Monday, July 16, 2012

Trolling for Hate: What are they waiting for?

I want a Strider PT pretty badly. Not so badly that I'd sell off the Sebenza, but the next big knife I purchase (in terms of price) is probably going to be the PT (though the AG Russell Acies 2 is really tempting as well). But the PTs are sporadically produced and leak out in dribs and drabs.

 
So, I thought to myself, you know what--just check the website. For those that haven't seen the Strider website, here is the link.  Yep, its a filler page.  It has been for months now, at least since Christmas of 2011.  What are they waiting for?

Not having a web presence in this day and age of cheap web servers and ten dollar domain names (yep, this was a $10 purchase) is unacceptable. There is absolutely no excuse.  They may respond with: Well we are making awesome knives, too busy for geeky nerd stuff like a website.  You know what?  Chris Reeve makes some pretty awesome knives, too, and he has a website.  You know, Chris Reeve, the guy that really cares about the fit and finish on his knives and gets them out the door and steadily produces all of his models and repeatedly wins Maker of the Year at Blade Show after Blade Show, that Chris Reeve.  He has a website.  It is not insanely complicated--no Flash demos or swirling graphics. It just works.  So why can't Strider update its website and produce the PT in a more consistent fashion?

If the Strider thing is annoying, the problem facing HDS Flashlights is more of an existential one.  The HDS Rotary light has been "released" for about a year and the light is a great light--a rotary ring on the legendary HDS (Arc4) chassis.  But availability has been, poor, shall we say.  You can order the light from the HDS website, but every single retailer has been without significant stock for about a year.  The lights that come from HDS itself are also on a significant delay.  I just don't understand how this happens.  I get that the new interface is complicated and I understand a few false starts.  But it is has been a year now without regular production.


And in the world of flashlights, a year is an eternity.  In that year the rotary interface has been significantly improved, in my opinion, with the release of the rotary-only lights like the previously reviewed (and recently given away) Sunwayman M11R and the under review JetBeam RRT 01.  Both of these lights have rotary controls without the fussiness of a button.  Both are compact and quite bright.  Finally both have good pocket clips.  The HDS Rotary, on the other hand, has the lowest output of the three (not that output is everything, mind you, but it is a good benchmark number to look at), a button (which I think is superfluous at this point), and is available in such small quantities that it is essentially an Atwood tool.  Oh and it is at least twice as much as the other options.  I know that the HDS build quality is substantially better, no arguments on that front, but with the rapid advance in technology it is only a matter of time before a light is made that is simply superior to the HDS in every way.  The lag in the production releases of the Rotary have been so bad that it has essentially been lapped by the field--its innovation is now one generation behind and it is output is as well.  For a small company like HDS this is really bad news.  HDS went from the premiere production light available to a niche custom maker to what?  That is not the normal progression we see, it is usually the other way around.  What I don't understand is how HDS can't get things up and running better.  If you are a custom maker, fine, then you better ship stuff like McGizmo does or its over.  If you are a production maker, then produce stuff.  I know I can't be the only one frustrated by the almost complete and total collapse of HDS's Rotary line.  Even their non-Rotary lights are getting harder to come by.  This is not a good sign.

The problems here stem from some sort of business mismanagement of some kind or another and if these companies were making shit, no one would care.  But Strider and HDS make awesome gear, some of the best available.  They also make it right here in the USA, which is a huge plus for me.  I WANT to buy a PT.  I WANT to buy a Rotary light (a little less now that I have used the M11R and the RRT-01).  Make them.  Sell them.  That is what a profitable company does. 

What are you waiting for?   

16 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I don't understand the "Trolling for Hate" part of your headline. "What are they waiting for" seems much more clear. What am I missing?

    I concur with your frustration, especially regarding Strider and their website. If they cannot handle the techie end of things, they could just use social media or Blogger to keep some updated communications with the public. Hinderer availability is also very frustrating and not just for knives but his elusive armorers tool. Peter Atwood is one smart cookie. His controlled product leaks are like minnows being suspended above dolphins. Most people buy his stuff before reading what it is because they are gone within minutes.

