May 2, 2010

It Must Be True If You Read It in the Newspaper … Or On-line

By Paul Bieber

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” Lord Kelvin, Famed British scientist, 1899

“The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty–a fad.” The president of the Michigan Savings Bank telling Henry Ford’s advisers not to invest in the Ford Motor Company, 1903

“Sensible and Responsive women do not want to vote.” President Grover Cleveland, 1905

“Who the hell wants to hear actor’s talk.” Harry M. Warner, Warner Bros. Movies, 1927

“The average American family hasn’t time for television.” Article in New York Times, 1939

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” Decca Recording Company, in rejecting The Beatles, 1962

“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” Spencer Silver, 3M Company, on the work that led to unique adhesive on ‘Post-It’ notes, 1980’s.

If only we could see the future in our glass industry. But wait, some people have seen the future, and if we are smart, we will follow.

I was in a glass shop last week and the owner told me he only sold low-e when the customer asked for it. He felt it was too confusing to bring up otherwise. He won’t make it in the glass shop of the future.

Recently, I was in a fabricating facility which was eat-off-of-the-floor clean. This improves safety and instills a sense of quality in the work staff, which translates to better products being produced. They see the future and will definitely be a part of it.

I received a letter last month, from a reader, who feels “the whole green movement in the building industry is a fad.” This actually was his choice of words. Let’s get him to read the story above about Henry Ford.

In my view, the glass shop of the future will be an energy shop, that focuses on the gain and the usage of energy, and the tools they will use are glass-based—solar collectors, energy saving windows, etc.

You can still be a two-person shop…bigger is not better, but working safely and working correctly the first time will guarantee success.

The future is coming. Be ready…read trade magazines, go to trade shows, quiz your vendors, study the web sites of suppliers and competitors. Understand the hurricane codes, learn the building codes in a couple of towns near you, or start to sell blast and bullet resistant glazing. Learn a second language, or hire people who speak a second language. America is changing. Change with it.

As an individual you can complain about immigration or politics. As a business owner or manager, you can’t. Well, actually you can…but you will sacrifice your business in the long run if you don’t keep up with the changes in our industry or the local economy.