Report from America: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin — One Good Blog Deserves Another

By August 24, 2005Report from America

Report from AmericaGreetings from beautiful Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Spent last evening with Susan and Bill Thiel of Appaloosa.org, the folks with the world famous “BarnCam” that damn near melted down Animal Planet’s server with almost 4 million hits in one month. These are two HR folks, one reformed, one not, who just hung a camera in their barn one day and caught the brith of a foal on camera. It spread by word of mouth, then was picked up by Animal Planet and now is its own industry.

True manufacturers though they are here in manufacturing country, Bill innovated and invented a better mousetrap, a smaller and more powerful barn cam, and even developed one that can transit wirelessly through a metal building. These things are selling like hotcakes, made of all US-made components, assembled by Bill & Co. right here in Oconomowoc.

It’s just a classic manufacturing story — two folks who followed their passion an in the process stumbled into a very lucrative business by constantly innovating. It’s what manufacturers do.

So check out the Barn Cam (although there’s not much birthing activity these days) and even the Barn Blog. Apparently, even Appaloosas have a blog. Don’t even need opposable thumbs to have a blog.

We were feeling pretty good about our traffic these days, but were blown away by the 4 million number. We sought advice from Susan and Bill Thiel under the theory of continuous improvement. Susan suggested the thing that worked first and best of them: Broadcast a live birth.

Show of hands, anyone…?