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Just read a great article in Dwell by Caroline Tiger about how to create competitive advantage when manufacturing in the US, specifically in the furniture industry.

Here are the lessons I learned:

1. Leverage available talent. Charleston’s Urban Electric Company employees sculptors, jewelers, and auto body workers who didn’t know coppersmithing until they went through a one-year apprenticeship.

2. Make low/no inventory work for you. Kohler sells 28 colors of sinks including 4 new colors (pictured) because it doesn’t have to keep inventory. Its competitors can only offer 5-6.

3. Control quality more adeptly: Keeping manufacturing, design, and engineering under the same roof allows for quick fixes and modifications according to Thos.Moser.

Overall, looks like US based production requires intently focusing on customer service, quality, design, and developing a brand that highlights these. 

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Great image of the ideal height of a standing desk and how the monitor should be set up in comparison to the keyboard. Problem is that so few currently available models support this. In the same Wired article the full range is demonstrated by extremes such as the IKEA hack and the Locus workstation. I love that the IKEA hack is approximately the correct ergonomic ratio. 

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The Atlantic recently posted an article on the FreedMan Chair. Simon Freedman has developed a style of chair which tries to support the spine in a way that frees the user of back pain. It looks intriguing and it seems Mr. Freedman is trying to take on some portion of the standing desk market. I think it would be great to try this out and experience the benefits. Also, interesting to learn Mr. Freedman’s estimate that the global swivel chair market may be worth 8 billion USD annually. 

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My friend, Paul, is now trying out standing! Soon enough he’ll get a desk too. 

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Lifehacker recently conducted a survey for the best office chairs. As one might expect, the Herman Miller Aeron won followed closely by IKEA’s Marcus. Consumers (when not having to allocate budget) want comfort or at least what is perceived as comfort followed by price. Although it could be argued that the Aeron is as much about style and name brand as it is about comfort. 

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Apparently, standing just isn’t for everyone …

Happy labor day! 

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My parents built a version of the Knelt Desk for me as a kid. Without the kneeling chair, but it was halfway there. I feel I often want to kneel and this would allow the support for that.