I could have quite easily written yet another FiT Show post to go here, there is plenty to talk about. But I have that covered on my live page covering the event, and I know that too much of anything can get a bit boring. So I’m taking a completely different track with this post and getting a bit personal. This is why I do what I do.
Always A Writer
From a young age, I’ve always been able to string a few words together to form some sort of coherent and structured story. I was way ahead of my class in terms of reading ability and always had my head in books. I just used to like writing. Interest in writing waned a little in high school, but when blogging became an established platform for the world to get writing, this perked my interest.
I also attempted to pen a few short stories when I was younger. There were nothing major, just something our school had us do as part of our wider English studies. But I enjoyed it, and I have always said to myself that I’ll sit down one day and write a book properly. Though given how much work I do online, it would probably be an e-book.
It’s All RCG’s Fault
Some of you might remember RCG aka Renegade Conservatory Guy aka Matthew Glover. I was wandering about online one night and came across his site. Intrigued as to what he was saying about our industry, I had a good luck round his site and was impressed. I had not seen any blogs dedicated to our industry up until now, so it was good to see someone spending some time making the effort.
At that time, I was thinking about starting a blog, but was unsure what to start one about. I had thought to start one writing about my general thoughts, but wasn’t confident that I could keep that sort of content up regularly enough. However I was very keen to get well stuck into our industry, so that made my mind up. A rival double glazing blog it was!
It really did get off to a slow start. In fact it had no traffic until RCG himself gave it a mention on his own site. It was then when traffic to the site started to build. So it’s all his fault! Of course I was very grateful for the push. It’s hard to be dedicated to a blog that was getting no traffic. But I remained positive that it would get off the ground at some point, and so it did. And now, according to Window Ware and a recent survey they commissioned, it is now the second most visited industry website!
Go Hard Or Go Home
If I was going to go down this road, I wanted to make sure my site got noticed. I didn’t want it to become yet another site which blended into the background by posting mediocre posts about the types of windows that exists and why windows are good for saving energy. If I was going to do it, it would mean tackling some of the biggest gripes I had about our industry, and naming some names in the process. For example, my first post: https://www.doubleglazingblogger.com/2009/03/offers-all-wrapped-up-in-ts-cs/ my writing has got considerably better over time, but you see what I was aiming for in this post.
As traffic grew, and my knowledge about the industry and all the things that annoyed me grew, the earlier posts became more forceful, probably too forceful. Once traffic started to grow, it wasn’t long before I started to receive threats of legal action and some quite strong name calling from people who didn’t seem to agree with my points of view. Always good for traffic to the site, not something which keeps the stress levels low I can tell you that.
DGB really broke through when I broke the story of VEKA aiming to purchase WHS Halo as part of a wider takeover of the Bowater group. Although the story was known quietly inside the industry, it wasn’t mentioned anywhere publicly. At the time, I was sent some information by an anonymous insider about the proposed deal. 50/50 whether to trust them or not, I went with my instinct and went ahead and published the story on a Monday evening. Come Tuesday morning, all hell was breaking loose. Traffic exploded, comments were coming in thick and fast. Even my Twitter account was feeling the heat. It one point it was subject to an external attack, presumably to try and shut it up. And it did for a few hours, until I changed some settings.
Little did I know how close I came to being in some serious trouble about covering that story. Still, it brought DGB to the attention of a whole new group of industry people that had previously never heard it before.
I’ve always been that sort of person to try and build something new from scratch and see if I can make it work. These days it’s called a start-up. One thing that the success of DGB has brought is the connections from within the industry. It has allowed me to meet a whole new bunch of people which I probably wouldn’t have met without it.
As some of you will know, my actual day job is selling windows and doors to the general public for my family run business. It’s a job I have done since the age of 17 and I have loved every day of it so far. But I have a lot of energy and ideas, and if I don’t do anything with those ideas and energy, I will regret it. Luckily being self employed has allowed me the time to explore the ideas I have had.
On a certain late November night a couple of years ago, some of you may remember some tweets decrying my frustration at a certain prize giving ceremony. But as my experience was telling me, it’s OK to criticize something, but there comes a point where you either walk the walk, or stop talking the talk. Not one to back down, I decided to walk the walk. This new energy and idea birthed the National Fenestration Awards…
Hopefully you’re all probably aware of these now, but myself, along with another guy who is no longer part of the project, established the National Fenestration Awards. The industry first independent, all-inclusive fenestration awards that is run and decided completely by nominations and votes from the industry.
I started these because I genuinely wanted to see an awards scheme that aimed to reward as many areas of our industry as possible, including the people and sub-sectors that often get ignored by other schemes that exist. It was a completely different venture to anything else I had done before. And trust me, the learning curve was and continues to be massive. But I think I’m getting there and I am enjoying the ride immensely.
The awards this year are growing at a great pace on all fronts, and all being well, the next few weeks will see us announce some new deals that will see the NFAs become firmly planted in the industry calendar. No more will the doubters and naysayers be able to ignore them.
I was determined to give these a go. If I hadn’t, I would have regretted not doing so. But whether in the long run this works or not, at least I gave it a go.
Why I Do What I Do?
So why do I do what I do? I do all of this because I like a challenge. I like to start new things and work my backside off to see it grow and become something bigger. I do what I do because I like to write and show off my opinion, whether you all like to read what I write, agree or disagree with it. I do what I do because I have one of those brains that never really turns off because it is always trying to think of the next big thing. I do what I do because I’m a growing tech geek and love a good website. I love to create them, re-design them and I’m constantly tweaking them. I do what I do because I like meeting new people, it helps me in my day job of selling what I constantly write about.
That’s basically it!