Author Topic: New membership numbers on the FOG  (Read 8963 times)

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Offline Edward A Reno III

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New membership numbers on the FOG
« on: December 26, 2016, 04:21 PM »
I was looking at the forum stats the other day, and saw that there has been a precipitous decline in new members joining the FOG, from 16,000+ last year to around 4000 -- a number that hasn't been that low since 2012.  Number of new topics and posts are also down (though not proportional to the membership rolls) about 30% from the past two years, though the total page views is up, as they have been every year since the FOG's inception.

Now obviously in a forum like this it should be quality rather than quantity, and for every 50 people that sign up there's maybe 1 who actually starts contributing regularly (just guestimated that number btw).  But I was still surprised to see those numbers. 
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • DX 93 • HL 850 • CT 26 w/Long-Life Bag • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline bobfog

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2016, 04:35 PM »
My guess would be that the level of innovation from Festool is declining, the year on year prices are increasing, and all against a backdrop of other manufacturers closing the quality gap.

In short, maybe Festool isn't on the same pedestal it once was.

I'd also speculate that issues with the Carvex blade guide and Kapex motor issues largely going unresponded to has reduced advocacy and had a knock on effect. On a similar note, the refusal to expand their 10.8v range and to make a decent 18v impact as well as recip saw may also be forcing people to other brands.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 04:45 PM by bobfog »

Online Peter Halle

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2016, 05:30 PM »
Let's get the elephant out of the cage.  Running a forum dedicated to a manufacturer's products requires participation and nurturing and that participation level is not what it once was. 

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

Offline TylerC

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2016, 05:45 PM »
Although I don't have the numbers in front of me now -- I'm doing Christmas with my family today -- most metrics around the FOG ebb and flow seasonally, but they're still inclining. There are a number of possible reasons, but I think that part of it is that -- let's be honest -- this kind of web forum is past its peak in popularity. It shouldn't be that surprising that the growth of a traditional web forum has slowed while Festool's social media following/engagement is  growing in huge numbers.

There are certainly other legit arguments to be made, and I highly doubt that there's any one simple explanation.

In 2017 we're  planning to update the FOG to a new platform that should be more modern and mobile/tablet-friendly, which will hopefully will attract more people.

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2016, 05:50 PM »
I believe that all three of the first respondents so far have presented valid reasons; with Peter presenting the most telling.

Sure there is the promise of a FOG software upgrade, but it is the lack any significant participation by Festool employees, particularly when issues arise that needs to change. It is always better to be proactive rather than intermitatly reactive.

Tyler discusses the rise of social media. Fair comment, untill you look at some of the Festool Facebook Pages. The Australian FB page is pathetic. No real information, just pretty pictures inviting 'likes' from the 'fan boys'.  [eek]
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 05:55 PM by Untidy Shop »
If you don't like Signatures, just go to Look and Layout and tick No Signatures.

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Offline TylerC

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2016, 05:59 PM »
... the lack any significant participation by Festool employees, particularly when issues arise that needs to change.

I'm curious how much you're considering the Kapex in this?

Offline TylerC

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2016, 06:04 PM »
Tyler discusses the rise of social media. Fair comment, untill you look at some of the Festool Facebook Pages. The Australian FB page is pathetic. No real information, just pretty pictures inviting 'likes' from the 'fan boys'.  [eek]

Festool doesn't have the same official presence in Australia as in other countries, so their Facebook page does get the same love.

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2016, 06:11 PM »
Sure Tyler the Kapex was in my mind when I wrote that sentence, but so were the times in other topics and threads when members, including myself have been attempting to provide advice to others, or have asked our own questions, and have tagged a Festool employee and received no response.

This is not a direct criticism of you or Phil. It is obvious that Festool management has not provided appropriate significance or time for FOG monitoring within the job descriptions of two valued employees. It almost feels at times like you and Phil are responding to the FOG voluntarily. Certainly Tyler, you are today.
If you don't like Signatures, just go to Look and Layout and tick No Signatures.

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2016, 06:26 PM »
Tyler discusses . .

Festool doesn't have the same official presence in Australia as in other countries . .

