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OK, I might just be stubborn…

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Tech Talk by Peter Mate
Peter Mate is owner and president of Planit Canada, a software and services company devoted to servicing the manufacturing industry. For more info email

I hated school, but I love learning.
I didn’t like school because I felt I was learning mediocre information from a sometimes-awesome source, but sometimes a questionable source. I didn’t get to choose my teachers, as I wanted. The teachers I liked, I loved. The rest I could do without. For me, I felt many teachers were there for a paycheck and were quite content delivering information that may have been outdated.
At the very least, I wanted to have more time for questions and debate rather than just focus on memorizing.
It’s stuck with me to this day. I want my information from the best sources, and I want to question and debate everything. I love a good conversation. 
I love hearing different views and I love defending mine. 
OK, I might just be stubborn…
In any event, when I struggled with HR related items during the earlier days of my company’s growth, I looked for the best source for the answers. I ended up in California at one of the most forward-thinking HR conferences in the world.
I was blown away. I was a fish out of water. Surrounded by people talking about stuff I never even knew existed. I remember when they talked about psychological safety. As an employer, at first, I was thinking: OMG… Really? 
But as the conversation went on, I learned a lot. I soaked 
up so much information 
and came back home with a new vision on how to improve my company.
So where do woodworkers go for awesome information for the future of our industry?
Well, I think the woodworking industry is behind many other manufacturing industries worldwide. We have a unique situation where we have amazing artists that produce amazing products with very little entry requirements. You don’t need an MBA, you don’t have to be an engineer and you don’t need a ton of money to start a small shop.
That being said, the woodworking industry is filled with tons of small shops and not all of them have the time or ability to get out and see what others are doing…
I think we have an opportunity to look at metal, automotive, aerospace, plastics and many other industries to see what the future of woodworking will bring. If you’ve never attended a tradeshow or conference in a more advanced manufacturing sector, you should consider it. Time and time again I see trends from other industries unfolding in ours. The future is clear. The current state of the woodworking industry is where many other manufacturing industries have been at some point in the past. Why not learn from them? Labour shortage? They’ve been there. Supply chain issues? Yup. Production delays? Ummm…. Still waiting for my Cybertruck…
You don’t know what you don’t know.
It’s so eye opening to hear and converse with people that have been through what you are going through. It doesn’t matter if they’re building plastic widgets or cars, they have something to share and it’s valuable. So I encourage you to go out and step out of your comfort zone. Attend a different manufacturing trade show. Sign up for that HR conference in California. Have the psychological safety to not be the smartest person in the room and still feel comfortable having a real conversation.
Be human and learn from the best.

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