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Tim travels through the heart of darkness along the 401 and finds himself in London, Ontario this week. There he meets up with the Editor of Glass Canada magazine which is the premier trade publication for the glass industry. Patrick Flannery is also the editor of Fenestration Review which puzzles Tim.
“What the fuck did you just say?” He politely inquires.
It turns out that fenestration is a fancy word for the arranging of doors and windows in a building. This comes as a big surprise for Tim. He has managed to work for over three decades in the glass and door business without ever hearing the word ‘fenestration.’
He doesn’t let that slow him down.. Soon Tim and Patrick are discussing the flood of cheap curtain walls from China. They also discuss why Chinese manufacturers have so many advantages over their less subsidized Canadian counterparts.
Soon the conversation shifts to Patrick. Tim is blunt with his questions.
“Do you know anything about the glass business?”
It turns out Patrick, unlike Tim, was spared growing up in the business. Instead, Patrick got a journalism degree which he quickly discovered was totally unusable in the mind 1990’s. He worked as a tool salesman for a number of years before inching back into writing through industry publications like Glass Canada.
Before long the pair start commiserating about the more frustrating aspects of the business. First and foremost is the difficulty of actually getting interviews.
“Do you have problems getting interviews?” Tim asks.
“It’s like pulling teeth,” Patrick says.
It seems there is a pervading culture of secrecy in the door and glass business which is utterly mystifying to both Tim and Patrick. Who told these people that never talking about your business is a good PR strategy? Patrick often encounters this when potential guests tell him they want to keep “a low profile.” A low profile from what? Are they spies?
Patrick wraps up the episode by talking about why trade print publications still have some life left in them in the age of digital media. You can’t leave an iPad on the back of the shitter at the factory. It’s as simple as that. Tim still thinks there is room for growth though. Especially if they start to include more porn in the magazine. Patrick takes that suggestion under advisement and they end the interview with a glass of scotch and a couple of cigars.