Performance Requests

  • 10 September 2015
  • 5 replies

Sonos - quit investing in marketing nonsense like "Limited Edition" speakers with a different paint job. Such gimmickry is beneath you. Your field is getting crowded and it is time you wowed your customers with some new age features such as:

1.) Follow me - function that enables music to turn on/off as you enter different rooms
2.) Full integration with Airplay, Amazon Echo, Spotify etc.
3.) Higher resolution settings on your desktop controllers - The Sonos app looks low res on my Retina display Mac Book Pro.

That is my wish list - I'll let my fellow community members chime in with more.

But seriously - your software is getting stale and the competition is on your heels. Stay ahead of them by listening to your customers and investing in product enhancements that provide REAL value.

5 replies

Of course, silly them!

Those Marketing, Industrial Design, Production Engineering, etc. staff at Sonos should, of course, be writing software instead of "wasting time" doing their actual jobs.


I appreciate your tongue and cheek response Majik, but Sonos, like all companies, has finite resources. Allocations to X means a smaller piece of the pie goes to Y. Given how often I saw banner ads promoting their special edition speakers, they allocated a bunch of resources to their promotion.

I haven't seen anything really groundbreaking in the Sonos software for several years, and given all of the posts on feature requests and product enhancements, I am not alone.

So why don't you let us know what enhancements you would be interested in, instead of padding your replies count with unhelpful nonsense.
I appreciate your reply, I really do, but it is quite ironic that you accuse me of "unhelpful nonsense".

Let's see... first of all you suggest that the resources required to arrange for production of special edition "paint job" versions of Sonos components, and to market the same, overlap substantially with the software development resources required to do any of the things on your list.

Clearly that's nonsense.

Except you reiterate it with some indistinct waffle about resources which compounds the nonsense.

Furthermore you start talking about "groundbreaking" developments to a company that leads the market with an average 50% growth per year, and which offers a greater breadth and variety of music options and ways to consume music across it's platform than almost any other. To a company that most others in the market are now following or outright copying. And then you place things like "higher resolution on the controllers" amongst such "groundbreaking" offerings. Really?

You label smart marketing promotions and the sensible use of resources which would otherwise be fairly idle as "gimmickry".

You also point out that companies like Sonos have limited resources for development, and then take them to task for not doing more of it.


Finally you seemingly try to cajole them into action by basically insulting them. That's hardly the sort of thing that's going to make Sonos sit up and take notice: it's hardly helpful.

My post wasn't nonsense; (factoring in the heavy sarcasm) it was highly factual and was designed to communicate an important point that some seem to have missed. It was only "unhelpful" if people desperately in need of a clue decide to double down on their nonsense instead of taking notice.

As they say, you can lead a horse to water...

As for wishlists: I also have seen enough ideas pitched to Sonos over the last decade to know that only a mere handful are new or original, and to also know that people continually reiterating them in their own threads is largely useless other than for massaging the ego of the poster.

I have also seen that individual wishlists, whilst a fun exercise for the posters, are pretty much one of the most useless ways to communicate feature requests to Sonos which is why, on the old forums, we used to have a subforum for ideas which was strictly moderated to one idea per thread, and one thread per idea so that the forest could be seen for the trees: ideas could be discussed without confusion over which feature requests was being discussed, and support (or arguments against) features were consolidated.

So I have no desire to pollute this board with yet another random, meaningless wishlist. Instead I'll attempt to add my voice to the existing threads discussing these subjects.


I realise that my last post is based on considerable personal experience and knowledge gained working in and alongside Product Development teams in companies large and small, as well as some first-hand experiences of Sonos's Product Development over the last 10 years. Others may not necessarily have that knowledge.

So I'll attempt to explain why I think the allegations in the OP are unfair and inaccurate, avoiding any sarcasm and snark..

In product design and manufacturing companies, of which Sonos is one, you will have a large range of issues to deal with and will have individual teams to handle those. Those teams will have specific expertise related to their roles.

