Journal: Sufficient Confusion Over Uses

July 2, 2012

in Journal Notes

Monday Location:  Seven     ||     8:35 am – 11:05 pm

  • Interview:  Met with two gentlemen – Aaron and Ash – from Resilient Communities who are writing an article about localized manufacturing and how companies can successfully make the shift from selling locally to selling internationally.  The focus for their piece seems to be about:
    •  How Germany’s Mittelstand – middle sized companies – is credited for maintaining Germany’s impressive ~5.3 unemployment rate.  Aaron feels that Seven is kind of like a Mittelstand company.  I’m flattered by this analogy.
    • The future of manufacturing in the US does not look very good at the moment.  I think I feel more strongly about that than they do.  And what can companies do about it.  We discussed some of the ways in which Seven is hoping to contribute to the future of manufacturing in the united states.  One of my premises is about helping our employees become entrepreneurial and do what Seven does for the future.
    • Aaron talked about Maker Spaces as being a solution for future entrepreneurship.  I see some of that but not as much future hope as some.  What I see is that the DIY world is in many ways the opposite of entrepreneurship.  Not always opposite but more often that people seem to intuit.  Entrepreneurship is about starting something and building it into a profitable business that continuously grows – yes I’m oversimplifying.  DIY is about being more independent and more self reliant.  While in some ways these seem very similar I think they are more opposite than similar.  Yes, maker spaces can be business incubators but that’s not their fundamental purpose, and those spaces don’t, in general, draw entrepreneurs as much as they draw individualists.  I think maker spacers are super important as learning spaces but that’s different than a business incubator.  More on this later.
    • Too much manufacturing in the US is a race to the bottom.  So many manufacturing businesses I know are focusing more on competing with China rather than making a better product that may have a slightly higher price tag.  You only have two options for your business strategy.
  • Project:  Fatigue Test Carbon:  Pushed this a bit father today.  I can almost hear the insesent ticking of the pistons.  Fingers crossed for it to begin tomrorow.
  • Process:  Working on flow leveling in production so that we have a more predictable process of framebuilding for the team.  It’s stressful to have inconsistency in process flow.  Leveling also increases quality and reduces lead-time.  We’re very focused on lead-time at this point in the year.  While we’re building about 25% more frames than we do in the off season, we’re working with the same team – same number of people.  I’ll explain how that’s possible at another time.
  • Project:  Mount Washington bike moving forward.  It’ll be race ready on Wednesday.
  • Graphic Design:  Worked with Skunk on a mountain bike website landing page for our new Cyclingdirt.com ad.  The shape of things to come.  I think that will be live tomorrow.  Mmmm mountain bikes.

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