I Want to Give More

By Noah Graff

Sometimes in the machinery business I fall into the habit of thinking only about transactions and only about how I can make more money. I’m thinking about finding some machines that nobody else knows about that we can buy for a great deal and then sell to someone else for a nice profit. Maybe we’re trying to pull off a brilliant complicated scheme, like buying three machines, then trading two of them for a totally different kind of machine that we hope is worth a lot more. Or, maybe we’re combing the Web for some overlooked treasure in a poorly promoted auction sale. Those are the ways used machinery dealers like myself pay the mortgage. 

What I’ve learned over time though, is that while you’re trying to make a living you have choice. You get to choose whether to only be a taker or to also be a generous giver. When I make a deal, or even just almost make a deal, I want both parties to feel good afterward, so a great relationship can grow. I want to play the long game. I want to do more deals down the road, and perhaps more importantly, find new resources for information and maybe even a new friend. Our business is so much easier and more fun when we get to work with friends.

Noah Graff with Tornos DECO10s

This week, I talked to a friend in Chicago (past podcast guest) who always gives us invaluable knowledge about Tornos machines. We had bought some Tornos DECO10s in Israel a few months ago. When they arrived, we needed help to decipher if they were 7-axis or 9-axis—we had been promised they were 9-axis when we bought them. He got on FaceTime with me while I went into our warehouse to look inside the machines, and he taught me how to identify them. Unfortunately for us, none of them were 9-axis, but as a used machinery dealer you have to expect mistakes like this to happen. We’ll make it work. If my friend buys a machine from us in the future, we’ll make sure to give him a special deal. If he calls us for advice on something, we’ll do our best to help him.

We also bid on some used Citizen machines this week. We had never even heard of the model before because there are so few in the US. I consulted a good customer in Texas who is a Citizen authority, and I spoke to the head of a Citizen distributor who we’ve known for years. Both are great people, and I’ve interviewed them on Swarfcast. In case people reading this want to know the exact model of the Citizen, I can’t tell you yet because for all I know, the seller is reading this blog. But, I learned from my expert contacts that the machines are small, fast, inexpensive, and great for making ammo. They sound wonderful.

I also have a good relationship with robot expert in Michigan, a Haas guy in LA, a Tornos multi-spindle guy in France, an INDEX guy in Germany, and a Hanwha guy in Korea. I enjoy working with all of them, and it makes my day if I can be helpful to them, probably by using advice from someone else in our network.

Every workday, in the morning I write in my diary that I aspire learn something, meet someone, create something, and help someone. I fear that the helping someone goal is often the one that falls short, which is a pity because it is probably the most important to find success and happiness in my life.

Question: When did fellow companies in your field help you in the past? When did you help them?

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7 thoughts on “I Want to Give More

  1. Rod

    First move the Helping task to the top of the morning list.
    Many times in both directions.
    Received more duty the early years and giving more now
    Throughout 45 years of business.
    A lot of it now is Mentoring new Entrepreneurs starting there
    Helping me feel viable and up on current industry trends.

  2. Rex

    You’ve helped me out Lloyd! I’ve got the copies of Screw Machine World you sent and some of the B&S machines we got had some valuable documentation that came with them.

  3. Michael R Bowser

    A few years ago I was experiencing extreme chatter hogging out a fairly challenging aluminum part. After an L.A.-area sales rep destroyed a sample shrink tool and another western Chicago tooling vendor was not able or willing to provide usable solutions, I called HPI Pioneer in desperation.
    The company president took my call after hours, explained how shrink tooling can contribute to chatter and how his toolholders might solve the problem, and then expedited a BC milling chuck (without any guarantee of payment on my part) that solved the problem.
    To this day I will purchase nothing but HPI Pioneer toolholders (with the exception of Sandvik Capto), and recommend others do the same.
    Michael R Bowser

  4. Hugo M

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Noah, it’s refreshing to hear there’s still good intentions after making a profit, it’s important we all do a little to keep that going for the world’s sake.
    I haven’t get to meet/work with you but if that ever happens I hope your words materialize as I value fairness and honesty the most.

    1. Noah+Graff

      Thanks so much for the comments, Hugo.

      After that comment, I really hope we have a chance to meet.

      Being honest is important. I am not good at living with myself if I really do something to hurt someone else. But I am a bad lier anyway as I have a bad memory. So of course it’s really not good for the long game. One thing I’ve learned though, if someone tells you that you can trust them, you probably should not. I hope I wasn’t just guilty of that.

      “Fair” is important. But I often don’t like that word because everyone has a different idea what the word means. So I try to keep that word out of the equation.

      Honesty was partly the point of this piece, but my main point is to go out of your way for others and reciprocate when they help you. That means thinking beyond the profits. But it generally leads to future profits.

  5. Lloyd+Graff

    Working with Noah has made my life fuller, but seeing him mature into the person he has become, much more so.


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