Hard truths and observations

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
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ChrisinHove
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby ChrisinHove » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:10 am

I think as customers we are a bit like the coins in a “penny falls” machine. We drop in and sit tight, enjoying the ride. A few get pushed to the edge, and then over, by the way things work (inflation), making a right racket as we drop out. Some of us then get fed in the top again ...

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MichaelScott
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby MichaelScott » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:09 am

A Spyderco knife, a BMW, and a ball point pen sit side-by-side. None have any value until someone comes along and assigns value to each. A different person may assign different values to each.

Discussing inherent and absolute values of objects without defining what value is seems kind of pointless.
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JRinFL
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby JRinFL » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:24 am

Pelagic wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:00 pm
I'm sick of these threads just as much as anyone, but I'm also sick of the excuses for Spyderco's prices.

HERE'S THE DEAL. Spyderco charges what people are willing to pay. It's a (relatively) FREE MARKET. The prices are BS, but at the end of the day you get a good product. If you don't like it, buy less spyderco knives. That's what I'm doing honestly. I will continue to love spyderco, but I'll continue to buy from other companies because my wallet makes the decisions, not my heart. I'm not an important customer to spyderco anyway as I'm not a collector. A knife USER will not always be Spyderco's dream customer. But seriously, complaining will only get you so far.
This is pretty much my opinion as well, except I am an "accidental" collector (accumulator). We now live in the era of $500 Spyderco knives. I speculate that many makers have to move their products upward in the market to survive as the Chinese continue to use unequal trading practices to drive competitors out of the market. Low and much of the middle market price ranges are all Chinese now based on what I see in online knife shops.
sal wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:52 pm


Different strokes. Different levels of education and understanding.

I see a design like the Shaman as a physical embodiment of tens of thousands of years of history, hundreds of years of design and technology, 60 years of personal touch, the result of hundreds of hours to form, hundreds of hands and minds to build. Yeah, you got. "It's just a knife"

sal
I've seen similar comments before and it comes across as a bit condescending, perhaps bordering on arrogant to say that those with price concerns somehow have less understanding or a lower level of education. Not shiny footprints at all, IMO
Used to be JR in CT with a much earlier join date. :rolleyes: :spyder: Native in 440v was my gateway Spyderco! :spyder: Wharnie for the whin! Friends call me Jim. As do my foes.

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sal
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby sal » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:30 am

Hi JR,

I believe that customers have different levels of KNIFE education and KNIFE understanding. And I might add business understanding. Not trying to be arrogant. Sorry if you feel that. As we look more and deeper into any subject we develop a greater education and understanding of that subject.

sal

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sal
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby sal » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:46 am

JRinFL wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:24 am
I speculate that many makers have to move their products upward in the market to survive as the Chinese continue to use unequal trading practices to drive competitors out of the market. Low and much of the middle market price ranges are all Chinese now based on what I see in online knife shops.


Perhaps the long term Chinese plan is working? How long before you might be saying, "Yes sir" to a Chinese employer?

We are trying our best to serve our customers as best we can, given the current global market. We hear the complaints and we understand. Even agree. The options are challenging in all directions.

sal

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby 500Nitro » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:04 am

JRinFL wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:24 am

I see a design like the Shaman as a physical embodiment of tens of thousands of years of history, hundreds of years of design and technology, 60 years of personal touch, the result of hundreds of hours to form, hundreds of hands and minds to build. Yeah, you got. "It's just a knife"

sal
I've seen similar comments before and it comes across as a bit condescending, perhaps bordering on arrogant to say that those with price concerns somehow have less understanding or a lower level of education. Not shiny footprints at all, IMO
[/quote]

From what I've seen both in business and as a consumer, often customers first focus is price because they don't know any better.
The old saying "know the price of everything and the value of nothing".

Secondly, those with lower education make worse / bad decisions regarding products.

