Learning New Things in the Industry
One hundred is a nice round number. However, the number has more than just a nice ring to it; it has a lot of meaning. Many important things revolve or are denoted at 100. Our monetary system, as well as most other countries, is developed around the concept of 100 units of measure. The number is how many years are in a century. In mathematics, the number 100 is important as it is the sum of the first nine prime numbers, as it is also the square of 10. One hundred is the basis of all percentages, as percent meaning per hundred in Latin, with 100 percent being the full amount. On the Celsius scale, 100 represents the boiling point of water at sea level. In American football, the field is 100 yards long. The United States has 100 senators, although that is purely a coincidence as we have 50 states with two senators from each state. What is not a coincidence is why I am writing about the number 100.
I was having dinner with family and friends recently and someone asked me how long had I been writing for Walls & Ceilings. That was pretty easy, as I know I started late in 2006. The conversation then shifted to how much writing that must be and how many Up Fronts I had done in almost nine years with the magazine. I calculated that I submit an editorial every month and for over eight years now, the number should be pretty high. After some further calculating, I figured out my 100th column was coming up soon, and this is the one. Ironically it also coincides with me embarking on a new career.
It is a bit shocking to me that I have hit this milestone as I can remember telling my wife in 2006, “I have a few ideas on what to write about but then what?” Oddly enough, the industry itself and people like you have provided an ample source of topics, issues, concerns and comments for me to keep writing. Only a few times I felt stuck for a topic. I typically make a lunch date or coffee meeting with industry friends and find something to explore further. I have to admit, some friends now walk away, pause for a moment and turn back to me and say, “Am I going to read about this conversation in the magazine?” I typically refrain from a direct answer and reply with something like “you never know.” Most people tend to be inspiring and have a passion for the industry, to improve and innovate the wall and ceiling businesses they are in. My desire is to help spread that industry passion.
In the reflection of my 100 editorials, I had favorites such as my column regarding the meeting of a World War II flying ace and the honor to share his great story. I had a few that I felt would help contractors, like the one on stupid prices or how so many people fail to understand proper protocols for water testing and this can create more problems than solutions. I wrote editorials in which I wanted to make people think outside the box, like the Forer Effect or apprenticeships vs. college programs. I also had a few fun columns, such as how men’s underwear and Sports Illustrated swimsuit models relate to the economy. I do get feedback: most have been positive comments and few not so flattering. I assure you I appreciate the comments, good and bad. I love to hear from readers to get a sense of where the industry is going. We cannot move forward and improve without feedback. For the time being, I am still finding topics to cover and believe they should be shared, exposed or at least considered as we move ever closer to the third decade in this century. I hope that last comment made you think.
I spent 20 years contracting, then 20 years in the association world with codes, standards and working with architects. The next 20 I suspect will be spent consulting or being an expert witness continuing to write about the industry. I also suspect my new venture will provide even more material to write about. For example, I have recently discovered the importance of social media. For a short time I was kind of out of the loop with the industry and felt disconnected. A friend suggested I check my social media accounts, such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Turns out I had a ton of activity and it meant a lot to me to see people cared and were reaching out from everywhere. I had no idea that social media could be that impactful and I certainly underestimated the power of it.
So I learned something, even at 100.