The Philosophic structure supporting Steve Smith’s products
Hello. I’m Steve Smith and I would like to tell you how I think, what I believe, and what is supporting my products.
What is life doing.
Life is full of people trying to succeed at something. For most of them, they do try and the end product of try is tried. Only some succeed.
Everyone is trying to do something. Some of those are trying not to do anything and others are trying to stop the activities of others. We hope those latter ones stay away.
When a person knows some information (we call it data; one bit of something known is a datum) they may or may not be able to do anything with that data. Usually they try to compare it to other data they got from others. That may or may not make any sense. Some bits of data a person just cannot think with.
There are reasons for this. Data needs to be organized to be generally useful, and false data needs to be searched out, identified and labeled so as to avoid the introduction of lies into a body of knowledge which one expects to trust.
There are names for bodies of knowledge, depending on the quality.
A practice is an activity which may or may not contain data capable of being applied consistently and reproducibly; a practice works sometimes for some people.
Science is organized data which is verified or can be verified and which is reproducible.
Technology means the application of science to accomplish a specific goal.
It is important to know what technology is. Our lives are full of different kinds of technology and our businesses depend on technology.
We will be talking a lot about technology in the future. Are you a person who does not like technology? If so, you should not read any further.
We have found ways to use technology to make things better, to reverse some of the deterioration of wood. Our technology can also make people better, because we believe that better people can be happier and make better things. Do you believe people can get better? If not, you should not read any further.
Some uses of technology
There are many methods of maintaining and repairing things made of Wood.....boats, buildings, signs, and so forth.
Wood fails for many reasons. Sometimes small life (beetles, termites, fungi, bacteria, others) eat the wood. The ultraviolet light from the sun slowly decomposes the surface, weather and water slowly erode away the fibers, variations in humidity and stress can cause the wood to warp, crack or split, and there are probably many other reasons.
Since the dawn of time man has used wood for tools, weapons, shelter (and fuel). Many possible methods of repairing or restoring wood have been tried, but until our technology was developed there were only two basic methods of dealing with deteriorating wood. First, treat it with something poisonous or at least something that tasted bad to deter those who would use it for food; second, tear it out and replace it when it failed, because even the poison doesn't last and doesn't protect it from sun, rain and certainly does not restore the wood from the existing deterioration. Besides, eventually some life form comes along who does not mind the poison, and the wood becomes their food.
There are many kinds of resins, glues, epoxy or other chemical products that people have invented to try to restore deteriorated wood. My products—the Smith brand of products-- are different. They are different because they are designed to work differently. This design is something no one else really has, because I invented it. It is part of my technology. We talked about technology earlier, so you know that technology is something valuable. In fact, it is the only valuable thing my company has. You now are being offered the opportunity to use that technology.
This technology you have here is not only a technology of how to restore deteriorated wood (provided it is not too far gone) but how to quote jobs, handle the paperwork and promote and market our products, which are restored and repaired wood at less cost than replacement, and longer life.
Do you know where your technology is? If you are an individual user, it is in the literature that came with the products, and the additional information on the www.smithandcompany.org web site, and the additional literature that Smith & Co. could mail to you. If you are a business, it is also in the various bulletins that have been issued while the technology was being developed and during the pilot programs that worked out how to apply it in your industry. It is in the training of the people who do the work, and in the policy and procedures of those who quote the jobs, and those who run your offices.
Do you know where all of your technology is? If you do and you have studied it, then you have the technology.
My Technology is different
There are many reasons why work done with my restoration products is different from other work done by people using different products. Some reasons are consequences of others, and trying to understand all the reasons-why can get confusing. One way to handle confusions is to find something simple and obvious that we can understand.
Did you know that most restoration work done with my technology is still there, still in service after over ten years? In fact, we don't know of any properly done restoration that has failed since the first field tests of this technology were done over thirty-five years ago.
Why is this?
My company--Smith & Co.-- has a technology. You know that now. But why is that technology so much more viable than (capable of life; they last longer) others? It is because we have the correct technology.
The technology is the correct technology because our restorations are much more viable than other repairs or restoration attempts done other ways with other products.
