Thursday, February 12, 2009

Company Flow

So I was just minding my own business clicking around the internet the other day when I came across this new Madera stem:

(Is the animated GIF working?)

And it got me to thinking—why did Madera decide to manufacture a combination stem/seatpost clamp? Are they getting into the tandem business? OK, no, seriously though. It actually did get me thinking, and what it made me think about was this: Why are so many companies starting secondary companies? Profile has Madera. WTP has ├ęclat (and Salt). FBM has Nice. There are probably others I can't think of right now, too. (S&M and Fit is a whole different animal.)

I thought I knew why—either it was to manufacture non-generic generic parts for completes (Nice, Salt) or to offer more economical version of things they already manufactured (Madera, Nice) or to separate the frame/complete business from the parts business (├ęclat). But I'll admit the Madera stem threw me. From what I can tell, it's a rather intricately designed—and rather light—USA-made, CNCed product. It's hard to believe that it'll be any cheaper (if at all) than the frontload stem that, um, Profile already sells. How much more sprfls can you get?

(I was also pretty surprised when I found out the Nice stem was $63, which means it's more expensive than—among others—the Animal Jumpoff and the Redneck XLT. For just $2 more you could get a Race XLT. It's just confusing.)

So, what's the point of having different companies under one roof if they're not producing anything significantly different? Is it just to have bigger teams? To come up with different names? No sir, I don't get it.

••••••••••


56 comments:

Russ said...

Also, motherfuckers (I'm looking at you Madera, but you ain't the only ones) need to learn the difference between "compliment" and "complement." Fucking Christ.

Anonymous said...

OBVSLY

Russ said...

If I bolted on a new stem and heard it say "that is a LOVELY headtube!," I'd immediately take it back off and sell it on bikeguide.

gob said...

Like you've never screwed up a homonym in your entire life.

Bastard.

Anonymous said...

dont forget that FBM does the shit fo r The Take

Anonymous said...

"How much more sprfls can you get?"

I've just been gayed to death.

Seriously, seriously gay.

Russ said...

So I can put you down for an ANONYMOUS IS HATING shirt, then?

Also, I don't fuck up homonyms. And I know the difference between "their," "there" and "they're," as well as when to use "its" and "it's". Booyakasha.

Thomas said...

haha, i think they updated their site. check the entry for 2/12.

Russ said...

Haha.

Matt: Yes.

Correcting BMX spelling since 2009.

Anonymous said...

isn't odyssey and g sport the same type of thing?

Anonymous said...

FBM has Nice.

Really?

I'll try to stop thinking "No-name junk, move along" and blanking out when I see that brand in catalogs from now on. Try. But it's a habit already.

So there's your downside, reputable-type companies.

Conversely, the Odyssey/GSport thing might be what's stopping me from buying Directors, even though the design's brilliant. I have a deep subconscious back-in-the-day association of "GSport" with quality parts and "Odyssey" with horrible crap (and one good set of brakes).

Not seeing a GSport logo cracked in half on hundreds of Wombolt arms probably balances that one out, though.

zing

Anonymous said...

Unstoppable object hits unmovable wall and space split.

--Nuno

Anonymous said...

increased market share perhaps?

Craig said...

Therein lies the truth... BMX is just like any other industry

Anonymous said...

it doesnt look like its machines on the inside like most stems

stupid

Anonymous said...

I always thought the sub company thing was to...
1. Cater to the people that don't like the original brand or
2. So that the original company can make super gay new stuff for the trendy kids without hurting their image as much.

money

verification word = table

robbosstache said...

coffee is for closers.

Anonymous said...

It's so little "Johhny" can buy a profile stem and when little "Bobby" wants a new stem but doesn't want the same one as "Johnny" bought, he can buy a Madera stem and be socially accepted while still padding the same pocket.
This is an easy question to answer Russ. The answer is greed.

t.f.a. said...

GT & Dyno, Haro & Premium...it's kinda funny when people don't have any idea at all that two brands are from one parent company. i still have old school dudes coming in telling me how much they loved their old GTs and remembering how crappy all Dynos were.

tron said...

the end result is a sea half-ass brands in bmx that aren't that cool and aren't doing shit except for cranking out the same products as the next guy. what's better, having 10 awesome companies in bmx or 100 kinda okay ones? on the other hand, at least bmx is still alive and kicking.

