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What I Learned from… Buying my First Compact SUV

Published September 21, 2018 by Dieter K Mulitze, PhD, Founder and CEO, Agronomix Software, Inc.

“Dad, you need to buy an SUV, its time!” My daughter had been giving me “the gentle nudge” a few times over the years recently, but I was “resistant”. I had been a “hard core” sedan or station wagon owner for over 25 years. Besides, I am not a “sports” guy, so why do I need a sports utility vehicle? One day when I was at Superstore for our weekly grocery shopping, I looked at the cars in the parking lot. Almost half, it seemed, were SUVs! Times are changing, and I should look into an SUV – maybe I really am missing something?

My wife and I went to the VW dealership, test drove a Tiguan (at the advice and strong counsel of my daughter!), liked being “higher off the road” and also using the built-in navigation system. But, I still liked my VW Passat, although I could see what my daughter was talking about. Still “resistant to change” I guess. A year later, my Passat was in an accident, the other driver was totally at fault. Luckily, no one in my family was hurt due to the extra steel in the Passat driver’s door – never take such “safety features” for granted! The car was written off, we needed a new car, so we test drove the Tiguan again. We liked it so much, we decided to buy this compact SUV. The salesman showed us in a “whirlwind” all the functions and buttons and so forth, and I agreed to read the manual.

We really enjoy driving the Tiguan – my daughter was right! I skimmed through the manual, figuring I would otherwise “wing it” as they say. After just over a year of driving the SUV, a warning light came on, alerting me to a change in tire pressure in at least one of the tires. I assumed (not reading the manual), that I just needed to add some air in my

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tires, and the warning light would then not appear. I added some air, checked the air pressure  – all was perfect, but the warning light still came on! Well, maybe my tire gauge was not correct, so I purchased a new one, checked again, and the tire pressure was perfect at 38 psi. There must be a malfunction in the warning system, I thought — who wouldn’t? So, I made an appointment at the dealership, brought in the car fully under warranty. After the technician looked at the car, the service rep kindly informed me that the car was just fine, tire pressure was OK, and all I needed to do was reset the tire pressure warning system from the instrument panel accessible from my steering wheel system menu. I felt a little embarrassed – a 20 second exercise if only I had known! He said not to feel bothered   — hardly anyone reads the manuals. He told me that he has been suggesting to VW for years that there should be owner’s DVDs or some online videos. He showed me exactly how to reset the warning system, it was “so easy when you know how”. The dealership was kind enough to nevertheless give me a car wash. My lesson – read the manual or watch a video if there is one, it can save you lots of time. I had thought that after a year of great driving, I had “figured out” my car. Apparently not.

This experience made me think again of our clients using our plant breeding software.

The Importance of Learning

At the last AGROBASE training course in St Louis and later in Adelaide this year, some of the trainees said what they learned in the first day alone was worth the cost for all the remaining days. They had been doing some tasks in AGROBASE “the hard way”, and now


can do in minutes what took hours or more before. We see this also in our technical support – clients contact us for help when there was an on-line tutorial that answered their need or the Help system had the relevant documentation. No problem – we help everyone just the same and then point them to the resources for future reference.

We live in a fast-paced “everything instant” world, with often insufficient patience to more fully learn a software system to reap all the benefits. The extra time to learn more of a software system in order to increase one’s proficiency should be seen as a long term investment. A recurring training example for our software is the 15 pages of expressions and functions for all kinds of customization and possibilities for extending the power of the system. In all courses, I encourage our trainees to just read through all the pages, which comes with practical examples. We focus on the most used expressions and functions now in 4 pages – less intimidating at first. I emphasize that you never know what your need might be in the future, so why not take some time to see what are the future tools that you may well urgently need one day? While some users work with those tools quite adequately, we often help users write expressions and functions as needed as part of our unlimited support.

No problem, we are always there to help!

Ways we Help You Learn Plant Breeding Software

At Agronomix we have spent 30 years teaching plant breeding software to our users round the world. Today we offer more ways than ever before due to the unique situations of our individual users.

Our regional public training courses remain one of the most popular methods to learn AGROBASE Generation II®. Each year we train almost a hundred users at our courses in Australia, Canada, Germany, India and the United States. Many clients opt to host their own in-house private training course which can be customized to suit the level of understanding, the days available and the specific crop(s) being researched.  Such courses have been held in North and South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Western and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Since 2015 we have trained over 400 AGROBASE users

With increases in internet speeds throughout the world on-line learning has grown in popularity. Agronomix has been at the forefront of online training in this industry for almost 10 years and offers two options for online learning. Developing the Learning Center, unique at its launch, was a stroke of genius! It is a depository of 120 pre-recorded video tutorials which show in great detail this excellent plant breeding software solution leading users through the complexities and intricacies of the system. And finally, we offer live one-on-one training sessions with a PhD Plant Breeder. These one-hour sessions can be general to help a user get started or focus on an area a client is unfamiliar.

So, there you have it! Learn the “manual” in whatever way suits you best and hope your supplier has the method that suits you.

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