Category: Business

Sep 08 2011

Corporate conspiracy theory

With the 10yr anniversary of the 9/11 attacks coming up, my mind turns to the various conspiracy theories of the world. Many of them these days revolve around large business interests, and their apparent involvement in world disasters due to their ability to profit from them.

The majority of the people in the world, work for someone. That is, there are far more employees than there are employers. I’m not sure it would be possible for that to be the reverse. I’m going to go out on a fairly sturdy-feeling limb and say there are less people in the world with first-hand experience of running a business than there are who don’t. Further it seems those who don’t contain a large proportion of people that feel business leaders got to that position purely on an ability to “be evil”. Or that is to say, bend the rules, ignore human rights or what-have-you. Basically do whatever it takes to get to the top.

Very few people have first-hand knowledge of actually running a business. I am far from a good businessman, and I acknowledge this. But a large portion of business is essentially gambling. You gamble your money to get in stock in the hope it will sell and you’ll make back more than you paid so you can pay yourself, your staff, and afford to either have some fall-back savings in future or gamble/invest even larger amounts for bigger returns in future.
If you buy in lots of food and it goes off before you can sell it, you’ve made a loss. A business owner would have to pay to have the remains properly disposed of. A “good” business owner might sell that food to a pig-farm, or find some other way to recoup some of the losses or even make a smaller profit off the larger failure. Selling unsellable electronic goods for scrap metal as another more common example.

Of course, doing this may not be legal. I’m pretty sure pigs have to be fed on approved feeds these days. But again there’s a gamble there.
The larger the business, the less likely it is a single person could be charged as the blame could be spread across many people. So the risk of recouping the loss is weighed against the likely fines or penalties that might be received. I doubt it would be hard to find examples where even if caught the business could still turn a profit from the situation after fines. Think of it like a strategy game; sacrifice a few units but still come out ahead.

The biggest businesses are essentially the ones that have proven themselves most capable of exploiting changing situations (at least previously). The level of situational exploitation they’re capable of is hard to conceive of for the majority of people. And I feel it’s because of that that most corporate conspiracy theories exist; people being unable to imagine how a business could exploit Situation-X as it happens or after the fact, so they must have been planning it to happen like that all along.

That said though, these common business practices would make it very difficult to separate any ACTUAL conspiracy from them.

Aug 31 2011

Late night confession

I’m a bit afraid right now.

The milling machine’s been delayed another month. ETA is now early December. But I’m not complaining. Technically I don’t have enough money for it anymore. Once it arrives I’ll have at most a fortnight to pay the rest of the outstanding balance.

Since the £700 set aside for it was going to be sitting in my bank account for some 3 (now 6) months longer than expected, I decided to try and grow the money a bit before it went finally into low-fluidity material goods.

I’ve been spending a lot of money this week. A lot of it either on repairing or replacing tools, but mostly on these horns I’ve won on ebay tonight and the upright rotary table for the 4-axis mill project.
And I’ll be spending more once the horns arrive. I’ll be casting a lot, painting, trying out foam-rubber casts, mostly in the hope of getting enough wonderful quality items ready that I’ll be able to storm both Etsy and MCM Expo with them.

I think I can do it. But I’m still gambling again. And to be honest with myself, my previous gambles haven’t had very good returns.

It’s a supportive routine though. Waiting for supplies and parts to arrive sets me up with a waiting list in my mind, so I get on with immediate jobs a lot faster.

All I do is talk about what I do now. I’m sorry it’s likely not a very interesting subject to most.

Backlog/owed items are almost all done. Legacy projects are either scrapped or progressing. Things are generally improving. Life’s clearing out the chaff.

Will try and get back on Skype in the workshop again tomorrow. Talking while I work may help further.

Jul 30 2011

CNC parts so far, video

Will add more info at a later point.

Good day tho! A gift I’ve been working on on and off is ready to hand over tomorrow (there shall be photos) and I repaired the Hackspace Espresso machine at last, by fabricating a new drive sprocket from brass.

Two projects down. Accomplishments!

Jul 08 2011

New Mill Project

With the money I’ve been gifted, I’ve just put a deposit down on a BIG milling machine in the last few hours it was on special offer pricing. A Chester Eagle 25. I’ve also bought a Chinese 4-axis CNC driver board.

The mill is out of stock currently, so I’ve got a 12 week wait there probably, and 12-24 working days to wait for the driver board. Once the driver board’s here I’ll be grabbing the four steppers and PSU rather than have them sit around untested. :)

While it sounds like an unpleasantly slow process, it will give me the extra time I need to sell the current mill and replace workbenches it’ll all be going on.

Jun 21 2011

New resin storage (at last)

I’ve been holding off buying more casting supplies, because I was in dire need of a better way of storing them. The old fridge-freezer I’d been using was simply too small, and particularly in this damp weather I want somewhere dry and warm to be able to store the supplies where they’ll last longer.

Two weeks ago I managed to grab a large commercial display fridge off ebay, and after a lot of problems with the local garage and our van we managed to collect it.

Well actually we got within 0.7miles of collecting it before the van fuel-pump failed (which we’d repeatedly asked the garage to check, but they knew best & instead changed the distributor cap & leads. Not going back there now.). Thankfully the seller brought it down to our van in their car, so we got to get towed home with it in the back.

Today I finally managed to get it moved into the workshop.

It’s a big square insulated box. The glass door is a small concern, but I suppose it’ll get me to keep the place tidier.

I got the wiring tidied up and moved around. The refrigeration still works, and I’ll be seeing if it’s possible to use it as a dehumidifier. As you can see in the quick cameraphone pic, the oil-filled radiaitor currently takes up a lot of space, so I’ll be seeing it I can improve that, possibly by changing it for a filament heater (though I’m concerned about fire risk). Will be adding a couple of fixed temperature sensors at some point to trigger the fan and try and keep the temp evenly distributed.

There’s a hole at the top that also needs plugging, where the neon lamp used to be. Silly bit of design, but easier enough to work around.

Tomorrow I start work on moving everything I shifted to the other side of the workshop back again, so I can actually use the place and get on with the current orders.

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