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Not sure what your point is. Reading this and past threads there’s a repeated refrain of saying essentially what most of us agree with: cool product, crummy way to run a business. But there’s a second part of the narrative that I don’t think is true: that it cannot be otherwise because of [speculated reasons a, b, and c]. I’m just saying that business of this scale isn’t rocket science once the mad scientist owners allow some experts to help them; clearly that isn’t happening. It’s a shame because obviously the founder hit upon a product design that is winning. The issues with getting barrels may be as you describe and if so, I’m telling you there are people who could help this company get what they need. Sometimes it involves finding another source that might not be an obvious choice, but this kind of thing is done all the time in boutique manufacturing. I have seen it with other businesses with much more difficult and specialized unique tech component needs than this one. The barrels and other components may be special but they aren’t alien tech. I’m looking forward to my finished XCR in 6-8 months but sure would be nicer to have it in 2-3. Not to mention that if the company is still interested in military or other government contracts, a reputation for poor support and stuttering supply chain probably won’t help with that next step, unless they’ve given up on that.
Email [email protected] with your suggestions of help then....that is often a direct line to Alex.

It's clear that 12+ years of experience with the company, its owner and the inner workings of the company are not wanted....so best of luck with your crusade to 'fix' RobArms. I wish you much success as I too would like to place an order for yet another (my 10th and 11th XCRs) two rifles and would like them delivered in a month or less.

Cheers! (y)
 

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Sarcasm unnecessary. My point is that it’s likely true, if all the things you have said about the owner are true, that it’s a personality issue standing in the way of growing the company into a mature form — but it’s ok! It’s a cool product and I’m enthusiastic about it. The eccentricity has its payoffs. I have no crusade to fix the company — I’m sure it won’t be fixed! But I think the weird mythology/narrative repeated by 1-3 people on this forum could use some counterbalance.
If there are supply logjams with regard to barrels that isn’t an unresolvable issue if one resorts to either more effective negotiation, which may be where it’s stalled out in the past, including potentially bad feelings due to personality conflicts; finding and growing another supplier who will prioritize; or, what I’ve seen an acquaintance do with a technologically complicated and necessary component in their business, which made an innovative version of an outdoor rec item where they were a similar small, niche business: find a way to start doing it themselves instead of outsourcing. Again, not saying any of this will happen with RA to help us get these guns faster; just saying the mythology that it can’t be done just ain’t true. This is something that I know regarding dealing with small business supply chains, and as much as it’s fun that you have almost filled up your punch card by buying so many guns, being a frequent flyer, and bugging the owner on the phone for 12 years simply don’t make you an expert. But you were great at pouncing on the OP who was happy with the customer service he received!
 

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Sarcasm unnecessary. My point is that it’s likely true, if all the things you have said about the owner are true, that it’s a personality issue standing in the way of growing the company into a mature form — but it’s ok! It’s a cool product and I’m enthusiastic about it. The eccentricity has its payoffs. I have no crusade to fix the company — I’m sure it won’t be fixed! But I think the weird mythology/narrative repeated by 1-3 people on this forum could use some counterbalance.
If there are supply logjams with regard to barrels that isn’t an unresolvable issue if one resorts to either more effective negotiation, which may be where it’s stalled out in the past, including potentially bad feelings due to personality conflicts; finding and growing another supplier who will prioritize; or, what I’ve seen an acquaintance do with a technologically complicated and necessary component in their business, which made an innovative version of an outdoor rec item where they were a similar small, niche business: find a way to start doing it themselves instead of outsourcing. Again, not saying any of this will happen with RA to help us get these guns faster; just saying the mythology that it can’t be done just ain’t true. This is something that I know regarding dealing with small business supply chains, and as much as it’s fun that you have almost filled up your punch card by buying so many guns, being a frequent flyer, and bugging the owner on the phone for 12 years simply don’t make you an expert. But you were great at pouncing on the OP who was happy with the customer service he received!
Not sarcasm....being serious. The only thin bit of sarcasm was that I doubt you'll be successful in the endeavor, but I welcome you giving it a try as I was sincere in also saying I'd like to see RA improve CS. I'm not making any of this up about the owner....most anyone here who's had direct dealings will attest to the same. He's brilliant but isn't interested in relinquishing any control over his company (and again, I don't blame him....even if I realize it could be made better by doing so....not my company, so not my business...I am CHOOSING to buy his products).

