Simple. Cool. Clean. Grey. Flooring.

Simple. Cool. Clean. Grey. Flooring.
1-unit loading grey - hardWear finish

Friday, December 26, 2014

I am so grateful for the insights I’ve gotten from the mavens of human performance. Not that I revel in my own awesomeness or whatever - it is just nice to be able to back up and see my own patterns with understanding of how brains and egos work in general.

One of my “secret weapons” is I have seen JB Glossinger come a long way, and his daily 15 minute talks are better than ever. One thing I am not so sure about is the general idea of “Intelligent Life Design”. It seems to be one side of a coin that we ought to trade for a third alternative. 

At first blush, ILD seems naturally desirable. It is hard to argue with the idea of making more money with less effort. However, creating time and space to pursue hobbies (golf, MMA, languages, etc.) has an odor of frivolity that makes me want to burst outside to breathe. I have a hunch that strong men (and maybe women) are like diesel trucks: they function best when under a load.

The other side of that coin - work for work’s sake - is worse. When I read Aldous Huxley’s “People intoxicate themselves with work so they won't see how they really are” I thought of so many of my friends (and myself). So many of us are compulsive and need something to throw ourselves into. Work is a better alternative than drugs, etc. Side effects of “workaholism” (workahol is not actually a substance) include prosperity and respect. But again there is a third alternative. Something that is neither a cop-out nor frivolous.

It is Mission.  You know you are going to die, right? Can you imagine the deathbed realization that you spent your life frivolously or driving blindly? The third alternative is to find the biggest reason possible to give it all. Then give it your all. That’s what I have done, and I could not be happier. I bet that’s what JB is up to as well (the golf thing might partly be to motivate working stiffs that listen).

My mission is this: re-build the artisan class by building a business that makes of the most durable, aesthetically timeless floors on the planet. Everything other flooring material is future garbage. Most other jobs are pointless by comparison. Here are the results of this work:
  • Less things in landfills (Americans throw away billions of pounds of carpet every year - it is not recyclable).
  • Happy+productive men learning new skills and making things they feel great about.
  • Customers getting meaningfully crafted things instead of more boxes of whatever.

Here is a case study:
Lily + Bobby Garst wanted the graphic of this pin enlarged and cut into their concrete:

Translating a 1/2" pin to a 7' medallion means either creating a vectorized computer file line-by-line that a plotter can read to cut a stencil or just printing it out and cutting through the image with grinders and engravers.  The first approach is easier on the body, the second is better on the soul.
Here is a shot of the printed image on an interior floor (flattening out while we stain and seal the front porch where it would later be installed):
Cutting all that out is a ton of work, but there is no good way to translate the depth of a grey-scale image from a pin to concrete art without the depth you get with a grinder.  Here is a shot after a hard day of work:
The Greek key started to take shape:
At some point taking the paper off makes sense. The final shading comes from the artisan looking at the image and just translating it to the concrete:
Inspiration is not optional when you are working like a tattoo artist - except the vibration is 3X, the work is 3X the size, and you are on your knees all day cutting it in.

Finally the engraving is done:

Staining it black and sealing it makes it more subtle and keeps it from darkening from dirt over time:

The artisan behind this work has been with me for over 8 years now. He could not be happier with his job, and he and the other crew leaders can now afford to buy homes, feed their families single handedly (moms are home). Also, the Garst Family got a remarkable entry to their home that will never wear out, pop off, or go out of style. Our margins are very low, but over $1M has gone into the local economy in 2014 alone. To Garsts, the builders, architects, and the 100s of others we were able to serve this year, a big fat THANK YOU.