The first good countertops I saw when getting intrigued by this concrete thing, were those of Cheng. Yet I don't hear or see much of him on here or other forums - he does not seem to run with the group. Buddy Rhodes is all over the show (in a good way), yet Cheng does his own thing.

Why is this? Not a concrete political question, just for interest sake.

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From my stand point your talking about 2 different styles of work  one being a wet cast and the other a hand press. I think Cheng is more worried about his product line then coming up with new styles. He has made a name for him self in the right places. Where Buddy is always on point coming up with new products and advancing his company. Buddy is not focused from what i can tell on just selling you a product but a style. I could be wrong i have never met either person. I would like to think Buddy is a person I could walk up to and ask questions with out being pushed into buying his products.  just my nickle 95

Just a theory, but I think a lot of professionals dislike Cheng for their marketing and products; one size fits all.

Gary, I've met Buddy once before and he is that kind of a guy; very nice and not arrogant at all.  Just my impression, but he seems less about promoting his products and more about the industry.  The products are just there to help people.  If I had to guess, I would say there are others on his team that do product marketing.

Gary Gilbert said:

From my stand point your talking about 2 different styles of work  one being a wet cast and the other a hand press. I think Cheng is more worried about his product line then coming up with new styles. He has made a name for him self in the right places. Where Buddy is always on point coming up with new products and advancing his company. Buddy is not focused from what i can tell on just selling you a product but a style. I could be wrong i have never met either person. I would like to think Buddy is a person I could walk up to and ask questions with out being pushed into buying his products.  just my nickle 95

Fu Tung I believe pulled of of the Forum world simply based on the politics involved. We all know he has inspired thousands and more than likely inspired most to give this industry a shot by showing people the possibilities of the material. He seems to be a very simple level headed man, but also a very good business man. He owns an architecture firm and spends a good portion of his time working on design build projects. Buddy seems like a great down to earth guy but his company and focus are much different. Buddy deals mostly in products. The Cheng company deals in allot of products geared towards the DIY'ers/ midnight warriors. They target different markets, although Cheng has just introduced a couple of new products which I have not yet been able to try. They sell instructional kits on how to build certain designs using there pre bagged additives and so fourth. For an individual of his stature to get personally involved in forums would be just to time consuming and to dangerous for his reputation from his perspective I respect the fact that he chooses to do what he does and keep to himself and focus on design, and concrete. The Cheng team is really on top of there s***. They main focus at Cheng is to teach individuals how to implement good design with concrete. Fu Tung is a very talented designer and artist. I have allot of respect for the Fu Tung and his accomplishments. He has put in the time. Not every business or individual is perfect and I could only imagine how much energy it takes for the Cheng team to keep the machine running day in and day out. Its the only company I know of who sells there products while also selling innovative design. When selling products there is always a sales mentality involved.

I dont think Cheng is worried about coming up with new styles they just focus on good timeless design. If you visit Chengs site @ http://www.chengdesign.com/ you will see his personal works and his focus separate of the Cheng concrete exchange. I'm sure if they had the internet and forums 20 years ago he would have been all over it but at this point in his life I believe he is just content with not getting involved, and personally I don't blame him, s*** I wish I could say the same for myself, but fact of the matter is I'm still fresh into this industry and I'm sure in 10 years I wont be spending time on forums since I will be focusing on my life, family, and work. The first time I met Fu-Tung was at one of his classes about 8 years ago and the guy rolled up in a beat up mini van. I was impressed. Fu Tungs designs are always top notch and I am excited to see some of his latest projects. He is currently working on 3 homes I believe from ground up. 

Look - this whole "evil cheng" thing everyone keeps going on about promoting his products etc. is kinda a bum rap for the dude. He has very little to do with running the DIY, product line and or classes. He sold his name to a corperate entity that turned it into what we all dislike. He's not sitting behind his desk counting his piles of money every nite. He shows up every day and works his butt off for his company, cheng designs, where they have gotten into more architecture in the past years and have created some pretty incredible works. The dude is a brilliant designer - no question.

Should he have done what he did (sell his name and allowed it to go where it did)? In my opinion no. There's little question in my mind that it makes anyone else trying to eak out a living in this racket have to fight a little harder to get the prices we need and convince people that concrete does not necessarily "patina" like that anymore ( I think about 90% of my clients have chengs book sitting on the table when I go to meet them to discuss a project.... The upside of this is that it helps clients realize we can do so much more than a flat slab with a sink cut out for their counters, and gets them excited)

Anyway - you don't see him here because he does not really make concrete counters for a living he's a designer. There is a section of his company that will still make a genuine cheng counter (QC 5000 and all) designed by cheng designs and built by his crew ( last I heard there were four guys) I know a couple of them are aware of the forum. I helped them out with some VCAS one day. The dude shows up to pick it up and goes " what the hell does this stuff do anyway"? Then starts looking at a twelve foot piece in total disbelief that we would ever consider doing something that long.... Much less that it would not crack. why they cannot pull out of the dark ages is beyond me. If it ain't broke don't fix it I guess.