It's only "weird mythology" to you b/c you haven't seen the hundreds of posts on the topic of how the business is run (some of that info is from people who actually worked there) and apparently haven't taken the time to read the endless threads; another good reason to reach out with your suggestions to [email protected], so you can see it for yourself.

How'd I "pounce" on the OP? The only time I even addressed him was to say he did nothing wrong in posting (post #44) Please quote what I said that you feel merits that description. I'll wait.
 

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Maybe it would be worthwhile for some of the newcomers to read Alex's own words one of the last times he made a major announcement here to give some insight into how he runs things (might want to read the thread comments for the laughs too):


Here's the text:


Dear XCR Fans:

As usual I don't have much time to bother with these sites. We've made a lot of much need changes at Robinson Armament Co. Before I address the changes, let me put things in perspective.

Robinson Armament could have made lots of money making AR-15 knockoffs. It would have been infinitely easier for us to have just made an upper receiver which would have fixed some but not all of the shortcomings of the AR-15. Instead, we ventured to make a better battle rifle. We began with the M96. The M96 was a tough project. It had a piston drive and a better bolt and ejector. However, it still retained many flaws that were inherent in Stoner's design. Many didn't buy the M96s because they were "too expensive" or "had ugly welds". Nevertheless, the M96 was a step in the right direction.

The XCR was designed almost totally from scratch. We make or have made almost every part, pin, and spring. The goals of the XCR were very ambitious. Especially, the modularity and multi-caliber aspects. I pose this question: How many other firms have really designed anything really new from scratch? FN, Remington, Bushmaster, Colt? The answer is none of them. (I must admit that at least FN has made the P90 and that 2000 Bullpup).

The fact is that almost every "new" rifle out there is based on someone else's work. The XCR is not. It is truly unique. Yes, it borrows some concepts from other rifles, but each part had to be designed without copying anything else to get the result we wanted. In short, Robinson Armament dared to challenge the establishment with a very different rifle.

Robinson Armament's efforts should have been embraced. However, from the beginning, we have nothing but crap on the internet. I distinctly remember posts on AR-15.com shortly after I announced the XCR. The post were that it was "Vaporware". Other posts exclaimed that it would never be built or never work as promised. Such posts made it very difficult to get the XCR off the ground and made people very skeptical of the new XCR.

Other posts exclaimed that we were going out of business. It seem that the whole rifle world was against us. I have often wondered why so much negativity for a new weapon platforms? It is as though people really don't want any new platforms. Thee people claim to want the best but all they do is whine. It is no wonder to me that others don't venture out with new designs - they are shot down before they begin.

It has been just over 5 years since the first XCR shipped. The XCR was not perfect and our processes and procedures for making it have not been perfect either. When we began the XCR, we had no manufacturing experience. Not only did we come up with a new and different rifle design, we had to learn to manufacture it.

I will say that learning to make the XCR has been equally or more demanding that designing it in the first place. It has taken over 5 years to get the XCR where it is. The XCR now shoots 4 calibers (we are just finishing testing 5.45x39mm). I shoots them all well. It has the best ergonomics on the planet, and the most modularity. It is also super reliable and durable.

With this background let me explain the much needed changes.

We spent much of this year retooling our shop to make XCR parts better and faster. Concurrently, we completely revamped our quality control, not only during making parts but during assembly and final testing. Every rifle that leaves our facility now is much more thoroughly tested. There should be few if any returns needed from this point forward.

In addition to making the rifle better, we have also gone through our complete staff and made the changes necessary to improve customer service which was sorely lacking. We have a completely new staff for sales and service who are eager to help. Turn around on any service problem will be very fast. To get fast service, read on.

