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The Passing of an Industry Pioneer: Nick Bloom

7. January 2016

Nick Bloom

Readers are likely very familiar with Nick Bloom’s byline on this blog, covering new machine tool technology, “dissecting” the specs, analyzing industry trends, and relating stories as varied as Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. or Doug Hughes’ landing on the capitol lawn to central issues concerning the manufacturing industry.

Bloom, the creator of Techspex and its manager for two decades, has died after a long struggle with cancer.

Let’s reflect on his and Techspex’s legacy.

Techspex’s Legacy

In the late 1990s, the Internet bubble was approaching its zenith, and the Web was awash with ultimately worthless businesses serving little to their users. A clear exception to the rule was Techspex, an online database of machine tools founded by Nick Bloom, a former machine tool salesman.

With keen insight into his industry and a recognition of the power of this burgeoning online medium, Bloom was able to launch an Internet business that offered real value to manufacturing professionals. For the first time, users could search and compare machine tools based on detailed specifications, and the site would return models matching their needs. The concept proved itself almost out of the box and continues to do so to this day.

After a strong initial launch, the site was sold to dot-com legend VerticalNet. Later, when that firm went the way of the dot-com bust, Bloom bought the business back and ran it for years before selling it again, this time to Gardner Business Media—publisher of Modern Machine Shop, Production Machining and other industry magazines. He continued managing the site as long as his health allowed.

A Good Human Being

After a courageous battle with cancer, Nick Bloom died December 26, 2015. He passed away peacefully at his home in Half Moon Bay, California, surrounded by family including his wife, Susan, and his sons, Jackson and Matthew.

Those of us who knew and worked with Bloom truly see him as a pioneer, among the first to figure out how to make the Web relevant for manufacturers looking for the best technology for their businesses.

But for all that achievement, Bloom was simply a good human being: intelligent, driven, practical and kind to the many people he encountered along the way.

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