Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stitch together (part 10): The final chapter

One of the best features of the Minnow office was we were running an Apple network and we all had isight web cams and ichat instant messaging. These are very useful tools for external conferencing and internal communications. We used them to communicate back and forth about what a loon Todd was and what a joke the place was. I actually had a clown face for my icon and my desktop picture on my computer.

The main problem with the company, from day one, was that we were promising machines to customers that we couldn't produce. We were actually producing upwards of 25 machines a week, which would seem like a good thing... But, there wasn't enough demand for the machines we were producing, the only real demand for machines was for the machines we couldn't make, how ironic. Basically, Minnow was running in reverse, instead of producing machines based on customers needs, we were making machines that nobody wanted. I would often say: "you'll have a milk" in reference to a great Milk advertisement from years ago.

It was after New Years now and I was fielding multiple calls from frustrated and irate customers on a daily basis. from Hong Kong to Warsaw.

I was frantically looking for ways out of Minnow. Trying to get another job was priority one, but if I wasn't having much luck. The way I figured it, Todd- the toad, was going to have to fire me because I wasn't going to quit and let him win. After all, he roped me into this bogus company by lying to me and such, I wasn't just going to lie down and quit.

For months, I had been asking Todd to put together a sales plan, marketing plan, any plan!!! But he resisted saying that: "it was too early" or some bull. His tune changed after new years and we were beginning to pile up machines that hadn't been sold. We had a meeting and in a very desperate moment, he told me that I needed to put together a plan to sell machines- by all means necessary. I asked him: "why the change of heart", since he had resisted a plan for so long. And he told me that production was going to out pace sales. I asked how many machine sales we were ahead? That right there shows how crazy that place was, I'm the salesman don't even know how many machines we have sold. Anyways, Todd said that we had six weeks machine production sold, so we needed to act fast.

I knew this was a lie and that we barely had one weeks production of machines sold, so I knew this was going to be great. I set out for a week with my headphones on (to limit the many distractions), getting to work on a sales and marketing plan. I was keeping it simple and efficient, no frills, because I knew Todd wasn't going to spring for any money for actually doing marketing. We had scheduled a meeting with Todd, Teddie (Todd's bro), Tammy (our logistics coordinator from the other side of the building) and myself.

I get all my notes together and print out copies of the sales plan and I was pumped up to actually get to work. We all settle in and Todd asks Tammy how many machines we had sold? She counted up her machine tallies from her spreadsheets and said: Twenty-four, one weeks production. Just as I suspected, the fool lied to me yet anther time, this time I was going to call him on it, I said: "why did you lie to me"Todd: "I didn't lie to you" Me: "yea you did, you told me we had 6 weeks production sold, last week". Todd, trying to backpedal says, "no, no I didn't" and I shot off: "you're a liar, why did you lie to me?". Todd flipped, because I had called him out in front of his little brother and Tammy, who's an unassuming, kind hearted woman.

Todd shot out of his chair like a rocket and got right in my face with his finger and shuttered: "I didn't lie to you, I'm not a liar!!!". He was so mad, his nostrils were all flared up and he looked like a wild bull. I knew this comment really sunk in and he was bullshit. I thought he might take a cheap shot swing at me because he was right in my grill with his hand in my face as I was sitting calmly in my chair.

So I decided the game was over and I said: "Get the f&*$ away from me" and he spouts off, visually shaken, "you no longer work for this company". I was like, great, you'll be hearing from my attorney and went off to pack my stuff and get out of that place, but no it wasn't over yet, because when he heard me say lawyer, he freaked again and followed me out to my computer saying: "please leave the building", over and over... With Teddie chiming in saying the same thing. I was actually pretty calm throughout the whole event and told them that I was just getting my things and was outta there. We are literally talking like 30-45 seconds. Teddie, the brainwashed fool that he was, says: "Mark, just pleased leave" sounding like a little boy, although he's 6foot 3 inch grown man. I had had it with Teddie too, because even though he seemed harmless, he was just as dastardly as Todd and deserved a mouthful too, I shot off: "Ok Teddie. Duh, duh, duh" making fun of his oafishness follower style and mockingbird reiteration.

It was a beautiful winter day, the sun was in full peak, and I was a happy man, never to have to go back to Minnow again. Geoff followed suit within the next few weeks and Rick a few months after....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Srong Arm (tm)

I am proud to be from Massachusetts and a student of the storied history and great people who have called "The Commonwealth" home. I have lived two thirds of my life on the Cape and believe it is one of (if not the) most beautiful places on earth: mired in songs, stories, books and film.

My view of the Cape (and the state as a whole) has changed quite a bit in the past few years, for many reasons.

The reason I write this, now, is because I just read this article online:

As of two weeks ago, I didn't know anything about this business of hotels/motels licenses being revoked for long term stay (over 30 days) of guests. Until, while flipping through the channels before going to bed, I stumbled upon the board of health meeting being broadcast on the local public access channel. Usually these meetings are about as exciting as watching paint dry, but this time it was different, it was about the motel licensing... I saw many passionate and emotional people take the stand and voice their distaste over the town of Yarmouth's (impending) decision to revoke the licenses of the said motels, and throw out hundreds of needy people into the street.

