Monday, November 29, 2010

Contest Announcement: d5R Snapshots

Remodelers' seemingly bottomless capacity for creativity and generosity is the thinking behind Snapshots, one of the daily features in d5R and the only feature that consistently revolves around a user-generated video, image or other graphic, along with a short caption in the user's own words.
What's the goal of Snapshots? To let remodeling pros peek inside the windows of their peers -- and thus see some of the unique and wonderful things their peers are doing (other than performing high-quality remodeling work). It's one thing when a third party writes about such an event or activity; it's another when the remodeler shares the thinking behind a community service program, a marketing campaign, a team-building practice or an affirming PR coup.

Now it's your turn. In celebration of the holidays, we invite you to share a Snapshot from your company. If yours is chosen as the readers' favorite, you'll win the following gift pack of terrific remodeling resources:

From Remodelers Advantage (value: $110.95):

From Bill Robinson and Train2Rebuild, this 60-minute DVD training program for teaching crews to comply with lead-safe renovation rules (value: $79):

From Construction Programs & Results, Michael Stone's widely heralded book on selling remodeling work profitably (value: $39.95):

How to become eligible? Take a look at previously published Snapshots, then email images or a video of something your company is proud of, along with a brief caption in your words and your contact information, to snapshots@daily5Remodel. We'll invite readers to select their favorite Snapshot before we break for the Christmas holidays.

Thanks to Remodelers Advantage, Train2Rebuild and Construction Programs & Results for donating these terrific prizes.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The (Mostly) Good News

At a conference a few weeks ago, I realized I had fallen dangerously under the influence of a motivational speaker when I found my hand in the air, along with hundreds of other hands in the room, and my voice joining hundreds of others in vowing to stop paying attention to the news.
What? My living is in the news. I'm a lifelong lover of the news, even when it's mostly bad. I live in Washington, D.C., for goodness sake, where it's impossible not to follow the news!

I jerked my hand down and left the room to get some coffee. No more kool-aid for me.

The speaker did have a point about the negative effect of negative news, though. And it was hard not to notice how relieved the hundreds of other people (mostly remodelers) seemed to have "permission" to stop following the news. Some high-fived each other.

Thus was born the "all's good" Friday edition of d5R: no bad news, in either the daily news roundup or the daily5 articles.

At first, it was liberating. In sifting through hundreds of news sources every day, I now had permission to ignore the reports of foreclosures, taxes, layoffs, closing factories, slumping sales, product recalls, LEEDigation... I was the remodeling PollyAnna, looking only for things to be glad about (and there was a lot, most days).

Readers seemed to like it. "I like good news Fridays better," one emailed me on a Monday. "Suggest that Good News Monday be added. Mondays don't need any help being a drag."

By Thursday of last week, the motivational kool-aid had begun to wear off. I struggled to find nothing but good news to report on, and grasped at ways to positively spin news that was bittersweet at best (a struggling lumberyard found a buyer! The Remodeling Market Index stopped declining!).

This week seemed to be a particularly rough one for the building industry, demonstrated by a bunch of economic factors including yesterday's announcement that Kohler -- that generations-old icon of American-made tradition -- had laid off 750 employees, its sixth layoff in two years. I got to tour the Kohler factory in Wisconsin last month, and one of the best parts was seeing the tour guide (who had just retired after 38 years at the plant) point out workers who had been there even longer than he had.

Which is all a very long-winded way of saying that 'all's good' Friday had to take a reality break this week. And that we welcome your good news. Post it here, please, or email it to

Have an all's good weekend.