Sunday, November 7, 2010

What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas...

At least not when it's news of the launch of an amazing new peer-to-peer tool lending website!

Yes, folks, Automotive Specialty Tool is now live. In Vegas this past week, Ramzi (the company's founder) and a proud team of AST staff (working out of the goodness of our hearts and a belief in the project... and hoping for plenty of free beer and a payday some day) held down the fort at a booth at the prestigious annual SEMA conference to raise awareness about AST and build up our tool lending library.

"What a great idea!" many people commented after one of us at the booth lured them in with our conversational tractor beam (or more likely our snazzy AST stickers). I know. That's why we're going this. For my part, I became involved with the business because though I don't own a car myself (I can almost hear my credibility shrinking as you read that sentence clause again, but wait, WAIT!) I fundamentally believe in the idea of doing as much work as possible yourself -- both for the learning and the cost-saving benefits. And I like the idea of building a community of DIY enthusiasts looking to help each other with advice, information, and of course reasonably-priced tools for rare but important specialty repairs and upgrades.

I actually got halfway decent at talking with people about the company by the time Tuesday's Young Executives Network happy hour rolled around. There I was, standing by the bar with a Heineken amid a sea of socially awkward men: "Have a tool you rarely use? Want to make a little cash on it instead of tripping over it in the garage? Lend it out safely and securely to another DIY automotive enthusiast via the AST website. It's 100% free to post and browse tools. The price of the rental and refundable deposit are set by lenders, and shipping costs are worked out between lender and borrower." (See? I totally have my 30-second speech down, though really those lightning fast Hilton elevators in Vegas forced me to cut it down to about 5 seconds: "Have tools lying around in your garage gathering dust? Rent 'em out for cash through this website. Here's a card. Oh, look, it's my floor....")

It's wild when I step back and think about this idea that Ramzi had a couple of years ago for the business. He has a lot of good ideas -- and, to be fair, a number of hair-brained schemes as well -- but in this case he's actually done it! I'm so proud of him. And I can say that, being his sister -- I am the first to ask questions or give him a hard time if he's into one of his shenanigans. Like that Thanksgiving a few years ago when he insisted on making a turducken with an entire turkey, chicken, and duck that were not deboned when he bought them. Good lord. I notice he hasn't tried that again.

Anyhow, welcome to all to the Automotive Specialty Tool blog: your place for the latest chatter from the do-it-yourself automotive repair team. We may get a little punchy sometimes, especially when, ahem, certain members of the team are up late fixing friends' Integras or playing video games, but we really are a friendly bunch. We welcome comments and feedback and hope to see you at one of the racing events soon! In the meantime, I'd encourage you all to check out the site and post some tools. (Remember: it's free to post them!)

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