Last night, I watched a 90-minute video of a man building a log cabin. It had no narration, music, or conversation: just a guy and his dog.
This man used no power tools aside from an ATV to haul the logs he had cut on his property to his work site. The logs were peeled and notched by hand tools, lifted by mechanical pulley systems, and set in place with a strong back.
His work was incredibly efficient, and the satisfaction of watching a massive log fall perfectly into place over the next is hard to describe.
Even my 6-year-old son was mesmerized by this. This man is a clear example of a craftsman.
Recently, Rob bought a shirt for me. There wasn’t much explanation, besides an interest in exploring the craftsmanship and quality conducted at scale.
The shirt is great, no surprise. The material is thick and strong, yet breathable. The seams feel sturdy and resilient, the same with the buttons.
Craftsmanship is hard to define, but usually easy to identify. It’s traditionally thought of in professions such as knifemaker, cobbler, chef, and artist. It’s most obvious when you can touch, smell, see, or hear it.
On another level, it’s the intersection of experience, education, efficiency, and skill. This is applicable and observable in any profession or hobby.
You can see craftsmanship in a variety of places. A medical provider able to assess and diagnose an illness while taking the time to explain it perfectly in layman’s terms to a patient. A patent lawyer analyzing a case example, then rapidly dissecting and explaining it to the interested parties. A data analyst making sense of thousands of lines of figures in seconds.
I admire MTI for this. The culture of the company, defined clearly in our First Principles, espouses a constant priority on continuous improvement. Try new things, and fail repeatedly. Learn. Be curious. Be a professional.
I’m certainly no craftsman. Not in any aspect of my life. I do, however, appreciate the craftsman, and hope to achieve that level of competency in my life.