Friday, March 2, 2012

I Love My Clients ...

You sort of have to have been around from the beginning to understand this post. Pictage is a weird company. Like no company I’ve ever been involved with, if we do well our clients do well. When we suck we hurt out clients. They let us know. I like that. This isn’t about that.

I started at Pictage in March of 2009. It’s been a wild ride since then. I’ve learned a lot along the way. Luckily for me, the founders got a lot more right than wrong. The market changed (and continues to change) and we’ve had to move quickly to change with the market. Moving a company of this size quickly isn’t as easy as I would like. It should have been easier but it’s no one’s fault that it wasn’t. Sometimes that’s the way things are.

For me, it’s always been about our clients. I was pretty infatuated with y’all at first. For a life long photo hobbyist, getting to know so many professionals has been energizing. I take better pictures now than I used to but I would say here as I’ve said on my cooking blog, I’m much better than average and nowhere near as good as great. That’s not being apologetic or self deprecating. Great is about where you spend your time. I spend mine running a business. You spend yours behind a viewfinder (if you’re great). And that’s not to say that I’m a great businessman. That’s a big world.

I’ve been among you long enough now to know you’re not perfect. You have your foibles and your rough spots. You’ve gotten to know me well enough that you know I do too... and I can be mighty prickly if you poke the wrong place. Here’s the thing. After all of that your success is still the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Here’s why.

Over the last three years I’ve had the privilege of working with many of you in special circumstances. You’ve called to say you needed help. A client, a family member or a friend had a special need. There’d been a death or the prediction that one was eminent. There was someone who needed the warmth of shared memory in images to buoy them through tough times. There were the things we did together, ‘Katrina Families’ in New Orleans and ‘Lens and Learns’ with special kids all over the country. Those days were emotionally and physically draining for me and I know many of you were just as tired as I was and yet you ran off to shoot a wedding or portrait session the next day. (I could hardly get out of bed). In most of these cases we’ve made sure that Pictage received no publicity for what we may have done. That’s not the point. When it is our purpose gets cloudy. I’d rather see a child smile when they discover that something they thought was impossible is attainable or get a quiet thank you from someone who got something just in time. It’s easier that way.

Every single one of those opportunities, whether large or small has been an honor. I’m glad that those moments will go on.

There are big changes coming from Pictage. We’ve been hard at work rebuilding our technology from the bottom up and over the next couple of months we will be launching new systems. These systems enable us to approach your business, and the privilege of helping you, in new and pretty remarkable ways. Ultimately this is what I came to do. I’m glad I’ll finally be able to do it. I’m not going to divulge much more than that. Suffice it to say that when we’re done any professional photographer anywhere will be able to find products and services here that meet their needs their way. No piece of the old business model will have been left unchanged. Pictage photographers will be provided with more information, more options, more customizability, more brand-ability (in all aspects of their businesses), more great products (at lower and lower prices), and more responsiveness than they’ve ever experienced.

I strongly believe that giving you the information to make the right decisions about your business, and then giving you the options necessary to tailor our services to meet your needs is the key to your success.

If what’s next is what’s important then we’re headed for some pretty interesting times... I, for one, can’t wait...




Gwendolyn Tundermann said...

So thankful for your leadership and vision (and your no-nonsense ways)! You are a big reason why I continue to say I'm proud to be a Pictage member! Thank you Jim! : )

Anne said...

You've been a great leader and I respect what you've brought to the table. I often find myself "evangelizing" how amazing Pictage service has saved my ass while traveling and trying to get things done in different parts of the world, while still giving my clients the feeling that I'm there for them 100% of the time. From the very beginning, Pictage has been so worth it for me. I could never hire an employee to do everything that Pictage does for the same price each month. No way. I would love to be a little more in the loop on product and service development, but I also understand that sometimes developers need to bring their ideas fully to fruition before sending it out into the world for tweaking. I'm with Pictage for the long-haul because it's always been there for me and helped move me through good and rough times. Thanks for being a part of that.

jewels said...

Hi Jim :)

I just came across your blog for the first time, though I knew who you were from my brief time at Pictage when you had just come on board! I have to say I spent over an hour at Midnight reading your posts last night, till I couldn't keep my eyes open, and I'm inspired and appreciative of your insights and experiences. Please keep writing!