Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Name & Shame: Intel's marketing department, and customer support

Intel logo
In a previous post, I went into detail the progress of my sponsorships. One vendor that I've carelessly left out is Intel.

Of course, Intel's sponsorship of the Redshift project is much desired, but it quickly appeared so that it wasn't going to be the case. It's a gross understatement when I say that the conversations that I have had with Intel are "not good".

The reason why this post exists is to highlight the sheer amount of lies and lip service that I've gotten over the past few days. Included in this post, is a lot of what Intel has said in response to the numerous emails I've sent them. Some of the content of these emails will not be shown publicly due to my personal information being attached, but otherwise everything else is provided. That being said, let's get right into it. This post is going to be very large and heavy on your browser's ability to render PDFs, so be wary.


I'd like to start off, by discussing the lies that Intel has made while communicating with me.
This is Intel's initial response to what I sent them in my sponsorship request. Granted, while reading this message I was actually quite heated. There were just too many things said that didn't quite add up to me. So, let's talk about what in this message itself made little sense to me.

"...our ability to contribute our financial resources is limited in comparison to the number of requests received..."

Really? Intel has limited financial resources for handling of donations/sponsorships? Maybe in their "budget" (which I don't believe) is tight, but they certainly aren't doing bad when it comes to money. According to the latest earnings report from Intel, they had a $11.4 billion net income. Their revenue was over $55 billion. They definitely have money, and lots of it. Telling me that they essentially have no money for Redshift is a straight lie.

"...Additionally, we schedule our donation projects out at least a year in advance, so we would not be able to intercept this particular request..."

Right, so what about LinusTechTips? Does anyone remember that time when Intel sent over 2 18 core (36 thread) Xeon processors, valued at $4,500 each? In case you forgot, here was his video on it:
Intel has sent Linus over $10,000 worth of equipment, all for his videos. Does he have a larger audience? Of course he does. One thing is for sure, though: he had to start out small as well. Linus was fortunate to get his start working at NCIX Canada, but I'm not presented with the same opportunities as what Linus had. I just try to write the best content that I can, when I can, to help everyone out. This is precisely why I'm trying to get Redshift finished. I want to make even more content that is useful to people.

I don't particularly remember this kind of video being scheduled out a year in advance. I don't even know if Intel even produced that model of Xeon a year before Linus made a video about it. So I'm chalking up what Esteban has said to a lie.

Let's also talk about the Intel Master System that appeared online a few months ago. Essentially, Intel sent upwards of 10+ people an Intel Master System, which contains a Core i7 6700K, valued at $350 MSRP. Several smaller (and larger) folks actually received a package from them. Examples include Awesomesauce Network, TekSyndicate, Hardware Canucks, and so on. What's funny about the Intel Master System, though, is that it also features an Intel 750 Series SSD, which uses PCIe as its interface, and uses NVMe technology. 400GB of super-fast SSD storage, that's valued at $389 MSRP.

My response? Essentially, I spoke about how Intel made billions last year alone, and it's not fair to say that they don't have enough funds because in reality, they do. The ability to send LinusTechTips almost $10,000 worth of equipment is enough proof to me that they definitely have money to give to the right people. I almost certain that the Xeons weren't planned out a year in advance, either.

More Lies

Above is what Esteban wrote in response to, well, my response.

He cites The Intel Foundation as a major symbol of the charitable efforts that Intel has. Honestly, I think he found a bad time to cite The Intel Foundation, because I believe he was using it to counter my argument that Intel has plenty of money.

"...Please keep in mind that The Intel Foundation contributes millions of dollars toward community programs, disaster relief efforts, education grants, and more..."

The billions that Intel makes every year really makes those millions that you speak of, look like pocket change, Esteban. I'm not sure what kind of game Esteban was trying to play with me, but it wasn't working. Anything that he was saying to me wasn't going to convince me that Intel doesn't have money to help the project.

At this point, though, it should be noted that the tone of conversation I took towards Intel switched away from a sponsorship request, and more towards a moral standing. I find it simply dishonest for Intel to lie about their financial standing, and on top of that, do it straight to my face.


For a few days, I haven't actually heard from Intel's customer support. That is, until I had the email featured above arrive in my inbox. Apparently, it was by mistake (as will be shown in a later message), but the content above speaks for itself.

So let's talk about why this message exists. In my final response to Esteban, I told him that I will not accept lip service and copy-pasted messages from customer service for an answer. As such, I guess he decided to escalate the issue.

At this point, I was actually caught off guard with this message. I wasn't expecting to really receive anything from Intel after the last message I sent to them, but I guess I got enough popularity within their support team that they apparently opened a conversation thread about me internally, and it leaked out accidentally.

"...was requesting a donation..."

Another point to clarify. I sent them a message for a sponsorship, not a donation. I had previously made clear the terms on what Intel can expect in return for sponsoring the project. I guess in the grand scheme of things a sponsorship and donation could be treated the same, but they actually do have very different meanings. Of course, in a sponsorship it is generally understood that the company expects something in return.
At this point, I am faced with a new support representative: Ana. She'll be the person that I speak with for the remainder of the entire conversation. That's all that I really have to say for this particular message. I don't think what was sent in the above message was copy-pasted lip service, but I guess the language does seem pretty similar.
Before the email above was received (and most likely the one before that), I did ask Ana about what "EHM" was, and I sent her the latest information that I had about Redshift, which is now known as What exactly is Project Redshift. I created that post to help in my efforts of explaining my project to outsiders, and it seems to serve a good use here.

It is here that I made it quite clear to them my desire to succeed in this project. I also apologized for my heated tone in earlier messages, as I was visibly aggravated over the statements Esteban has said. Ana is sure that I won't falter if Intel can't help the project.

The End

After the message above was received, I asked for a time frame on when I should expect a response from the marketing department. The following messages are the last that I have. After that, I can finally discuss my closing thoughts.

I think that it's been made very clear that Intel doesn't want to sponsor my project. I'm also very sure that after they've seen this post, they'll never want to sponsor or come close to anything I'm running here on Techman's World, and that's fine.

The point of this post was to highlight their frustrations that they've given me. Ultimately, they haven't done anything more than waste my time. Their last message doesn't even seem clear at all, either. It seems like half the message was with the intent that marketing didn't get back to them,a nd the other half was with the intent that they have gotten back to them.

I know that a lot of people will give me flak over this post for the basis and nature of it, and that's fine as well. I fully understand and acknowledge that Intel probably didn't want to sponsor my project from the get-go, but if that's the case than I'm rather disappointed. It's always a good thing to invest in smaller outlets, because more opinions = better for your project. Someone the size of LinusTechTips can afford their own products outright, thus making sponsorships less useful and more of a "free perk".

I believe that the way Intel customer support went about this was entirely wrong, which is why I had such a heated response to Esteban when he sent me the initial message back. I don't believe that funds should have been mentioned, because honestly Intel makes so much money that I doubt that they really have no money.

With Intel not sponsoring the project, it's definitely a blow. The last thing I'd want to do is halt or cancel Redshift, especially after all of the time and money that I've personally put into it. The grind will continue to find sponsors for Redshift, even if it continues to add onto my already-spent 45+ hours of contacting individuals and organizations.

If I've missed anything in this post, or something additional has happened, I will amend the post as necessary.