Ain't that the truth!  [smile]
If you don't like Signatures, just go to Look and Layout and tick No Signatures.

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Offline TylerC

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2016, 06:36 PM »
I'm not surprised that "involvement from Festool" is a recurring theme in this. A lot of this is fair, and I have some thoughts on this and would like more feedback from you all on this. However, my family is getting mad at me for my continued interruptions to the game of Scattegories that we have going. I'll give a more thoughtful response tomorrow morning.

Offline Phil Beckley

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2016, 06:58 PM »
Tyler discusses . .

Festool doesn't have the same official presence in Australia as in other countries . .

Ain't that the truth!  [smile]

...Festool in Australia is via an import partner and has possibly a different approach to social media. Social media also varies country to country and may not be the best use of resources.
rg
Phil
Festool U.K Employee | Festool UK Website


Offline Phil Beckley

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2016, 06:59 PM »
My guess would be that the level of innovation from Festool is declining, the year on year prices are increasing, and all against a backdrop of other manufacturers closing the quality gap.

In short, maybe Festool isn't on the same pedestal it once was.

I'd also speculate that issues with the Carvex blade guide and Kapex motor issues largely going unresponded to has reduced advocacy and had a knock on effect. On a similar note, the refusal to expand their 10.8v range and to make a decent 18v impact as well as recip saw may also be forcing people to other brands.

....innovation is constant in Festool - watch this space
rg
Phil
Festool U.K Employee | Festool UK Website


Offline bobfog

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2016, 07:01 PM »
I'm not surprised that "involvement from Festool" is a recurring theme in this. A lot of this is fair, and I have some thoughts on this and would like more feedback from you all on this. However, my family is getting mad at me for my continued interruptions to the game of Scattegories that we have going. I'll give a more thoughtful response tomorrow morning.

My meandering thoughts:

1) We need more interaction and content from Festool employees, globally. More showcases of work from different jurisdictions.

2) We need more "sneak previews" of new tools and other products. Nothing so far in advance that it will jeopardise the commercial requirements, but something a few days before public release, give us something to make us feel that as forum members we've got a little more insider info than people who don't participate on the forum. 

3) Be more receptive to criticism and complaints - I guess this would be as a whole for the brand not just the forum, at the risk of flogging a dead horse the Kapex complaints should have been responded to and a new improved motor design implemented and remedial upgrades to older versions carried out before insulting us by offering a new Kapex 60. Yes this would have cost Festool millions of dollars, pounds, euros, etc. But that's the rod they've made for their own back by marketing themselves as the gold standard of tools and charging accordingly for their products.

4) Let us talk about politics, guns, religion, etc. Sure this would increase the burden on moderators/staff but it's what creates a forum atmosphere, and again this increased workload would be part of the investment into the forum. Would you go to your friends' shop/garage and not talk about pressing current affairs whilst also talking tools or having a cold one? A successful forum needs to be a community with free speech, not just seen as a place for the technical discussion of whatever brand/industry the forum name might represent.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 07:04 PM by bobfog »

Offline Phil Beckley

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2016, 07:08 PM »
Sure Tyler the Kapex was in my mind when I wrote that sentence, but so were the times in other topics and threads when members, including myself have been attempting to provide advice to others, or have asked our own questions, and have tagged a Festool employee and received no response.

This is not a direct criticism of you or Phil. It is obvious that Festool management has not provided appropriate significance or time for FOG monitoring within the job descriptions of two valued employees. It almost feels at times like you and Phil are responding to the FOG voluntarily. Certainly Tyler, you are today.

Hi
 Most of my posts are out of hours and it is not directly in my job description. However, as an employee of Festool and also trade I enjoy the forum as if some help can be offered on a product then the main purpose of the forum is maintained - exchange of information to help others. Part of the brand is to aid the best use of the products by an end user
rg
Phil
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Offline Phil Beckley

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2016, 07:11 PM »
I'm not surprised that "involvement from Festool" is a recurring theme in this. A lot of this is fair, and I have some thoughts on this and would like more feedback from you all on this. However, my family is getting mad at me for my continued interruptions to the game of Scattegories that we have going. I'll give a more thoughtful response tomorrow morning.