Having the correct technology is what makes our products successful in the environment and makes us successful as a group as well as in business.
If our technology was not correct we would not survive. The ultimate test of any technology is not little details like whose brand of brush do you use and do you go up or down or sideways. The ultimate test of any technology is "Does it promote survival and persistence and can it correct failures?"
Our technology can do all this. You may not have noticed that because we never spelled it out in little words before, but it can and does.
Now you probably want to know exactly how our technology promotes survival. We will discuss that in the next section.
But first, see if you can find earlier where I told you a lie.
Using the technology
Did you find the lie in the earlier section? It was simply this:
"Our technology can do all this. .... It can and does."
The lie was simply that. You see, technology does nothing. People do everything. If people choose to do nothing, then nothing happens except decay.
The technology of the Smith brand of products is the correct technology because it promotes survival and persistence and because it can correct errors, but only when people choose to use it.
Here is how that happens:
A business is something that produces and exchanges goods and/or services with other groups and individuals. A business may be an activity of only one person or it may be an activity that spans the planet, such as IBM, Siemens, Honda or Volvo.
The person or group which is going to produce the products of the activity needs to be established. To establish something one must put the physical facility there and hold it there at some location in the physical universe.
Then someone, somehow, trains the people. Then the products of the activity need to be actually produced. This may at first seem confusing or disorganized but somehow we get products produced and delivered and paid for.
Then the person or group doing the production of the products needs to be reviewed, corrected and polished. Now we have a smoothly functioning organization.
Then the products themselves need to be reviewed, corrected and polished. Now we should have a smoothly functioning organization producing products which are needed and wanted and delivering them and getting paid for them. If we do not, we do these five steps again.
This idea of producing and correcting ourselves and our products is part of the technology we have.
How do products relate to survival?
We are surrounded in life by products, but only some of these things should actually be called Products. There is an exact meaning for this word. It is very precise. A product is something that another will accept in exchange. This is not our invention. You can find the definitions of words in any good dictionary.
We obtain our food, shelter and everything we have by exchanging with others, and that includes whatever we grow in the back yard. When we provide fertilizer and water to the plants we get fruit or vegetables from the plant in exchange. When we exchange with other people or businesses we keep score of the exchanges by using an intermediate value unit. This is called money. The value of something is the amount of money that is needed to be exchanged for the product in order to have it. That amount of money represents in turn one's own production of exchangeable goods or services.
We can obtain a higher quality of survival and reduce threats to our survival by obtaining from others what we need and want, and the potential to do that is measured by how much money we have. We obtain this money by delivering useful products to others and getting in exchange these value credits which we can then exchange with others. This continuing mutual exchange allows all group activities to be viable and to expand.
You can see that a product must be something that another will agree has value. Value is thus a measure of how much something promotes or contributes to the survival of oneself or others. The most valuable thing in the universe to any life is the survival of life, and the exchange of value is what promotes survival, because all life survives by exchanging with other life. Therefore we want to produce high quality products that will be readily accepted.
One has to know the correct technology before one can use it. If things never went any further, a person would only be able to do things themselves, would never be able to pass on what they or others had learned, and the activity would never expand beyond a single individual doing something.
If any activity is ever to expand beyond the boundaries of an individual's own universe, there must be some way to get others to do some of the work in cooperation. Therefore, between just having the correct technology and applying the correct technology we need to have a way to connect these two areas when we get others involved. This connection is called teaching.
One could teach many things, and one could teach so incompetently that even if all the wrong things were taught it would do no harm because nothing would have been learned.
When you were trained we hope it was by someone who could communicate and demonstrate how to do it wrong and how to do it right, and with sufficient skill that you knew, understood and could apply what was being taught. That is the end product of teaching correctly. I, Steve Smith, am responsible for teaching you how to use my products to solve problems and accomplish worthwhile goals. I do this by my writings, and those come to you over the Internet, by mail, and with the product when you purchase it. If you are establishing a business using my technology and my products, you will be responsible for teaching correctly those who come after you.
