Information Junkies or Junk Information?

Feb. 1, 2009
No one likes reading (or writing) negative news. But you should gather all available information and then make your business decisions accordingly.

My name is Jim and I am an information junkie. I admit it. When I research something, I dig deep and gather all available facts: good, bad or indifferent.

I do it when I am looking at a college for one of my sons. I probably do too much research when I buy a new car, camera, running shoes, or a tool for my workshop. Information junkies like myself have it easy these days, with so much data available online and less time spent pestering research librarians at business libraries. Heck, we can even program our Blackberries with direct news feeds from all sorts of information providers. Taken to extreme, information junkies like myself sometimes suffer from paralysis-by-analysis. But being an information junkie can help me make more informed decisions.

That's why I was surprised at several blasts EW's editors have taken recently for supposedly being too negative in our reporting. Some readers said several of our recent articles over-emphasized the economic problems that all companies in the electrical industry now face.

One manufacturer even went as far as grabbing his company's copies of last month's issue from the mail room and tossing them in the trash before his employees could read them because he thought the cover story sounded like it might be too negative. Some other readers even seem to think Electrical Wholesaling is part of some sort of left-wing, liberal media conspiracy that enjoys reporting bad news because it supposedly sells more magazines.

To my way of thinking, the more data the better. Sure, you have to sort out the trash, and there's way too much of it out there, with 24-hour news channels looking to fill programming time and the limitless capacity of the Web for whackos to air out all sorts of agendas. But with a B.S. detector on full-power, even amateur information junkies can sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Wen you get right down to it, that's all EW's editors are trying to do for readers. We have no hidden agendas, and we don't get off on sensationalizing the painful problems that now confront the global economy. Our mission around here is plain, simple and totally pragmatic: provide readers with the information they need to run their companies more profitably and sell more electrical stuff. Sometimes the information we publish may not be what you want to read. But as trained business journalists with 60-plus years of combined editorial experience covering the electrical market, every month we make a bunch of judgment calls on the information or data our readers may need to factor into their business decisions.

Most of this information comes from electrical distributors, independent manufacturers' reps, electrical manufacturers and industry experts. We just act as the conduit to get this information to the electrical market in a (hopefully) readable format in the monthly print magazine and in our various Web-based resources. It's a pretty simple formula, and it's worked for Electrical Wholesaling for almost 90 years.

Electrical Wholesaling's editors believe this month's issue is loaded with practical ideas that you can use to inject growth in your business. For example, the cover story (page 22), “The Green Scene,” offers 25 ideas that can help you sell more green electrical products.

That's not all. Three of EW's contributing writers provide some business tips in their areas of expertise that can help distributors, reps and manufacturers navigate this business climate. On page 46, Tom O'Connor offers an executive-level overview of his recently published study on distributor-manufacturer relations and some practical tips to improve them; Howard Coleman, MCA Associates, weighs in with some fresh ideas on how to make better hires (page 57); and in “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,” (page 59), Russell White, Pinnacle Solutions Inc., challenges readers to analyze the products and services they offer customers.

We think it's worth your while to see what information we have gathered for you this month. You decide what's useful. That's really what being an information junkie is all about.

About the Author

Jim Lucy | Editor-in-Chief of Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing

Jim Lucy has been wandering through the electrical market for more than 40 years, most of the time as an editor for Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing newsletter, and as a contributing writer for EC&M magazine During that time he and the editorial team for the publications have won numerous national awards for their coverage of the electrical business. He showed an early interest in electricity, when as a youth he had an idea for a hot dog cooker. Unfortunately, the first crude prototype malfunctioned and the arc nearly blew him out of his parents' basement.

Before becoming an editor for Electrical Wholesaling  and Electrical Marketing, he earned a BA degree in journalism and a MA in communications from Glassboro State College, Glassboro, NJ., which is formerly best known as the site of the 1967 summit meeting between President Lyndon Johnson and Russian Premier Aleksei Nikolayevich Kosygin, and now best known as the New Jersey state college that changed its name in 1992 to Rowan University because of a generous $100 million donation by N.J. zillionaire industrialist Henry Rowan. Jim is a Brooklyn-born Jersey Guy happily transplanted with his wife and three sons in the fertile plains of Kansas for the past 30 years. 

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