Author Topic: FOG and the U.K./non-US  (Read 7756 times)

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Offline bobfog

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FOG and the U.K./non-US
« on: August 25, 2016, 06:44 AM »
I understand that the FOG is run by staff at Festool USA and was probably originally conceived as being a place primarily to cater for US users. However it seems apparent that it is now really a platform for an international audience with I suspect the UK being the second largest user group?

Anyway, it seems to me that more should be done to get UK dealers onboard, there are some really good ones in the UK, but the one that I find most surprising for not having a presence on the forum is Axminster Tools and Machinery!

Is there anyway someone, I guess @Phil Beckley being the obvious choice, could invite them and a few others to join/contribute?

I think Axminster would be particularly valuable as they stock a wide range of Festool and are keenly priced, but also have other unique products that compliment, but don't necessarily compete with Festool so could add value with advice and possibly forum deals, etc.

Whilst we're on the topic someone from HQ in Germany would also be nice. Maybe a few sneak previews, an occasional peek behind the development curtain, etc...?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 06:53 AM by bobfog »

Offline Phil Beckley

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2016, 08:01 AM »
I understand that the FOG is run by staff at Festool USA and was probably originally conceived as being a place primarily to cater for US users. However it seems apparent that it is now really a platform for an international audience with I suspect the UK being the second largest user group?

Anyway, it seems to me that more should be done to get UK dealers onboard, there are some really good ones in the UK, but the one that I find most surprising for not having a presence on the forum is Axminster Tools and Machinery!

Is there anyway someone, I guess @Phil Beckley being the obvious choice, could invite them and a few others to join/contribute?

I think Axminster would be particularly valuable as they stock a wide range of Festool and are keenly priced, but also have other unique products that compliment, but don't necessarily compete with Festool so could add value with advice and possibly forum deals, etc.

Whilst we're on the topic someone from HQ in Germany would also be nice. Maybe a few sneak previews, an occasional peek behind the development curtain, etc...?

Hi
 The owners group is run from the US and from my limited knowledge was originally a 'Yahoo' group but @Tyler, @Shane and the US can give more detail on that area.
   The UK is second largest group  [big grin] and I totally agree about more dealer involvement. I mention the Owners group to all dealers on the training courses and the value of the site as part of my social media section. However I am not able to directly approach or recommend any specific dealer and have to treat all on a level playing field. In terms of dealer involvement the UK can learn from the US dealers on here. However you can approach dealers to be involved.........
  HQ watch the forum as you might expect and as for sneak previews........... [eek] and the development area....... [censored]  [wink]
rg
Phil
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Offline toolfest.co.uk

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2016, 08:37 AM »
I'm surprised more dealers don't take part, just by joining in the discussion puts your firm in front of a large number of potential customers and can install trust before any transactions have taken place.

Quite a few have come and gone though, the most recent episode being when staff from a dealer posed as end users bigging up their dealership. They were soon found out and forgiven but still don't bother contributing.

There is probably still a fair amount of difficulty between dealers and the manufacturer, which may have something to do with lack of participation. The rise of discounters and there mysterious way of selling at below cost has no doubt caused a level of mistrust. Also, in our case, opening new dealers close to existing ones who can somehow undercut the existing dealer by a huge a mount of money. It's not going make existing dealers happy-campers.

To quote Gary Hamel:

"Trust is not simply a matter of truthfulness, or even constancy. It is also a matter of amity and goodwill. We trust those who have our best interests at heart, and mistrust those who seem deaf to our concerns."

Anyway, my opinions aside, this fine forum could well be enhanced with more dealers, including the one mentioned, but whether they will, I doubt it. I hope I'm wrong.

Warren
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Offline RobBob

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2016, 10:11 AM »
Axminster especially should regularly participate on FOG because they will ship to the USA.  I understand that they cannot ship Festool products, but they do regularly ship other bits to the USA.  I have purchased from them a couple of times and have experienced excellent service.

Always a smart move to keep a business name in front of potential customers.

Offline Shane Holland

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2016, 10:58 AM »
The owners group is run from the US and from my limited knowledge was originally a 'Yahoo' group but @Tyler, @Shane and the US can give more detail on that area.

