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MultiThom

Arrogance and Boat Design; does one cause the other?

38 posts in this topic

Or vice versa.  There does seem to be a correlation at least in my experience.

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As a general rule -I think low achievers are much more inclined to criticize those who achieve and are always striving to do better,

This may be simply because Idle people have the most time to find something to complain about. 

I think when it comes to boat designers, a boat design is a  huge personal investment and they just get sick of being bagged out by couch potatoes. Others may see this as arrogance but in reality they have put everything they had into the design and little energy left to massage the egos of the idle.

The more they have personally invested into the design the less inclined they are going to welcome people changing it as 90% will just create something they would not want their name on. The average observer wont know the boat was not built as designed and  blame the designer and this affects their reputation. 

That is just my observation.

Is that arrogance?  

 

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17 minutes ago, BlackjackF85 said:

The more they have personally invested into the design the less inclined they are going to welcome people changing it as 90% will just create something they would not want their name on. The average observer wont know the boat was not built as designed and  blame the designer and this affects their reputation. 

That is just my observation.

Is that arrogance?  

 

I dunno, you tell me...definition of arrogance is an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes by way of believing you are better, smarter...

It doesn't seem to be related to the designs themselves.  At least one naval architect/designer I know is arrogant yet half his designs were failures measured by market share.  I am just wondering aloud if the job creates the arrogance or if whether you have to be arrogant to have that as an occupation.

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I think designers don't think they are better or smarter any more than anyone else, just they have put much more time working on aspects of the design than anyone who may challenge them.  Just think if you spend 100 hours to get a solution balancing all the variables (knowing any design is just a series of compromises) and someone looks at if for 5 mins and says they have a better idea.  What is the chance of them being right?  Please note that this is no excuse to be insulting.

If you have a friend who designs boats and is arrogant my guess is he would be arrogant if he wasn't a boat designer.  The underlying cause of his arrogance is probably something else.

I don't think market share is a proper way of judging a design. There are many reasons for not achieving market share other than the design.

How well the design meets its objectives is the only way to judge a design in my view. Now if it does that well and is marketed well and someone puts money  behind it to get it off the ground only then does it have a chance to achieve market share. Of course there also has to be a need in the market for it,  as the brief given to the designer may be for  boat that only suits the client and very few other people. If the designer came up with the brief and he can't read the market,his design could still be very good and his understanding of the market is bad. 

 

Nothing is simple.

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12 minutes ago, BlackjackF85 said:

I think designers don't think they are better or smarter any more than anyone else,

 

That hasn't been my experience which is what prompted my query.   Perhaps you have a point, though, since I may be misinterpreting defensiveness as arrogance, but I don't think so.   Hard to tell, though, whether a person is being defensive and not being willing to hear others' opinions or whether a person is being arrogant and just doesn't care for anyone else' opinion.

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4 minutes ago, MultiThom said:

Hard to tell, though, whether a person is being defensive and not being willing to hear others' opinions or whether a person is being arrogant and just doesn't care for anyone else' opinion.

No doubt arrogant people are in all walks of life, even boat design. I have not had the same experience as you but I have also not dealt with the same designer.

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Boat designers and builders who have to deal with the recreational market should be awarded services to humanity medals for the amount of fuckwits they don't kill on a daily basis. 

I have worked in boat building and repair and the repair was torture having to deal with owners, never again. 

Boat designers arrogant ? Try dealing with owners !

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3 hours ago, MultiThom said:

Or vice versa.  There does seem to be a correlation at least in my experience.

Take look at Brent Swain and origami boats. 

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I think you'll mainly find boat design makes people more attractive, a bit like chicks who play bass guitar.

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1 hour ago, SCARECROW said:

I think you'll mainly find boat design makes people more attractive, a bit like chicks who play bass guitar.

Is this what you mean...

 

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As we all know, if you're going to design and market a boat then that design is going to be questioned by every buyer. The requests for changes will probably include:

  1. Changes that are reasonable and consistent with your design objective
  2. Changes that are reasonable but conflict with your design objective. This will include changes that are beyond the cost limits imposed on the designer and changes that are hard to manufacture but would ultimately produce a better boat.
  3. Changes that would impair the abilities of the boat or reduce safety
  4. Changes that are fundamentally inconsistent with the design brief of the boat

If you get into the business of building boats, which may be a significant investment for your prospective customers, it seems to me that you should expect change requests. I know many people who have invested countless hours assessing and comparing alternatives on the market to try and get as close as they can to their 'ideal' boat. I also know people who have been offended by how their requests were dealt with by the manufacturers.