Some recent examples within the last week I've personally seen
1. Guy on airtasker wanted a fridge moved. Absolutely wanted cheapest price.
So went with someone "cheap". with a low number of reviews.
1 day later posted another task asking for airtasker who did job to contact him
re damage to his fridge !!!
2. House mover commented about hourly rate of $80 per hour by 2 guys. I said from my experience
those who are "cheaper" in price often have less experience AND take longer to do job.
3. "Friend" has lots of kids toys needing batteries. Said she was always buying batteries.
I said buy a whole heap of good rechargeable batteries and use them, big savings in long run.
4. 20 year old female (social media millennial) complaining about some large bills she has to pay.
Having just replaced her smashed iphone 7 with an iphone XS at close to $2000. This for a kid
who works part time earning $19 an hour !
And still hasn't put a protective case on the phone !!!



I think Sal is right when he says "Yeah, you got. "It's just a knife"
3 x Endura 1 SE, 1 x Endura ? CE and a Black Pacific Salt. Want Aqua Salt, Fish Hunter and a Pacific Salt Yellow.

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby zhyla » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:22 am

BornIn1500 wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:51 am
Kind of funny you say that because it's how everyone outside of the knife world also views knives. Are you sure a BMW and a Hyundai use the same quality steel? Are you sure it's the same quality leather? What you're saying is very similar to "well a Chris Reeve knife has a steel blade like an MTech. No difference there"... only you're talking about cars instead.
Steel? Yes. Leather? Maybe? I think the common arguments like "sure, China can make cheap knives, but do you really think that's real S35VN?" is intellectually lazy. Things aren't automatically lower quality just because they're made in Asian countries. In fact, if you can buy a $75 knife of the same design that was either made in China or Colorado, which do you think is going to have better materials, fit, and finish? Especially given that labor is a huge cost in making knives.

Ever run into a really old guy that refers to Japanese made things as "crap"? That was totally a thing a few decades ago.

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby Bill1170 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:32 am

I think that my buying decisions, like my personal associations, are based largely on trust. Trust is a quality that has to be earned over time. A company provides a product I am incapable of completely evaluating on its merits before I buy it. Reputation and my personal track record with that company fill in for the missing information about the specific product. Spyderco has earned more of my trust than any other production knife company, so their products are automatically worth a premium. I appreciate their ethics, their designs, their choice of materials, and their execution of the finished product. I consider Spyderco’s knives to be a good value, and I take responsibility for carefully researching every purchase before making it. As a result of all these factors I’ve never been disappointed with a Spyderco knife I bought. That is what value means to me.

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sal
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby sal » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:04 am

Thanx Bill.

Another concept to consider while you are discussing leather and steel quality is design. I know I'm slow, but some of my designs might take me hundreds of hours in total to create. We may have to make many prototypes before we're satisfied. There are many that will simply copy or very closely copy a design saving thousands of dollars in design creation. God or Government doesn't pay we designers / inventors for that effort.

sal

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby ABX2011 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:12 pm

I love Spyderco, the company, the people and the products. I'll continue to buy them. I hope they can't fend off the competition from Massdrop which is bringing some great custom designs to market, with high quality and low cost. WE Knife co is a skilled manufacturer with a cost advantage.
Spyderco has proprietary locks like the comp lock and ball lock. They have really popular models like the PM2, Para 3 and Manix 2. They cater to aficionados who request sprints and exclusives with exotic steels.
It seems like Spyderco is being forced (maybe?) to experiment a little less. I'm guessing we won't see as many weird designs in the future.
They seem to be making less high-end in Japan. Maybe they'll make more in China.
Overall it seems like Spyderco is competing pretty well in a continually changing landscape. It can't be easy.

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby rgrad80 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:45 pm

sal wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:30 am
Hi JR,

I believe that customers have different levels of KNIFE education and KNIFE understanding. And I might add business understanding. Not trying to be arrogant. Sorry if you feel that. As we look more and deeper into any subject we develop a greater education and understanding of that subject.

sal
It's been interesting observing the emotional meltdowns over a very timid topic. I don't design knives or spend hundred of hours a year "educating" myself on knife forums, but what I have done is been a knife user and collector for over 25 years. I have also purchased knives as gifts for my friends, clients and customers for over a decade...to the tune of 200+ knives a year on average. I buy them from retailers without asking for a bulk discount, have them engraved and give them out as a thank you.