Anonymous said...

is Tip Plus the World Industries of BMX?

aL said...

well, Volume/Demolition (maybe hoffman??) was the first "rider owned" frame and parts setup for the new school if im remembering correct(nothing in house aside from designs,maybe)... before that, it was like a co-sponsor kinda thing, like Standard-Profile-Sun rims...spread the love?

guess Brian couldnt keep his secret of who actually makes the parts after figuring out where Primo makes stuff (maybe they STILL do?)... somewhere in China/Taiwan/Korea/Malaysia/Mexico... and it leaked everywhere and to everyone...

anyone with photoshop and some bullshit autocad with an hour to spare, can design and get parts made, just as quick as frames, all it takes is a Google search and a few grand (or sporting a I heart magoo tshirt)

just business... and the playing up of wannabe's and poseurs for all their parents (wives) are worth isnt anything new, keeps people outta real jobs and free to fuck off and live, while everyone else flounders in a sea of garbage

bring back american made parts, no flash, just shit that works... i really hope Rick get the message that some people need real parts again, parts that ACTUALLY support RIDERS and not BUSINESS and INDUSTRY... almost like 19 years ago... more good shit, less bullshit

Jim B said...

Sometimes things need to be branded one way or another because the parent company sees a different direction they want to go, and don't want to mess with the current branding. Nice for example was originally a way to spec up complete bikes with branded parts that are still in the cost effective level to make good, inexpensive complete bikes. Maybe after FBM started that they saw the need to back up that branding more by making better parts to enhance the Nice name, hence the higher end stem. This is all speculation on my part.

GSport was its own company doing its own thing. Odyssey was also its own company doing its own thing. After working with George, we wanted him all to ourselves so we bought GSport so we can have George and his brand. It luckily worked out that we could keep them separate, while the same people were working on it. George benefited because he could let us to the leg work and could just do what he does best, which is design and engineer parts. Not assemble hubs by hand while trying to get a ad together while being the warranty guy while...etc etc. We benefited by having a brand that didn't need to be "invented", George had already built it up for 10 years. I think that is the main distinction between other brands and their new invented alter egos. It would be was cooler if it was like Bizzaro universes in comics. Or way nerdier. not sure.

-Jim B

Anonymous said...

what about sprls and bmxboard? same shit differnt packaging

Russ said...

Hm. I should start another blog called PRFCT that just talks about how great everything is.

Smitty said...

Remember S&M's import parts brand? NSF.

Good name. Didn't catch on. Wonder why.

Jake said...

it would be cool if you talked about things that are awesome once in a while, just for kicks

Josh said...

I'll sit this one out.

Anonymous said...

why would anything a company decides to do need to make sense to a blogger? you are in that hard to reach demographic of near-40, don't like anything made after 1995 and you want it for free anyway. business practices seem to confound you in a way that the word complement has tripped up another lost soul..

nate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nate said...

Company marketing practices making sense to bloggers means that they might make sense to the general public. Likewise, if a reasonably intelligent blogger can't really make sense of something it would stand to reason that the target market won't understand either.

I could see a couple of things happening:
1) The target consumer doesn't understand either, and therefore pushes the I-Believe Button says "screw it, there's gotta be a good reason for the in-house competition. Therefore the products must be good. I'll take one of each."
OR
2) The paradox created by in-house competition between complementary brands causes an annoying logic loop which causes the consumer to wholly abandon choices A and B, and default to choice C.

I've been down both roads myself when it came to buying a new part for my bike, and over the years I've discovered that parts are parts. Some are better than others, and some are just as good as others. But when you feel like you were the victim of a disingenuous marketing campaign it doesn't really matter how well the part works.

In the end, though, I guess that I'm all for Profile & Madera each doing their own thing. And I'm not accusing them of bad business practices. Frankly, I tend to ignore both of them since I'm not so into the aesthetics of their parts. But to each his own, you know?

Anonymous said...

^^^^or he could be old and jaded, rarely buys BMX parts and isn't even remotely close to the targeted audience. and maybe you are looking into it too hard.

Anonymous said...

Nate, do you think maybe, just maybe Russ is putting a hard slant on how confusing it is to make it appear more confusing and diabolic than it actually is?

Anonymous said...

It's pretty telling that the only guy not going over the top with baseless idiocy is the guy that actually has experience and knowledge from working in the bike industry.

Anonymous said...

In general, according to you, it's now SPRFLS for bike companies and distributors to make and sell bike parts to put on bikes?

Jason said...

While this is a shocker, I'm amped about the Profile "push" stem." which has nothing to do with this post, or the picture of the madera stem, or anything at all really...

Maybe, just maybe, it's the curse of Friday the 13th...? that would mean come tomorrow, hopefully, this would go away. Cause, yo, ain't no way there's anything more scary on Friday the 13th than seatpost clamp stems.md

Anonymous said...

Nate, what's so confusing about bike parts with brand names on them?

Anonymous said...

There sure are a lot of branding and marketing geniuses up in here.

Russ said...

I'm just confused over the fact that Madera (which I thought was supposed to be the Profile's "budget" line) would put out a heavily CNCed frontload stem that appears to compete directly with Profile's own heavily CNCed frontload stem.

And yes, it's obvious I hate everything made after 1995, as my bike has a Pivotal seat/post, a left-hand drive cassette, Wombolts, magnesium pedals, integrated/mid, etc. In fact, I think the oldest part on my bike is...um...OK, my Standard stem is ancient. Other than that, though, maybe my sprocket? Which is still a 28t American Flyer? And whilst I didn't pay retail for everything, I at least paid for most of it. Not that I need to justify that sort of thing, I suppose.