My view on this is that if you are unwilling to consider changes, then be upfront about it, like Amel. People can accept and respect that approach. If you are going to entertain change requests then you need to be prepared to explain to the prospective customer why you won't accept a change request, even a stupid one, otherwise your response could easily come across as arrogance and being simply dismissive. Finally, if you really want to be customer centric, then incorporate the good ideas you missed when you designed the boat into version 2 at some stage and give your customers credit for helping you to build a better product.

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5 hours ago, Redreuben said:

Boat designers and builders who have to deal with the recreational market should be awarded services to humanity medals for the amount of fuckwits they don't kill on a daily basis. 

I have worked in boat building and repair and the repair was torture having to deal with owners, never again. 

Boat designers arrogant ? Try dealing with owners !

I swear some-day I will just fucking snap when I hear one of the Jerry's (typical boat owners) say this... (And I'm not even a builder, just a sailor who works on all his own boats).

Why is it expensive to get a quality repair or boat? Because it's fucking hard work. Literally one of the harder jobs to do on earth, especially given the fact you also make so little money from it.

So when Jerry the marketing exec crashes his boat into the jetty and gets a guy out to fix it because he's completely incapable of hard physical work, he then whinges about the cost the only person who can fix it charges, and then isn't happy with the work completed after all that. What will appease the Jerry's? Nothing, they always want more for themselves and less for everyone else, but can't get it through their thick fucking skulls that everyone else wants the exact same thing.

jerry.jpg

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darth ,  well said.

A number of people have offered to pay me to fix their boats over the years and I have always turned them down.

If they can't do it themselves they will not appreciate what goes into it. 

I have been a compulsive amateur boat builder for the last 30yrs and if someone is working at fixing their own boat, that is a completely different matter,   I'm more than happy to lend a hand.

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4 hours ago, SCARECROW said:

MORE THIS:

 

 

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As a designer/builder/sailor,  who has spent hundreds, and sometimes thousands of hours creating a new boat, the stupidest phrase I have to deal with is "All you have to do is...".  As soon as I hear that, I know that the person speaking it doesn't have a clue. It is not a phrase used by a competent designer or builder because they understand the hours that it takes to evaluate and/or execute a solution that works within the matrix of the rest of the design.  If you propose a solution that you have not fully vetted in your own mind, and expect the designer or builder to flesh out the pitfalls in your poorly vetted idea, you should expect some level of impatience (that may look like arrogance) from the designer/builder because now he has to take the time to explain to you all the details surrounding the reasons that your suggestion won't work...or is too expensive for the design criteria.

Something else that will become apparent when you work boat shows is that (although there exceptions - many here...) the vast majority of sailors are extremely ignorant of the finer points of boat design, building and sailing.  This is not to say they aren't smart - they clearly are if they have earned the money to buy the boat.  It's that they think that being smart in their profession and winning a couple of races in their local fleet, qualifies them as a a yacht designer. Just as being a yacht designer does not qualify one to perform emergency room surgery.  While not equal in scope, both, done poorly, can lead to death.  So, before judging the yacht designer on his arrogance, first examine whether your approach to him may have caused his disdain ...

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Everyone thinks they are a designer, because they can produce a sketch that looks about right, or they can find a single flaw in a completed design. This applies to far more fields than just yacht design, think about how life must be for architects, every home owner thinks they know what's best

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4 hours ago, pwormwood said:

As a designer/builder/sailor,  who has spent hundreds, and sometimes thousands of hours creating a new boat, the stupidest phrase I have to deal with is "All you have to do is...".  As soon as I hear that, I know that the person speaking it doesn't have a clue. It is not a phrase used by a competent designer or builder because they understand the hours that it takes to evaluate and/or execute a solution that works within the matrix of the rest of the design.  If you propose a solution that you have not fully vetted in your own mind, and expect the designer or builder to flesh out the pitfalls in your poorly vetted idea, you should expect some level of impatience (that may look like arrogance) from the designer/builder because now he has to take the time to explain to you all the details surrounding the reasons that your suggestion won't work...or is too expensive for the design criteria.

Something else that will become apparent when you work boat shows is that (although there exceptions - many here...) the vast majority of sailors are extremely ignorant of the finer points of boat design, building and sailing.  This is not to say they aren't smart - they clearly are if they have earned the money to buy the boat.  It's that they think that being smart in their profession and winning a couple of races in their local fleet, qualifies them as a a yacht designer. Just as being a yacht designer does not qualify one to perform emergency room surgery.  While not equal in scope, both, done poorly, can lead to death.  So, before judging the yacht designer on his arrogance, first examine whether your approach to him may have caused his disdain ...

