It seems that benchmarking is a lost art these days. People tend to expect a query to return results in three seconds or less, no matter how much data they are asking to be returned (or processed).
Such results are required no matter where the end user happens to be. They could be in the server room, at their desk, at home, or using their iPad on a train. It doesn’t matter, the user experience must remain constant.
And as a DBA, you are going to be responsible for performance. It will be on your shoulders should any one user have a bad experience. People tend to blame what they don’t understand, and more and more people have no idea how databases work.