I'd like to post just a few more comments regarding service. Some of you will not like these comments:

First, when you call for service, be polite. If you are not polite to my staff, I guaranty you will have a pleasant experience. Remember the old saying, "You can attract more files with honey that with vinegar." If you call with an attitude, my staff has been instructed to put you on the back burner. If you are nice and polite, you will get quicker service.

Second, please read the manual carefully. I know it's boring but there's important information there. Many people do not understand that you need to set the gas correctly for function and durability. It's really quite simple - put it on the setting that throws the brass 8 to 15 feet from the rifle for any given ammo. Do not just leave the gas system on the highest setting, If you do, for some ammo it will kick like hell, throw your brass 40 feet, give you trigger slap, and damage your recoil buffer (a cheap part).

Third, please send us the following information:

Name, Address, Email and Cell number;
Serial Number;
Signed Copy of your warranty Registration found in the last pages of the Operator's Manual; and
A complete description of the problem, BE BRIEF. If you write and essay about your vast knowledge of firearms base on your long time relationship with your AR-15, we won't read it.

We will authorize the return to us of part or all of your firearm. WE DO NOT PAY FOR SHIPPING TO US.

Fourth, if you post a bunch of whiny petty negative stuff here or anywhere, I guaranty very slow service. I have made that a policy. Yes, we've made lots of mistakes with service but that is behind us.

Now for some parting comments. I am very happy with the current state of the XCR. It continues to gain in popularity. A great part of our sales are to Military and Law Enforcement professionals. Though we've got the XCR to the point where is nearly perfect, we are not stopping. We will continue to perfect the platform and add accessories. Work continues on the XCR .308. It will be finished when it is perfect and we hope that will be soon.

We appreciate those who stand by and support us. They are true patriots. We have to question the motives of those who continue to tear us down on this forum. They cannot stop us. Their petty feeble minds are easily exposed. The XCR will gain momentum until it covers the whole earth. There is no other platform like it and it is the best.


Sincerely,

Alex J. Robinson
General Manager
Robinson Armament Co.

P.S. Don't expect me to read and respond to this post. It is for your information only.

I've had a few emails that have asked me to clarify a few things.

Update on .308 and Stock. These projects are full speed ahead. Hopefully soon. They are both working but need a few tweaks. Those tweeks can take weeks or months depending on how things go. The bottom line is that we're seeing light at the end of the tunnel. THEY WILL BE DONE WHEN THEY ARE DONE.
 

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My buddy ordered a FDE 7.62 6 months ago and got it 2 weeks ago.

So relatively slow, but in the current state, 26 weeks isn’t all that bad.


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Sean, you are a no shit shit magnet. I haven't been this entertained since Cid.....sure hope he's well.
 

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Holy shit I posted before I read this thread and boy did it go sideways fast.

To the new comers:

Nate, Sean, and chris are some of the oldest members here and are a relative wealth of information on the XCR.

Granted I don’t always agree with what they say, I still respect their knowledge and experience (mostly Sean and chris, Nate stays exceptionally neutral in most cases)

I e only ever had an issue with one member and it was regarding buying spare parts. We had agreed to a price and he sold them out from under me to another person because I couldn’t reply with in minutes. I haven’t seen him on here in a while either.

But this forum is one of the last great places for honest and correct information on a specific firearm. Try to find that on Arfcom or Glock nation or any of the other super fud sites.


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As for your recommendation.....what you're failing to realize is that RobArms can't supply the guns fast enough for demand.
I think you should spear head all of those ideas.
Oh I get it. On the topic of getting local gun stores to do the waiting for us, I wondered about a few things. With ordering being online only, RA is missing out on retail customers who make their buying decisions at the store and are looking for an alternative to the SCAR and ACR. With the current gun buying climate as it is, I project it to keep going well into the end of this year. Many of my local stores have stated they cannot get specific product from their wholesalers and it's not unusual to find them half empty of product or having their most interesting specimens gone by the next visit. That said, I don't think it's unusual to ask them to place an order with RA for 2-4 rifles that will arrive 6 months later and require payment only when they are ready to ship.