I was not aware that he sold his name to a bigger company etc - that explains a lot now. I also have some of his books and like a lot of his designs.

His books and dvd's were the first I watched and read and it really got me excited about concrete - it showed me another side than mass civil construction concrete. 

If you step back and look at the big picture, there are ALLOT of companies, VERY GOOD COMPANIES like Cheng out there that do not waste their time in the forums.  They are active on FB and other network marketing, but the forums typically bring drama and they are smart business folks - don't need the drama.

Cody said it perfect - "I'm sure in 10 years I wont be spending time on forums since I will be focusing on my life, family, and work."  The forums serve 2 purposes - sharing/receiving knowledge and (usually trumped by) drama, self promotion, and pats on the back.  Those that want and have the time to share get involved - those that love drama get involved - those that have something to sell get involved - and those needing validation from their piers get involved.

You will not see most companies/people that are doing what Cody said get involved.  They are living their lives, making concrete, being with their families and running their business.  Mike Cook, Sanoma Cast Stone, J&M Lifestyles, 5 Feet From The Moon, Jerry Karlik, Ice Stone, Vitrazzo and Many more are big in the industry, but you do not see them involved, unless it serves a purpose.  Hell, look at the suppliers just on this forum - Tom at Fishstone, Shawn at Blue, Hiram at Ball Consulting, Troy at 519, Lane at CCI, Dwight at Crete Molds and so on......they are busy running their business, not getting caught up in the hoopla!!!

I have allot of respect for Cheng and Mike Heidabrink and the whole team.  They do what they do, they make money, have fun and go home at the end of the day and relax with family.  I may not agree with some things, but it is not my business model, so not for me to worry about.  I have some plans for next year that will follow in Cheng's footsteps.  And I am proud to say that he was the inspiration for it!!

ooohhhh I beg to differ Remik -  I think you can sell your name and have it contorted beyond what you might have envisioned - I think it happens constantly, and right under peoples noses, even with their knowledge and constent... it just happens slowly.... think about your kids- they grow up and to you they always looked the same.... then you pull up a photo of them 2 years ago and you don't even recognize them!   look I'm speculating a little here of course, and I'm saying this not because I hate the dude, but because in some way - as i learn bits and pieces of what is going on and what happened to the cheng entity over the years, I think it actually kinda sucks and feel bad for everyone involved. Like many many others - his first book stoked me out of my mind, and gave me a base set of skills and Ideas, most of which, in some fashion or the other I use everyday. I'd never be here If I didn't read it. 

As to why everyone knows and loves Buddy and never talks crap about him.... and everyone is down on C-dog? Easy. Buddy is the nicest dude you'll ever meet, he gets out there and hustles everyday - he's the face of his company, he's at every trade show, good or bad and he'll always sit down and chat, whether or not you use his product or ever attended a class. He has a positive presence and interest across all the forums 

Cheng on the other hand.... might be the nicest guy in the world, but is the absentee face of this... entity that got created around him. on the two occasions I got to see him do his thing and be around him, he struck me as  not a public person or speaker. and reminded me of many of the architects I've met over the years - kinda quirky and awkward. he's a designer through and through, and clearly thats what he does best. eventually though, you have to hustle your clients, sell them on your Ideas, and have a presence. he got allot of milage out of that first book, but you can't ride that wave forever. 

Tommy is right - there are allot of large well run companies that have 0 presence on these forums - but those companies build counters - and don't sell product to our industry. they built their business on reputation and good service and product, not necessarily their personalities. For a company that provides training and product to an industry , lays claim to building that industry and basing a brand on one person , it's pretty inexcusable to not have some presence in all aspects of the industry, not to mention bad for business.

you can bet their would be little or no bashing or speculation on this forum if Cheng popped in and threw some advice out here and there and gave a thumbs up to a cool project.

No, Fu was never on CCF. Mike Heildrbrink was. They pulled the ad because I sold Mike Cooks spreadsheet. But I spent a week at Cheng and loved it.

While we are all sitting here wasting our valuable time on these forums Fu Tung is busy living and designing.. I think we are the pathetic ones!

That sounds about right! 

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