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I think Meade started down hill when they began being run by accountants instead of astronomers.

Dave

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13 hours ago, Davey-T said:

I think Meade started down hill when they began being run by accountants instead of astronomers.

As an accountant I find that generalisation insulting. It also the opposite of what would happen. People with no financial brain waste money hand over fist which is how companies lose profit.

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37 minutes ago, Mr Spock said:

run by accountants instead of astronomers.

As an accountant I find that generalisation insulting.

You shouldn't. My reading of that is that the company failed to produce products that astronomers wanted to buy. No amount of financial savvy can innovate and create popular products.
Neither can financial efficiency address Meade's issues with reliability and astronomical performance. That isn't to say money management is unimportant. Just that a company needs good, desirable products and a respected reputation before there is any money to waste.

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2 hours ago, Mr Spock said:

As an accountant I find that generalisation insulting. It also the opposite of what would happen. People with no financial brain waste money hand over fist which is how companies lose profit.

I apologise for the generalisation Michael however if companies wish to maximise their profits at the expense of quality then presumably financial advisors figure in the picture somewhere as no doubt left to their own devices astronomers will produce something that cost a fortune with no consideration of the end price.

From reports at the time, after designing a decent product it was then pared down by the finance department cutting corners in production to lower the price and increase the profit not a good idea in a comparatively small market where word of mouth can effectively kill off unsatisfactory products.

Next "financial" decision, let's move to Mexico, we then get tales of extortion and dead sheeps heads nailed to the factory door so lets move to China and keep turning out sub standard products until we go broke.

Astronomy can be a very expensive hobby so reducing quality on something that costs a few thousand pounds to make a bit more profit seems counter productive.

Many companies are taken over by venture capitalists whose motivation is clearly financial to the exclusion of everything else.

Dave

PS: I'm not anti Meade as I have a very nice 10"SCT that has given me many years of trouble free service.

 

Edited by Davey-T

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I'm not anti-Meade, just anti VC.

Vulture Capitalists are the bane of any company, on the surface they can inject new money and shake up a business but not often, most of the time they are a cancer.

I used to work for a company that still make insane profits on certain items, I'm talking 1000s of percent...yet there was/is an endless drive to reduce the cost of the item, shaving off fractions of a pence. A race to the bottom.

The VC were hoping to offload the business years ago but can't as they invested in the peak of 2008 so the only option they have is to keep shaving the pennies off. Death by a thousand cuts. Eventually it will fold.

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Accountants are OK. If they do the job effectively.

By effectively I mean in the long term interests of the company. Not looking only at this and next year profits.

Sadly I have seen a number of companies fail due to the short term goals overriding the long term goals.
Usually in companies driven by venture capitalists and accounts.

Happy customers tend to keep coming back to the brand name, or the supplier.

 

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Just speaking outloud for I have absolutely no idea but are Meade popular on SGL, or in the UK/Europe? Purely from my own limited experience, I've only ever seen one Meade SCT scope (never a dob, newt or frac) and possibly no more than a handful of eyepieces. When speaking online or meeting other stargazers it appears Baader, Celestron, SkyWatcher, TeleVue, TS-Optics are clearly more popular with a kind of second rung of popularity going to Explore Scientific, Pentax, Takahashi, Vixen and William Optics. As such, in almost rhetorical fashion, on this side of the pond in the last decade or so has there been a Meade era?

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17 minutes ago, Rob Sellent said:

Just speaking outloud for I have absolutely no idea but are Meade popular on SGL, or in the UK/Europe?.....

Where is that bag of popcorn icon ? - ah, there it is  🍿

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31 minutes ago, Rob Sellent said:

has there been a Meade era?

Way back when Meade were quite popular in the UK, at the time they were still made in the USA, before the rot set in you would see quite a few at star parties, then some genius decided to use plastic gears as they were cheaper than metal ones which quickly gained a lot of bad press in the astro' world and although they eventually changed to metal I think the damage was done as astronomers have long memories, any enquiry about the suitability of their scopes for imaging was met with apocryphal stories of the previous incarnations, since then they have also introduced some spectacular mount failures.

A shame as the actual optics have always been excellent.

