October 2015 Newsletter

October 2015
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Kurt's Corner

A Cigar Lifestyle

   I love to travel.  Hunting and fishing trips, cigar events, vacations, in a variety of combinations fill my calendar each month. And I fill my bags with cigars for each, to smoke at the end of the day, or on the trail, in the boat... throughout the journey.
   Even when I am not on the road, I celebrate leisure time with a cigar, whether at golf (the cigar is definitely the most successful part of that outing!), in the garden, or around the fire pit. Actually, I’ll smoke a cigar with friends and associates any time we have a restful moment of camaraderie.
   Very clearly I have made a cigar central to leisure and camaraderie. In fact, I believe “a cigar is an hour-long vacation”, a source of happiness and pleasure.  The cigar creates the opportunity to celebrate with friends, whenever and wherever I can. I have a cigar lifestyle!
   I bet you do too!  In the coming months, I’ll share some of my recent celebrations with you.  And, I’ll invite you to share yours with me. 

Happy smoking!

Kurt Van Keppel

President, XIKAR, Inc.

August 2015 Newsletter

August 2015
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Kurt's Corner
The Nature of Innovation

   Nature may be the best innovator.  As Darwin suggested, adaptation to needs (survival) encourages solutions which over time succeed in achieving the goal. These adaptations appear in slow form, with nature favoring one trait over another, or appear in sudden changes such as a genetic mutation of superior survival skill.

   Product innovation follows a similar path, although not always with the survival goal. More often, at XIKAR for example, innovation answers a consumer need or problem that has common appeal.

   For example, Scott and I invented our Xi cutter, which celebrates its 20th anniversary early next year, in answer to my need for a superior cutter function (like scissors) with an ergonomic and artful form. "Nature" or the marketplace, favored our invention to the degree that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office recently awarded it iconic status through a Trademark on the cutter shape. We are very proud of the recognition, and delighted with the perpetual protection it provides!

   Not all our innovations will achieve this.  Some provide solutions over time though evolution of existing products or synthesis of ideas from disparate sources. Our recent launch of the Volta and Forte lighters demonstrate the first, while the PuroTemp, our remote readout hygrometer, illustrates synthesis.

   Whatever the scale of the idea, it begins with a source - you and your "problems" or needs.  We know these needs only if you tell us, through our solicitation in person, in newsletters or in surveys. We value that feedback like gold - because real solutions start with real needs.  Of course, we also smoke cigars daily, and realize some of those needs on our own.  We definitely produce, test and market the best of those.  And we are hungry for more!  If you've got a need, or perhaps even a solution that has common appeal,  let us know - you might have your name on a patent that one day becomes an icon!!

Kurt Van Keppel

President, XIKAR, Inc
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