...and I am going back to a classic film - The National Lampoons Christmas Vacation..... [wink] and a beer, have a good one all  [wink]
rg
Phil
Festool U.K Employee | Festool UK Website


Offline justaguy

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2016, 07:11 PM »
IMHO #4 is the last thing that we need ...

[/quote]

4) Let us talk about politics, guns, religion, etc. Sure this would increase the burden on moderators/staff but it's what creates a forum atmosphere, and again this increased workload would be part of the investment into the forum. Would you go to your friends' shop/garage and not talk about pressing current affairs whilst also talking tools or having a cold one? A successful forum needs to be a community with free speech, not just seen as a place for the technical discussion of whatever brand/industry the forum name might represent.
[/quote]

Offline tony_sheehan

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2016, 07:14 PM »
"4) Let us talk about politics, guns, religion, etc."

Then it'll be bye bye from me (not that it'll be a great loss to the FOG as I'm not a great contributor )

Offline bobfog

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2016, 07:23 PM »
Quote
author=justaguy link=topic=49637.msg489966#msg489966 date=1482797514]
IMHO #4 is the last thing that we need ...


4) Let us talk about politics, guns, religion, etc. Sure this would increase the burden on moderators/staff but it's what creates a forum atmosphere, and again this increased workload would be part of the investment into the forum. Would you go to your friends' shop/garage and not talk about pressing current affairs whilst also talking tools or having a cold one? A successful forum needs to be a community with free speech, not just seen as a place for the technical discussion of whatever brand/industry the forum name might represent.


But why so?

Is this not a meeting place for adults? Would you not talk about such current affairs if you were with other like-minded people, face-to-face?

It seems to me that there is a disconnect between real life and this forum. Sure I like talking tools as much as the next guy, but if my friends did nothing but talk about tools and completely avoided contentious topics like it was Sunday morning in church, I'd tire of them very quickly.

Provided it's kept broadly civil, wouldn't having the ability to discuss all manner of "off topic" subject matter contribute to the overall participation of the forum, and in turn have a knock-on effect with overall contribution with greater numbers?

Some of the other forums I frequent have this balance right and they flourish, the ones that are too focussed on tech talk are the ones that die.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 07:26 PM by bobfog »

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2016, 08:03 PM »
Quote
author=justaguy link=topic=49637.msg489966#msg489966 date=1482797514]
IMHO #4 is the last thing that we need ...


4) Let us talk about politics, guns, religion, etc. Sure this would increase the burden on moderators/staff but it's what creates a forum atmosphere, and again this increased workload would be part of the investment into the forum. Would you go to your friends' shop/garage and not talk about pressing current affairs whilst also talking tools or having a cold one? A successful forum needs to be a community with free speech, not just seen as a place for the technical discussion of whatever brand/industry the forum name might represent.


But why so?

Is this not a meeting place for adults? Would you not talk about such current affairs if you were with other like-minded people, face-to-face?

It seems to me that there is a disconnect between real life and this forum. Sure I like talking tools as much as the next guy, but if my friends did nothing but talk about tools and completely avoided contentious topics like it was Sunday morning in church, I'd tire of them very quickly.

Provided it's kept broadly civil, wouldn't having the ability to discuss all manner of "off topic" subject matter contribute to the overall participation of the forum, and in turn have a knock-on effect with overall contribution with greater numbers?

Some of the other forums I frequent have this balance right and they flourish, the ones that are too focussed on tech talk are the ones that die.

From my perspective there are times when I just want to avoid discussing social issues and enjoy being in an atmosphere where it does not come up. Not that I don't have strong opinions and convictions, I just don't want to express them here nor have others expressing at me. The slope can be too slippery.

Perhaps it's my safe place...  [2cents]

RMW
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Offline amt

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2016, 08:21 PM »
Do #4 and expect your membership to be stuck at 1/2 what it should be.  #4 is probably the worst thing you could do for an online forum like this.

