• Riffing About Our Fastener Future

    Date: 2013.10.05 | Category: Fastener Industry | Tags:

    I liked Traveling Salesman’s blog post about Twitter – or more importantly – about what causes people to not even try Twitter and other new tools, so much that I started a comment to the post and ended up hitting the 3000 character limit. I figured that since I did all of the four-finger typing to get it done, I might as well post it here and give this blog some new juice. So even though you should have read his blog already, and hopefully saw my comment, here it is to fill space on screwcrew.com

    “I won’t be at Vegas, so I will be following on Twitter. In the meantime, I feel a rant coming on.
    The network economy we are in now will make it so that either fastener people adopt new tools and technologies (like Twitter and many others), or tech savvy “outsiders” will enter our industry and make it happen themselves – without us. Having over 25 years in the industry, I know how important experience is, but we have to realize that the information that it took us 10, 20 or 30 years to accumulate in our fastener brains is ALL out there on the web for the taking. A company that has the tech part nailed down and wants to use it to make money in the fastener industry can climb a big section of the learning curve pretty quickly, and start changing things in spite of us. This year I finally read a book by Kevin Kelly called New Rules for the New Economy. It came out in 1998! and there are two spooky things about it. 1-He is eerily accurate in his predictions about changes in the way our economy functions. 2-The fastener industry might as well be back in 1998 (maybe 1999) as far as its general use of technology. Read it and you’ll see what I mean. He offers a free pdf version here
    No it’s not free because it’s a piece of crap, it’s free because he has moved ahead and now wants the messages in that book to spread as easily as possible. Think about how much we fastener people count as value-added services that could be well replaced by a good website or clever app. No, not all things, but many. We get anxious about shrinking margins, but that is not happening because we have angered the fastener gods. It is happening because, since about the time we all got fax machines, we have had to do steadily less grunt work in order to find somebody who needs a bolt, get them to buy it from us, and get the bolt into their hands at the right time. And the process will continue to get simpler. Just a few years ago I wrote somewhere about how fastener salespeople can’t just go around handing out catalogs and shaking hands any more. I got some push back even then. Today, do you think there is a worthwhile catalog that can’t be found on the web in 20 seconds and bookmarked in a browser instead of taking up space on a huge shelf in a buyer’s office? Sure some buyers loved having that huge shelf of catalogs behind their desk. It made them feel important and they even pulled one off the shelf and used it once in a while. But now that shelf full of huge green Thomas Registers and binders full of the hopefully-current edition of catalogs, would be a symbol of what we need to change – what is going to change.
    If we all read this book and find even a few ways to apply its ideas to our industry, we just might be able to stay in it instead of seeing it move to Amazon.com. Or maybe it still will move to Amazon.com, but some of us will get to go along.” 😉
    before the internet, we used the thomas register
    photo by Dan Paluska

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