Sunday, June 26, 2011

Looking at both sides

When it comes to economic conditions, the past week hit both ends of the spectrum. That spectrum instead of being good and bad is more like “hopeful” and “worrisome”. (See I AM turning over a new leaf already!) On the worrisome side was this month’s release of the Architectural Billings Index. The numbers were not pretty and any positive momentum from earlier in the year has dissipated. The most disappointing of the numbers was the new project score coming in with its lowest total in the last 18 months. But at the end of the day the ABI is not the “be all, end all” and its momentum can swing back to the positive quickly. On the hopeful side was the news out of Apogee this week that they have a better backlog and expect positive trends as the year proceeds. That can obviously be a signal for the industry to point to. Bottom line is we knew 2011 wasn’t going to be easy and we all hoped for the 2nd half to be the start of solid rebound and there’s evidence of that possibility.


-- And in my own non scientific poll, it sure sounds just from connecting with people this past week that places are busy and seeing some nice forecasts. At the end of the day it’s the actual reality for the businesses that matters and if it’s good, then the reports from the various groups really don’t mean that much.

-- The guys at Glassopolis are known for creating great ads. Well this past week one the main guys at Glassopolis had a part in creating something really great. Rob Botman and his wife welcomed their third child to the fold. Jasper joins the team now (Love the name!) and I am sure is already working Dad over about what next great creative is coming for the company. Congrats to Rob and family!

-- Not sure if anyone on here caught the crazy Gold Cup soccer final between the U.S. and Mexico. That’s the type of game the casual fan could enjoy. Mexico came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the U.S. 4-2. I believe Alejandro Sanchez had a big part in the win for Mexico making it the 2nd time this year that he broke the hearts of many Americans. Great game none the less.

-- Congrats to the gang at Holcam on the launch of their new marketing initiatives. Very well done and smart to get out there and bang the chest a little bit. They also added some very smart pieces to their approach that I believe will make a difference. Well done folks!

-- My Ipod on shuffle continues to be like Tony Robbins. First two songs from my run yesterday were: “Seize the Day” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”

-- And last this week…. I was very honored to get the full transcript of the speech Guardian’s Russ Ebeid presented at Glass Processing Days and I must say after reading it, I am blown away. Just a tremendous piece and tons of takeaways… One of the big ones for me personally was this line:

“In challenging times and rapid change, companies must be smart, nimble, and wise focusing on their customer’s needs. It is not the time to be hesitant or timid – it is an opportunity to prune for future growth. It is time to have the best people. It is time to be the best at what you do and make sure your customers know it.”

And with that incredible and very true line, it will serve as inspiration for me in my next steps… coming soon….


-- 14 ideas from the 42nd President of the U.S. Bill Clinton to fix the economy. No matter what you think of him or whatever party affiliation, a very interesting read for sure.

-- 51 year old actor marries his 16 year old girlfriend and that brings the same first question from everyone… how? Then the next question is how long will it last? I give it 2 years.

-- An actual store with everything in it made in the United States… Obviously a must stop if you find yourself near its location in Elma, NY. Will be interesting to see what it has and how it all goes…


The official trailer for the upcoming movie Moneyball starring Brad Pitt. It was a very cool book, we’ll see if the movie takes Hollywood license to it or not. Actually we know Hollywood will, but the question should be, how much?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Here, there, and everywhere....

Tying up loose ends and cleaning off the desk once again with short and assorted subjects…

-- Big news to the industry last week when I heard that marketing superstar Christine Shaffer was leaving Viracon to go to Apogee sister company Tru Vue. Very happy for Christine and the folks at Tru Vue pulled a coup (sorry for the cheesy rhyme, too easy) Its tough news for our side of the industry as no doubt Christine was a shining light, but at least she’ll be close by.