Massachusetts is known as THE Blue state and "the liberal Mecca" among other things, but it's all just a farce. There are many great people in the state who truly care about their neighbors and humanity as a whole, but the vast majority, are just closeted bigots and elitists who want to tell everyone else what they can or can't do. The pudding proof .

More to come, cause I'm not done.....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stitch together (part 9)

I would ask myself (and others) daily: is this shit for real? It was definitely real, but I still had a hard time believing it.

With the proverbial wheels beginning to fall off at Minnow, I along with my cohorts; Geoff (graphic designer) and Rick (computer programmer) began to loath the unrest and knew our times would come soon. The comedic nonsense had worn off months before and we were just plain sick of Todd. He was the joke and his (farce of a) company was a joke: but in reality the joke was on us, because we were all swindled into working at a three ringed circus.

I said fuck it. If this guy wants to run a circus, I'll be Bozo.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A little slice of heaven

Here is a link to the Coast Guard beach cam.

This camera is located in the second floor of the bathhouse and updates every minute.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stitch together (part 8)

Exodus: A departure of a large number of people.

After Josh's dismissal, we were realizing that Todd's facade as a cool, hip boss was just a just a front. In Todd's warped mind, he was setting an example by firing Josh. Minnow was Todd's toy and he wasn't going to let anyone try to play with it, let alone change it (even though his game plan changed every day).

This dude was a complex individual and he was hard to psychoanalyze. If a shrink could look into this dude's head they would see a person who suffered from a host of mental problems. I think he suffered from delusions of grandeur, manic episodes that stemmed from latent homosexuality and BSDM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) behavior. All in all, he was one sick person, in desperate need of psychological attention.

Jerry, the salesman left shortly before Josh's dismissal. He had endured with the idiocy for more than a year and he was happy to leave with some of his sanity still intact.

Lolly, who had only been with the company for a few months, said Au revoir around Christmas time and decided it was better to be unemployed than work for this nutcase.

Once Jerry left, the company was basically left without a salesman, so I was selected to take his place, which I at first resisted, because I was hired to do branding and marketing for the company. I eventually gave in, because I realized that without a vision/direction/goal or budget we couldn't really market very well. I was also thinking that by heading up the sales deptartment, I could help steer the company into calmer waters. I actually did a great job working with our international dealers and customers, building relationships and brokering deals from Hong Kong to Warsaw (and everywhere in between). The real trouble started when I started to learn about our actual production of machines.

Since I started, I was told that we manufactured hundred of types of machines that could stitch everything from A-Z. In reality, the only machines that were manufactured were "ONE" machine: a 1950's era machine that was made in China, shipped to our warehouse, disassembled, reassembled, repackaged and reshipped. All the other types of machines were used products (bought from dealers and factories) that were repainted and sold as new. Now, even though I had no idea this was going on, it would have been fine if our customers had actually received their machines in working order....

The actuality of the situation was: we were taking orders (and money), for machines that may never get produced, let alone refurbished and sold as new. The machines that our customers wanted, we couldn't produce and they were starting to get pissed, real pissed. As the salesman, it was my job to deal with all the problems that arose from incomplete orders and keep the veil cast over our consumers eyes. As an optimist, I'm thinking "better late then never" we'll get their machines to them, but there were some people that had been waiting twelve months for a machine that would probably "never" get made. This place was turning out to be a nightmare.

The wheels at Club Minnow were beginning to fall off.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Recycling polystyrene

Is it really in a business' best interest to recycle? Yea, it's politically correct and "green" to recycle, but will it help their bottom line and save money? The amount of energy it takes to recycle materials is paramount to the whole ideology of recycling. I mean, what's the point of recycling something, if it's going to use an obscene amount of resources and energy to do it? People want recycling, but they seldom ask the million dollar question: "What's the opportunity cost of doing so?"

Based on an industry report, the current polystyrene market in the US alone is over 7 billion dollars. Polystyrene is a versatile plastic that has been around for over 150 years. A petroleum based plastic, polystyrene is one of the most common organic polymers being produced today. Everything from CD cases, plastic utensils, foam packing peanuts, insulation boards, food containers and coffee cups are made from polystyrene.

When used as a foam (extruded or expanded), polystyrene's attributes are: low cost of production, high insulating value, and low weight. Unlike its virtuous cousin, polyethylene, which is recycled extensively:
"The majority of polystyrene products are currently not recycled because of a lack of suitable recycling facilities. Furthermore, when it is 'recycled,' it is not a closed loop — polystyrene cups and other packaging materials are usually recycled into fillers in other plastics, or other items that cannot themselves be recycled and are thrown away."

I believe EPS and XPS can be recycled simply, efficiently and economically; through a simple three step system:
  1. Shred and wash
  2. Heat and glue
  3. Press and extrude