Offline justaguy

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2016, 08:27 PM »
The current state of politics and associated discussions in the US is such that many cannot participate without demonizing and degrading those with opposing views.

As an owners group or a community, I would rather we focus on our common interests and what brings us together rather than introducing subjects that may divide us.

When I want to discuss politics I'll do so in a political forum.

Offline Wooden Skye

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2016, 08:28 PM »
Discussing politics and other social issues can get out of hand quickly and rather not have in this forum.

I do agree that there should be some higher level of management involved when need be.  Tyler does his best to provide the information, but sometimes doesn't have all the info to properly answer topics or questions raised, because he wasn't provided, so at those times someone up the festool ladder should participate.
Bryan

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Offline DrD

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2016, 08:55 PM »
I joined a few years back to learn, specifically how to use the Festool tools; which ones would be of benefit to me, and which ones would not.  Back then we had some very positive and informative posts from any number of people who do not post much any more - I'll hasten to add there are great posts currently, but not by the wider number of posters which existed a couple of years ago.

Additionally, since this is a FESTOOL site, the input from and reaction by Festool is abysmal; some little, some not so little.  Little things like a Splinterguard which works on the TS75 at normal cutting depths when working with ply; little things like a pigtail for non-Plugit corded tools (specifically, the RAS 115, PS2, EHL 65, OF2200); big things like the truth about the Kapex issue; big things like prices, especially in light of the Deutsch mark/Euro vs the $USA, and so many others.

And, and air of divisiveness wherein the post(s) and reply(s) become(s) an attack of some type, which is never constructive seems to have become much more prevalent in spite of the ban on controversial issues. 

I would hope for more information pointing out the features, advantages, benefits of Festool, and how to, by using Festool, work faster, easier smarter.  I would hope the literal cornucopia of informative videos in German and other languages could be translated to English (either the King's  or Southern) and shared on this site.

This is still a good site, but it seems to me to have fallen far, far short of its potential.
Dr.D

Offline TylerC

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2016, 09:22 PM »
I would hope for more information pointing out the features, advantages, benefits of Festool, and how to, by using Festool, work faster, easier smarter.

Depending on how you envision the execution of this, I disagree on this one. We/I can do a better job of answer questions. However, I  think the content should be driven by users, and this shouldn't become just a place of us to publish promotional/sales material.

That said, the North American team has plans to increase our amount of content -- videos, tutorials, etc. -- in 2017. Repurposing some German-language videos will likely be part of that.

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2016, 09:36 PM »
I'm not surprised . . . .

...and I am going back to a classic film - The National Lampoons Christmas Vacation..... [wink] and a beer, have a good one all  [wink]
rg
Phil

@Phil Beckley  Film or reality?
If reality, it might be safer here on the FOG!  [big grin]   [blink]



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@bobfog

I agree that perhaps the FOG requires a little more 'spirit' but certainly not around the topics you suggest.  [eek]
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 09:39 PM by Untidy Shop »
If you don't like Signatures, just go to Look and Layout and tick No Signatures.

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Offline Cheese

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2016, 09:52 PM »
Sorry Bob...I'm not a fan of number 4 either, and it's not because I don't have strong opinions in those areas and it's certainly not because I dislike firearms, because that's what started me machining metals...the precision and fit of the mating parts in firearms.

However, when discussing these issues in person, you're able to be aware of body language, facial expressions and tenor of voice, which then means you have the ability to back off or the other person has the ability to back off which ultimately leads to a civilized conversation.

With the web...not so much, these conversational nuances seldom make it thru the fog of the Internet and the "conversation" can rapidly escalate into a brawl. We've already seen it with some of the Kapex threads where people, united in their universal appreciation of the brand name tool, can almost come to fisticuffs over the tool because of a very small difference in opinion. 

Think how that same discussion would play out if the conversationalists were widely divergent in their opinion.   

I agree, a little more free reign would be nice, but I do think the mods have done a good job on allowing people to be heard without having to put a boot on their throat.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 10:06 PM by Cheese »

Offline Danimalx23

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2016, 10:39 PM »
Evening everyone, Happy Holidays!

