March 24, 2017

Tentnology Innovates

Vortex™ & TPeak | ARA 2017

It’s what we do.  We hope that our work makes a difference in the world, and sometimes it does.

We are happy when we look around the landscape with surprise and delight at the ingenuity of our clients in just how they use Tentnology fabric structures and commercial tents; and their usefulness in helping people do some things they just couldn’t do before.

After all, companies that make tents are quite common. The barrier to entry is low; lift a rock; find a tentmaker. Not to be unkind to the industry, but in our opinion, we in the industry are a dime a dozen.  So then, what differentiates one from another?  What separates the men from the boys; originators from tiresome copiers?

The answer may be in the definition of ‘new product’. The Times of London once defined a new product as something that lets people do that which they could not do before; or for a cost lower than ever before; or lets them do more of what they have done in the past, for less; or something better than they could ever do before.  That’s quite different from a “me, too” idea.  Imagination makes up part of the difference.

To develop new products for you, we find ourselves in a never-ending struggle between stasis and dynamism: keeping things just the way they are so costs don’t mount; and changing it up to create more for less, or something entirely new. 

To put it another way, there are those who want to go to the shopping mall to buy what is on the shelf.  There are those who if it not on the shelf, will put something similar there for others to buy.  Then there are those of us who think there ought to be something on that shelf that never was there before; maybe people will buy it; maybe they won’t; but we like creating them anyway.  We’ll keep imagining and developing new tents until someone or something steps on our tail.  It’s what we do.

Tentnology Kubit™, Vortex™, SaddleSpan® & Presto® | ARA 2016

Vortex™, Tentanium™, Kubit®, Presto®, Bumbershoot®, Matrix® Marquee, Catenary Tails™, Saddle Span®, Hurritent®, as well as a great many more that just did not make the cut.  It’s hard to develop what must be:

a compact shipment, easy to handle, interchangeable parts, beautiful, easy to erect, tough enough to withstand the rigors of heavy commercial use, exceeding engineering codes and standards, documented re engineering calculations, exceed most wind and weather needs, document all development, easy to dismantle and move on. Many times we succeed but more often than not, what was a beautiful idea in the evening, by light of next day just doesn’t make the cut.

My father told me “If you haven’t failed, maybe you’re just not trying hard enough.” And so I learned long ago, that failure’s not so bad if one can learn something from it; after all, seeds of success are to be found somewhere in failure’s mess.

Of course, knowing when determination ends and stubbornness begins might be helpful in averting a new product precipitating financial disaster, but how to know when to stop? I guess it ought to be when one is bankrupt of ideas; when the imagination goes blank.  But then maybe all it takes is a rest, a change, a little meditation, riding a horse, a jog, sitting by a lake; it doesn’t matter, but imagination is still there; it’s just that the screen went blank for a bit.  Not to worry; ve vill be baaak.

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