The following editorial is the opinion of Dale Ford and him alone. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of Shooting Hot Magazine or The Ford Report or their advertisers and sponsors. Nobody relevant was harmed in the writing of this editorial.
As the second decade of the new millennium enters its’ first year, I’m sitting here in my office pretty excited. I am the owner of the best little website in paintball, and I’m the editor of the best magazine in paintball. Life just doesn’t get any better than that!
I’ve had some conversations with friends over the past few weeks, and everyone seems to think that 2010 is going to be brutal, even compared to the bloodbath that was 2009. I think that 2010 is going to be brutal too, if you define ‘brutal’ as separating the wheat from the chaff. A lot of people with the paintball dream are going to run into a brick wall of reality and have to go somewhere else and do something else for a living.
While that’s sad, what we’ll be left with as players are people and businesses who figured out how to service the unique customer base that is paintball and its’ players. Companies that take care of their customers, listen to them, give them what they want are going to prosper, and the rest are going to get bought out, go away or just die.
That applies to the media side of things, where it seemed like for awhile everyone and their dog could buy some webspace, adopt a pro player, and then put out ‘news’ which they thought was relevant. When the industry side of the sport was flush with cash, they could afford to spend advertising money on these operations. Among other things, this led to tournament fields at national events being overcrowded with ‘photographers’ with $100 cameras getting in the way of genuine professionals like Rich Struth, Gary Baum, any of the guys from FaceFull, etc.. It led to ‘reviews’ where it was obvious that the writer didn’t actually use the product he was supposed to be reviewing.
One of the most frustrating things to me are people and organizations that have been around for a long time, don’t really play anymore, but they make money playing like they’re experts and since they’ve been around so long everyone thinks they’re relevant. I call this concept ‘inertia’. Like inertia in the world of physics, an object in motion tends to keep going and a stationary object tends to stay stationary unless acted upon by an outside force. I’m no Sir Isaac Newton, but I am a paintball player and a thinker.
The Ford Report and Shooting Hot Magazine are the outside force that are going to make people think about what they’re reading and how relevant it is to them. I’m not a pro player, so I’ll never be a part of the ‘good ‘ol boy’ network. Neither is my AE at SHM, Joe Holleran. My publisher at SHM Billy Smith isn’t a pro player either, but that’s okay. We’re not wanting to be a part of anyone’s ‘ol boy network. Seems to me that the way things have been done in the past didn’t really work out too well, did it?
It’s time to stop wasting money on people and organizations that aren’t doing players or the industry any good. How the hell is a guy out there working his butt off 40 hours a week going to know if a product is worth buying with his money if the review he reads in the magazine he looked at online was written by someone who didn’t even take the product out on the field? How is the industry and player base going to know what’s going on when a lot of these so-called news organizations just print whatever the prevailing rumor is ‘on the street’ and don’t even bother to make a phone call, write an email, or make the slightest effort to find out what’s actually happening in any given situation?
When I hear a rumor, I’ll actually write that email or make that phone call. That way when someone reads something on TFR he’ll know that what he sees is as accurate as it can be. When Joe, Billy, Bambi, Terry or I review something in SHM, we actually used it! When Bill Bain, John Navarro, or “Georgia” Joe Hamilton put one of their recipes in the magazine, it’s likely because players were fist fighting to get in the chow line to try it!
Time to grow up boys and girls. I’m tired of people who don’t really play and organizations more interested in making money no matter what it takes representing the state of the art for paintball. The Ford Report and Shooting Hot Magazine are the outside force that’s going to put a stop to the inertia that’s killing our game, our sport and our industry. If you want a sales brochure, then make one and hand it out to people…don’t have it published in a magazine as a review. If your product sucks, then sac up and make it right, don’t try to spin or hype your way out of it.
The Ford Report and Shooting Hot Magazine aren’t going to change who and what we are, sell out, or go away. If you want to participate and ride this train, then jump on…otherwise you’re going to get run over.