Independence Day Toast to the Hustle

Independence Day Toast to the Hustle

On this 4th of July, I raise a non-political light lager to us, the country of hustlers, and to the hustle.
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We post blogs on Thursday, and this Thursday happens to be Independence Day, so I am going to wade into very dangerous waters, which really shouldn’t be dangerous, but in our hyper politicized environment it’s nigh impossible to say anything about the U.S. without managing to anger someone in the Umbrage Industrial Complex, but since De-Fi is an American company selling things to Americans, well, here’s me trying to thread the needle.

I will admit that this is a strange 4th of July. Anxiety over a variety of things hangs over the holiday for good reason. It’s an election year with a media apparatus that has a vested interest in keeping us engaged months before we can really do anything. Easiest way to do that is to scare us. However, to keep focused on our niche and not wander too far into dangerous waters, let's talk about us. De-Fi is a company that makes things out of materials with inputs that are reliant on a global supply chain. The unraveling of this chain shut us down for nearly a year. So yeah, I’m reflexively nervous of anything unknown because I’m not delusional. 

The first blow was tariffs on all products coming out of China. These tariffs are now bipartisan, so I’m not too scared I'll enrage someone by bringing them up. If you wonder why things are more expensive, this is ground zero. Don’t listen to the politicians, customers pay tariffs. A company can absorb as much as possible but eventually has to pass the added cost to you. Domestic manufacturing does not completely shield you from these either. If any of your inputs are sourced somewhere else, which the answer is almost always yes, tariffs increase costs, and ironically sometimes make it cost prohibitive to keep manufacturing where the tariffs are supposed to be protecting. 

The second blow was Covid. There’s no real need to belabor this one, we all know what happened. 

The last blow was the war in Ukraine. Russia was a massive exporter of raw materials that went offline nearly overnight. On wood, for example, even if you sourced your wood from the Baltic states which are decidedly not Russia, the cost of those materials went through the roof because they were reliant on energy from Russia to process their domestic goods. Don’t get me wrong, Russia went offline for good reason. We stand with Ukraine, this is their war of independence. The industrial designer who came up with the original shape for Frontier is from Ukraine. I’m not lamenting cutting Russia off, just pointing out that it had consequences for manufacturing. 

We’re just a company that makes stuff for music makers, and you can see what the last few years have been like for us, so yeah, I get people having anxiety. This whole world of making stuff is changing by the day with rules being made by bad faith actors, so yeah, it’s scary. 

So why write this blog? Well, as crazy as it sounds, my non-lizard brain is optimistic. The U.S. is an experiment based on what would happen if you managed to get all of the world’s impoverished people willing to hustle for the betterment of their families into one place. Regardless of what you see in the media, I believe that the hustlers are still the majority, and neither party or policy can squash that spirit that is inherent in our culture. That spirit isn’t just economic, it’s also social, and even though there have been blows socially with direct assaults on people’s rights, those blows have energized the hustle to push back. Progress is often two steps forward and one step back, we don’t give up when we're in the one step back part, and we can’t let the bastards grind us down. We can't let self serving politicians and media actors who we'll never meet make us hate people we know, loved and have hustled with.

So on this 4th of July, I raise a non-political light lager to us, the country of hustlers, and to the hustle.