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Not many cable professionals get their own blog on one of the most influential websites in the electronics trade. But then not many have the passion for their product as Nick Locke, the man behind cable assembly specialists Nicab. Nick now has a regular spot in the Electro Ramblings strand of the Electronics Weekly blog pages, rubbing virtual shoulders with the likes of Mannerisms, Gadget Master and Made by Monkeys.
Ah, you must be thinking, this blog must surely be called ‘The Cable Guy'. Sometimes cable professionals are not the most creative when it comes to branding! That is another stereotype Nick punctures, both on his blog and company website.
'Only Connect' sees Nick post regularly about new developments in the cable and connection industry, product guides, professional insights and anything that might be of interest to manufacturers, designers and customers. It is a genuinely good read, whether you are in the cable business or not. Such has been the impact of Nick's blog that it was recently included in the 'Best of the Blogs' feature in Business Technology magazine, distributed by The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.
So how did Nick, who has been a Rapid customer for several years, come to land this coveted spot on one of the most influential sites in the electronics trade?
"It's good to give something back"
Blogging is great for business too. Nick's company Nicab specialises in bespoke cable assembly, box builds and retailing standard cables, and the blog helps to build brand awareness. Something of a dream realised for Nick who has spent 15 years in the cable manufacturing industry, it is part of the blog's purpose to keep people informed about the cable choices available to them, and also helps to keep Nick abreast of the latest developments in his field.
“I blog because I want to give the people who read it the latest information, tips, hints and guides. I think it's good to give something back. It is also good for me to keep my knowledge up to date. It is like any other profession where you expect the expert to be an expert. You would not go to your doctor with a problem, only for him to say ‘I don't know about that, I stopped learning when I left university!'”
Nick's love of terminals, conductors and pin configurations was sparked as a child. “After working in IT as a cable specialist I found my real passion was making cables. Manufacturing is a way for the big kid inside me to get out, make and take apart things. “ Nicab make a large variety of cables for applications such as specialist stage lighting desks, industrial hovers, military blast proof devices, X-Ray machines & computers.
"Not everything is cheaper in the Far East"
Nick buys cable, connectors and a variety of components from Rapid. “The reason we use Rapid is the friendly service, late ordering and combination of web / telephone ordering. Free delivery and competitive pricing is also a major factor.”
We asked Nick what he thought would be the most exciting development in the cable industry in 2013. “At Nicab we are starting to see much more emphasis on eco-friendly products such as Alpha Wire's EcoWire hook up wire (available from Rapid), which has started to become more popular. Another exciting development is the return of manufacturing from the Far East. We know of many companies deciding to repatriate their manufacturing due to the UK's ability to react quickly to implement design changes and to be much more flexible on delivery. Most importantly we can offer excellent service in the UK. It is a myth that everything is cheaper in the Far East.”
Nick understands that blogging is an excellent way to engage with existing and potential new clients, and ‘Only Connect' is a vital component in his company's success. “Nicab is growing despite the difficult economic conditions. This is mainly due to taking very good care of our customers and always looking at how we can improve and be first for implementing new technologies.”