In the commercial world, don’t let (a) engineers or (b) users be designers.
One thing is for certain here in smokey silicon valley - that ain’t true! Engineers are 100% the designers even at fruity companies that “market” otherwise, or users are defining the product via a/b
As for massdrop, I was more referring to their collaborations and mid-fi-for-cheap gear and its impact on the audio world, which I think has been significant. There seems no audiophile forum or product category where massdrop isn’t in the conversation … and their products certainly seem to be in everyone’s consideration set … yet near as I can tell, no manufacturers consider them competition - it seems to be the exact opposite given the collaborations!
and whatever their marketing strategy is, I’d venture that for most enthusiasts it still comes down to reviews and auditions - it did for me!