From time to time I get what I call a non-neutral, negative comment about something I have published. This goes with the turf if you voice any opinion on anything from saskatoon berries to pond hockey.
We received one such comment recently on our flooring magazine, but it embodies the sentiment we occasionally see here, as well, which is, “what has this to do with the industry?” It’s a great question, and one that warrants some thought.
You can approach it a couple of ways. For example, you can substitute a specific example, such as, “what has space travel to do with the wood industry?”
At that point, you can see that space research has brought us adhesives, batteries, coatings and processes that we had never seen before. Or you can ask, “what has professional sports to do with the wood industry?” At that point you can see that much of our conversation during sales calls, in meetings or during shows may include patter about sports, since very few people make a business out of trying to close a deal before any groundwork is laid.
Another way to approach the question is to ask whether all magazines should look and act the same. That is, the vast majority of trade publications today have totally lost sight of their readers, and focus instead on their advertisers.
This yields publications that publish nothing that is not approved by their top advertisers, and will always include new product announcements from their advertisers, so-called profiles that feature the goods and services of their top advertisers, editorial copy that is fearful of disapproval from their top advertisers and ads that are discounted for their top advertisers. These are publications that are to, by, for and about suppliers and are nothing more than stenographers for dropouts from university marketing seminars.
There is too much interesting stuff in the world to draw a circle around a magazine and tell it to publish only advertiser-approved sales crap. Take plastics, for example.
Did you see this month that Canada, under threat of war from President Duterte in the Philippines had to take back a boatload of trash we had sent there for dumping?
Seriously. Duterte threatened Canada with war. One would think he was either joking or was exaggerating for the sake of effect, but he also threatened to throw people out of helicopters without a trial, and it appears he has done that. I doubt we would have much to worry about from the Philippine air force, navy or ground forces at this point, but as a country that really hates to give offence, it makes us look bad to send poor people stinking trash that we are too good to have on our property.
I also saw that the bottom has dropped out of the much-vaunted recycle market for plastics, and that China has taken to receiving plastics for recycling and then just dumping them in the river to eventually float back to Vancouver. The only materials that are now cost-effective to recycle are aluminum and cardboard.
What has this to do with the price of tea in Montreal? I don’t know. Maybe plastic is not the remodeling dream of the future and as incomes and personal wealth rise, people will be more interested in the traditions of solid wood in home décor. Maybe we will see that our garbage is our problem, that we can’t lie our way out of it and that we can cancel the unionized trucks, facilities and personnel built on the lie of recyclable plastics and put the money toward paper straws (wood fibre), wood instead of wood-grain plastic tables and wood millwork.
As an update, Homag, Biesse and Blum are still not advertising with Wood Industry because we still will not do as we are told. That means they don’t care about you if you won’t read what they have stamped with their approval. If you like, you can fax them a copy of this page or send it from our website. To their credit, they once in a while have one of their employees write to me asking what something has to do with the industry.
Speaking of Blum, long-time general manager of Blum GmbH, Karl Rudisser, president and c.e.o. of Blum U.S. and Kevin Tratt, president and general manager of Blum Canada all retired in the last 60 days. Tratt says the company did not want to make much of it. See page 10 for further details.
As for myself, I will just keep my feet on the ground. I don’t care that much for helicopters, anyway, and you simply don’t know who you can trust these days. Let’s keep our oceans clean.