Questions, Answers and a Tidbit about Life and Business:
Where have all the golfers gone?
About 10 years ago the golf industry hit its peak. Golf balls, golf clubs, and related clothing products flew off the shelves. That has all changed now, with fewer players entering the sport. The decline is not really attributed to a lack of interest, but the time it takes away from family and the skyrocketing costs of a round of golf, its equipment and appropriate attire. The World Golf Foundation claims that in 2005 over 30 million participants played over 550 million rounds of golf. In 2014, the number of players shrunk to 25 million participants playing 465 million rounds. The fallout will have a financial impact on many suppliers to the game.
Speaking of suppliers to the game, with the support of Monroe Electronics, one of our long-standing suppliers, we worked on an “Early Warning” lightning-detection system for golf courses that was based on an electrostatic field meters that are commonly used to measure static in industrial applications, especially the plastics industry. Golfers running around an open course with metal sticks in their hands during a lightning strike is not a wise decision. The decline in the number of golfers is not our fault!!
Where have all the Rich Folks gone?
Obviously, they are still playing golf, but physically they are starting to relocate. I was watching the Tonight Show about two years ago and his guest was Will Smith. They showed a clip of Will Smith from a French TV interview, where Will said that he was okay with paying higher taxes as they do in France. He was shocked when told that the President of France has advocated a 75% tax rate for those making more than one million euros. Has Will Smith changed his line of thinking? Wealthy people are no longer bound by country.
The billionaire founder of Facebook fled to Singapore and gave up his US citizenship, as did 1700 rich Americans last year who left the US, and the trend is growing.
At the same time, the new rich that are coming out of Russia and China want to come to America. There has been quite a bit in the news lately about Russia controlling an increasing amount of the world’s supply of plutonium (an element used in nuclear weaponry), but little is heard about Russia controlling Polonium-210. Polonium was discovered and isolated in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie in Poland, and was produced in the United States during World War II, as part of the Manhattan Project that developed the first nuclear bomb. It gets its name from the Latin word for Poland, which is Polonia. How about the fugitive Russian officer, Alexander Litvinenko, who didn’t agree with Putin. He died in the UK when someone dropped a couple of chips of P-210 into his drink and he died from radioactive poisoning. Today, common uses for safe versions of P-210 include anti-static devices, but when the US gave up production of Polonium, it left Russia as the main producer of the radioisotope. It is produced in nuclear reactors and it has the chemical symbol of Po.
What was the Bonfire of the Vanities?
Not the book or the movie, but in real life, these were real bonfires. Throughout the 1400s some of the strict religious in Italy wanted to purge the world of sinful pursuits. They advocated for the destruction of clothing, jewelry, and priceless works of art. The largest of such fires took place in 1497 in Florence, Italy, the home of the Italian Renaissance and Leonardo Da Vinci. Citizens were required or forced to bring their valuables to the town square or piazza to be thrown into huge pile for burning. Talk about a sin!! On a related subject, static electricity discharges can cause fires and other devastation, but to intentionally destroy world class art is completely ridiculous.
Where have all the Static Companies Gone?
In an effort to tie this all together, I would say that business in many instances follows the ebb and flow of society. Businesses are born and die based on demographics, trends, movement to regions of lower labor costs, to be closer to raw materials and of course, operating in a mature market. About 25 years ago, there were close to twenty US-based manufacturers of anti-static devices. It doesn’t mean that globally there are fewer players, but in the USA you can count the number of ionizer device manufacturers on one hand. Mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, outright closures, and a migration towards the emerging markets, especially Asia, are the major reasons for the number of companies. Static Clean remains one of the last suppliers who rely on strong customer relationships for its continued survival and continued success. Please consider Static Clean for all of your static control needs, so that we don’t have to one day ask the question, “Where have all the good times gone”?