Brighter Future or Wishful Thinking?

I’ve spent considerable time in recent days chatting with watershapers about the way things are going — just touching base with old friends, mostly. These conversations generally start with curiosity about the magazine and what I’m doing, but in the natural course of these discussions, many of you have been more interested in talking about your own lives and how things are going in your businesses.

As someone who has reported on watershaping for years, I’m much more comfortable listening than I am talking — and here, in capsule form, is what I’ve been hearing: There’s lots of activity but little action.

I’ve heard about contracts that have been suspended because the stock market ate the budget. I’ve heard about phones that had kept ringing through thick and thin but have now gone silent. I’ve heard about projects that had been in the works for long periods of time — projects that had come back into play after months or years on the back burner — being put off again because of financial reversals, financing hurdles or simple hesitation brought on by what’s been happening with the economy.

This isn’t what anyone needs. After nearly three years of hardship, it seemed earlier in 2011 that things were finally bouncing back — but now seem to be slipping away again.

It’s easy to get discouraged once you’re in the pressure cooker and you have no clear sense of when relief will come. I know that personally, and I will spend the rest of my life wondering what I might have done differently that would have let me carry on with publishing WaterShapes as a magazine. But like many of you, I’m reevaluating everything I do and am finding ways to keep moving forward. 

Knowing that we’re all in the same boat to varying degrees is the worst form of cold comfort, but I take encouragement where I find it: We are involved in businesses that bring good things to the lives of our clients, and I can only think that our dedication to craft, to fine design and to the many benefits watershapes bring to those who own them give us reasonable assurance that eventually our perseverance will pay off and that good outcomes aren’t out of reach forever.

Am I being naïve, a foolish adherent to wishful thinking? Or is there really a brighter tomorrow in store for those who stick with it and stay focused on delivering excellence and making clients happy? I’d like to hear what you think — no holds barred. Please leave your comments below.  

Jim McCloskey

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3 Responses to Brighter Future or Wishful Thinking?

  1. Okay Jim, It’s 3 in the flippin morning and I’ve been thinking about you and Eric and where you need to be with Watershapes. It’s not in the print media anymore. You need to take it to the screen. Call me crazy or absurd but I’ve seen too many stupid reality shows. Mega mover, ditzy housewifes you name it. I’ve seen them move a massive amount of steel from a factory to a barge and out to sea. Irate crazy spoiled bitches complaining that a bird shit on her mercedes.
    You guys know OUR product, you have the connections,you more than definitely have the style.What talent you use to put a magazine together could easily be morphed into an inspiring program. Shit the Discovery channel came up here and filmed the ” bear whisperer” you would not believe the mileage that gave our town.
    Can you imagine a program dedicated to the building of a vanishing edge pool on some exotic island, or atop a skyscaper in manhatten. The priliminaries, the design phase, you could have that arrogant fat bastard draw some shit behind his back with a blindfold.,or Archer Wells contemplating a field of dreams for a mega pond. Take it through the soils,engineering planning you guys know the process!!
    Shit this is so obvious to me right now it’s making me pee.
    You do not need the monster advertising to front this either. You give it to us subliminally. That’s correct just like the big boys. Suppose Roman fountains has a head on the table next to some drawings, someone makes a quirky remark about it looking like a spaceship, a quick dialog within an episode. instant rcognition, a few ad bucks.
    When I lived in L.A. my nieghbor was the supplier rep for all of the fiberglass extrusions for the fountain assemblies at the Ballagio. Technical problems arose and the designers / architects were trying to blame them for the extrusions turning white. In truely an over the fence conversation, I educated my nieghbor about the water conditions prevalent in Las Vegas. you guessed it, some stupid pool guy in L.A. had it on the nose. A sharp sales rep supported his product and the story continues with succesful counter measures.
    The producer that shot the Bear whisperer has been here several seasons for follow up episodes.
    It would be way too easy for me to get some contact info and bind this altogether for you.
    I am sure that most of the Genisis 3 people still have a project or two that are pretty amazing, that are either in the process, or about to start. I am sure that there are projects on the “wish list” for many of us that,through some exposure would rip open our industry and create a craving for the insanely, perfect, oppullant most needed and enjoyed healthy recreation product.
    I for one have had the opportunity to change directions in my life several times. I too have looked back and said, what if. Was there some regrets, yes. Was it detrimental, I am still here! I believe I am in a better spot! Am I a mega millionaire, no. Am I happy, well that’s not fair, I am a bi polar Capricorn. Attitude changes too quickly.
    If Watershapes isn’t on my cable channel by next summer then I will be dissappointed. You, Eric and staff need to make a radical change of direction, we all do it. We’ve all done it, and you have ALL of our support.

    Stan Zielinski
    Zee’s WaterWorks

  2. Dave Garton says:

    Jim

    I am the first to say I have claw marks on everything I have let go of. And sometimes it is circumstances so far removed from my control as to make my reluctance to change seem laughable. So here I am at sixty, just received a new titanium hip having worn my old one out building water features for the past delightful twenty years, and even though my brain is still trying to hold onto the way I used to do it, the phone has been ringing asking me to teach others what I did so they can expand their repertoire of creating great Watershapes. I am seeking out a great coach on speaking so I can be better at this, creating a series of talks that both entertain and teach in their presentation, and building a series of plans for purchase that will help others be able to build in custom ways a variety of water touches to any design from minuscule to grand in scale.
    I must agree with Stan….. you and your cohorts have an unfathomable treasure of information that is simply not to be lost. Watershapes Productions could film for the next ten years and still not cover the entire range of what you revealed in the pages of your magazine. Whether instructional video’s or more the entertainment style, there is a lot of ground to cover to a huge variety of audiences. The Waterhapes Speaking Agency Could be providing just the right speaker for a number of conventions…. and the on-line magazine can be “the” place to go for the industry you have always served.
    So go ahead and leave the claw marks on whatever you have to and see how to take the archived treasures of the past years and turn it into something fun, profitable, and varied enough to make your life interesting. You of course have my unconditional support and it there is any way I can help you through the unknown transition you find yourself, call. I don’t have any idea where I am taking the past twenty years of experience but will land on my feet as lightly as possible so I don’t have to replace the other hip.
    Take good care.

    Dave Garton
    Lawnchair Watershapes

  3. Ron Dirsmith says:

    You are right on, Jim McClosky.
    Stay the Force as best you can.
    Suzanne and Ron Dirsmith

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