I was wondering if RA would give retailers/wholesalers a slight discount for volume shipments? Even with prices as-is, the XCR is a really good value for a top shelf rifle and I'd be willing to bet at $200-300 markup at retail wouldn't dissuade most customers from wanting to pick one up.
 

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Oh I get it. On the topic of getting local gun stores to do the waiting for us, I wondered about a few things. With ordering being online only, RA is missing out on retail customers who make their buying decisions at the store and are looking for an alternative to the SCAR and ACR. With the current gun buying climate as it is, I project it to keep going well into the end of this year. Many of my local stores have stated they cannot get specific product from their wholesalers and it's not unusual to find them half empty of product or having their most interesting specimens gone by the next visit. That said, I don't think it's unusual to ask them to place an order with RA for 2-4 rifles that will arrive 6 months later and require payment only when they are ready to ship.

I was wondering if RA would give retailers/wholesalers a slight discount for volume shipments? Even with prices as-is, the XCR is a really good value for a top shelf rifle and I'd be willing to bet at $200-300 markup at retail wouldn't dissuade most customers from wanting to pick one up.
It's an interesting perspective.....especially that I did buy my first XCR from a brick and mortar store solely that it was on the shelf.....
 
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Sean, you are a no shit shit magnet. I haven't been this entertained since Cid.....sure hope he's well.
LOL...and other than like one solitary insult, I've been nothing but respectful.
 
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So much to unpack here. Wish I had a keyboard.

RA can change. Problems would seem to be easy to identify, fix, move on to the next etc. It's not a question of CAN, more of a WILL. Alex seems content with the way things are. With that said, the updates to the platform have been numerous and significant. It's a much more refined product since the initial offering. I think Terra(God bless!!) was given or took a significant amount of autonomy while she worked at RA. Since she left it seems "sales" and anyone not Alex had to wait for some sort of approval to get things moving.

Northern mentioned the "mythology" several times. I will acknowledge that I'm not a mind reader, have never set foot in the RA premise and that I'm unaware of how the day to day operations go. With that said, is it "mythology" if you've lived it? Sean has lots of XCRs. Very few of those were, pick it out, pay for it, take it home. Most have some sort of story to go with them. Some I've been directly involved with as a dealer. I've personally dealt with RA as a dealer dozens of times over the past 9 years. Are my experiences and observations "mythology"? What the counterbalance be?

The 1-3,(it's closer to 10) that have been here for a long time are here because they like the platform and understand what it means when you get into it. I always give full disclosure to my customers when talking about the XCR. Most stick to ARs but those that do get it the XCR with open eyes end up loving it.

Even in good times RA is slow. Minus a few special occasions, they've never had rifles ready to ship. As Sean mentioned, barrels are perpetually the hold up. I've been pleasantly surprised a few times when things have showed up early but those have been the exception to orders that are usually well past the promised time frame.

I'm on my phone. I'm taking a brake.
 

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my guess is he's very conservative and he doesn't want to grow the business by taking on large debt as that's extremely unwise, especially if one wants to maintain control of the business.
Right, so Alex read too many Dave Ramsey books before opening shop and now we're out here stewing in our own juices while he runs a company that probably makes $.5-1 million gross a year. Doesn't the good book also say "render on to Caesar, what belongs to Caesar"? With interest rates so low at this time, a $100K loan would at least allow them to pump out and keep an inventory of parts that they can rapidly throw out as complete rifles once the barrels come in. Or keep Nate supplied at least.

unless they can't get bbls b/c they are made by one of the premier AR bbl makers who don't cater to RA b/c they are low volume one offs compared to production runs of ubiquitous AR bbls (as one major problem RA faces constantly).
Anyone know the barrel manufacturer RA uses? I know there are a few smaller barrel shops all over the country that manage to keep barrels in stock. I came across Shaw Custom Barrels and they cater to OEMs as well. Perhaps RA can just order a few from these places as they become available? If nothing else, they can order a bunch of god damn blank barrels and invest in a CNC lathe that will turn those things into the barrels they need if they want something fast.
 

