Did you say what I think you did?

I am always gratified when people comment on editorial in this magazine or on presentations I have made, although the level of my gratification depends on whether the remarks are pro or con, even though all comments are valued.

So it was interesting to read the critique sheets received after my recent presentation, World Markets for Industrial Lasers and Applications with Special Emphasis on Industrial Lasers in China, at the very successful Laser and Photonics Marketplace Seminar held in San Jose, California. There shouldn’t be any misunderstanding to my singling out of one comment, but it was so counter to others that it caused me to ask the seminar staff if I was the only speaker that displeased the attendee.

First let me quote the critique, “Speaker was frustrated, annoyed about the world, companies not sharing information, prices in China and more-made it an unpleasant lecture.” Facts are true, but I thought I delivered it in an upbeat manner. I always watch the audience when speaking to gauge response to my remarks, and at this event I was receiving good vibrations.

When he heard about this, fellow presenter Steve Anderson, Editor-In-Chief of Laser Focus World, laughed saying, “Apparently this was someone who doesn’t know you and your style.” True, but since I do respond to criticism, good and bad, I wondered why this one was so negative compared to generally approving comments of the other critiques. Whether or not my humorous, occasionally pleasantly droll approach was misunderstood by a first-time listener, I was intrigued that I had hit a sour note with one out of a hundred attendees.

I went back over my PowerPoint presentation and accompanying notes and frankly couldn’t find any pessimistic comments. In fact, the entire thrust of my market report was positive and upbeat and, I thought, presented in this way. I wondered if any unscripted comments could be interpreted as frustrating, but others who attended assured me otherwise.

Possibly this seminar attendee was in a less-than-receptive mood? The seminar staff tells me that this attendee had been less than happy with the seminar registration fee and that he had also been uncomplimentary in his critiques of other speakers, who for the most part received high marks. Perhaps his initial attitude caused him to view the entire seminar with a prejudiced mind set, a reminder that one should choose words and their delivery carefully. I now wish he had spoken to me at the networking reception, as others did, so that I could have corrected his impressions.

It’s not that my ego was bruised, far from it, as I’ve been lecturing too long to take offense. However the critique was interesting, at least in assessing how one audience member put a different spin on my remarks.

On another matter-in the form of a progress report relative to my January editorial. I received many comments about my alarm watch problem, more than I receive from many of my editorials. Concern for the watch reliability caused a search for a replacement that turned out to be an exercise in frustration as that industry, outside of one or two suppliers of low-cost products, doesn’t seem to think that a good looking-read that as expensive-analog/digital/alarm watch is a major market need. In fact the consensus among several jewelers was that I might do better to look on e-Bay for a used watch, since a new quality replacement seems out of the question.

After an extensive Web search for new or used, I stopped looking and started fussing with the old watch and, low and behold, got it to work again, repeatedly. However, the watch now annunciated the hour with a disconcerting beep that couldn’t be turned off. A jeweler in San Jose suggested that a stuck dial illumination button was the culprit and that a good cleaning might solve the problem.

Click here to enlarge image

Now, thanks to a local jeweler’s cleaning operation all is well and the watch operates perfectly. Tough luck watch industry, you missed a big sale.

David A. Belforte

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