It is no secret that I am from a different generation; you could actually say I'm from a different age. When my wife and I started D&B Tile Distributors half a century ago, we started out with some warehouse space in Hollywood, a World War II truck and a stack of 3x5 cards. For those of you who might not know, my name is Dave and my wife's name was Betty. That's how D&B Tile Distributors got its name.
Looking back at our beginnings, it is very evident to me that the fundamentals have remained exactly the same over the years. These include customer service, quality control, educating our customers and our staff on products offered, providing the best selection of tile, marble and stone from worldwide sources, pricing competitively and standing behind what we sell.
The truck and warehouse space were necessary items but probably the most important and least expensive tools we used were 3x5 cards and a box of pencils. Every time we established a relationship with a customer, we wrote down their name, address and telephone number. The cards were filed alphabetically in a box and updated as to what the customer purchased, their payment history and any changes of address. That was our first database and it served its purpose well.
At that time, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were likely watching the Lone Ranger on a black and white television with no idea of the impact they would eventually have on all of us. At one time, they worked together out of a garage in California. They would eventually be responsible for creating more jobs worldwide than any industry in the history of the world . . . including the automotive industry. They went their separate ways; Gates created Microsoft and Jobs created Apple.
Fast forward half a century. I recently asked my son Harold, our President and CEO, a question about the coefficient of friction on a specific line of tile we carried. He simply said, “Dad, look it up on Google.” Within .3 seconds, I had more than 10,000 choices of places to go to get the answer to my question. This is the tip of the iceberg and there is so much more to come. The many applications of computers in daily life both personal and business are staggering and would take volumes to discuss. I would like to touch just briefly on what is referred to as the “social media.”
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, websites, e-mails and blogs are a few of the names that as recently as 10 years ago simply did not exist. Today these programs fuel the economy in which we all work. The marketing opportunities that exist through these sites have changed the way we do business in the 21st century. Because of these, we can communicate with clients around the world from the comfort of home, the office or on our Ipad or Smart Phones. We can speak with customers in Europe and the Middle East and see them live on these devices. You can set appointments; order products check your order status or just browse the internet with a few clicks of your mouse. There are no excuses for the statement “I don't know.”
I'm certainly not an expert in any of these areas but I have discovered a wealth of information through them and particularly through what are called “blogs.” Here are a few I highly recommend. More to come later.