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Right, so Alex read too many Dave Ramsey books before opening shop and now we're out here stewing in our own juices while he runs a company that probably makes $.5-1 million gross a year.

I came across Shaw Custom Barrels and they cater to OEMs as well. Perhaps RA can just order a few from these places as they become available?
Stewing in our own juices? Seems a bit dramatic to say the least.

Maybe you dont' get it: It's HIS company; not ours. It's OUR CHOICE to buy or not to based on how things are. Don't like it?...feel free to write him a letter about it or give him a call....but I doubt your opinion will sway him.

The dream of a .mil contract is pretty much gone. The USG was never going to pick it b/c he was too small to deliver in quantity. They may have been interested in buying out the design and licensing it....but anyone who's done program management (I have) for the military knows that big companies RULE that space and FNH was going to get picked for hte SCAR program from the outset. It's corrupt...but that's our government. You get the government you deserve.
 

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I own an XCR-L in 300 blk. A few years ago I wanted to cut my suppressed 16 in barrel down to 14. Before doing so, I wanted to check with Robinson and make sure it would not create a problem with the gas system. I called and emailed for weeks with no response from anyone. Finally, I just decided to just do it. Afterwards, the gun refused to eject properly with subsonic loads. I reached out to this very website for advice the next day, and what do you know, but Alex himself responded and said I never should have done what I did along with some nasty comments. My Gawd. After weeks of trying to reach out to him with no response, he then proceeds to cut me down for doing the very thing I was trying to get his advice on. What an ass. The gun functions now, because I was able to have a knowledgeable gunsmith adjust the openings on the gas block, but the experience of dealing with the company leaves a very bitter pill taste in my mouth. Ironically, I am happy with my gun but I really hate the company. Culture is very important, and I am inclined to believe that customer service will never amount to much at Robinson.
 

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I own an XCR-L in 300 blk. A few years ago I wanted to cut my suppressed 16 in barrel down to 14. Before doing so, I wanted to check with Robinson and make sure it would not create a problem with the gas system. I called and emailed for weeks with no response from anyone. Finally, I just decided to just do it. Afterwards, the gun refused to eject properly with subsonic loads. I reached out to this very website for advice the next day, and what do you know, but Alex himself responded and said I never should have done what I did along with some nasty comments. My Gawd. After weeks of trying to reach out to him with no response, he then proceeds to cut me down for doing the very thing I was trying to get his advice on. What an ass. The gun functions now, because I was able to have a knowledgeable gunsmith adjust the openings on the gas block, but the experience of dealing with the company leaves a very bitter pill taste in my mouth. Ironically, I am happy with my gun but I really hate the company. Culture is very important, and I am inclined to believe that customer service will never amount to much at Robinson.
I don't remember the specifics of your post about cutting the bbl down, but many of us have done exactly what you did and got the guns running 100% on no lube and shit underpowered steel case ammo. It's unfortunate you had Alex answer in that way here. Most of us would be more than willing to take you through the process to diagnose the problem and get you up and running with basic power tools and not having to go to the expense of a gunsmith. Glad you got it sorted regardless.

In the distant past, I was the same as you....didnt' care for the way the company was run. With time, I've mellowed and just realize it is what it is and at this point, I can actually understand Alex's perspective (I think anyway) as the owner of a company and product he's invested his whole life into and wanting to maintain control over it. I don't blame him for that, but also recognize they could do SO much better and make their product even more desirable.
 

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Sean wrote: “I don't blame him for that, but also recognize they could do SO much better and make their product even more desirable.”

We are 100% in agreement about that, and it’s actually the case with virtually any company or organization with founder’s syndrome; I’m just saying this phenomenon is not unique to RA or even to specialist gun companies, it’s in literally every kind of business when a founder’s ingenuity leads to success yet they lack a different set of gifts that relates to growing a business. The “mythology” I referred to is the notion that it must be this way, that we can’t have such a great gun without the negative experience of the customer service or inefficiency of scale, long lead times due to logjams in supply chains etc. As for the letter from Alex quoted in the thread above, I empathize with him because it’s clear that there are lots of PITAs among the demographic of gun customers and his product attracted more than a fair share of them. I’ve heard similar from people in totally mundane gun related businesses and it’s clear that it becomes more extreme when you are dealing with an unconventional product that isn’t to everyone’s liking and is still very much in flux. But everyone’s gun is no one’s gun, and I think that he’s right in maintaining a high opinion of what he’s offering and not wanting to waste time with whiners. What’s special about the XCR platform is what no doubt keeps many of you going back, and I’m looking forward to it myself.