-- Christine was listed on this blog back in 2007 as one of the superstars of the industry and it was fun to go back and re-read that. The others in that inaugural class are all still plugging along at high levels. Greg Carney now on his own as a world class consultant, Brian Craft still not reading my blog, but doing great for Guardian, Mike Gainey, still a force at Azon, and Julie Schimmelpenningh at Solutia and always on the top of everyone’s list. Only Scott Surma is missing from our industry now but he still kicking tail and taking names and I believe he still follows the drama here when he has time.

-- Hated missing Neocon yet again last week, but heard tons of buzz from my architectural friends about it. Congrats to the fine folks at General Glass, evidently they made a tremendous impression on the show goers because I heard about them specifically from one of the premier interior Architects in the U.S. Also heard positives on the gang from Walker (and their “Dance Fever” floor) and Guardian’s big splash, but judging from the action GGI took the cake I guess. And to think my brother wasn’t even there either to take it all in!

-- Went out for a run on Saturday and the first song shuffled to my Ipod was “Eye of the Tiger” followed by “The Good Life” … wondering if that can be some sort of omen… the run ended with the classic Aerosmith tune “Dream On” hmmmm….

-- Congrats to the Bruin fans out there and my condolences to the fine Canuck fans (the non rioting ones) on their loss. The Bruins were so good they were able to get past my prediction skills.

-- Speaking of the riots, did you see that the shops damaged by the riots can’t put the losses to their property insurance? Evidently this would fall under something else and they would need actual “riot” insurance. It’s amazing; do insurance people ever pay anything out?

-- Getting excited for GlassBuild America and I am not alone. More than 40 first time exhibitors have joined in so far… with I know for a fact a few more still to come. The timing is right for show this year, and the people that want to get ahead of their competition will be there. I plan on having much more coverage on this as it creeps closer because it will be the place to be.

-- And finally this week, as most people who followed the situation expected I am no longer employed. It is what it is. At the end of the day it was a pleasure and honor to work with some unbelievable people over the last 10 months and I am sorry we didn’t get to finish what we started. I am thinking and praying for all of them. As for me going forward, we’ll see, I am getting excited over some possibilities and as soon as there’s something to report, I’ll bring it. Until then I’ll be plugging along working on the manuscript for Groundhog Day 2.


-- Interesting piece on the inner workings of AOL from a former writer there.

-- Have you played the game Angry Birds yet? I do and so do a ton of others, a million more every day!

-- A very cool piece on the origin of the Nike logo also known as “the swoosh”


Older video but really wild to watch, toddler at zoo, with Lions and the Lion wants to eat it! Thank goodness for the glass! It is really wild to watch…

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A mellow reaction

Usually when a price increase letter hits the street in our industry it elicits a ton of action. No maybe I am distracted (probably) but this latest round of letters seemingly didn’t bring the angst that normally shows up. Now I don't believe this is a clue on the acceptance or success of the letter but it is interesting to me that it doesn’t or at least in my opinion, hasn’t been the be all, end all that it used to be. As for the increases, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise at all, especially given everything that has been happening both in our little world and also everywhere else.


-- And if anyone was brave enough to read the national news this week I guess you could see why this increase letter pales. The Dow had another horrid week, now dropping below 12,000. Home equity is now near a record low and the whole employment outlook continues to look ugly. Not a pretty week and that didn’t even include the Twittering congressman…

-- The good news of the week actually happened last Saturday and I should’ve posted it then but blew it… and of course the subject of the good news thought I would and was bummed when he read my blog and it wasn’t mentioned. My son Zach played the game of his life (scored an awesome goal) and his team won a local 10 & Under Hockey title. Very happy for him and his team, and just a thrill to watch your kid achieve and succeed!

-- Ok back to reality… ha ha…. A great post this week on LinkedIn about the fact that LinkedIn’s growth in popularity is because of the tough economy and the fact people are losing their jobs and need to network for that more than anything. It was a case made even more dramatic when a headhunter posted a group of openings on LinkedIn and by nightfall his e mail box was full and website crashed.

