It has been 45 days since I last wrote anything for my diary, I think the longest sabbatical since I started this, nearly 10 years ago.
The reasons for this are many and varied, just the same old news of the world pouring petrol on itself and lighting the match not stimulating me into action, some personal diversions such as Ploy's new business venture, a feeling I am just repeating myself all the time, banging on and on about my same old issues and problems and lastly, but certainly not least, I have been a tad busy.
As I write this I am waiting in Incheon airport business lounge for my flight back to Bangkok after a 3 day trip to see a customer in Seoul. This trip is just two weeks after a 5 day trip to Taiwan. Next week I am back in Taiwan and the week after that in Shenzhen. So yes, I have been a little busy.
We had that company that wanted to buy exclusive rights to one of our products. We said no but they kept coming back, not with improved offers, but with different wordings to their original offer. It first diverted us, made us think, but latterly it just became irritating and it was only a blunt e-mail that has finally got them to desist from calling at 7.a.m. in the morning.
However the benefit of this unwanted attention was for us to review the product they were interested in and think again why they were so persistent. We had had a little interest but nothing very enthusiastic and we were going to forget it and just move on. Instead we decided to push it a little more and the response has been immediate. We have been helped in this by an American company that make ICs we need to use to make a finished solution, but whatever their motives (getting back a market they were losing) we complement each other well and we have access to their sales network which has helped considerably.
I have just witnessed this with my visit to Korea. The company I visited had almost forced us to visit them. They paid for my hotel, (a good one). They picked me up from my hotel and even took me to and from a supplier I wished to visit. They took care of me. Their CEO presented me with a gift, a hand made stamp (for letters or documents) with an engraving of my name and face on it. It must have taken them effort to find the information (and photo) to do this. They made me feel special. They want to make this product now – today. Or preferably yesterday. They just want it. To the tune of ten thousand a year. Other companies are the same. We have something that no-one else has that solves a problem. A big problem. (Well, when I say a big problem, these things are relative of course. We do not have a unified theory or a solution to world poverty. We have a tiny little thing that is important to these companies only. No-one else gives a jot about it).
It has been difficult to actually believe this has happened. After so many difficult customers that always ask for a little more, for changes that take time and effort, that then try not to pay for that work; now we have customers almost begging us to do business with them.
But still it all feels a little like a dream, a sort of misty reality. I have never been in this position before and I keep thinking that all these enquirers are just teasing, taking the piss, just getting us to invest in the equipment I need to do this before pulling the plug and all running away into the corner to point and giggle at us. Stupid people, did they really think we were going to buy all this from a tiny company in Thailand. Get real.
So we are remaining cautious but also quietly optimistic. Even if it is only the Korean company that order that will still double our profits from last year.
It has to be this time. I have a headache from the lack of sleep (no, not the wine, I was asleep by 8p.m. last night, but then awake again at midnight, at 1.a.m., at 1.30a.m., and so on). I have a bit of temperature and I can feel I am exhausted. I have three days once I return to do eight days worth of work before I travel again. If this doesn’t work this time I will stop. Take a few days off, buy some make-up and sell my body at Spassos or Brix. It has to be easier than this. If I do another two years of fourteen hour days, seven days a week I will be poor and sick. If I quit now I can be poor and just a little unhealthy.
But we should believe. Why should it not happen to us? We deserve it don't we? It is not as if we are politicians or lawyers or marketing managers. We are quite likeable in our way. Maybe it is our turn.
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