Friday, October 31, 2008

ESC Boston Show

Our supplier Quantum Research (now part of Atmel) was showing on a 42" LCD - in 3D graphics - how their new area array sensing technology can detect multiple fingers on a touch screen, and indicate touch intensity too. Samples are now available and production quantities will be available in Q1 2009. They also showed a cute Quantum-laden toy dinosaur with multiple hidden touch sensors, programmed to respond like a pet.

Microsoft was making a big deal of .NET and had three of our fast-selling GHI boards proudly on display (see

elektor magazine (well-known and highly-regarded in Europe) is trying to establish itself in USA and is using Audio Engineering staff in NH to accomplish that. They'll be sending us 500 magazines to distribute – let me know if you’d like one free – this is a one-of-a-kind magazine with articles from their European staff of top-notch engineers. (

Speaking of magazines, I spoke with Circuit Cellar staff - Tom Cantrell's EmbedRF article will appear in February edition due to others in pipeline.

It was good bumping into to quite a few of our customers as well as suppliers at ESC, but I wonder if the show days are over. ESC Boston was slated to get about 3000 attendees. Quantum staff told me that they were just at the Maker Fair in California, which brought in 50,000 visitors, with 5,000 people going through the Quantum booth.

I wonder how many share my opinion about shows being less relevant now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's the "Reell" Thing!

A business – or any other organization for that matter - as it evolves, becomes like its leader(s) or founder(s), sharing their characteristics, preferences, and foibles. In growing Saelig, I’ve looked at other companies from time to time for ideas, but not found too much inspiration – there’s too much emphasis on growing at the expense of the individual. So I was encouraged to see the philosophies of a Minnesota company, where friend of mine works – Reell Precision Manufacturing Corporation (see – and pronounced “Ray-el”). Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, this is a remarkable organization because Reell’s values are the core of the identity of the company.

Reell’s founders wanted to build a company that viewed success as more than return on investment. They wanted to provide exceptional products and services to customers while creating a work environment that fostered a balanced life for its co-workers. They named the company "Reell" (ray-EL'); a German word meaning honest, trustworthy and good, to reflect these values.

Reell is founded on the belief that life's highest purpose is for each person to fulfill his or her true potential. To this end, Reell is committed to providing an environment that supports and encourages the development and advancement of each coworker. Reell offers training, experience and career opportunities to help coworkers achieve their goals, provides excellent benefits (including premier medical, dental and adoption plans), educational reimbursement, holiday and personal time off, short-term and long-term disability, an employee assistance program, flex-benefit deduction, a 401(k) plan and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

They believe that it is not striving to compete with each other or other companies but the pursuit of excellence to be better persons that leads to success. Their Company Statement acknowledges that “the potential of persons to be all they can be is within each one, waiting to be expressed.” It is not about someone (a supervisor, a boss) driving others towards excellence but about “free[ing] each other to grow and express the excellence that is within all persons.” (

The Vision, Mission, Declaration of Belief and the Direction Statement at Reell are summed up in four short, practical principles that help everyone in the organization to make decisions “consistent with God’s purposes for creation according to [each person’s] individual understanding":
1) Do what is right: We are committed to do what is right, even when it does not seem to be profitable, expedient, or conventional.
2) Do our best: In our understanding of excellence we embrace a commitment to continuous improvement in everything we do. It is our commitment to encourage, teach, equip, and free each other to do and become all that we were intended to be.
3) Treat others as we would like to be treated
4) Seek Inspirational Wisdom

These seem like good principles on which to build a growing company!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Brand Aid

Checking out other blogs and emails, I saw this on and it got me thinking how Saelig features in these topics (maybe you should do the same?):

Brand Aid

Clarify your position. "The first step to building brand equity is to define your positioning," - the single thing your company stands for to your customers".

We like to be known for bringing unique OEM products to the attention of our customers (principally American engineers) - with excellent technical support and ethical business practices. To our vendors, we like to be known as part of their home team, with extremely effective market-creating abilities.

Tell your story. Give your position an external expression through your best corporate stories—an insight that led to the company's inception, the extraordinary measures you took to satisfy a customer or how your big breakthrough happened.

Saelig was created by an engineer for engineers - but we need to do a better job of telling the stories of how we frequently go "the extra mile" for our customers.

Bring it to life. "Make sure that the way your company looks and feels to the outside world matches that truth," he says.

We have to make sure that we operate with our customers' interests in mind at all times, while also satisfying our suppliers' needs.

Build the brand. You can make an impression before your customer ever initiates a transaction. O'Toole cites a naming consultancy called Igor that publishes at its Web site a free 100-page guide on its methodology.

We've had some nice feedback from engineers who like our innovative newsletters and interesting product mix. We trust that we're becoming known as a company that wants to make our customers "happy, prosperous and blessed".

The Po!nt: "These are practices you don't need a billion dollar marketing budget to emulate - you can start today."

Could we be doing more to build our image? Sure, but I'm encouraged when we get emails, or comments at shows, from customers who've followed our progress from the early days of 1988 when we just sold one product - a Forth-based controller board.