I discovered multi-tools in my late teens in the mid 1990's. I was a poor college student so my first few were freebie/cheepies from people that didn't like what they had. I used them but was never that impressed. After college I got a job as a traveling service technician in the paper machine industry and started traveling around the world installing and fixing multi-million dollar machines. I found it odd that though companies would invest millions in machinery, tools to repair them were frequently scarce. Company managers would think of tools like the way we do at home, that is, if we buy it once and take care of it, we never need to buy it again. Unfortunately, the reality is simply that tools disappear from a factory setting. They get lost, left in pockets to be taken home, or mistreated and broken.
My job was to make a machine make production as fast as possible. Many times the thing preventing the machine from running a little better is a small minor adjustment that takes only a few seconds to do...that is, if you have the tool quickly accessible. If you have to go hunt down the tool, many times that little simple adjustment just does not get made. By itself, it may not be a big deal, but cumulatively many small adjustments add up to a noticeable increase in reliability and machine speed which ultimately means more production.
It did not take me long to realize I needed to invest in the best multi-tool that the world had to offer. So I stopped by a large outfitting store that had a huge selection of multi-tool brands. I had them all brought out on top of the display case and spent about an hour comparing them to each other. About 40 minutes into opening each tool and inspecting them I encountered the Leatherman Wave. It immediately caught my attention with the knife opening on the outside. The knife is by far the most commonly used tool since the Stone Age, it deserves to be immediately accessible. The Wave got immediately put to the top of the "liked" group. The only thing it didn't have that made me hesitate was a cork screw. Within short order all others were eliminated and I walked out of the store with my first Leatherman Wave not realizing I had just made the single largest improvement to my career I would ever make.
Within a few years I had created a reputation for almost always leaving a machine running better than before I had been there. This lead to repeat customer requests for me personally as their technician of choice. My bosses noticed this and my wage increased as a direct result. I noticed on trips where I would forget my Wave (or lose it or have it confiscated at the security checkpoint because I forgot to take it off and had no time to go put it in my checked luggage), I genuinely felt handicapped. I would get into the habit of counting how many times I would reach for it and not have it. It was over 10 times a day on average. After one or two days of missing it I would eventually search out a store and buy another one.
Ultimately my success as a technician lead to an extremely successful career of traveling the world writing technical procedures, machine efficiency audits, and training people how to achieve maximum production. Upon a lot of self-reflection I can truly say that my skills and intelligence as a technician are just average. I have realized that by far the single most important thing that made me stand out from others was simply how much I would accomplish in a short time and that came directly from having a Wave tool always by my side to make the adjustment. Beyond a doubt, the Wave was an essential component in my career advancement.
After 20 years of work, I currently have 7 Waves and 4 extra sheaths in my dresser drawer, and of course one on my belt. If not traveling through a secured zone, I am NEVER without my Leatherman. Mostly I wear it on my belt but sometimes formal attire forces me to carry it in my pocket. I have been nicknamed the "voice activated Leatherman" as all of my friends know I always carry one and is willing to fix anything anywhere.
I have many stories too numerous to go into here of getting myself out of extremely sticky situations with only my Leatherman. However, my favorite moment was just after buying my first Wave and realizing that the flattish tip of its serrated knife can easily push the cork all the way inside the bottle of wine. :-)
Cheers, and thanks for changing my life!!!