Today Ted speaks with Hammerton President Bill Shott and VP of Design Levi Wilson.
After over 25 years running two venture-backed software companies in Silicon Valley, Bill made the foray into the manufacturing space when he became Hammerton’s President in 2005. He speaks mainly on the major differences between the two industries with regard to organizational management and business development.
Hailing from Salt Lake City, Levi is the creative driving force behind Hammerton. He is a blacksmith’s son and founded his company in a neighbor’s garage. After years of honing his craft, Levi has become exceptionally skilled at creating spectacular lights through the marriage of glasswork with metalwork.
Bill and Levi reflect on their quality-over-quantity approach to business and how their commitment to creativity, personalization, and innovation led to the complete transformation of the country’s lighting industry.
- [02:50] How Bill and Levi met and came up with the idea for Hammerton in 1995
- [09:48] Running a software company versus a manufacturing company
- [14:19] From traditional to modern design
- [16:54] How Levi comes up with new products and designs
- [25:23] Hammerton’s “If you can think it, we can probably create it.” philosophy
- [31:39] Whether Levi ever expected this much success in his business and craft
- [39:42] How Hammerton changed the lighting industry
- [45:22] How China influences the lighting market in North America
- [50:56] Educating today’s designers to choose innovation (quality) over volume (quantity)
- [55:24] What Bill and Levi are most proud of
- [57:29] The importance of failure
- [1:02:32] Bill and Levi’s vision for the company for the next five years
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Key Quotes from Episode
- [In software], if you did your job right and you got your market right and you understand the problem you’re trying to solve, at the end of that two, three-year period, you’ve got a product that you can now sell. At that point, the focus is mostly on sales and marketing. In manufacturing, you literally earn it every day. Every day, you’ve got to show up. ~Bill
- What really differentiates the designs that Levi comes up with is that they’re rooted in an understanding of the material and what’s possible with the material. ~Bill
- When we’re developing a product, we’re not waiting three weeks or three months for some prototype. Many times, we’re going into that glass shop and working directly with that glass artisan, metalworker, or finish person. ~Levi
- The investment in material knowledge and the underlying manufacturing processes is what creates the foundation for design innovation. ~Levi
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