I think that is a common way of thinking. But I think it is short sighted and part of the whole Conservative mindset of every man for himself.
That mentality is the reason Gateway computer went under- the reason Windows computers in general have such poor build and design quality. The race to the bottom that ensues when the only metric people respond to is price.
Its the same mentality that has resulted in a working class that is paid so low they need government assistance to survive- despite working 1 or more full time jobs. This idea that employers should seek to minimize their costs regardless of the impact on others. And why? so that only the few on top can rake in the cash.
But if Formlabs goes under because of third party resin sales- then where are you? Sitting on a machine that you can not get tanks for… can’t get repairs or replacement parts for… And then you have to invest in a new machine from a different company, that will ALSO go under because you won’t support their profit model, either.
Enough of that and no company will invest in the printer space because its a surefire way to lose your shirt.
and that depresses innovation in other manufacturers as they try to figure out how to make ever cheaper machines using ever cheaper components to try and make a buck. So they can still have jobs tomorrow.
John Donne wrote: No man is an island, entire of himself. Each man is a part of the main…
The thing about economy is that it only works well when EVERYONE can live. when everyone can have a job that affords them the dignity of feeling self sufficient- that they can support themselves and their family thru their hard work.
And we are seeing that destroyed by the avarice of inequality economics.
One of my former apprentices once called me to tell me he had found a company that would mill large urethane foam parts for 15% less than the vendor I had been using for 10 years. I had to explain to him that I don’t care that the other vendor is cheaper- that I was going to continue to support the vendor I had been using.
He gave me a business lecture about how to profit as a business. So I patiently had to explain to him that I had profited as a business for 30 years. And that price is meaningless within any industry- that what was far more critical to long term success was RELATIONSHIPS. I explained to him that perhaps that vendor’s ordinary price was 15% higher- but that because of our long relationship- my vendor often gave me a discount, because he knew that I referred other potential clients to him. Moreover- I explained- that that vendor routinely referred business to me… and that four of my top paying clients of the prior ten years were clients I got because that vendor had referred people to me- or were referred by clients that he had referred.
All in all- 40% of my gross income was a direct outgrowth of that relationship with that vendor. And the reputation both he and I cultivated is a qualification you simply can not buy. It is earned by showing the other people with whom you work the respect of helping them to make good.
If I need steel- I will try to find the lowest cost, because it is a commodity and the price fluctuates every day. There will always be folks selling steel. Because commodities always make a profit.
But when I need SUPPORT- when I need a company that will still be in business when I need that support or service, then the smart move is to support That business’ profitability.
If I don’t then I am constantly in need of new equipment, new software, new suppliers. I am always trouble shooting a new relationship, and I develop the reputation of someone who can not be relied upon as a customer. Those vendors will never give me a break- or make a referral, because they never even get to know me.
The great error in western thinking is the notion that business exits to make profit. But that is a lie. That mentality gives us employers who rape their workforce for every nickle they can.
A better, more humane attitude is to realize that we, as a community, only suffer business to exist to the extent that it provides us with necessary or desired services, and to the extent that businesses provide a meaningful livelihood to the people.
Your business is providing YOU with livelihood… and anyone you employ. And the network of businesses on which your business relies is really a network of people.
Some of the best paying work I have ever gotten, I got because some guy who interacted with me when he worked at Disney- left the company- went thru two other positions over the next 15 years, and then was at a company where he recommended they contract with me, because he remembered our relationship, and that I was as concerned with his making money on me as I was with my making money on him.
Perhaps I make a few dollars less than I might if I was more cutthroat.
But in an industry that is very difficult to make a living in, I have never lacked for work over 40 years and 3 major recessions.
And the relationships I have built have enriched my life beyond any measure of mere money.
In that sense, I seek the best made equipment or software I can find from the best run companies. And I support their means of making a living.
Because they employ people.
And everyone has to eat.