Optimum's Company Mentality


Tug Bankert
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Tug, more accurately Dr G is not your traditional CEO.  Over the years David has been offered partnerships, venture capital, asked to sell product to Walmart, Autozone, etc and has always walked away.  I've worked with many business owners over the years, he has a unique mentality - he's not "all about the benjamins".  I've never known him to cheat a vendor, stretch accounts payable, or be unethical in any way.  As has been pointed out, he could make more money/increase sales if he increased marketing (including hyping products), added unneeded line proliferation just to expand sales, relabeled products, or reduced quality.  Optimum has relabeled products, but when asked to reduce quality to increase profitability, he refused (I was in that conversation).  We could increase sales if Optimum opened up sales of Pro products to the public, but David feels so much loyalty to you guys, he won't do it.  He takes his time bringing new products to market (to my frustration sometimes), because he continues to test and have others beta test, until he's confident in the quality.  David is a very private man and HATES it when people compliment him, but I've known him for 16 years at different  degrees of closeness (ironically, I don't work for him and never have) and haven't met a more honest, ethical, or flat out smarter man.  Not only is he a chemical genius, but he has a prodigious memory...he certainly remembers every mistake I've made!  Dr G IS Optimum-

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That's exaclty what I expected you to say about Dr. G and Optimum. What you mentioned is exaclty why I am with opti. I have never installed and other coating. I found opti 5 years ago or so when opti coat 2.0 was still available. Opti coatings set such a high standard to me I am usually critical to other coating brands, although they all have greatly improved a lot over the years. I am so thankful that he has kept us installers as the main priority, including a quality product as well. 

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I'm actually an independent contractor with my own company.  David was part of a group of businessmen I organized to act as an unofficial "board of directors" for each other.  That morphed into consulting and I kept in touch with Optimum, doing ala carte marketing projects until his business grew enough for him to ask me to take on regular assignments.  I'm paid and have set duties, which do not include facebook or the Optimum Forum, but as a 1099.  I did have an office next door to David's at Optimum but moved to a lake in Hot Springs AR 6 years ago, so I'm retired but not retired.  Dr G asked me to be the Tech Specialist because of my familiarity with product/policies (and maybe due to his comfort level with me) - being an ambitious SOB, I've taken on other responsibilities as I see them unattended and due to staff changes.

I've watched Optimum grow from a small internal staff, move into new facilities (twice), add vice presidents, regional managers, special projects, new product categories...and then shrink back to close to it's origins. 

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1 hour ago, Ron@Optimum said:

I'm actually an independent contractor with my own company.  David was part of a group of businessmen I organized to act as an unofficial "board of directors" for each other.  That morphed into consulting and I kept in touch with Optimum, doing ala carte marketing projects until his business grew enough for him to ask me to take on regular assignments.  I'm paid and have set duties, which do not include facebook or the Optimum Forum, but as a 1099.  I did have an office next door to David's at Optimum but moved to a lake in Hot Springs AR 6 years ago, so I'm retired but not retired.  Dr G asked me to be the Tech Specialist because of my familiarity with product/policies (and maybe due to his comfort level with me) - being an ambitious SOB, I've taken on other responsibilities as I see them unattended and due to staff changes.

I've watched Optimum grow from a small internal staff, move into new facilities (twice), add vice presidents, regional managers, special projects, new product categories...and then shrink back to close to it's origins. 

So you’re seeing the company shrinking, good thing or bad thing?  Not gonna lie, I’ve been detailing  passionately since the 80’s (DIY/Prosumer) to an actual business, so I’ve seen a lot of BS. I remember Optimum from long ago and am glad it’s still around. 

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honestly, shrinking was a necessary thing.  IMO the staff growth was due to increased sales and potential new product lines, but also because Dr G was ill and could not longer manage the day to day.  I was out of the loop in Arkansas and had little interaction with HQ.  David made decisions (and allowed decisions to be made) while he was under treatment, that were premature, risky, not his usual MO.  Once reasonably healthy he reacted to those decisions and instituted a variety of business moves, some he probably regretted, but others absolutely necessary.  He is in full control now and I expect increased staffing in the future, but he will build slowly due to past mistakes.  David is slow to trust and some recent history has reinforced that feeling.  I'm fortunate that he trusts me, mainly because we have a long history, I'm loyal, have no ulterior motives, and don't need this job.  I'm a lucky dude!

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@Ron@Optimum I just want to thank you for an unexpected level of transparency. I understand your narrative, however I would suggest that OPT really needs a consumer “brand”. In today’s world, visibility and transparency are the rule. The local retailer might drive a solution, but they need the backup data to live in an online environment. 

I first came to optimum 3+ years ago when researching a solution to protect my new suv from bird droppings and berries that stained my previous truck when I relocated and no longer garaged my cars.  I had my then new Grand Cherokee protected with paint guard. I became an enthusiast and a believer in the company’s products. I’ve never had a car that looks so good routinely.

I once again began to research in preparation for my wife buying a new Audi. Again not garaged. I opened my thought process to other brands and coatings simply because there is no new information out in the marketplace. What is the best choice?  I am far more willing to step up from the paint guard price point. But where are advantages and disadvantages to the other coatings for my use case?   Relying simply on installers giving a narrative  might be great for them, but it leaves the consumer in a state of uncertainty. 

My friend recently bought an Aston Martin. I implored him to get it properly protected. He has no relationship with a detailed. Trying to explain the value in seeking out an optimum installer vs whatever the dealership service department sold was a hard task. It shouldn’t be that hard. There’s an opportunity there. 
 

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