Old and jaded? Won't deny that.

Anonymous said...

the good news for nate and russ is that launching frivolous brands costs money. the cost to advertise, package, stock, etc. are all reasons why the practice is not even more popular than it already is. many of these project brands will fade away if there is not enough money to keep them alive. we can all just wait until that happens or we can demand to understand the contractual reasons why g-sport can't just meld into odyssey by next week. luckily, there are more choices of better-made products available today than in the past 30 years of the bmx industry combined. things today cost very little compared to what money was worth in the 80s and early 90s. how else can you explain the fact that complete bikes are so dialed today in compared to the crap sold back then? progress is good right?

Anonymous said...

Russ, you have all those parts but do you like them? Is your seatpost 300mm "so you can actually ride your bike" or do you have it pretty low so you can enjoy your bike? Do you think all those things (Pivotal seat/post, a left-hand drive cassette, Wombolts, magnesium pedals, integrated/mid..) would be around if some company wasn't trying to advance the technology? Some ideas do better than others but every company in every industry has a closet full of ideas that don't pan out. Your need to publicly rip on them for making a stem that you think looks like a seatclamp is counter-productive. Why can't you find some funny Craig's list ads or laugh at thecomeup interviews for a good time?

Anonymous said...

Russ doesntride his bike

reefer said...

progress is good, but flooding the market with parts is bad for everyone, i'm for quality over quantity or cost, and that will keep the g-sports of the industry in business and keep the others in check, i'm not an expert just an observer and business owner

v word: retro

fred titmuss said...

this is pretty elementary shit. market divided by number of companies - one company starts another brand thereby increasing their share, all the rest have to follow suit

Anonymous said...

"but flooding the market with parts is bad for everyone"

Competition between brands keeps the cost of all products down, and over saturation leads to product sales. Basically you're wrong, and choices are good. It in no way, shape or form hurts the consumer to have too many companies and too many choices. You only need one stem on your bike, 100 choices doesn't affect you at all. Why fucking complain about shit that doesn't affect your life in the slightest?

Anonymous said...

market flooding takes care of itself (killing off the ones that don't compete well). something that should be happening with our banks right now but the gov. wants to keep bailing out the corrupt and the stupid. long live g-sport and madera until they can't pay rent. then stick the fork in 'em and let Season Bikes and Curbrider rule the day!

Anonymous said...

I've definitely learned from this blog that it takes a lot of real world experience and knowledge of business to write a blog, and everyone that runs any of these companies are the dumbest fucking people on the planet.

I mean shit, Profile's been in business 40 years, stupid imbeciles. Don't they realize Russ's has over 500 posts on this blog?!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why skateboard distributors or even car companies don't do the same thing, you know, have a bunch of different brand names and identities housed under one roof...oh wait.

nate said...

I don't think that Russ is really making it out to be all that diabolical, nor is he putting too much of a slant on things.

What I hear him saying is, "Why is the Madera stem only $10 cheaper than the most expensive Profile stem and the same price as the Profile Acoustic stem, which still comes in more expensive than certain other American-made CNC'ed stems?"

But I could be wrong. I'm not putting words in Russ's mouth, but I think that he does bring up an interesting point.

Russ said...

Anonymous is terribly upset. I'm sorry I forced you to read my blog. I'll stop e-mailing it to you.

Oh wait.

Profile can obviously do whatever the fuck they want. They're a successful company, I'm just a dude with a computer and an internet connection. I see things that I wonder about, and I write about them. Sometimes I get answers. Sometimes I don't. As it turns out, a fair number of people read what I write. Some people wonder the same things I do. Some people don't.

I'm not demanding that BMX change to suit me. I understand that I'm not exactly the prime consumer. But I don't think that means I should just shut up and accept everything either.

I guess what I'm trying to say is fuck off.

not mad said...

"Competition between brands keeps the cost of all products down, and over saturation leads to product sales"
and hurts smaller rider owned companys who have to slash their profits to stay competative, and that forces the large corps to find ways to make their product cheaper to lure customers back, its a downhill slide, i dont own a bmx company, this is happening in my industry right now

i didnt say choices are bad, i implied that too many cheap parts on the market is bad, if someone new to bmx gets a bike and it falls apart before he has a chance to learn it will probably be over quick

Russ said...

Choices are great...to a point. But there is such thing as too many choices. There have been books written about this.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't say Russ has nothing in common with the target audience, he lives with his parents.

Anonymous said...

What do you your parents think about you living with them and spending so much or your spare time writing a BMX blog instead of, you know, looking for work?

Anonymous said...

Dirty Secret of the entire BMX industry:

We're just making this shit up as we go along.

Seriously.

Chris Duncan Clothing said...

Hi splendorous designs ink!