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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

-- The Surveyor --


The Good

Seems worth sharing.. I went down to the boat a week (give or take) ago. Hadn't seen it in 18 months? Looked great and loved being back on board. Sure.. a little dirty from being in the yard... the plastic is showing some age but with some minor love it could go a third winter (just hire the right guy). Met up with someone who wanted to see it... the first person from this web site to step on-board and he had the following series of statements as a reaction after their tour.

  • "Clock Work seems very nice in the photos.. we expected it would turn out to be not as nice in person."

  • "It's actually much nicer in person."

  • They submitted an offer before they left.

Extremely nice and decent people, but they and I are simply not a good match to work through a business discussion. I requested that we break off. Too much going on, and a decades long history of politely abandoning a business discussions when I see things heading for the weeds. I put this interchange in here a little to bang the drum about someone else's reaction to Clock Work boat but also to respond to something I will note under "The Ugly" below.

That was ~a week ago and I've been working on an unsolicited but significant business opportunity for my (I thought) closed company.. I mistakenly thought closed meant..... you know... closed. Apparently not. So busting to fulfill this order despite no engineers.. no managers.. no building/lab.. no NOTHING. Because.. "closed". I have a machine shop! Haha... As problems go, there are worse.

Also, the last traffic report for the web site says visits to the site are up 774% over the preceding week. Dwell time on the site is up over 20% which doesn't really make sense as I haven't added any new content. My God... didn't see this before... blog reads are up 2373%. I have a lot of apologies to write! Email contact is up considerably but approx in scale with the increased traffic. I've opened/responded to exactly nothing since I went back to working on the giant work project a week+ ago, but hope to respond to the interested ones tonight (already choked.. it's now the next morning)... the analytics in conjunction with the nature of the questions people first ask does make it straightforward to understand who is interested and who is more likely just surfing.

Let me call this next part the best part. One of the things that's been happening for me personally through this site is I appear to be making some new friends... like-minded sorts of people. "Like minded" does not ACTUALLY occur all that frequently. But there are conversations taking place that in the end have literally nothing to do with selling Clock Work that are themselves wonderful to be in, like the two different email discussions on "maintenance philosophy". Not shallow. Contribution flow is in both directions. Gracious and scholarly. This is/has been infinitely beyond enjoyable for me and I am loving hearing new well-informed perspectives, and that someone who can find their exhaust pipe with both hands actually appreciates mine. Wish I could keep up. That guy I mentioned with ALS.. had been my "study partner" nearly daily on this and related topics for 50 years... him more practitioner... me more formalist. Outside of one friend at the marina, these kinds of interactions just don't happen near as much as they used to so... WORTH IT putting up this web site.

The Bad

That offer referenced earlier blew up because someone with a gross excess of confidence relative to their de minimis experience and knowledge and zero exposure to the actual discussion "helped" the buyer, who was a bit out of out of his element anyway, escalate the display of conducts that added up to a high certainty to me it was going to run off the rails. Never talk thru a surrogate --> polite departure time. No concern here even about the wasted time, but I do see my enthusiasm to do this a certain way I would be proud of took a hit. You don't get great results without enthusiasm to do so. As I write right now, I'm definitely not looking to repeat again: days working out the sequencing of closing/survey/bottom paint/delivery to reduce their cost, finishing working out training for CW's systems including the things I made for maintaining them (significant collection of notes on this) and being available at the boat to help get the coatings right before taking her off the hard (I was AF-certified in the early 80's to put high-tech coatings on aerospace/military parts and I am massively unimpressed by the average ex-cubicle- dweller boat guy doing what is 3 days worth of work by the engineering spec in 3 hours), and to help deliver it with him from my marina to his dock. That enthusiasm seems to have been smoked. The world screwed up when it started pushing confidence and self-esteem on kids over actually knowing your facts.

The Ugly

Most who know me would say that my prime decision motivator is "heartbeats". You only get so many. On every level of life, my preference is whenever possible to politely walk away when I'm convinced I'm wasting them. And equivalently to hang in and trust longer to make something work when the other party appears they have the sort of background, skill and ethics I prefer.

Over the 35 years of running my company, I built up technology, distribution, licensing and selling alliances on 3 continents. Dozens, at least. Early in each process, I would usually share an internal document I wrote called "My Viewpoint on Undertaking to Build and Successfully Execute a Business Alliance - The Spirit of Our Relationship".. typically 24-5 pages and somewhat tailored for each prospective partner.. how relationships fail or succeed.. how partners fail each other.. examples from our industry. We had high-end first-mover technology and our best focus was on the earliest adopters.. the smartest most experienced guys doing the hardest least perfectly defined stuff. You don't patronize or bullshit them. You need to demonstrate very genuinely you can probably solve their hot steaming problem with a combination of what you have and what you know, or your can't and you NEED to prioritize building trust (success fuel)... NOT the PO.

"Selling" as most frequently practiced in daily life had no place with my products/services or desired customers/clients. But there's this level above "selling" known as business development. Chess, instead of checkers. It's not about the sale, it's about the trust and the credibility, both ways, and decisions are made aiming at THAT bullseye. Now, as an ancient, suffering over-confident sales guys (not all AT ALL.. just the ones who know they're God's gift to selling) does trigger my polite departure reflex faster than nearly anything else. And as I have alluded, I walked away from several brokers in recent past seasons. There was literally ONE guy.. actually nope.. two guys I did want to work with. In one case, I had reason to want him but not his brokerage, and in the other he was too far away to do it justice... which HE TOLD ME. Bang.. instant trust. I ended up settling and ultimately stupid me realized I needed to do it myself. Didn't want to... HAD to. Just like fixing things myself. No difference.

So... "the ugly". Turns out some comments from one of those politely departed brokers got back to me.. cheap high school stuff trying to set up a little uncertainty and doubt from his lofty position as an "industry insider".. the kind of baseless blow-hard "fact" that is so trivial to check it's not funny. Let me put an offer on the table to anyone who is honestly potentially interested and may have come under the influence of a certain broker's whispered keen wisdom. Come see it for yourself and while you're here, if you would like, review what that guy said in the series of emails and texts that triggered an instant yet polite retreat from him. Review that and then ask yourself if the recent comments appear credible, or something else. I dislike dealing with people like this which brings this all back to this related fact... that caliber of conduct... which my own experience indicates one can encounter too frequently as a boat owner... is a major component of why I'm selling this machine.

Done.. Report complete. I prefer to stick to "the Good"... "It's actually much nicer in person" he said (and would be even nicer if that idiot didn't put a stain on the carpet). If you're one of those machine guys, maybe take a look. For now, I feel an unusual compulsion to watch a Sergio Leone film. Take care.


Before pressing PUBLISH... just got an email from a friend at the marina.. several cars spotted checking out the boat. Not sure if you guys emailed or not but regardless, can I ask what you thought? Thanks either way. Apparently, the plastic is off too.

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