Last week I got an email from a member of one of the forums on Facebook, asking a question about self-promotion. Instead of responding via email I just picked up the phone and called him. I was overwhelmed the next day with an email I got thanking me for taking the time to call "an average Joe" and a comment he made,
"If more CEOs would stay in touch with their employees and customers, we wouldn't have this type of economic crisis we are having today."
First, let's talk about all of you who think you're just "average Joes". If it wasn't for you we'd have no photographic industry. There are only a handful of icons, but there are thousands of photographers who run great little businesses throughout the country. You're the backbone of professional photography.
Are the icons important? Of course they are, because they're our tour guides and help us to see the trends, changes in technology and they help us understand how to spread the word. If this were the old west they'd be the guys breaking in the wild horses and leading the wagon trains west, but all the rest of us would be in those wagons.
So, all of you who think of yourself as a little guy, just an average Joe - wake up! You're the foundation of this industry and I'm serious, without you, there'd be no industry! Every photograph you take contributes to this incredible world of magic we call photography and imaging.
Now, to his point about more CEOs contacting their customers...there are a lot things I talk about and too often I slip and don't walk the talk, but when it comes to customer service it's rare I don't follow through. It's all because of my roots!
I grew up in customer service when Polaroid introduced the SX-70 and the first batch released were 300% defective - every camera came back three times for service! An incredible executive, the late Jon Wolbarst, was the conscience of Polaroid, fighting with every manager in the company to produce a better product.
This was all before email and there were only two ways to contact an angry customer, snail mail or a phone call. The response from a consumer actually getting a call from a live body was amazing. Put that together with what Jon taught so many of us and you have the foundation for the way I do a lot of things today.
Third, and here's the real point of this morning's blog - you have to love what you do every day! I love this industry. I called "average Joe" the other day because I wanted to talk to another photographer. I'm a huge fan of everything you guys do. As photographers you're responsible for capturing the memories of the world every day. As business owners you're taking risks all the time to grow your client base, revenue and establish a foothold in your community.
I believe so strongly in what you do that I left the security of a great job, a great salary and responsibility to start my own company in 2009. Why? Because I was tired of living vicariously through all of you!
So, the thanks doesn't go to me for trying to keep in touch with as many photographers as I can. The thanks goes to all of you for supporting an industry that along with so many people on the vendor side of photography, we love dearly. This is an amazing industry filled with amazing people all of them just "average Joes".
And one last point, mouse over the SCU partners tab and you'll be introduced to a group of people who totally believe in support the same way I do. Every company has a team of people to help you build a stronger business and senior managers who back their plays every day. You need to make sure they're in your network. They're all passionate about this business and accessible to all of you, because they love their jobs!
Confucius from the Quote Garden.