by Skip Cohen
It's almost twelve years ago I made the decision to step away from Rangefinder Publishing and WPPI. It was 2009 and we were in a recession, and both friends and family thought I was nuts. I was giving up a great job and heading off into the unknown.
This is also about the time I picked up my mantra:
I do it because I can.
I can because I want to.
I want to because you said I couldn't.
Skip's Summer School started that first summer, and while it became incredibly labor-intensive after the 2013 session, it was a great run. However, during those summer programs and consulting for a number of different companies, my network grew, and so did my understanding of the challenges each photographer faced in establishing their business.
On January 19, 2013, eight years ago today, I launched Skip Cohen University. It's hard to believe how much it's grown since then, or the diversity in topics and the number of other photographers who shared guest posts and images along the way. I remember one great discussion with Scott Bourne as we talked about what to name the blog.
I wanted to call it something lofty, like "The Photo Resource Hub," but Scott gave me an incredible lesson in branding. He felt since my career on the industry's professional side had always focused on some aspect education, whatever I was about to build needed my name on it.
He had an idea, "Just trust me on this and let me put out a tweet before you launch." I trusted him completely, and that first tweet was "Skip Cohen is back!" We later linked it to the early posts on SkipCohenUniversity.com. But along the way, there were some funny responses, like, "What do you mean he's back - I just talked to him yesterday." And speaking at a publishing conference in Orlando, Scott Kelby walked into the room and said, "Oh, I heard you were back," and Guy Kawaski, also speaking at the same event, wanted to know where I'd been.
Scott Bourne stayed right on top of everything I was doing and helped me build the foundation for SCU. He also taught me to ask for help when I needed it. There were so many times when I thought I understood the programming and could just cut and paste my way through some of the architectural changes. Each time I pulled a DIY, he'd yell at me after he fixed what I screwed up and simply say, "Will you please call me next time before you touch anything?"
So, it's eight years since this blog started. Now, thousands of posts later, I'm here to thank so many of you who shared your feedback and gave me one idea after another to keep it going from my own posts to guest posts, to YouTube videos, podcasts, and companies who believed in me. What a wild ride it continues to be.
I know it sounds pretty sappy, but this industry really has become a family. A huge thanks entirely from my heart to my readers, supporters, and friends. To paraphrase the Beatles, "I get by with a LOT of help from my friends."
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Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.