I think the problem was that we liked everything that the greater community didn't . . . .
That was the inherent flaw in using longstanding customers for essentially market research, which to be useful needs to target the larger market as a whole not those who have already bought in. From a marketing research perspective it was likely not only useless but probably misleading.
If you look at what appears to be the single biggest success for Axiom recently, the VP180, it was a member who sought a new solution for a long existing problem, not having a center speaker that lived up to the standard of Axioms tower speakers. If Axiom or the members of the council had been listening to the complaints from some customers, not all Axiom haters either, and a few reviewers they would have developed a center to better match their towers years ago.
In general new ideas come from those who are either not satisfied which existing options, are outsiders, or tend not to succumb to the norming effects of groupthink. Picking long standing members almost ensured a lack of diversity of ideas and opinions. I learned long ago from the Marine Corps that when in charge it’s beneficial to surround oneself with people of differing opinions, backgrounds, and most importantly the moral courage to “tell the emperor he has no cloths.”