Samsung has a main culprit in its combustible battery fiasco, and the problem is among the hardest to fix. It is Samsung itself.

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The real difficulty appears to be the hard-charging nature of Samsung itself, and a culture of continuous-cutting and expediency over quality. That is a recipe for wrecking a brand.

There have been similar problems in tech before. Eleven years ago, the batteries in Dell laptops caught fire. Dell’s culture was considered stingy to the point of error at times.

For years, big companies, in particular Samsung, have been closely identified with the national character and industrial policy of South Korea, as well as how individuals might succeed within the culture. .

My 2 cents:

A die-hard work ethic has historically been the cement between the inherently contradictory Samsung strengths: innovation and frugality. This work ethic has been the competitive advantage that has kept the company united in opposing pursuits and allowed Samsung to fight the high spending “surprising and delightful” Apple and similarly pragmatic giants LG, Phillips and Sony (to name a few).

But the wear and tear from keeping tabs on two quickly specializing industries is finally taking its toll on Samsung and it looks like hard work alone won’t cut it this time. Samsung’s combustible battery episode is dramatic proof that no level of innovation can cover lacking quality. What’s worse, no amount of quality and affordability can cover lacking innovation.

Samsung, a microcosm of Korean industrial culture, stands at a crossroads and decisions beyond prioritization will be made. Methods and priorities need to be revised before more Samsung products and practices go up in flame.

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