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    1. Strider does indeed have a web presence, but it is on a private forum.

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    2. To say that they have a web presence by pointing out they have a space on USN or Custom Guns and Knives misses the point. The point of the web is to provide information to people, preferrably NEW people that could buy your stuff.

      It is not just the lack of a web presence that is a problem, the complete irregularity of their production schedules for the PT are also a concern.

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    3. "Trolling for Hate" comes from the fact that criticizing certain brands will always cause some consternation.

      Brand loyalty is exceptionally strong with Strider, in particular. They make great stuff, but sometimes I think their fans take devotion to an insane place.

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    4. Hey Tony, Mattdtactical had a CB PT on their site.

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    5. I will agree that the irregularity of their production is an issue. I've been trying to score a Black CC PT for my girlfriend for quite some time now, and I have yet to see one pop up.

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    6. Tony, I get it now. Thanks for explaining. Brand loyalty should always be on balance with customer satisfaction. There are so many awesome light and sabers out there, bad business practices will naturally open the doors to more eager-to-please innovators.

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  2. I ordered an HDS High CRI... not even a rotary. Then waited over 4 months for it to arrive. Henry at HDS just kept giving me the run around. I got tired of that BS so I just cancelled my order. I am super disappointed, because I want an HDS too. But I would rather buy a light from someone who seems more up front and honest about his business, and so I am signed up to get an Aeon "Tony Edition."

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  3. I will note that Strider did have their new site up a month or 2 ago, for maybe a day or 2, but Mick pulled it because he was not satisfied with the results. They may be starting from scratch again.

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  4. Its funny you mention HDS. I ordered a non-rotary flashlight just two weeks ago and was told it would ship this week. Why does it take so long to ship something? I've been in the retail side of shipping out product and i buy stuff online constantly, so i know that even with huge volume, it only takes about a day to fulfill an order and get it out the door.

    We'll see when i actually get my flashlight from HDS.

    I too am signed up for an Aeon.

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  5. Your comment about 'how long does it take to ship something' is a point that I often wonder myself. I was pleasantly surprised when ordering some accessories from Dark Sucks/Prometheus. I ordered on Friday and noticed he posted about going on paternity leave so items may not ship for a month or more. I was totally ok with that because it's posted on the site. Even so, Jason printed a label that night (I got an email notice) and he sent it out the next day. I should be receiving everything today. That's some awesome service right there. A little off topic but just goes to show the good service sticks out as much as the bad service.

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    Replies
    1. Jason is insane, absolutely insane, with his customer service. I have never received anything but glowing praise. Paternity leave and still ships on time, that is impressive.

      Oh, and the quality of his product is pretty amazing too.

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  6. I ordered a McGizmo Haiku and expected to wait for months. Don sent a shipping notice the day I ordered and I received it from HI in 5 days. Needless to say, he set a standard I have yet to see matched by any custom builder. Oh, and I would have waited a long time, if need be, because his product is bonkers great to boot.

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  7. I for one look forward to future episodes of "Trolling for Hate."

    Gerber-themed installments would seem almost too obvious to bother with.

    But what about CRKT? ("Nice use of AUS-4 on the M16 blades until recently. Lol is that really a steel? I guess Aichi was fresh out of AUS-3. Also, thanks for never giving us a positionable pocket clip. And the AutoLAWKS! yo, that is so fresh not being able to close the knife with one hand. I have Velcro straps on my Keds because I can't be trusted with shoelaces either.")

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  8. I'm pretty sure Strider is going to (or already have) discontinue the PT and develop another smaller folder (not the mini SJ75). I think they had too many problems with production on the PT. The pivot, alone, had to go through several changes. A mini SJ75 size PT would be awesome.

    I have one, it's nice, but I think it is just a tad bit too small. The clip placement is also very bad because the knife is so small, a very large portion sticks out and offsets the balance in the pocket. I haven't had any problems with the knife slipping out, however, I do wish more of the knife, closed, would actually be in the pocket.

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