What Must One Sacrifice to the Altar of Technology?

by Philip Morley

Okay. . . . as you know I am a furniture maker. I am NOT a marketing expert, a webmaster, a photographer, or a businessman. I have spent years learning how wood works, how to select wood grain for aesthetics, what joinery is most effective, how to be innovative with tools to achieve a unique and spectacular piece, how to design and build tables, chairs, and other furniture to be both beautiful and structurally sound, how to sand a piece delicately to achieve a soft flawless feel, how to finish a piece so that the natural beauty of the wood is brought out and highlighted without any blemish in the finish itself. I am the type of craftsman who will lose money on a project because I thought of a way to make it better, more unique, and add a detail that makes the piece even greater simply because I LOVE the challenge. I love my craft. My heart is in it and I simply cannot help doing the best that I can with every piece. I should be able to allow my pieces to speak for themselves. . . Right??

But I find myself struggling at the bottom of a technological well, screaming at the very top of my SEO voice, only to find that voice entirely lost in the easily overpowering expanse of information and feeling as completely insignificant and voiceless as a droplet of water. I have put my information on Etsy, Houzz, Custommade, etc. In every system, I lack the knowledge of how to push myself forward most effectively. I know that my listings come up buried under the mounds of those much more technologically savvy than myself (whose craftsmanship is not necessarily as advanced as my own). Am I the best furniture maker in the world? No. But I believe that I do have a significant gift, I KNOW that I have worked very hard to develop it. I would like to believe that my time would be better spent developing it further rather than sacrificing precious time to securing my delicate internet presence. Will the Google gods recognize this puny sacrifice as significant enough to grant my right to exist?

However, my frustration is that if I want to survive, I MUST spend my time screaming into the void and making my voice as loud as I can. Because in the end it doesn’t matter how talented I am, how much time I spend agonizing over the details of a piece, how much attention I give to the joinery of piece to make sure that it is held together with a strength developed over thousands of generations of furniture makers. What matters is. . . .  can I yell louder than next guy. Have I sacrificed enough time and money to the gods of technology? Have I screamed loudly enough? Should I even try?