There will be, for instance, in addition to Software design and developers and associated Project and Programme managers, various types of hardware designers (itself split by disciplines such as acoustics, speaker design, electronic design, etc.). There will also be Production Engineering, whose job is to make sure (amongst other things) that the design can be easily and cost-effectively manufactured and won't fall apart on use, test and QA Engineers, etc. Of course there will also be Marketing, itself split into disciplines/skillsets such as Marketing Communication, Brand Marketing, Product Development, and Product Marketing (these are pertinent examples, there will be other teams too).

The important thing is there's a lot of moving pieces which require lots of disparate skills and, as a general principle, people in one discipline cannot easily take over roles in other areas. Resources are constrained by skills as much as anything else.

There will be times when such a company is releasing a new major product. In these cases all of the teams will work together closely and the product will be an amalgam of those departments. For instance, feedback from Product Marketing about the logo placement may require a change in the physical design to accommodate the logo in a different place, which may prompt changes to the industrial design, manufacturing process, and so on. Equally feedback about early models wobbling, or the feet causing damage, or the paint not being even, etc. from QA may prompt a change in materials, manufacturing process, or even physical design.

However, there will be other times when the company isn't going full-tilt to bring a new product to market. These teams are still needed to do background activities (planning the next Marketing campaign, deciding what physical product should be next to market, trying to optimise the manufacturing process, or to deal with manufacturing quality issues, etc.), but many departments won't be under as much pressure as when new product is imminent.

So, as part of their day job, these departments will be expected to do things like ask "what if we made it a different colour?" "Is there a Market for that", and "How difficult would it be to make?". Based on public information, it's clear that the Play:1 Tone was the result of such questions and the limited run is designed to test both the market for such a product and the ability to manufacture it. It also has the benefit that it gets Sonos some press coverage which is rarely a bad thing. It may even be that the different finish on the Play:1 Tone was part of some research being done for future products.

So not only does the development of something like the Play:1 Tone have no impact on other developments and resources in the company, it's actually making efficient use of teams that might otherwise be under-utilised.

The important takeaways from this are:

* The people whose resource was used to create the Play:1 Tone aren't the same people who are developing the core software and enhancing it's capabilities. Those people will be in a different and largely independent team and they will not be distracted from or have their capability in any way diminished (for instance) by an Industrial Design Engineer trying out new finishes or manufacturing techniques. Not only are they different teams, but completely different skill sets.

* Even if one of (say) the Industrial Design team had great software development skills it would, in the short term, damage the productivity of the software team to try to move him in there temporarily. One of the most disruptive things you can do to a software team is to bring new people in!

* If people are doing things as part of their day job and come up with things that might appeal to the market, it makes sense to explore that. In fact, there will be people whose job it is to explore those things.

I will add :

* Even if a new product doesn't make everyone happy, there's normally going to be some people that it appeals to. Interestingly one of the most commonly asked for features in the past was "different colours". It's important to remember that just because a feature isn't on your personal wish list, that doesn't mean it's not important or wanted by someone else.

* Conversely, companies like Sonos (or even Apple) are resource constrained. There is a tendency for people to assume that just because the features they desire personally aren't forthcoming that Sonos aren't doing anything. In reality they are constantly busy working on new products and enhancements. They may or may not be the ones you want, but that doesn't make them wrong. The proof is in the pudding and Sonos have been very successful.

* Sonos will have a prioritised list of planned developments. Their list will be different from yours and mine. There's good reasons for that!

* Sometimes a company will do something that seems illogical or a waste of time, but it's actually done for good reasons. For instance, a few there was a similar fuss when one of the features Sonos introduced was the ability to add a Twitter account so you could tweet what you were listening too (along with the hashtag #Sonos). It was much derided at the time, but a lot of people ended up using it, and it subsequently gave Sonos a lot of attention which led to increased market visibility and increased sales.

* Equally "groundbreaking" isn't necessarily a sensible aim. Very few companies produce truly "groundbreaking" products. Apple are the best example of this: despite their marketing hypeand over use of words like "revolutionary" and "different", they have really only produced a handful of completely new products over the last decade or two which have been compelling, and a lot of those were actually just an Apple spin on an existing product category. Most of their recent products have been refreshes of their older products. And yet they are commercially very successful. The reality is that incremental improvements on existing successful products are usually the route to continued success.

* Also "groundbreaking" is highly subjective.


You win Keith, I give up. Sorry for soiling your community with my post.


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