Tradition and transition

May 1, 2018

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ~ Gustav Mahler I can’t help but date myself if I tell you that when I started working at IFAI in 1988, staff were still allowed to smoke in the office, we had a fax machine that was so large it had its …

Automation and full employment

April 1, 2018

Pessimists have already begun to worry about what is going to replace automation. ~John Tudor If any of you watched the “X-Files” episode in early March entitled “Rm9sbG9eZX.Jz” and are still happily chatting with Alexa … your intrepid nature is an inspiration. The program basically depicted Mulder and Scully having dinner in a completely automated …

The Vikings, innovation and editorial coverage

March 1, 2018

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein Okay… I guess I have to report that The Curse of the Vikings is still intact (see February editorial). We upset New Orleans well enough that …

Will the Vikings ever win the Super Bowl?

February 1, 2018

Whether you’re a football fan or not, you’re probably aware that in a few weeks (as I write this), Minneapolis will be hosting Super Bowl LII, about four miles from my house (the newscasters don’t always mention that part). Last Sunday, the Vikings pulled off a stunning last-minute victory over New Orleans, sending a bunch …

Corporate social responsibility: giving back to your community

January 1, 2018

Tents on cars. Tents on rafts. Smartfoam helmets. Cool firefighting. Emergency balloon networks. Real shade sailing; working partnerships with architects; creating a welcoming workplace. Novel substrates for smart fabrics; clever cash flow strategies; mountaintop Geofoam. New products. Industry events. We’re starting out 2018 with much the same editorial emphasis as in previous years: to provide …

Marketing to millennials

December 1, 2017

Take two ideas and put them together to make one new idea. After all, what is a Snuggie but a mutation of a blanket and a robe? ~Jim Kukral For years now, I’ve been endearing myself in meetings with manufacturers by asking questions like: “So when will there be an awning that is delivered by …

Manufacturing fuels innovation

November 1, 2017

And I know this happens because I took economics, and I’d explain it to ya, but I flunked that course. Not my fault. They taught it at 8 o’clock in the morning. And there is absolutely nothing you can learn out of one bloodshot eye.   ~Lewis Black When I was in college, I took a …

Disaster relief and rebuilding

October 1, 2017

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~Douglas Adams Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Floods. Fire. It’s only September 18 as I write this, and this month is already on the record books. And, according to today’s paper, the atmospheric parade just keeps on coming, Atlantic and Pacific: Maria. José. …

Community service

September 1, 2017

Vision is dandy, but sustainable company excellence comes from a huge stable of able managers. ~Tom Peters September is IFAI Expo month, and this year’s programs, events and exhibits are focused more than ever on making the workmanship surpass the materials—even the amazing materials on the show floor in New Orleans. It’s an education in …

The latest at IFAI Expo 2017 in New Orleans

August 1, 2017

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~Abraham Lincoln I can’t believe it’s August already. Next month we’ll gather in New Orleans to celebrate the people, products and ideas across our industry, from specialty fabrics and fabrication, shade and weather protection and advanced …