-- PPG announced that they have surpassed the 94 million square foot mark in shipments of Solarban 70XL. Congrats to Glenn Miner and the team on the accomplishment, and looking back I know there were a lot of naysayers about the about the potential of that product when it was launched, but there’s no doubt that it’s been a hit.

-- And while we’re propping the primaries, a big group of kudos to Guardian on the launch of their new InGlass program. With a very cool new website and some very interesting products and plans, this should be a very exciting program to watch.

-- Am I the only one who gets mad when the newscaster gleefully announces gas prices have dropped a whole penny? I know everyone wants good news, but a penny?

-- If you haven’t checked out the latest issue of Glass Magazine, you need to. The annual look at the top 50 Glaziers is the cover story and of course it is something everyone looks forward to and once again the gang delivered the goods. And yes I am biased but the magazine has been absolutely on a roll in the last several months.

-- Last this week, normally this would be in the links, but it is too pertinent to what we do in our world. It’s the whole “glass steps” debate and the fact that it brings a lot more issues to mind then people may realize. Personally I have never been a fan of glass steps, to me it was never worth the safety for some sort of chic style. Check out the coverage HERE.


-- Funny piece on how a law in France makes it illegal for the media to mention Facebook and Twitter.

-- Great story that I know my brother Steve will love… what it truly costs to chase your dreams on American Idol.

-- I got this one from a few people and it’s pretty simple… if you have to constantly be on your phone or texting, then going to the movies is the wrong choice. And this theater in Austin (where they like it weird anyway) has a blast with it.


This video is only 5 seconds long but you will click it a few times… it’s Shania Twain falling as she walks to the stage at last week’s CMT awards. No doubt she may be embarrassed but she’ll just look in the mirror and realize she’s Shania Twain, so what does it matter…

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Mind Numbing

What a slow and boring week… can’t believe the lack of news in our world....

If only that was true.

For those of you who follow along in the news of the industry, this past week the auction for the company I currently am employed at (Vitro America) happened and it continued to the be the most surreal story that even Hollywood would write off as “too unbelievable.” After an amazingly competitive auction which featured more back and forth’s than a grand slam tennis final, Sun Capital outlasted the fine folks from Grey Mountain to win. This result now once again starts the process of industry change and probable consolidation as there’s not a lot of geographic differences between the companies. Now I can go on and on with this, I think anyone who knows me, knows I am bitterly disappointed (actually mortally depressed is a better term) over the result because of several reasons. The biggest is I really believe what Grey Mountain would’ve brought to the industry would’ve been spectacular. Breathtaking and groundbreaking plans to operate and innovate, and to be a part of that would have been epic. And quite frankly the momentum that was bubbling up at Vitro before all of this unintended collateral damage junk was thrown at us was significant and I really wanted to see where it could go. So that’s a big reason for my sadness, never knowing what “could’ve been” if we got to continue like planned.

Hey that’s life right? David threw one heck of a rock but Goliath has a harder head than anyone can imagine. So for now we’ll see how this will progress. Consolidation in our world has been a fact of life for many years and things like this are not a surprise. The industry has evolved and will continue to do so until it finds calmer skies. And as for going forward, we’ll see how this all hashes out. There’s a lot of people that will be affected by this, and we’ll join a crowded field of folks from US Aluminum, Zeledyne etc that are already out there. As I have railed on here many, many times before, there’s a ton of talent out there that can help upgrade and advance revenue generation and that will surely be the case when all of this comes clear in the coming weeks. I’m sure they’ll be much more to say about this in the coming weeks, as for now, for me and many others it continues to be just mind numbing.


-- This guy was bragging on a plane that he had poisonous gas with him. Yep what a brain surgeon.

-- Kind of wild story on finding a credit card lost in the ocean 25 years later.

-- As a good friend of mine said after reading this article about the dangers of energy drinks- “isn’t that a no brainer” Yep, I’d think so.


A great video of the week from my friend Steve O… A Dad drops his daughter while trying to catch a foul ball… simply comical. The girl is OK by the way… the Dad I am sure is getting abused…daily.