Dave

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In the past I've had agencies for both Meade and Celestron SCT's, not at the same time though.  Both makes were popular though I thought on average, at the time, the Celestrons had better optics and electronics, the Meades looked nicer.  I currently have 2 C8's, one 8", one 12"  and two 16" Meades.  If Celestron had offered a 16" I would probably have gone with that.  I also have a Meade ETX90 Maksutov which is optically outstanding for its aperture.    😀

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I'm no great Meade fan, but have to say they did  bring out some ground-breaking instruments in their time.  The original LX200 8 inch SC and the original 90mm ETX among them.  It makes me feel old that clearly so many of SGLs members don't remember what an impact they had on the telescope market - you have to go back a bit though to remember them in their heyday :smile:

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Then there are the astronomy niche companies like Astro-Physics who are run by technical types and underprice their products relative to market demand and have never allowed quality to slip.  Somehow, they continue to operate.  Perhaps not as profitably as they could, but they soldier onward.

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Teeter and JP Astrocraft have ceased taking orders, and there are signs of Obsession continuing to scale back (now the 18" Classic is apparently no longer available for orders).

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Soon enough there will be one telescope manufacturer and, due to no competition, scope prices will quadruple. 

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1 hour ago, MarsG76 said:

Soon enough there will be one telescope manufacturer and, due to no competition, scope prices will quadruple. 

Once that happens many competitors will pop out with cheaper equipment and the cycle can start again :)

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On 10/12/2019 at 01:21, heliumstar said:

Once that happens many competitors will pop out with cheaper equipment and the cycle can start again :)

It depends on the economy of scales of the monopolist 😀

 

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4 hours ago, Rick_It said:

It depends on the economy of scales of the monopolist 😀

 

As an example of this, consider that right now, only Samsung and TSMC are at or close to the cutting edge for digital chip lithography.  Intel is falling behind despite being the market leader for years.  Pretty much everyone else (IBM, Motorola, Global Foundries, UMC, etc.) has dropped out due to the extreme cost of jumping to the next node ($7 billion at last count) and are sticking with legacy capacity.  If we get down to only one vendor in another decade, which seems likely, then the world will be at their mercy if they want a chip fabbed in the latest and greatest process node.  That winner will be in the position to pick market winners and losers based on who they choose to partner with and who they snub.  Competitors without extremely deep pockets (think 10s of billions of dollars) won't be able to jump into the market as suggested above for astro gear.  At that point, I would foresee China investing billions in a captive company to enter the market for domestic supply and possibly external sales.

Edited by Louis D
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27 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

It could herald a resurgence of ATM.

Get in quick then👍

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29 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

It could herald a resurgence of ATM.     😀

My thoughts exactly!

And now with the internet and Youtube anyone can be coached by the master himself, John Dobson, in the art of mirror grinding.  :)

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On 09/12/2019 at 22:30, MarsG76 said:

Soon enough there will be one telescope manufacturer and, due to no competition, scope prices will quadruple. 

When Boeing had much of the global aviation market to itself,, European govts created Airbus to provide competition. In practice it didn’t lead to a big drop in aircraft prices, as Boeing was no longer able to achieve the same economies of scale. Can’t win either way! 

Would be nice to see more competition in the solar market, if someone could invest more in Coronado to really take on Lunt and bring prices down a little. I suspect the Coronado brand might be of more interest to potential investors than Meade.

On the subject of Meade quality, the optics of my little ETX-105 (sold to an SGL member a couple of years ago) were absolutely superb. I have a very nice 4” Takahashi refractor now yet the Moon and planets with the ETX were no less sharp - truly apo like. The electronics/focuser/finder/weight etc less impressive but it was a marvellous telescope. Since then I haven’t experienced another Meade product.

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17 hours ago, Louis D said:

As an example of this, consider that right now, only Samsung and TSMC are at or close to the cutting edge for digital chip lithography.  Intel is falling behind despite being the market leader for years.  Pretty much everyone else (IBM, Motorola, Global Foundries, UMC, etc.) has dropped out due to the extreme cost of jumping to the next node ($7 billion at last count) and are sticking with legacy capacity.  If we get down to only one vendor in another decade, which seems likely, then the world will be at their mercy if they want a chip fabbed in the latest and greatest process node.  That winner will be in the position to pick market winners and losers based on who they choose to partner with and who they snub.  Competitors without extremely deep pockets (think 10s of billions of dollars) won't be able to jump into the market as suggested above for astro gear.  At that point, I would foresee China investing billions in a captive company to enter the market for domestic supply and possibly external sales.

The funny thing is that this situation, called natural monopoly, is a standard example of market failure which calls for state regulations. But state regulations are anathema for US and UK policy makers.

Sorry for the OT :)

Edited by Rick_It

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Probably best to keep this topic on Meade and its future :smiley:

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49 minutes ago, John said:

Probably best to keep this topic on Meade and its future :smiley:

Does anyone have any additional knowledge of Sunny's continued use of the Meade brand going forward?  I see no hint of Sunny discontinuing usage of the Meade brand in the marketplace so far.

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