History of the FOG, as told by Shane Holland.

Many years ago, Festool was... wait a minute what the heck is Festool?! A virtual unknown in the U.S. market. It was the year 2003-ish. An enthusiast named Matthew Schenker found Festool and realized that there was not a good resource of information on the products. Men needed to work together to devise ways to hide Systainers from their spouses! So, the birth of the FOG was conceived. And the Festool Fans rejoiced.

The FOG started out on a platform called Yahoo Groups. That's why the FOG has the word "Groups" in the name. [wink] At the time, I had just started working for a Festool dealer and found the Group and joined. As I recall, there wasn't much content or participation, and very few FOGgers. Maybe we should be called FOGgies, since groupies are a thing. Hmm.

You can see what it looked like on the Wayback Machine.

Over the years, the FOG membership grew and in 2007 the FOG was relocated to its current platform, free software called Simple Machine Forum (SMF) to give Matthew more control over the look, feel and functionality of the forum. As I recall, the original Yahoo Groups content was not migrated. So, it is lost forever. Also, in the year 2007, the Festool dealer I was working for at the time was sold and I was fortunate enough to be offered a job with Festool USA. This isn't an autobiography, but I my story have been interwoven with this place over the years, as you'll see below.

Being an employee of Festool USA, I began featuring the FOG in our email newsletters to help build awareness for the forum. Festool saw the forum as a great resource for its customers, of course. Matthew continued to run and operate the forum as its administrator, and I forgot to mention that there were no moderators at the time.

In 2007ish, a group of FOG members decided that they wanted to have their own place to interact. This was partially because of bad feeling between Matthew and these members. So, they broke off from the FOG and created talkFestool, a forum that still exists today. This caused some fracturing in the membership and some tense times. The forum was somewhat in chaos and there was a fair amount of unrest between members and the forum's founder.

In July 2008, Festool filed a WIPO claim to take ownership of the festoolownersgroup.com domain name. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center provides time- and cost-efficient mechanisms to resolve internet domain name disputes, without the need for court litigation. It's not entirely uncommon for companies with registered trademarks to care about how their brands and trademarks are being used. For instance, Dewalt will not even let their dealers use "dewalt" in their domain names. Because of some of the activities on the FOG, Festool felt like it was in its best interest to ask for control of the domain so that in the event that the tension between members escalated, there would be a way to remove the Festool brand from the negativity. Matthew did not like the WIPO filing and decided to shut the FOG down until this matter was resolved. It was a dark day in the history of the FOG. And the FOG members had much free time.

Matthew told Festool that the forum would stay offline unless Festool purchased it from him. In July 2009, the FOG was acquired by Festool USA and became a company-owned website. I became the forum's administrator (told you I played a role). And Festool USA quickly went about trying to restore peace on the forum, create a welcoming environment for everyone (including the talkFestool defectors), and to institute the first member-moderators on the forum to help give complete transparency. This was a bit of a rebirth for the forum. And the FOG members were optimistic.

In 2008ish, nominations were requested from the forum's members for member-moderators. Afterwards, a poll was created and members elected the first two FOG moderators, @Peter Halle and @Forrest Anderson of Scotland. And the FOG members rejoiced.

The moderators have been essential to the success of the forum over the past 8 years. Lending their time and efforts to help their fellow members, keep the forum on track by helping to implement its guidelines, and being positive role models for the forum. I cannot say enough about the respect I have for the moderators and what they have done for this online community. Around the end of 2014, Forrest reached out to Peter and I to let us know that he would be going on holiday to a cabin of his where there was no internet. We wished him well and to enjoy his time away from the forum. Unfortunately, he never returned to the forum and we still don't know why. After many months, we decided that we should find another moderator to fill his spot. Nominations and elections were held again and @SRSemenza (Seth) was elected. And the FOG members were pleased.

