointer was unfortunate diversion that's now (mostly) over, and I still have other diversions and commitments, but the Main Event is high priority and making progress. Beyond that, I got nothin' to say until I got something to show.

--Carl

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