We teach as best we can, but we have only the Internet information, the literature and the labels on the cans with which to communicate the technology. This is why my products must be simple and easy to use. The literature is designed to effectively teach my technology.
Teaching the right things
If we have effective
teachers who can teach anything then it is also important that only the
correct technology be taught.
Thus, we know today how to make safer and more effective products for the restoration of deteriorated wood, and how to help the homeowner, the contractor and the restoration business to do better work that lasts longer and saves natural resources as well as the energy that would otherwise be wasted doing the same repair work over and over again every few years.
We know how to teach effectively so that the student knows, understands and can apply the materials being taught. We understand how to market our products more effectively and how to make ourselves heard by the public in this very noisy, "overcommunicated" environment.
All this is part of my technology and is what makes it the correct technology. If you do not teach the correct technology then you are wasting it, and if you waste and neglect it then soon no one will have it.
Therefore teach the
correct technology so that your students know, understand and can apply
it. Then, when you tell your neighbor how you successfully repaired your
own house or, as a business, become more prosperous and expand and depend
on others to do the work, you will have confidence that all the work will
be done correctly.
The definition of technology, as you may recall from the beginning of this essay, is the application of science to accomplish a specific goal. In order to accomplish the goal, one needs to use the correct technology. One then has at least the possibility that anyone, any time, anywhere will accomplish that goal. Without the correct technology that is impossible.
There are many other things one could do and many different ways of doing any task. Some of those work sometimes for some people. That is not Technology. That is a Practice. You could find someone who insisted that wood could be restored with sugar water and starch paste. Some research would turn up the fact that he was a kindergarten teacher demonstrating the idea to children, and for safety the school only allowed him to use materials that were safe for children to eat. Trying to restore deteriorated wood outdoors with sugar and starch would show immediately that this idea did not work where small life could eat it.
The reason wood should be impregnated before using a filler is that the old wood surface consists of dirt, loose and deteriorated fibers, none of which are really stuck well to the inside solid part of the wood itself. Filling on top of dirt will give fillers stuck well to dirt. The Smith brand of product is supposed to stick to the wood. The property owner expects it.
The end product you are supposed to deliver to the customer is the Smith brand of products applied correctly to repair the damage and keep the topcoat glued to the wood, which is by definition the application of the technology of Steve Smith to wood (and occasionally some other surfaces).
There may be better Smith products in the future. If you cannot apply the correct technology today, what hope is there for tomorrow?
There are many reasons not to apply the correct technology, or to do it a little different, or shortcut a few steps. There is one very good reason to use the correct technology and that is because someone paid good money, expecting to receive that exact product. There may be other reasons. Before you read further, see how many you can think of.
If you are a business, it is not enough for you to be able to apply our technology. It is not enough because you should become more prosperous and expand and hire and train others to produce the increased quantity of products which your customers will demand. You will need to ensure that you teach this technology and that your students know, understand and can apply what you taught them.
How can you do that?
Well, you have to be willing to be responsible for the results produced by those you teach.
Now, this is really an awful thing to just drop on a person. After all, how can anyone be responsible for what some other person does of their own free will?
The answer is that you just decide that you ARE responsible for what that person produces. That is how you do it. If you do this as an experiment you will find that you are producing more consistent, higher-quality products (although it may get a bit noisy if hidden or misunderstood things are discovered).
You can be responsible for others or their products to the extent that you decide you can. You can influence their products to that extent.
If you have no responsibility whatsoever for that person, then he will try to restore deteriorated wood with latex paint and a broom and say that's what you taught him to do, and write himself a weekly paycheck for a million dollars and sign the checks himself with your name and the bank would honor his signature. So, you see, you already have some responsibility because that is not happening.
You can hire and fire others and so you can have some responsibility for them and their products. You can comment favorably or not about what others do and so you can have some responsibility for them and their products. You can train them and notice their products and that is more responsibility taken. You can choose to examine and correct and improve their products and that is even more responsibility taken.
In that way, eventually, you can ensure that those you train and those who work for you do know and understand my technology and do apply my technology correctly.
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Trust, a California irrevocable trust, reprinted with permission