As for the OP, it sounds like they may have incorrectly assumed that the responsiveness of sales staff would be indicative of responsiveness and helpfulness of staff when potentially troubleshooting a product later.
 

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Reading Alex Robinson's post above, it seems that he's genuinely hurt by what some people post on the internet. I agree with many of the points he makes, but getting hurt by naysayers isn't productive. I've personally don't mind when people doubt me and say so. Success is the best revenge. The naysayers typically shut-up, pay-up and don't admit what they said in the past.

You can grow a company without debt. I think that Robinson is smart to do that. My company has no debt and if we lost 2/3 of our business we could still stay in business and make a profit (with fewer people working for us unfortunately). Given the constant state of potential gun bans, I think Alex is smart to avoid debt if that's what he's doing.

As for control, I learned a long time ago that if I was going to grow my business and have time to enjoy my life I had to bring others in. You basically have to move from control over all details to setting the culture. A lot of good people in a good culture will be more productive than one person perfecting every detail.
 

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Sean wrote: “I don't blame him for that, but also recognize they could do SO much better and make their product even more desirable.”

We are 100% in agreement about that, and it’s actually the case with virtually any company or organization with founder’s syndrome; I’m just saying this phenomenon is not unique to RA or even to specialist gun companies, it’s in literally every kind of business when a founder’s ingenuity leads to success yet they lack a different set of gifts that relates to growing a business. The “mythology” I referred to is the notion that it must be this way, that we can’t have such a great gun without the negative experience of the customer service or inefficiency of scale, long lead times due to logjams in supply chains etc. As for the letter from Alex quoted in the thread above, I empathize with him because it’s clear that there are lots of PITAs among the demographic of gun customers and his product attracted more than a fair share of them. I’ve heard similar from people in totally mundane gun related businesses and it’s clear that it becomes more extreme when you are dealing with an unconventional product that isn’t to everyone’s liking and is still very much in flux. But everyone’s gun is no one’s gun, and I think that he’s right in maintaining a high opinion of what he’s offering and not wanting to waste time with whiners. What’s special about the XCR platform is what no doubt keeps many of you going back, and I’m looking forward to it myself.

As for the OP, it sounds like they may have incorrectly assumed that the responsiveness of sales staff would be indicative of responsiveness and helpfulness of staff when potentially troubleshooting a product later.

I guess the thing I'd reiterate is simply that it is what it is. We don't control RA....Alex does, as is his right.....in spite of what we want. That's not mythology....it's the facts as they are.
 

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Reading Alex Robinson's post above, it seems that he's genuinely hurt by what some people post on the internet. I agree with many of the points he makes, but getting hurt by naysayers isn't productive. I've personally don't mind when people doubt me and say so. Success is the best revenge. The naysayers typically shut-up, pay-up and don't admit what they said in the past.

You can grow a company without doubt. I think that Robinson is smart to do that. My company has no debt and if we lost 2/3 of our business we could still stay in business and make a profit (with fewer people working for us unfortunately). Given the constant state of potential gun bans, I think Alex is smart to avoid debt if that's what he's doing.

As for control, I learned a long time ago that if I was going to grow my business and have time to enjoy my life I had to bring others in. You basically have to move from control over all details to setting the culture. A lot of good people in a good culture will be more productive than one person perfecting every detail.
And I said the exact thing.....he's not good with constructive criticism, even if done respectfully. Not everyone takes it well....Alex is no exception.
 

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Mythology

Never said that it MUST be this way. Just that it HAS been and still (appears to be based on recent comments) IS. Until there is significant change in Alex, I don't expect things to change.
 
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