We're Off to See the WizardBy Greg Harris
Greg Says GoodbyeRecently, a student from the University of Michigan wrote asking if he and a few colleagues could take a tour of Jameco. He was on a trip to San Francisco to attend a conference and wanted to see Jameco and "meet Greg Harris" during his precious spare time.
While I was flattered, I was also a little apprehensive. The Bay Area has so much to offer that I wasn't sure how a visit to Jameco could possibly be the priority with such a short visit. Nevertheless we rolled out the red carpet (made entirely of flashing LEDs of course) and welcomed Aaron and his colleagues.
"It's nice to meet you, but you need to know that I'm a fraud." There. The words just came out of my mouth. There was no need for little Toto to pull back the curtain as he did in the Wizard of Oz. I admitted that, just like the Wizard, my public persona was less than genuine.
In 2008 we sent out our first e-newsletter. That first newsletter was difficult to produce since we had little experience creating a newsletter. Sadly, Jameco Corner began as a space filler because we just didn't have enough content.
As the years marched on, we got much better at producing good content for the newsletter just as we've gotten better at sourcing electronic components. We watched what stories people clicked and got a sense for what was interesting and what wasn't. Through all this progress, the Jameco Corner column kept plugging a hole and seemed to have a loyal albeit small following.
The newsletter's popularity grew. Today the newsletter is read by over 200,000 people and our email results are the envy of other companies. The newsletter began with a simple goal: make electronics interesting and don't worry about selling anything.
As we got better at writing things you wanted to read, the relative popularity of this column declined. Today it's one of the least popular features of the newsletter and with so much other interesting content to share, this will be the last regular edition of Greg's Corner.
Aaron looked surprised when I admitted my deceit. I explained that I shouldn't be writing a monthly column for a newsletter targeted to electronics enthusiasts. I'm not an engineer, have zero technical aptitude and have never even held a soldering iron. In fact, at times I struggle to even understand the products we sell. The team at Jameco often jokes that the only product I really understand are the AA batteries.
My lack of technical expertise, however, never seemed to slow me down. I've largely written about what I know — business. But the time feels right to step aside in favor of more relevant topics such as contributions from our customers.
Imagine the disappointment when someone you admire is nothing like what you expected. I was disappointed that I couldn't be everything Aaron expected, but when I suggested that he might contribute to the newsletter, his face lit up. Just like the Wizard of Oz, this story ends with the realization that Jameco isn't magical, but magic happens every day with the endless possibilities that Jameco products and customers create.