Author: Lloyd Graff

I was in my early 40s, my son Noah’s age. when we built the 20,000-square-foot home of our machine tool business, over 30 years ago. Now change is being forced upon us as we prepare to move within the next six months.  Moving ain’t easy.  As a machinery trading business we live off of change. Companies buy and sell capital equipment to accommodate change. New orders, cancellations, bankruptcies, and change of owners all force buying and selling, which means opportunity for us.  Now, with our lease of half the building expiring five years after I sold it means a jarring…

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We underestimate the value of our printed photographs these days.  My wife, Risa, and I have lived in the same house for almost 46 years. Recently, we had our home painted. We have photos strewn all over the house. Most are now on the floor as we decide whether to put them back where they have been for years or tuck them into albums. I glance often at the readily visible ones, but the effort to hang them seems daunting.  When our children and grandkids come to the house, I notice them searching for the missing photos. They are riveted…

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Harvard used to be the school you aspired to go to. It produced US presidents, Wall Street investment bankers, prominent lawyers, Supreme Court justices, and Nobel Prize winners. Today it is known for anti-semitism and rejecting outstanding students because they are Asian or do not fit the racial profile to reach the correct “equality and diversity” numbers. The school’s presidents plagiarize, and big donors are withdrawing their pledges. Harvard has become a joke with a $50 billion endowment. If it were a stock it would have lost half of its value. It is as broken as Boeing. *** Not every…

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She lit up every room she was in. For Graff-Pinkert and Co., today she would have been accurately called Chief Operating Officer. She always called my brother and I “the boys” and my dad and his partner Mr. Graff and Mr. Pinkert. She was the spirit of the company. Arlene Leshner died yesterday at 95 years old. From the beginning of my work life, I knew Mrs. Leshner. That was what we always called her. I called her that when I first walked up the steep flight of stairs in Graff-Pinkert’s two-story 1903 building next to a chop shop on…

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“I can’t hire a cam multi-spindle operator who knows what they’re doing! I’m throwing out my multi-spindles and going all CNC.” “These old Acmes, Wickmans, or New Britains pay for themselves every three months. They’ve left a wide open field for me!” Selling screw machines for our used machine tool business, Graff-Pinkert, we hear both stories every week. It is the story of change and fear. Today I will focus on the quandary and opportunity. Listen on your favorite podcast app using pod.link.       View the podcast our YouTube Channel. Follow us on Social and never miss an…

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A weekend of fantastic football and bad bets by the coaches. Two great teams faltered and were eliminated. Baltimore had the best team in the NFL this year. Lamar Jackson will be the league MVP, yet his coach, John Harbaugh, did not let him play his game. He has become a solid passer, but his greatness is still as a runner who can pass. But his coach called a game filled with passes, and Kansas City rushed him ferociously. The Ravens’ best receiver was coming off injuries and was limited in playing time. The Ravens committed too many key penalties,…

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My wife Risa and I recently spent three weeks at my daughter Sarah’s home in Northern California, the privilege of the working-less class striving for family connection.  My teenage granddaughters were there, and to my surprise, they too cared about connection with us, hopefully not just because they saw it as fleeting.  A few days before we left, my oldest granddaughter, Eliana, and Sarah cornered me for a storytelling session in the kitchen that they recorded on an iPhone. They wanted to know about my parents and growing up on the south side of Chicago. I told them about friends…

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I wish I had something original and brilliant to write in this blog, but I don’t, so I will throw out a few little ideas. Maybe they will add up to something of substance. Next week, the Iowa Caucuses will trigger the beginning of the 2024 election season. How dreadful that it appears that the two candidates that much of the country hopes will not become President are considered to be huge frontrunners. The election process is broken, yet we seem helpless to change it.  My suggestion is that we have a third party called “The Neither Person Party.” If…

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Last night, I watched the film, It’s a Wonderful Life, with my wife, Risa, and my daughter’s family in California. I wept profusely, as I always do watching my favorite movie, and my son-in-law, Scott, did too. My oldest granddaughter, Eliana, wanted to know why I was affected so emotionally. Through my drying tears, I told her how I connected with George Bailey, the main character, who is preparing to commit suicide at the end of the movie. The family business he had reluctantly taken over after his father had died suddenly was in crisis. The evil Mr. Potter was…

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Is the traditional automatic screw machine business in a coma? It probably already is in its death throes, which does not mean Wickmans, Acmes, Davenports, and New Britains are no longer useful.   Judging by the sales of Graff-Pinkert’s Wickman spare parts business in 2023, people are still running the machines quite hard. It is hardly a growth business, but it has worked into a useful segment of a viable job shop. Where do cam multi-spindles fit, and how do you overcome their numerous obstacles? The most significant impediment is the challenge to find multi-spindle operators and setup people in a…

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