Over the years, we've had a lot of members come and go. Many have given selflessly to contribute to the knowledge base that exists here. A few were, um, not-so-helpful let's say. But, all-in-all, I think the forum had grown and flourished because of its members. Sharing their projects, their experience, their advice and their time with virtual friend and those who share a passion for woodworking and Festool. It's a beautiful thing and I've been blessed to be a part of it for over a decade now. YOU are the reason this place exists and is what it is. Unfortunately, we've also seen some of our brothers and sisters on the FOG pass on. It's been hard to lose some of our friends, but their legacy lives on, in part because of their contributions here. Those members' accounts have been marked with an angel avatar in their memory.

The forum continued to grow every month. Its reach broadened and new members signed up all over the world. If I remember correctly, the UK represents the second largest population of FOG members with Australia and Canada tied for third. We have members from all over Europe, South Africa, even some in Asia. Probably over a hundred dealers have signed up on the FOG over the years. Some have gone, others are still very active here on the forum. I encouraged my then-colleagues from other Festool subsidiaries to participate in the forum, especially Festool UK and Festool Australia. In 2014, our dear friend and Festool guru, Mr. @Phil Beckley, joined the forum and became an integral part of this community by sharing his vast knowledge and supporting Festool customers in the UK and Ireland. For those of you in other countries, if you want to see the representation for members and dealers outside of the U.S. grow, invite your friends and dealers to the forum. For those inside of the U.S., no need to invite more dealers.  [big grin] [tongue]

In early 2015, I decided to change jobs and come to work for The Tool Nut with a bunch of guys who are passionate about Festool like me. So, I left the role of FOG administrator and became a member again. Later that year, Festool USA hired my successor, Tyler Clark, who is now the forum administrator. Peter and Seth continue to serve as their forum's member-moderators. I'd like to congratulate Peter for recently eclipsing an outstanding milestone with over 10,000 posts on the forum. The dedication from Peter and Seth has been remarkable and I was very grateful to work along with them to help create a great forum atmosphere. Please take the opportunity to privately or publicly praise them for their work here, which is volunteered.

So, there's the story of the history of the FOG. I hope I remembered everything accurately and got the timeline straight. Maybe others will fill in some of the gaps with their own stories and perspective.

But, as for non-US representation on the FOG it simply comes down to asking your friend, colleagues and dealers to join and participate. They can't join if they don't know about it. [wink] I look forward to having more non-US dealers here soon, ha!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 08:33 PM by Shane Holland »
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2016, 11:09 AM »
It's great to read the FOG history from your point of view Shane.

It is a shame the old Yahoo content wasn't migrated over.
Is it available from the Wayback service?

As a talkFestool refugee at the time of the ownership transition I didn't even know FOG went dark.

You guys have done a great job restoring the place.

I do miss Forrest...

Offline Shane Holland

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2016, 11:12 AM »
It is a shame the old Yahoo content wasn't migrated over.
Is it available from the Wayback service?

Michael, unfortunately, the original Yahoo Group was a closed group. You had to request access, which you can see by the "Join the Group" button on the Wayback Machine. So, crawlers like the Wayback Machine or Google couldn't see the group's contents. Honestly, I suspect the content is so dated now that it's not relevant and is about obsolete products, etc. But, it would be fun to revisit the posts of yesteryear.

Shane
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2016, 11:31 AM »
Bob Marino sent me an invite to the old FOG back in 2003.

Most of the technical info is probably obsolete as the specific products have been replaced but at that time Per Swenson was posting a lot (he subsequently decided he was spending too much time online and pretty much quit cold-turkey).

Per is a poet/carpenter and I miss really him.

NAINA was coined in the Yahoo FOG by Ned Young.

I can't recall if Bryce and Jerry Work were members of the Yahoo FOG but in the general history of  FOG they were both exceptional contributors.

Offline Shane Holland

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2016, 11:47 AM »
Per still makes the occasional appearance here. I've spoken with him by phone over the years. Smart guy and great writer.

Jerry Work was a Yahoo Groups member, as was Frank Pellow, John Lucas (Wood Shop Demos), Per Swenson, Christian Oltzscher, and many others who are still active members here today. I think Brice may have been on the Yahoo Groups, but I can't remember for sure.

