When Nothing Needs To Be Said

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Today I was thinking throughout the work day about what I wanted to blog about. I kept thinking and came to a simple conclusion: Rather than force a blog post when I wasn’t quite happy with any particular car themed topic, I’d rather blog about the value of saying nothing.

There’s enough clutter out there in the world and enough uninspired people shouting noise just to remind themselves that they have a voice. As a blog reader and car enthusiast I get tired at times of sorting through the noise and clutter to find pure and true undiluted passion. As each year goes by, people get increasingly bombarded with greater and greater amounts of information. Then we get improved apps and methods to faster and more efficiently sort through all of the extra crap to find the few things that really mean something to us. This cycle feels like it started when cable TV took over from the few local channels we had growing up. Although it was a welcome change for many years, I think in recent years we’ve passed a tipping point in which the overflow of information has gradually progressed past being helpful and into becoming a headache. I really wonder when quality will take the reigns back over from quantity being the prevalent force in the world’s current preferences.

I grew up in an era with an album like Illmatic that had 10 songs, every one of them incredible. Take the same musical genre today and you need 5 mixtapes of content to distill down to 10 quality tracks (never-mind that they still pale in comparison to Illmatic). My point being whether it’s music, cars, or any passion we have I’m damn sick of sorting through all of the crap to find the jewels. I want no part in perpetuating that cycle. So let the above ASM S2000 picture I took a long time ago represent what my intent is for this blog.

Purity, no filler.

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Blogging has been such a crazy and unexpected experience over the short couple of years I’ve been dabbling in it…Minutes before I wrote this I was looking at the web statistics for this blog and really just trying to wrap my head around what I was seeing. The numbers truly blow my mind when I put them into context with what they really represent.

The reality of the numbers can be really intimidating and scary when I think about it. For example: Over the past 3 months there have been more than 380,000 “sessions” recorded on this website’s “urchin” statistics program for the blog. Its easy to look at millions of hits or pageviews and think abstractly as just numbers on a page…but 380,000 sessions means that more than 125,000 times a month people are going to this blog. Sure thats not that big of a number compared to “professional blogs” out there but for me that means something far different.

What it means is…as I write this I’m essentially sitting right smack in the middle of a football stadium with 50,000+ people watching what I type into my little computer and publish next. So right now inside my hyperactive mind I can freak out at the fact that potentially 50,000 people are wondering if I’m insane for thinking about this topic in this particular way and writing a blog post about it when I should be talking about some badass new dry carbon hood or something more typical. Hmm…so maybe I just pissed off 50,000 people with this paragraph and post.

That is the power of blogging. The ability to piss off 50,000 people from my laptop by streaming my mind’s internal “freaking out” moments when numbers are given virtual representation and meaning.

I think most people who start blogs never expect much in the beginning. I sure didn’t. I was quite honestly shocked and super excited when I got my first comment here years ago. Hell, I still get super excited to get comments and I check them often. That was why I started the blog, to have something interactive. This was a transition from my writing for magazines which filled up a couple of years prior. Sure, writing for Modified Mag every month was really fun and creatively rewarding. Yet, the true reward is the conversation, not simply speaking to a wall that doesn’t speak back. Between multi-month lead times which made producing fresh content that much more challenging, and the fact that there was no feedback and nobody potentially real on the other side of the communication, writing for a magazine is nowhere near as awesome as blogging has been for me.

This is still not the perfect medium to discuss, our community here is strong but I would love to find ways to improve it more and to improve the conversations we’re having further. My most basic and essential foundation to this blog is to bring new ideas and new talking points to the table with my posts…from there, it is really about the community and the readers who take it and run with it. Just saying things for the sake of saying them really sucks and isn’t any fun at all, but sharing ideas and having interesting conversations with like-minded people…that is the reward.

I’m very lucky to have readers like yourself who share similar interests. I’ve learned a ton from readers of this blog, I even work with some of them daily! This blog has enriched my life in ways that I never expected and in ways that I don’t think writing for a magazine ever could have. Its all about the two way dialogue for me. My businesses have always targeted the rare 1% who “get it” when it comes to the things that I find cool and worth promoting. There is nothing mainstream about anything that we do and it is actually for that specialized reason that I named the collective, Bespoke Ventures. This blog acts as an extension of that and I’m really shocked to continue to find so many readers here who also “get it” when it comes to understanding why the hell I’d care about some of the crazy things I/we all care about.

Community is a wonderful thing to begin with and it is even more special in cases like this where we all share something so unique and rare. What I mean is, we have hundreds of thousands of people who have visited this blog, but if you went around the street all day and asked everyone if they knew of Powerhouse Amuse or ASI or Top Secret you almost never would find a single person. It is amazing what we have here and what blogging can do from such humble beginnings.

I’m so grateful for you all to share in this blog. Thank you all for your comments, support and readership. You’re the only reason why I do this and will continue to. As always feel free to reach out to me at ben@bulletproofautomotive.com or comment here, I’ll be listening.



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Reader Participation – An Open Invite To Become A Blogger

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I have always found that the greatest thing about writing this blog is the readers that follow it. It takes a particularly deep passion and appreciation for Japanese tuning and design to enjoy this blog as a regular reader. What is written here has never been designed for the masses and often differs greatly from what is found in more mainstream magazines. Yet I’m surprised whenever I see the stats on the number of viewers that come to this blog because we are growing into a magazine size readership. It is very exciting times!

The beauty of having such a growing readership of super passionate JDMites (making up words here) is the talent held within the readers.

As such, I always make sure to listen and reply back to any reader who emails me. More often than not I find myself really impressed with the new people I meet because of this blog.

Here’s a quick example of blog readers becoming more than just that:

– Not 1 or 2, but 3 current full time employees of Bulletproof Automotive were blog readers first.

– I held a casting call for a graphic designer on this blog and was overwhelmed with the talent that emailed in. As a result, the blog is now redesigned and I have a great friend and collaborator who was the winner of that position. He came as our guest to Tokyo Auto Salon last year and I expect him to be with us again behind the scenes at TAS this coming year.

– Patrick Callahan, the other blogger currently posting here was a reader of The Real JDM back in the day when it was strictly a magazine column for Modified. Later he became a collaborator in the magazine column, then he became a contributor on the blog and finally he was hired as a full time member of our staff a few months ago (selling JDM parts, not writing BTW).

So here is the next open invitation…

Do you think you have what it takes to become a blogger? Do you have something to share that we can all enjoy?

I’m opening this up to anyone who reads this blog…if you have a great blog post you’d like to see featured here, email me and if it fits with our style then I’ll run it.
Bigger than that however – If you think you have not just one great blog post, but the capability to be a regular contributor/blogger then I welcome your emails as well.

I must warn that perhaps you will be rejected, so please do not expect to become a blogger here or to have your story published. More important than me being a nice guy is the importance of keeping this blog the very best it can be. I wont publish anything that is not relevant to this blog. The easy test is simply whether it is impressive to me and the guys I work with at my office.

If you can impress us, you can be on the blog. It is that simple. No politics, no resumes. Just bring us something awesome we can all enjoy. If it is great, then continue to bring the greatness and we’ll continue to run it.

So do you want to be a blogger? Whether it is a one time post or a ongoing contributing writer I welcome your ideas and content.

email me at ben@bulletproofautomotive.com if you are interested. Send me your best blog post (1-2 pictures and an appropriate amount of text). We may very well see a great new blogger or two here soon if the entries are as incredible as I imagine they will be.

I’m thinking of also holding a contest for the top 5 submissions…more on that later.

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