In 2018, I switched brands from company X to Spyderco...I switched because I got a Spyderco as a gift, liked it and wanted to share it with my clients.

my total knife purchases in 2018 as gifts came to 220. 185 of those being Spydercos at an average cost of $145. So, when it comes to business understanding, paying an additional 10-15% or $3,000-$4,000 MORE for the same product without any additional benefits...that dose not pencil out.

Since people have used the car example: Why would anyone buy a 2019 BMW with the identical body style and features of a 2012 for 20% more? The customer would not do that, they would expect some sort of "added value" for the increase in price for the same exact item.

*Inflation and or the cost of living increase is NOT 10-15% a year.

I'm also fortunate to have clients and friends who are not ignorant to think that things made outside the US are of lower quality. If they receive a knife and it says "made in Japan, German, China, Thailand" they are not going to dismiss the gift or think it's "cheap."

I'm just one guy in a vast sea of Spyderco customers. What I have noticed while studying business, is that customers drive markets and they want some sort of perceived value when making a purchase. Increasing prices without added benefits only works for so long, especially when the increases in price bumps your product into another category already dominated by other players.

My intent on posting my opinion is not to make people upset at all, it's just simply my opinion. I will certainly continue to be a Spyderco fan, and wish nothing but the best for the brand.
Days without buying a Spyderco: 35

You always have a choice.

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby SF Native » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:06 pm

zhyla wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:22 am
I think the common arguments like "sure, China can make cheap knives, but do you really think that's real S35VN?" is intellectually lazy. Things aren't automatically lower quality just because they're made in Asian countries.
The Chinese can make a quality product. I just don’t trust that they will be consistent about it. It’s almost like they are running CQI for making things cheaper. And we have been asking that of them for decades so they don’t understand when we want quality and to not make the next batch cheaper.
That’s not being intellectually lazy, that’s experience. You know that old fool me once thing.

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sal
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby sal » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:08 pm

Hi Rgrad,

Thanx much. And I do appreciate the input. And I'm not disagreeing with you about your observations. We are already seeing fallout which usually results in discontinued models. We try to keep a certain margin which permits us to maintain our business, which I'm sure you understand. Our costs go up and we react accordingly. We understand the problem. It's the solutions that are challenging.

We don't indiscriminately raise prices, as some suggest. And we regularly disco models. Usually because the cost is too high for the market. Especially when costs go up more than wages. We also stay involved in threads like this one because I do get good input.

Right now, Chinese competition and Chinese counterfeits are a serious problem. I'm sure we'll make adjustments in the future and probably many will not understand the changes. And I will stay involved in this and the other similar threads. It's all good info.

sal

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sal
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby sal » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:12 pm

Hi Native,

There is no doubt that the Chinese are improving everything at a phenomenal rate. Just in the 20 years that we have been working with them has shown much. The price advantage they have is hard to compete against. I think it might get down to whether the average buyer will know and notice the difference?

sal

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby vivi » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:50 pm

zhyla wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:22 am
BornIn1500 wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:51 am
Kind of funny you say that because it's how everyone outside of the knife world also views knives. Are you sure a BMW and a Hyundai use the same quality steel? Are you sure it's the same quality leather? What you're saying is very similar to "well a Chris Reeve knife has a steel blade like an MTech. No difference there"... only you're talking about cars instead.
Steel? Yes. Leather? Maybe? I think the common arguments like "sure, China can make cheap knives, but do you really think that's real S35VN?" is intellectually lazy. Things aren't automatically lower quality just because they're made in Asian countries. In fact, if you can buy a $75 knife of the same design that was either made in China or Colorado, which do you think is going to have better materials, fit, and finish? Especially given that labor is a huge cost in making knives.

Ever run into a really old guy that refers to Japanese made things as "crap"? That was totally a thing a few decades ago.
How can you call it intellectually lazy when its been a known issue for years? Sal himself said when he started producing Byrds they tried to call the steel 440C, but it wasn't. There are cases on chinese D2 knives not being D2.

