Craig Guttmann,

President, Algood Caster Innovations

Business Binge Watching

Believe it or not, I don’t always think about Algood. Even though I tell people that I eat, breathe and sleep casters, there are times when, for no other reason than my sanity, I just have turn my attention to something else. That’s when I love watching business-based TV shows. In fact I usually binge watch a number of episodes at a time. For me Dragon’s Den, Shark Tank, How It’s Made and Marketplace are interesting, informative, entertaining and sometimes even inspirational. Here’s why.

Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den are essentially the same show with different personalities. In each, entrepreneurs pitch a business idea – a product or service – to a panel of investors, trying to get them to buy a share of their new enterprise.

The idea of building something from nothing is very compelling for me. I’m the son of an immigrant who came to North America with very little and managed to build a business that has been successful for 50 years. There’s something about the pioneering spirit of these investors that speaks to me. And sometimes I’m blown away by the creativity and ingenuity of some of the ideas.

The business basics of each pitch is also intriguing. What are the costs and margins that they are forecasting? What channels will be used to market or distribute the product? If it’s being manufactured, is production taking place in North America or offshore? For what it’s worth, I’m always surprised that the investors seem to prefer cheaper production, essentially making cost more important than quality and disregarding the broad economic impact of North American manufacturing.

There’s also lots that I’ve learned from both shows. On one level, I can apply the investors’ insights and perspective. What would I say about Algood if I was one of the dragons? Do we have too many SKUs? Are we investing too much in our business? Are we creating the right positions? And, from watching the entrepreneurs and seeing what works and what doesn’t, I’ve been able to hone my own business presentations.

It doesn’t end with watching the show. I will always Google the businesses and ideas that the investors bought into. It’s fascinating to track their progress and learn from their success or failure.

How It’s Made is a natural for me. As the name implies the show explores how everyday products are actually made. These are things that we take for granted. Who has ever thought about how rubber bands or Lego or mascara are produced?

As a manufacturer, this is incredibly interesting. I’m fascinated by the materials, the equipment, the processes, and the people. I’ve definitely been able to apply some of what I’ve seen on the show to improve our own manufacturing techniques. On top of that, it allows me to appreciate what customers might find interesting about our own manufacturing processes.

Marketplace is a CBC program that uncovers business backstories. Where do the items that we put in recycling boxes really end up? Are high-end running shoes really worth the price? Should you trust your credit score? It’s the show that has the least to do with Algood but the topics are really interesting and there are two ways in which it sparks thought. First, it demonstrates that things aren’t always as they seem and keeps me looking beyond the superficial. In addition, it makes me consider the way customers look at Algood and allows me to anticipate some of their questions and concerns.

As you can see, these shows are not a complete departure from thinking about casters but they do allow me to see Algood from a different point of view. So, you see that aside from the opportunity to relax and be entertained, binge watching has its benefits.

What do You Watch? Let us know what some of your favourite business (or other ) programs are and why.

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