(This originally appeared on the Buzzworthy Success Blog in November 2010)
The news is out! WPPI, Rangefinder, After Capture and all other WPPI related interests have been sold to Nielsen. Gasp! What are we going to do? What does this mean? How will we survive?
Relax! We will survive as business owners and we will survive as an industry. First and foremost; I MUST get this off my chest. I LOVE Stephen Sheanin. He has stood behind everything Sondra and I have done for the last 21 years and he is someone I look up to and respect. Today’s news does nothing to change that! This was a business decision and in my opinion Stephen’s first priority is to himself and his family. I can think of no one over the last 20 years who has done more for our industry than Stephen. He has built the WPPI convention into a teaching empire and although I liked it when it was smaller and everyone knew who we were, I respect the growth that has come from his direction and hard work.
I remember when the tradeshow was in one room; I remember when there were 3, maybe 4 programs running at the same time; I remember when most of the speakers knew each other. Ah, the sweet smell of nostalgia! Times have changed and WPPI has changed with the times.
To me, WPPI is about the people; the attendees who are so eager to learn and the WPPI staff that is always so eager to give. The ONLY part of the sale of WPPI that scares me; I hope Nielsen realizes just how important the personal touch has been to the members of WPPI. I hope that Nielsen realizes that it’s more than a “numbers game”; I hope that Nielsen already knows that the strength that has become WPPI has happened because of the individuals who have poured their hearts into making WPPI the best photographic organization in the world. My last hope is that Nielsen realizes how important it will be to let the current “faces” of WPPI continue to do the incredible job they are doing. WPPI will not be WPPI without them!
All of you who know us know that both Sondra and I have always stood up for, cheered for, rallied behind and pushed WPPI on everyone who would listen. I am proud to be a part of WPPI and I still have cherished memories of the very first convention. That convention and the guidance of WPPI and its members, fellow instructors, volunteers and staff have shaped me into who I am today.
Thanks Stephen for an incredible ride and thank you for building something that will continue to grow with the seeds you have planted. Our loyalty to WPPI will continue! Long live WPPI!