I'm not claiming every chinese knife is misrepresenting the steel being used, but, if I were a betting man, I'd bet the house that the percentage of knives with mislabelled steela is higher from China than the US, Japan, Taiwan etc.
Current carry rotation:

Pacific Salt 2 LC200N | Manix XL M4 DLC | Aqua Salt

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby 500Nitro » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:57 pm

‘Things aren't automatically lower quality just because they're made in Asian countries.’

I think you’d change your mind if you manufacture there.

They automatically try to make things cheaper, they automatically think price is the issue/main criteria.

They will do everything possible to cut costs, including as said above, mislabel steel.

They couldn’t give a Shute, they just want to sell stuff.
3 x Endura 1 SE, 1 x Endura ? CE and a Black Pacific Salt. Want Aqua Salt, Fish Hunter and a Pacific Salt Yellow.

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby curlyhairedboy » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:22 pm

Interesting thread and thanks for the insightful replies, Sal.

As the shaman is probably my favorite spyderco, I've had the "value VS price" conversation about it quite often.

It's gonna boil down to the consumer's circumstances and priorities. It's not enough to draw a comparison between two modern knives on price and materials alone.

One thing spyderco has been historically excellent at is ergonomics. There's a big difference between a titanium and steel sandwich and a knife. The shaman is probably the most comfortable knife I own for extended work. That's worth paying for.
EDC Rotation: PITS, Shaman, CF S90v Shaman, Ikuchi, Amalgam, CruCarta Shaman, DLC Lil Native, Sage 5 LW, 4V Shaman, Watu, Rex 45 Shaman, Rex 45 Lil Native, Caribbean Sheepsfoot CQI, Tanto PM2, Serrated Shaman
Always in Pocket: Hawkbill Dragonfly 2 H1
Fixed Blades: Proficient, Junction, Waterway
Special and Sentimental: Southard, Smallfly G10, Squarehead LW, Ouroboros, Calendar Para 3 LW, 40th Anniversary Native, Calendar Watu
Would like to own again: Currently N/A!
Wishlist: Smallfly 2, CQI SpyderEdge Caribbean Sheepsfoot, Shaman Sprints!

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polyhexamethyl
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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby polyhexamethyl » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:28 pm

Rising prices don’t affect my money getting spent on things i want.
Sure the prices and designs of ie kizer where tempting and
I tried a couple of chinese or cheaper knives but realized quickly that as much i endorse the beauty of a lot of them, i live for the thought trough work horse kind of knives like a para, millie, police or even a delica and came back to the spyder.

For Comparison: my first Millie was bought in about 2005 and i spent a hair less than 100 euros for it (digi camo, dlc and s30) quite a bargain then!
just recently i got the rex45 millie - beautiful burnt orange and a freakin‘ HS Steel! i spent 274,76 euros on it, currently that’s 315,- $ as today’s currency exchange told me.
YEAH that’s a massive amount of money for a very similar knife as my first military - especially as i’m earning less these days than in 2005!

But the very important point for me is, that sal, eric and the spydercrew are making it possible to buy something crazy as REX45 or S110V and similar supersteels- and that’s why i will continue to spend my money on spydies
Sure i now buy way less knives then a couple years before - but i still buy Spyderco

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby brainfriction » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:07 pm

Here's my two cents, fwiw.

Yes, you can get a knife with nearly the same high quality fit, finish and materials as a Spyderco for half the price. But would you rather have a Cadillac or a Kia? A Gibson Les Paul or a decent copy made in Taiwan? I like Spyderco because of the unique designs, the models made in the USA, and the fact that they listen to their customers and make a ton of different products that appeal to a wide range of people. Sure you could buy a titanium frame lock with s35vn steel for $100 bucks, but people still buy Sebenzas for reasons other than price.

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Re: Hard truths and observations

Postby DBCOOPER » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:35 pm

Why support a communist system tho?
What if you need to warranty that Chinese made knife? You gona send it to China? They don't even legally have to send you your knife back, they don't even have to respond to your warranty inquiry
I came here to cut sh#$ with my knives and chew bubblegum, and I'm all out of bubblegum


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