I didn't know the trivia about Ned and NAINA, neat tidbit of the history.
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Offline Cheese

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2016, 12:18 PM »
And the FOG members had much free time...

Great replay of FOG history @Shane Holland!!  [thumbs up] [thumbs up]

Offline bobfog

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2016, 04:26 PM »
@Phil Beckley thanks for the response! I can understand how inviting some and not others can be a sticky wicket. I'm going to send an email to Axminster directing them to this thread. Maybe @Peter Parfitt with his contacts would be able to do the same!

@Shane Holland, thanks for the history, genuinely interesting to read! Thanks.

Offline Phil Beckley

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2016, 05:36 PM »
......great overview @Shane Holland and cool to know the background story to the forum thanks for sharing that......and 10 out of 10 for the writing, another skill you have  [smile]
rg
Phil
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Offline copcarcollector

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2016, 05:39 PM »
Agreed, thanks Shane for the background. And now I know what WIPO means!  [wink]

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2016, 06:52 PM »
@Shane Holland, thanks for the walk down memory lane.

There were some other high points here.  First there was the dream team traveling to Las Vegas to see such new tools as the Kapex and the OF 2200.  To have a manufacturer arrange a trip like that for participants of a forum was really cool.

Then in 2009 there was the first training class where 19 members of the forum were chosen and helped establish the underlying basis for future classes.

Unfortunately I need to correct your usually infallible memory - the moderator elections were in the fall of 2009.

And then there were the Fogtainers in 2010 - 2011.

You rock Dude!  Your heart is green and blue.

Peter
Scraps to Smiles.  To be continued.....  Stay Tuned.

Offline Shane Holland

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2016, 07:05 PM »
There were some other high points here.  First there was the dream team traveling to Las Vegas to see such new tools as the Kapex and the OF 2200.  To have a manufacturer arrange a trip like that for participants of a forum was really cool.

Right, nice addition.

Then in 2009 there was the first training class where 19 members of the forum were chosen and helped establish the underlying basis for future classes.

Yes, and I was even there, so I should have remembered to add that. This was a great opportunity to get feedback from representatives of the Festool user base so we could really create a great training program. Brian "The Sedge" Sedgeley and Steve Bace were able to collect a lot of great insight feedback. The result is the phenomenal training classes offered to end users today. Check it out at http://www.festooltraining.com.

Unfortunately I need to correct your usually infallible memory - the moderator elections were in the fall of 2009.

I said "2008-ish". In millennia of human existence, what's a year or so.  [tongue]

And then there were the Fogtainers in 2010 - 2011.

Another great addition to the forum's history. I have one of the FOGtainers that I purchased in new condition. That was just another representation of the commitment you have personally had to this online community and to the Festool brand.

You rock Dude!  Your heart is green and blue.

There are a lot of people who are here because they believe in what Festool represents, their values. As a Festool customer, dealer, and employee, I have seen what the company is all about. It's something that I personally believe in and want to be a part of. It's not only the tools, but the people and the company culture. It's inspirational.

Great additions and memories, Peter. *YOU* rock!
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Offline Cheese

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2016, 11:43 PM »
There are a lot of people who are here because they believe in what Festool represents, their values. As a Festool customer, dealer, and employee, I have seen what the company is all about. It's something that I personally believe in and want to be a part of. It's not only the tools, but the people and the company culture. It's inspirational.

Amen...in the 40+ years I've worked in corporate America, I've had the luxury and pleasure to work for only 2 companies that embody the ethical values and the social conscientiousness that Shane alludes to. In those few companies that actually care about their employees, the employees will in turn reciprocate by taking care of the company. It is a real nice symbiotic relationship and both sides win. It's such a peaceful & inspirational experience and one that achieves more with fewer employees because of the implied empowerment of each employee. A rare oasis in the desert. [sad] [sad]

Offline Samo

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2016, 11:50 PM »
I'm just thankful to all the above mentioned Members, the Moderators and the FOG.  Not to mention the Festool people.

The Customer Service is worth any extra cost.  Ever deal with vendors or manufacturers that have none? 

