One Year In And How Are We Doing?
One year in and Daniel and I are still writing our blog. When we set out, starting this blog was a big commitment. Our idea was to write a blog that was relevant to watch enthusiasts but also reflects our journey. From the very beginning, the blog was never just about SNGLRTY. It was intended to be about time, watches, the journey of creating watches, and the struggles of being an entrepreneur. For us, before we had put pen to paper, it appeared a daunting task.
Facing Our Fears
I had two big fears when I committed to writing this blog. The first and most significant fear was that we would run out of subjects to fill our blog. That has certainly not been an issue. If anything, the more Daniel and I have written, the more topics we have wanted to include in the blog. The diversity of the subjects we have included continues to intrigue both of us.
The second fear I had was about my writing skill, or perhaps lack thereof. Would I be able to string together a few sentences that would make sense to our readers? This was my challenge. I have never had a problem dealing with numbers, spreadsheets, and anything technical. A bit of time and thought, and I could overcome pretty much any technical challenge (that already has a solution). But writing? I was not confident.
The Pain Point
Why not? The last time I had put some writing out into the public arena for a critical audience, it did not result in good feedback. I was probably around 15 years old and had just sat my mock O-level English Language exam at school. My teacher at the time was not so impressed. After the mock exam, the comment in my report was something along the lines of, “Stephen will be lucky to pass the upcoming exam.” That was a body blow for a 15-year-old.
When the exam results came out, you will all be pleased to know, I passed with a Grade B. I felt great satisfaction with this result, especially as some expected to ace the exam “only” achieved a Grade B. But the stinging criticism of my English teacher stuck with me. It has taken me the best part of 40 years to face this particular fear, but this first year of writing has restored my confidence that I have it in me.
I should perhaps thank John Chambers for this. Without his stinging rebuke all those years ago, I am not sure I would be so motivated to write this blog now. So are you out there, JC? Let me know; it would be great to see if I can pass your critical scrutiny now!
The Results Are Beyond Expectation
That was my motivation to write a blog; I wanted to face my fear, take on the challenge, and hopefully develop a skill. But the result for me in the 12 months of writing for a public audience has been infinitely better than I could have imagined. The process of writing this blog has brought discipline to my thinking. It has increased the depth and breadth of my knowledge in many areas. The fear of being found incorrect in my writing motivates me to go further than if the knowledge was only for my consumption. That is a good thing.
I have also seen a massive improvement in the process of writing each blog. Initially, it was typically 8 hours or more to just write the post. I split this into two or three writing sessions. Embarrassingly, when I go back to read those initial posts, given the time invested in them, they are very poor. Twelve months later, and with the research done, the first draft of the blog post is complete in two hours and the final an hour or two later – and it is fun!
There have been other benefits I have noticed. My written and spoken communication has improved immeasurably. I have become more conscious of the words I choose to describe certain situations. I choose my words carefully not to censor myself but to ensure that I am conveying the accurate meaning. It is too easy to rely on simple platitudes and vague innuendo. That is woolly thinking, and I think it would be boring with no incentive for any reader to engage.
The First Blog Post
Our first bog arrived on 3 June 2020. It was not an inspiring post, but it was one that continues to be relevant. Titled “The Sidereal Day – Little Known & Little Understood, Here’s a Quick Guide,” this is a look into how we measure time in relation to the stars. My thinking behind starting here is that as a company dedicated to making time-measuring instruments, we better understand how the increments of time we measure came into being. The sidereal day is little understood, and it is little used, but it is fundamental to how time is measured.
The Most Popular Post – So Far!
Our most popular blog to date was not on watches or on time; it was on stainless steel. I started a series of blog posts on stainless steel because there appeared to be so much misinformation in the watch world about this incredible material. I started from a fundamental perspective to hopefully clarify how important steel is in all its forms. I hope with this information a reasonable person will be able to see through the hyperbolic claims of the marketing men and make informed decisions. These posts were fun for me to write because I studied materials engineering at university; it was a journey down memory lane. “904L, Oystersteel, 316L, or 304L – Here is Meaning In The Codes” was not just the most popular blog of the year but also one of the most fun for me to write.
And the Second?
Our second most popular post is a little embarrassing to announce. We are proud to be a mechanical watch company, but that does not mean we do not appreciate other technologies. One of the most important for the development of the wristwatch is quartz technology. Our post on how the quartz movement works remains one of the most visited blogs on our site, and I hope a great introduction to how the quartz oscillator works. I enjoy the fact that there are similarities between the mechanical watch movement and the quartz watch movement. They both rely on oscillation, the difference is that one occurs through a mechanical process, the other an atomic process. If you would like to know more, check out “Quartz Movements – Probably More Than You Wanted To Know,” published on 19 June 2020.
The Most Bizarre?
The subject matter we have written on has sometimes gone a little off the left-field on occasion. Strangely one of these was the most commented on the blog. This was my foray into the world of finance and, in particular, the debate over inflation and deflation. I enjoy following the financial markets, and it appears to be a great melting pot of opinions, where the winners will be identified over time. Suffice to say, I do not claim to be correct; it was my desire to clarify my thinking that drove this blog post.
The post on my expectation of inflation and the case for deflation in the world was the most commented on blog we wrote in the last 12 months. All of the comments were very thoughtful, and I thank everyone who took the time to comment on any of our posts. Daniel and I appreciate every comment we receive. Based on the comments, there will be a follow-up post. “Inflation & Deflation, Clockwise & Counterclockwise – It’s How We See Time Differently,” is a counterintuitive argument given what we are experiencing at the moment. Still, as I noted above, time will allow the winners to emerge – let’s see if I am anywhere near close.
What Has The Impact Been?
What is gratifying for Daniel and me is how much people have appreciated our efforts. When we started writing our blog, we had just under 300 subscribers to our mailing list. As of today, we have over 2,500 receiving our blog email each week. If we manage to continue that rate of growth, then we will be delighted.
The Next 12 Months
Speaking about the future, we have plenty in store for you on our blog. We will continue to document the journey of SNGLRTY. The trials and tribulations of bootstrapping a Swiss watch brand into the global markets. I also intend to explore specific areas that are pertinent to the watch community. I plan to look into the world of leather tanning and how it could impact your choice of a watch band. What are the best leathers to select for a watchband, and how can you identify them when purchasing a watch band? I will also look at the other options of watch bands with a critical eye – which will inevitably link back to stainless steel.
Pollution of our planet has become one of the most critical issues, and rightly so as we should strive to have the smallest impact we can on our world. The focus is on greenhouse gases, but I take a more holistic approach to this challenge. I started to develop this approach when I was managing hotels in Japan. Yes, in my former life, I was responsible for a portfolio of hotels in Japan. But for SNGLRTY, I believe we managed to implement this process exceptionally well. I want to explain our approach, and hopefully, there will be plenty of feedback to make us even better.
Join The Journey With Us
I am very excited about the next twelve months. I look forward to continuing to improve my writing skills. I look forward to the feedback I receive from you all, and I thank each of you who have read our blog. I hope you found it informative and enjoyable to read. If you do, you can always help us by sharing our posts with your friends on social media, leaving us a comment, or just forward it by email or text to someone you think may find it enjoyable. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Let’s see where we are in another twelve months.