The Long and Short of It

If I tell you when they are short, and I do, then I sure should tell you when they aren’t. And if you read this blog with any regularity you know that I usually don’t miss a week, even on Mondays of holiday weekends when I could skate by. But I didn’t write last Monday, No, it wasn’t in honor of Columbus but rather of something much bigger in my world (more on that later). The upshot is that I have two weeks worth of news so it’s a long blog this week. Here goes.

First Up: Our News

Last spring, USGlass magazine commissioned an industry research firm to create a confidence index for the industry and I’m happy to say the exhaustive project is now complete and ready. The idea was to develop a measure of how various segments of the glass industry view the future and how much confidence they have in it. The first set of results appears on page 28 in the October issue of USGlass hitting your mailboxes now. USGlass has commissioned a research firm to provide this research in five market segments on a semi-annual basis, beginning with contract glaziers.

It is our hope to provide the glass industry, and its suppliers and customers, with a look at how the various market segments are approaching the future. For contract glaziers, the USGlass Contract Glazier Confidence Index was developed after extensive research focused on five major areas:

• Measure one: Anticipated backlog change during the next six months;

• Measure two: Anticipated changes in number of employees in the next six months;

• Measure three: Overall confidence in the construction industry during the next six months;

• Measure four: Anticipated purchases of equipment and machinery in the near future; and

• Measure five: Anticipated change in profit margins during the next six months.

A look at excerpts from some of the results show an industry very much in flux, with wide variations depending on geography. It will be really interesting to see the changing results of this research over time.

Secondly: Hate to Say I Told You So

Well, not really because so many of you emailed to ask if I thought there would be more “marriages” between companies in the coming months. And no sooner had I answered “yes” than there was another one. Just a few days later, came the news that Solutia is acquiring HeatMirror maker Southwall. Expect this trend to continue.

Third Up: When Patti Met Vincent

You might have noticed that my last blog on October 3 was full of analogies to weddings, marriages, courtships and suitors. In retrospect, if it seemed like I had wedding on the brain, it’s because I did. You see, my absolutely wonderful best-friend of a sister, who is 2 ½ years younger than me, got married last weekend. But there’s more to this story.

The bride with the matron of honor last weekend. She looked picture-perfect of course and that made me smile all the more.

(Here’s the part where I have to hope she never sees nor reads this blog because she will KILL me for this.) Patti is famous for her very outgoing, bubbly personality by all who know her. She is as lively as I am quiet. And, while I am not going to give her age because I wish to remain alive, I am in early fifties, so you can do the math.

She is a vice president for a national bank and is headquartered in the Mid-Atlantic region. So, to hear her tell it, about five years ago, a dashing and funny internal auditor-accountant of approximately the same age came from HQ to audit her department and one thing led to another and … well, let’s just say things developed and then he could no longer audit her department. But he did, in fact, marry her last weekend. So I was the matron of honor in a fairy tale story—for two people in the middle of their lives, neither having ever been married before. It was one of the happiest days of my life, too.

Fourth Up: American Ingenuity

There’s always a fair amount of chatter about the globalization of our industry and, in many cases, the loss of business to foreign companies. That’s why I just loved the irony of this report I saw on the Today Show last week. It shows why – and how — American ingenuity can triumph.

Fifth and Finally: Black and Blue Blackberry

If you are a Blackberry user, then you weren’t for a good part of last week.  I had some conflicting emotions about it. On the one hand, it was hard to believe how widespread the outage was and how many people it was affecting. On the other hand, I was feeling bad for its makers because they were living the ultimate business nightmare of having their product fail so publically right when the iPhone 4S was being released. Everyone handled the situation in their own way, including the guys on this video:

And have a good week.

P.S.: I wrote most of my blog yesterday afternoon and worked a lot of this weekend, which isn’t that unusual. So, on my way to the office this morning I was engaging in a small amount of self-pity at the week starting again so quickly. I sat in the car for about two minutes psyching myself up for the week (oh come on, admit it, you do it too sometimes). Anyway, I walked into the office and was greeted by this sign on my closed door and when I opened it …. I was greeted by an explosion of colored balloons and plants and Starbucks coffee and homemade Tara Taffera biscotti and a beautiful card from everyone all sitting upon my desk. Turns out its Boss’s Day. I had no idea, but what a great day-brightener that turned a dreary Monday into a very nice one. Thanks to everybody at Key.