I just got a new RO 125 FEQ for Christmas and a CT48 to go with it. I signed up on the forums looking for some advice on how to control her a bit, as she bucks around something fierce. Coming from a DeWalt with no issues other than melting the hook and loop pads, I was feeling quite noobish.

I've been a forum user for many years, only new to FOG.  I've noticed a few things that maybe someone would agree with, having an "outsiders" perspective.  My favorite forum that's on the line, would be the Dedicated Theater Build section of AVS Forums.  Over there you have people following some threads for multiple years and excited to come back daily to check for updates. One thing I've seen there that I haven't noticed here, is the abundance of project photos, and personal stories. They have quite a bit of side chatter, revolving around home theaters, but not always completely on point.  I can understand how quickly a thread can derail if people become too passionate about hot button issues such as politics or religion, but there's only so much you can read about the "break in" period that some sanders apparently benefit from, before you go back to google and other message boards.

Admittedly I haven't seen much of the forum outside of the support area, but what I have read has been civil and helpful, just lacking that hook to keep someone coming back after that initial question has been answered.  Looking forward to figuring out my new sander and getting back to making sawdust.  o7

-Dan

Offline JBird

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2016, 01:12 AM »
I have felt for a while that the internet "golden age" of Festool has passed. I was not basing this on forum participation but on user generated content like Youtube videos and fan sites. Just off the top of my head:

1. Paul-Marcell at HalfInchShy no longer generating Festool videos
2. Wood Whisperer no longer using Festool
3. Bryce Burrell not generating content lately
4. Eric from The Popular Shop seems to be  losing Festool enthusiasm and moving to Bosch
5. Dave Reinhold slowing production of content
6. Braden Stadlman no longer producing content

The only prolific creator of Festool content that I am aware of right now is Peter at New Brit Workshop and he seems to be decreasing the proportion of his content dedicated to Festool. Naturally, any individual creator can tire of what they are doing and want to pursue other interests. But taken in the aggregate, and in the absence of new content producers, it seems like a profound change.

However, I would not extrapolate any of this to the health of Festool USA. They appear to be doing very well.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 02:31 AM by JBird »

Offline Kevin D.

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2016, 01:55 AM »
I don't post near as frequent as I used to, BUT i still have it in my homepage group when I open my browser.  Allow #4 and I would most likely remove it.  I've left other good forums that have done similar or simply lost control of the reigns.
Kapex, CT36AC, TS75, MFT 1080, MF-SYS/2, PS300 EQ-Plus, Parallel Guides Set, LR32 SYS, RO 150FEQ-Plus, OF1400 EQ Plus, DOMINO 500 Q-Plus,  MFK 700 EQ-Set, FS-SYS/2, CT22 w/hose storage, D36HW-RS-Plus, FS 1900/2, FS 3000/2, FS 1080/2-LR32, FS 1400/2-LR32, Gecko, Festool Hat, Festool T-Shirt (2), Festool Floor Mat, Festool Stein, Multi-Tool, tape measure, large and small Festool floor mats (foam rubber).

Offline Roseland

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Re: New membership numbers on the FOG
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2016, 02:22 AM »
I have felt for a while that the internet "golden age" of Festool has passed. I was not basing this on forum participation but on user generated content like Youtube videos and fan sites. Just off the top of my head:

1. Paul-Marcell at HalfInchShy no longer generating Festool videos
2. Wood whisper no longer using Festool
3. Bryce Burrell not generating content lately
4. Eric from The Popular Shop seems to be  losing Festool enthusiasm and moving to Bosch
5. Dave Reinhold slowing production of content
6. Braden Stadlman no longer producing content

The only prolific creator of Festool content that I am aware of right now is Peter at New Brit Workshop and he seems to be decreasing the proportion of his content dedicated to Festool. Naturally, any individual creator can tire of what they are doing and want to pursue other interests. But taken in the aggregate, and in the absence of new content producers, it seems like a profound change.

However, I would not extrapolate any of this to the health of Festool USA. They appear to be doing very well.

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Andrew
TS55, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, CT26, RS100, ETS125, CXS, MFS400, DF-500, Zobos.