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 ready to foreclose because Uncle Billy had accidentally lost the weekly deposit that was the sole difference between solvency and failure.
I told Eliana and the whole family that I had experienced moments of desperation like George when Graff-Pinkert owed $2,000,000 and I saw no way to ever pay it off.
I think that brought it home for her. She shifted the topic and said I looked like Clarence, the angel who saved George after George impulsively jumped into the waves to save him.
After that, we disbanded and went off to bed.
Why am I writing about It’s a Wonderful Life in my very first blog of 2024?
I’m back at work after recently celebrating my 79th birthday. Graff-Pinkert’s business is in good financial shape now, but every day is challenging. We face the upheaval of moving this year and accepting the lingering inventory of long-past mistakes.
I am committed to selling off many of the cam multi-spindle machines that used to be the core of our daily business. Their value has eroded, but they could make tons of money for the people who know how to use them. Space limitations prevent us from bringing them with us. The loss will be realized. Our bank may not understand, but they probably figured out these machines had little value long ago. I do not borrow money these days, so I can ignore their opinion.
Then there is my blog and Noah’s podcast. Solely from a moneymaking standpoint, they do not make sense. What they do is set us apart from any other dealer. They embody our own brand.
Swarfcast and Swarfblog are about people, not just gain. Noah and I connect people of the machining world. We make a difference, I believe, like George Bailey in the movie. Our lives are about connection, not just money.
It is why people tell us their personal stories. It is why they entrust us to sell their businesses and their valuable machinery, often just on a handshake or phone call. Hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars ride on our knowledge, reach, and humor. The blog and podcast are a big part of that. There is no category for it on the financial statements.
I could not explain that to my granddaughter through my tears, but I think she feels it.
Connection with people and connecting ideas. It is what keeps me coming back to Graff-Pinkert, year after year.
May 2024 be a happy year for all of us.
Thank you, George Bailey.
Question: Why do you read this blog?