Prolonging the Thought
Before I write my end-of-year blogs, it's generally been my habit to take a look at my last year-ending thoughts to get a sense of how on (or off) target I was and figure out what I need to do to refine my prognostications for the current version. For the most part, I usually don't find anything dramatic, but this year was 
2019/12.2, December 18 — Working the Views, Fountain Precision, Inventive Mythology and more
Reading to Reshape My Mental Outlook
Last year was the worst I’ve endured since I was a novice in the pool and spa industry. At the time, I found myself taking comfort in the fact that I wasn’t alone, that the recession was to blame for my ebbing sales and that we were all
Stoking the Mojo
By now, most of us have noticed or at least heard news of the onset of a much- anticipated rebound in the economy.  Most watershapers I speak with confirm that it’s true (although to widely varying degrees) and that they are indeed experiencing increases in business – both with new contacts and old leads that have come back into play. I write those words knowing that you may or may not be convinced that this is the real thing.  After all, we’ve learned some tough lessons during this recession, not the least of which is to be wary when pundits offer predictions that they seem perfectly willing to adjust from week to week. At present, however, most of these economic gurus are
Greener Grass, Higher Tides
Last year in our May issue, I put a deliberately upbeat spin on market conditions that had prompted us at WaterShapes to switch temporarily to a bimonthly publishing schedule.   The tack I took did not go unnoticed.  In the aftermath of our announcement, of course, many of you let us know that you were four-square behind the magazine and offered to pitch in to do whatever you could to help – all of which was and remains most appreciated.  But there were others who, in various ways, essentially told me that
Knowing the Risks
These days, it seems natural for people to be reluctant to take risks.  We are, after all, still feeling the effects of a severe recession, and lots of folks are hunkered down, saving their pennies and waiting for something good to happen. I completely understand this conservative impulse, especially on the business front, but it’s also obvious to me that if we’re going to take the necessary steps to return to more prosperous times, then we as individuals, as an industry and even as a society will at some point need to start
Economy of Motion
As is true of businesses coast to coast, we at WaterShapes are counting the days until the economy turns around.  We do so confident that economic trends are cyclical and that good times have always replaced the bad. But this particular recession has been deeper and longer than most among us have ever witnessed, leaving many companies – including ours – to hunker down and make what we can out of thin stocks of available business.  As has been suggested numerous times in the pages of our magazine, however, this is no time for rash
Reasons to Believe
Although I’ve done it on a couple occasions through the past 11 years, I’ve always had trouble writing columns that welcome a New Year – even when times have been good and there have been reasons aplenty for lavish doses of optimism.  I just don’t like clichés, and they’re amazingly difficult to avoid when you look to the future with
Time to Rebound
Economists, commentators, politicians and just about anyone who’s been paying attention have described the recession that started in 2008 as the worst economic calamity to befall us since the Great Depression.  None of us needs their expert testimony to know that the past 18 months have been the toughest most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Just as we knew when times were great that the housing market was ripe for
The Light Ahead
Through the past several months, we’ve heard all sorts of voices discussing the current state of economic affairs – including mine in last month’s “Aqua Culture” column, but, more predominantly, those of representatives of the 24-hour-a-day news media.   Anyone who isn’t living in a cave is by now aware that we’re caught up in an economic crisis of global proportions and that the consequences may be dire.  We’ve heard that line so often and with such fervor, in fact, that it’s