That was very well said, Peter. Thank your lucky stars that you never got known for proa design.

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I agree with Russell PW. I still remember something you told me a long time ago about you being scared of what idiocies (and the potential for death) a client might cause in a boat of ones design and how you sometimes lost sleep over that. Still wish you were more active in design. 

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Peter that is an excellent explanation!

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Peter, Darth, spot on. 

Best I've heard it out is "European quality at a Chinese price"

The way I've found it is that boats are non essential to most, money spent on the house is accepted, money spent on the boat is resented. 

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On 03/09/2017 at 10:06 PM, MultiThom said:

Or vice versa.  There does seem to be a correlation at least in my experience.

That's an interesting question that is relevant to all kind of designers IMHO. As an engineer, I've met very arrogant designers (architects). I remember once one who didn't really understand structurea but was systematically assuming that engineers knew nothing instead of trying to understand explanations. When you were telling him (politely ) that his design was breaching basic physic laws, he would reply that nowadays engineers were no good and couldn't make things work. 

Nevertheless I've also met very humble ones who were very good at their jobs of balancing opposite requirements. 

Sadly I think that from a business perspective arrogance works. If you keep repeating that you are the best, eventually people believe you. If I need a designer I Certainly won't choose the arrogant one, the humble ones are the best as they will accept that good design is hard to deliver and that being wrong from time to time is OK as long as you make sure that you don't do twice the same one. 

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3 hours ago, Panoramix said:

Nevertheless I've also met very humble ones who were very good at their jobs of balancing opposite requirements. 

Sadly I think that from a business perspective arrogance works. If you keep repeating that you are the best, eventually people believe you. If I need a designer I Certainly won't choose the arrogant one, the humble ones are the best as they will accept that good design is hard to deliver and that being wrong from time to time is OK as long as you make sure that you don't do twice the same one. 

Wish I could find a humble boat designer.  I only seem to have found the arrogant ones. 

The thing about boat design and engineering is that it is a bunch of compromises.  Even given some "categorical imperative" from the beginning at the inception of the design concept (cheap and fast trimaran for example), there are compromises.  When you start out knowing there are going to be compromises, why would anyone be arrogant about the decisions made to create the final design?  Heck, even sail design includes compromises.  Heck, even sail cloth includes compromises. 

Boat designers are like whores.  The arrogant ones get the gentlemen and the most bucks because they have specific skills (not artistry necessarily) that demand top dollar.  So I guess my question is answered, it is the job that creates the arrogance.

 

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1 hour ago, MultiThom said:

Wish I could find a humble boat designer.  I only seem to have found the arrogant ones. 

The thing about boat design and engineering is that it is a bunch of compromises.  Even given some "categorical imperative" from the beginning at the inception of the design concept (cheap and fast trimaran for example), there are compromises.  When you start out knowing there are going to be compromises, why would anyone be arrogant about the decisions made to create the final design?  Heck, even sail design includes compromises.  Heck, even sail cloth includes compromises. 

Boat designers are like whores.  The arrogant ones get the gentlemen and the most bucks because they have specific skills (not artistry necessarily) that demand top dollar.  So I guess my question is answered, it is the job that creates the arrogance.

 

Wow, you sound exactly like, the kind of customer most people wouldn't want too have.. (Unless I'm completely misunderstanding your point,)

The classic customer, the one that takes their vehicle too the mechanic for repairs, then proceeds to tell the mechanic how to repair it, what tools too use, while watching, and complaining.

Perhaps the right path is too design and build your own trimaran? then you can be chief cook, and bottle washer, all at the same time.  

Or pick one of the very many awesome designs already out there, and get it built.... have fun.

I believe there are tons of awesome, humble, generous, people out there in the world, all doing their thing. 

I've never had a problem finding them.  

if I've misunderstood your point, then please accept my apology. 

 

 

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apology accepted

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13 hours ago, MultiThom said:

Wish I could find a humble boat designer.  I only seem to have found the arrogant ones. 

The thing about boat design and engineering is that it is a bunch of compromises.  Even given some "categorical imperative" from the beginning at the inception of the design concept (cheap and fast trimaran for example), there are compromises.  When you start out knowing there are going to be compromises, why would anyone be arrogant about the decisions made to create the final design?  Heck, even sail design includes compromises.  Heck, even sail cloth includes compromises. 

