Would anyone be interested in setting up times to chat? Just a thought. RS25.com had mentioned the idea for vendors coming and chatting with customers and such, but I'd like to avoid the "giant infomercial" theme. Any input on the idears?
I've noticed several people come on to the chat rooms in the evenings, but during the day it seems pretty dead. I suppose I could build a notification system so that when someone came to the chat room it would email you, kinda like the classifieds system. I actually did that for my use for a while, but it started to be a pain in the ass because every 15 minutes I got notified, and by the time I got there, they were gone.
However, I am open to helping get it going so let me know what ideas you guys have.
hmm...what is a good time for everyone? I play on most Friday and Saturday nights, so that wouldn't work . I think a set schedule for weekly fireside chats is a bit of overkill. We don't want to rehash the same things over and over and waste someone's bandwidth. There is a point I want to get across, rather than just have a huge commercial in PDM's favor. What you are about to read is my opinion as a webmaster and is not representative of www.PDMturbos.com Perhaps if we put ourselves aside for just one minute, we'll see what kind of mess the internet is and what we're trying to do with it. I'd like to personally thank the webmaster of rs25.com for giving me the opportunity to say this and run with it and not delete it out of political or monetary motivation.
/Rant mode on
I'm an internet geek at heart, and look at this as a golden opportunity to communicate with customers. I'm speaking as a webmaster, philosopher(ish), and Subaru enthusiast. I never "suffered" in the tech bust because I didn't "succeed" in it either. My own path is more artist than artisan in this trade. Anyway, I'm looking for input. Questions from potential customers, ideas for parts, and hopefully quotes from some of you who have our parts already.
I'm looking to guage input so as the internet medium can be better managed on our smaller end. I think it has been proven that you can't take a business and put it on the internet and expect everything to work on it's own. It's takes time, thought and planning. But, there's no book written on the subject, no matter what any "computer expert" might say!
This is in the name of research. We watched JC Sports go out of business, Minnam, SubySports, Ludespeed... soon it might be Vivid, FAT, Cobb, PDM of Canada...the list goes on. There's local shops around here that have gone out of business because of the "internet." I believe the "internet" itself is a thin veil barely hiding the people who power it...namely all of us. In an attempt to examine the internet, I believe we're examinig ourselves and won't always like what we see. We've all seen vendors get the crap beat out of them verbally on bulletin boards they pay to use. Flame wars break out over stupid things taken far too seriously. All of that just because someone else has the keys to the bandwidth along with their own opinions, profit motives, and political motivations. That's time and money for all of those vendors when they could be making parts and communicating with customers on their own. I prefer this place because there's more freedom, hands down. We get to take responsibility for ourselves, vendor and customer alike, drunken post whoring and all!
I see a ten-fold increase of communication in internet communications...For example: Vendors still talk personally with customers and potential customers. It's people who may or may not have bought from them in the first place...over the phone, in person, or through email. 10 years ago, when store fronts dominated, you met your customer or talked to them over the phone, and everything else was secondary to supporting that face to face meeting. A customer with or without a placed order can now read a post or hear something, and want to hear it from the vendor....so they call. Distributors and customers aren't just talking one on one anymore. On the internet, it's all of them talking to each other, too. It's the interaction that's increased...not so much the amount of people. We're all more exposed as people, not just the institutions or ideals we represent. There's also money involved! We can NOT forget that! I think it has quickly become a big mess that's really no one's fault. Vendors want to make sure they get their money's worth out of that $1000 yearly fee i-club charges them. Vendors, moderators, and customers don't want their boards or themselves to look bad. So, we all spend three times as much effort covering our asses instead of enjoying what's here! I think that really stifles information exchange and growth. The real truth is that technology, and more, is available to every person who wishes to use it, vendor or otherwise!
I've personally talked to people who get pissed off at the very mention of the name JC Sports...others who'd like to kick my ass where I stand because I have anything to do with anyone who ever set foot in their door! And you know what............that same thing is happening to every vendor. I WILL pipe up and say I-club.com and nasioc.com are responsible for themselves and the environment fostered for vendor and customer relations. We all are, and no one has to be forced to babysit anyone else...vendor, moderator, or customer. I'm sorry, but I've seen many of the moderators bash the vendors that they claim to support. I've seen customers bash a vendor in one thread, and praise them in the next. Granted, rip-off artists should be caught and prosecuted. But, it is very unfair to accuse vendors of being scam artists for making human mistakes. Sometimes its easy to forget how bad the communication can be in our very own places of employment! Imagine putting that on the internet for everyone to see! Epecially if you intend to record everything, put it on public display, then play favorites!
You can't mix business and political motivations if the two are aligned differently. I think if better planning and communication take place, then you can avoid the internet backfiring on you as a customer, vendor, and webhost. Web hosts can still have their own opinions and we can all live happily ever after. Why should webmasters still not enjoy what they are helping to build and grow? Sure, two guys can fight in the ring or drink and the bar...but someone always owns the ring or the bar and feels like they have to keep both patrons and participants happy!
It's not written anywhere about what happens when everyone is exposed to each other for lengthy periods of time in something as "permanent" as the internet. With the internet, think of taking every storefront, every customer, and every enthusiast and putting them in the same enclosed area for an extended period of time. Everyone starts to stink after a while you all want to go home !
Joel has received a ton of inquiries since the website went on line. He doesn't have time to post here or anywhere else because he's too busy trying to make parts, answer phones, and pick up things around town he needs. Did I mention he sleeps too...and so do the welders? A lot of other vendors are in the same "small business in a big pond" kind of situation. There's so much data now that it could take years to collect every scrap of data and analyze it all...while it's still growing at the same time! Simultaneously, one person is still capable of holding more information than any server or developer team could ever hope to foster. It's very difficult and time consuming to sort through the opinions, information, and dis-information on the internet.
There's a lot to be learned from attempts like this. We're restricted on i-club because we had squat to do with JC Sports in the first place. We can't ask questions, state opinions, or guage input from real people without worrying about political motivations of the "key masters". Guess what...that same web technology used for their own purposes is available to everyone. Yes, you have to pay for it, but nothing in life is free. I believe Subaru Performance in the United States has been squelched due to micro-examination of every move someone makes in "public" on a "bulletin board", yet the privacy of their own home! The internet is too big for all of that to take place in one spot. It's big because there's a lot of us humans who are making it big and sometimes losing ourselves in the process.
To bring this loooooooooooooonnnnggggg tirade to a point, I can say this is an honest attempt to guage real feedback from real customers in (close to) REAL TIME. It's a chance to talk to a hell of a lot of people from different parts of the globe, who have the same access to us as we have to you. But, there-in lies the problem....there's only one of us, and several of you! Imagine Chevrolet talking to every red blooded American 24 hours a day. Doesn't that sound like a mess? So...we're starting this small. The feedback I get from you, Joe Go off the street, is going directly into the website and the way we do business. I believe that is this technology put to good use, rather than trying to sort through every individual, post by post, thought by thought. I don't expect many people to show up, but those of you who do are more than welcome!
Okay...I should be done configuring the forums by tonite. I'd like to chat with whoever would like to come Wednesday night at 7pm mtn time. (9 eastern, 8 central, 6western.) We'll be discussing new features to the site, taking customer ideas, and answering general questions. I know notice is a little sudden, but I'm working quick on the website anyway.