Custom Bicycles
News: A little bit of rant, part I July 7th, 2011

OK so I’m going to rant a little. This has come to the surface because I’ve been posting a carbon build and will leave a lot of the more proprietary processes out. I’m going to break this into two parts. The first is why I’m ranting in general and the second is how it ties to carbon fiber building and the precedence of sharing in the Framebuilding trade.

The reason takes some explanation so here’s a little background. Let me start by saying, I’m a big advocate of sharing. I love the Framebuilding craft and do all that I can to help others become productive professional Framebuilders that will serve our market and strengthen our trade. I give free advice to most that ask. I have taken on fledgling Framebuilders in all forms from email and telephone assistance to free workshops and actual in-house apprentices. I’ve done this all because I believe what is good for Framebuilders is good for the custom frame buyer and ultimately my goal is to support the custom frame buyer.

So here is the rub, I get used and abused a¬†lot. I get emails asking for detailed info with no introduction or even a please. When I give info in many cases I don’t get so much as thanks. I rarely even hear back from people I’ve helped and in a few instances when a person has had an opportunity to return the favor they failed to do so. I’m not referring to anyone in particular¬†or aiming this at anyone. If you said thanks or returned the favor when you had the opportunity we’re cool. This is more about a pattern of entitlement. In very few trades do professionals readily offer free info, advice and guidance to those who intend to go into direct competition.

Free sharing of information has always been something that I’ve considered an appealing aspect of my trade and points to our love of the craft. But with the growing popularity of Framebuilding and the large number of people attempting to learn the craft and enter the profession I’ve been overwhelmed with constant requests for help. Requests come from a range of builders covering those that have hardly done their homework to those the really deserve assistance. I’m not against helping those that I feel deserve it, but I do feel if a builder asks for help there is an obligation that comes along with it.

In a nutshell I guess what I’m saying is that if you are an aspiring Framebuilder there are a few things to keep in mind. No other Framebuilder owes you a thing. As professionals, most builders struggle and most need every sale they can get. So don’t expect that we are here to teach you how to take those precious sales from us. Most of us will do so, but in return there are some things you should know. First is before you start using our time, use your own time. Exhaust every resource that exists before you contact a builder to use their time to get free information. Almost all of it is out there already and usually we can be a lot more help once you’ve consumed it all. Second, say thanks, send them something like a card, coffee or at least an email. I recommend you always say thanks when someone gives you something, including change at the cash register. Finally, return the favor, promote the Framebuilder that helped you. Give them credit for what they taught you and put a link on your site, in your blog or Facebook page or wherever you can.

While many of you asking for help have been very gracious, given credit where due and returned the favor in anyway you could, there is a growing number who don’t. Let’s make this gig a reciprocal deal. We can all benefit from sharing if both sides do the right thing.

Thanks for listening and check back for the rest in a couple days.