Boat designers are like whores.  The arrogant ones get the gentlemen and the most bucks because they have specific skills (not artistry necessarily) that demand top dollar.  So I guess my question is answered, it is the job that creates the arrogance.

Can you be more specific about which compromises you suggested that these arrogant designers were unwilling to consider?  I beg to differ with your analogy and conclusion.

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1 hour ago, ProaSailor said:

Can you be more specific about which compromises you suggested that these arrogant designers were unwilling to consider?  I beg to differ with your analogy and conclusion.

Not to quibble, but it is a simile ("like a whore...").  I have no specifics, I haven't requested any design compromise changes...my comments are just related to the arrogance of designers I've known.  My query (now answered) is whether it is possible to be a boat designer and not be arrogant.

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Arrogance is in the eye of the beholder. When you label someone arrogant you have stopped trying to understand where that person is coming from. It is your right to decide not to spend more time understanding the "arrogant" person but it is advisable to tell yourself it is because you do not have the energy. Maybe next time you have more energy this person might eventually buy/sell a design from/to you. I have conversed with a number of designers, some of which were already branded as being arrogant. Each and everyone was on the contrary very informative and generous with their time and much more so than I ever would be with difficult people like myself. Some may have been shorter in their response than warranted once in a while but most often this even helped understanding the issue. Maybe I should start offering marine relationship consultation services ;-)

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I was told once that designers are considered by boatbuilders as 'the spawn of the devil'!

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Russell, I sold a proa to a farmer surfer/sailer friend.  She had a pivoting drag strut outrigger for lower wave drag. Somehow he tried to use it with the hull inverted.  He gave up because it caused too much drag.  When the CoastGuard certified one of my racing dories they wanted to inspect the floatation tanks, " it has none, the wood hull provides the required amount of float."  I had to help them do the math to prove  she would float.  Between the Boater,Government,Lawyers, you have to be a saint to deal with the paying public.

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21 hours ago, Panoramix said:

That's an interesting question that is relevant to all kind of designers IMHO. As an engineer, I've met very arrogant designers (architects). I remember once one who didn't really understand structurea but was systematically assuming that engineers knew nothing instead of trying to understand explanations. When you were telling him (politely ) that his design was breaching basic physic laws, he would reply that nowadays engineers were no good and couldn't make things work. 

Nevertheless I've also met very humble ones who were very good at their jobs of balancing opposite requirements. 

Sadly I think that from a business perspective arrogance works. If you keep repeating that you are the best, eventually people believe you. If I need a designer I Certainly won't choose the arrogant one, the humble ones are the best as they will accept that good design is hard to deliver and that being wrong from time to time is OK as long as you make sure that you don't do twice the same one. 

As a carpenter, that's been my experience as well.  If there's a correlation between arrogance and talent, it's negative.  

 

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Its a classic conflict architect/designer vs engineer og carpenter/boatbuilder.  If they all have the same high ambitions for their own skills and are willing to use them for the best of the project its no conflict but good team-work - they all rely on each other the get the best result.

But if the architect/designer has high ambitions (they often has) - and the engineer is just in it for the money (and too little money) and dont like too much of a challenge - and the builders are in it for just money for the basic food - there will be trouble.

The project owner has to see too that its a balance in the project regarding this issues. 

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I agree that this is a classic conflict between architect and engineer but not all engineers are lazy, some of us even love getting off the beaten paths. As an engineer being in a relation when the architect doesn't trust you is terrible, the architect will draw whatever he think is sexy and you end up designing a structure which is ugly (bloody physics laws! ) and expensive. The architect will then preserve his ego by saying "that was the engineer idea, he didn't understand my vision". 

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The story of Utzon and Sydney Opera house comes to mind; it was Utzon himself that finally solved the structural problems of how to build the shells. 

Usually architects has some idea of how the construction will be done -and a naval-architect I presume has good knowledge og the construction of a boat-design.

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A remarkable number of people seem to think I have a hidden "design boat" key on my keyboard that I just push and magic happens.

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On 07/09/2017 at 8:15 AM, SeaGul said:

The story of Utzon and Sydney Opera house comes to mind; it was Utzon himself that finally solved the structural problems of how to build the shells. 

Usually architects has some idea of how the construction will be done -and a naval-architect I presume has good knowledge og the construction of a boat-design.

I believe that there was a very good relationship between Utzon and the engineers (Ove Arup ) and that they worked hard together. On this kind of buildings, you can't separate architectural from structural design, the 2 go hand in hand. The issue was with the client who was interfering in a negative way. 

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