The Forum is a awesome resource and everyone can benefit from a different approach to the issue at hand.  I tend to think inside a box.

You *ALL ROCK*!

Cheers, Sam

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2016, 01:00 AM »
Hi @bobfog

I will mention this the next time I talk to Axminster. I think that the dealers here already offer a great insight and they are all very good at not promoting their own stuff (except legitimately in the Sales and Dealer area) nor getting into verbal fights with their rivals.

Peter

Offline TylerC

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2016, 03:45 PM »
You're right that the U.K. is #2 on the FOG. Because we get a lot of speculation and questions about what countries are represented on the FOG, I thought it might be fun to pass along some stats.

FOG traffic over the past 12 months

  • United States: 53%
  • United Kingdom: 16%
  • Canada: 7%
  • Australia: 4%
  • Germany: 3%
  • Netherlands: 2%
  • France: 2%
That represents web sessions -- not necessary unique visitors or forum posts.

To get a bit more granular with it, here are the cities.

FOG traffic by city
  • London: 4.08%
  • New York: 1.66%
  • Sydney: 1.17%
  • Melbourne: 1.15%
  • Los Angeles: 1.08%
  • Chicago: 1.05%
  • Toronto: 0.91%
  • San Francisco: 0.64%
  • Houston: 0.62%
  • Seattle: 0.60%
There aren't a ton of surprises when you consider the populations of these cities.[/list]

Offline bobfog

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Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2016, 04:32 PM »
    You're right that the U.K. is #2 on the FOG. Because we get a lot of speculation and questions about what countries are represented on the FOG, I thought it might be fun to pass along some stats.

    FOG traffic over the past 12 months

    • United States: 53%
    • United Kingdom: 16%
    • Canada: 7%
    • Australia: 4%
    • Germany: 3%
    • Netherlands: 2%
    • France: 2%
    That represents web sessions -- not necessary unique visitors or forum posts.

    To get a bit more granular with it, here are the cities.

    FOG traffic by city
    • London: 4.08%
    • New York: 1.66%
    • Sydney: 1.17%
    • Melbourne: 1.15%
    • Los Angeles: 1.08%
    • Chicago: 1.05%
    • Toronto: 0.91%
    • San Francisco: 0.64%
    • Houston: 0.62%
    • Seattle: 0.60%
    There aren't a ton of surprises when you consider the populations of these cities.[/list]

    Thanks Tyler! That's interesting. Though I might take the London statistic with w pinch of salt as a lot of the UK ISP providers are based in London and I know from experience that people who visit forums/websites outside of London can often have their location described as London but actually be nowhere near London.

    Offline Kev

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    Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
    « Reply #20 on: August 26, 2016, 05:32 PM »
    Doubt we'd get the numbers, but I'd be really curious about the correlation between Festool sales by country and FOG activity.

    Offline Untidy Shop

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    Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
    « Reply #21 on: August 26, 2016, 09:05 PM »
    Thanks @TylerC  for producing these statistics.

    The City figures however may be deceptive. I have no doubt that I contribute to the Melbourne figure due to the network configuration of my Provider. Apart from some infrequent use of free WiFi in a Melbourne public library, my FOG use takes place 150km away in a rural area. I suspect this would be the case for other city statistics.

    When we look at the Sydney statistic of 1.17% there is an even greater statistical disparity. After all, at least the 1% could only be that of one Member; what do you think @Kev[big grin]
    « Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 09:08 PM by Untidy Shop »
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    Offline Kev

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    Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
    « Reply #22 on: August 26, 2016, 09:11 PM »
    When we look at the Sydney statistic of 1.17% there is an even greater statistical disparity. After all, at least the 1% could only be that of one Member; what do you think @Kev[big grin][/font][/size]

    @Untidy Shop all I can see is Sydney beats Melbourne AGAIN [big grin]

    Offline TylerC

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    Re: FOG and the U.K./non-US
    « Reply #23 on: August 27, 2016, 08:17 AM »
    Doubt we'd get the numbers, but I'd be really curious about the correlation between Festool sales by country and FOG activity.

    IMO the biggest differences are with Germany and France. Both are very strong Festool countries.