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Interview With David Diamond – Part 1

This is the first part of an interview series between DAM News editor, Ralph Windsor and David Diamond, author of the DAM Survival Guide, founder of The DAM Guru Program and former Marketing Director of vendor, Picturepark.  In this instalment, David talks about what he has been doing since leaving Picturepark, why he left and what the reasons were behind why The DAM Guru Program came about.  Part 2 of the interview has also now been published.

 

What have you been doing since you left Picturepark?

A bunch of stuff! I reconnected with my old band, Berlin. We recorded a new record that should be out in summer, and we’ve been playing a bunch of shows.
I also work with my local airport on an advisory committee. I bought an airplane shortly after I left the job, so that got me involved with how the airport operates. It also enabled me to start flying rescue missions for an organization called Pilots N Paws. We fly shelter dogs to rescue organizations or forever homes. Best use for that airplane that I can think of!
Other than those things, just enjoying life.

October 31st 2017 was my last actual day of employment with Picturepark. My plan was to just take a few months off and then look for another job after the start of the year. Then the start of the year came along and it was like, you know, I’m going to wait until Q2. Then, by that point, I was really enjoying the time off and all the new things I was doing!
After about a year, though, I started getting ideas about things that could be done in DAM, largely because of my renewed experiences outside the industry. So, I would like to connect with another company, or companies, probably in a consulting role. But if I’m going to be promoting a product, that product has to be amazing.

 

Why did you leave Picturepark

There were many reasons. It took me a long time to come to the decision, and it wasn’t easy. Ultimately, though, I felt that my working relationship with my boss, who was the company’s CEO, was no longer effective. It’s one thing to disagree on day-to-day operational things, but we were at odds over some pretty major strategic decisions. I felt it had become a distraction for the company at a time when it was super important that everyone be on the same page.

 

Can you provide an example of a major decision you couldn’t agree on?

The timing of the announcement of the Picturepark Content Platform was a big one. That was what really what got me thinking about leaving. I was told to get it announced before the end of 2016, but we hardly even had screenshots at that time. I knew it would be a long while before the product was actually available, and the features set seemed to be changing almost daily, so I had no idea what it would actually be by the time it was released.

During my time at the company, I focused on building its reputation as an honest vendor that could be trusted, because I believed that to be true. But this felt like a departure from that integrity.

Ultimately, though, I was overruled and the announcement was made. The following year was a very tough one for me, marketing wise. I didn’t know what to say. Did I promote the old product that was still for sale, or did I continue to sell on the promise of what was to come? I’m rarely at a loss for an idea of what to do next, but that year humbled me.

 

While at Picturepark, you created DAM Guru Program. How did that come about?

We were going into the Christmas break of 2012. At that point, affiliate programs were all the rage, but no DAM vendor had done one, as far as I knew. I suggested that we look into it. After all, we had a number of customers and others who were real fans of Picturepark, so why not put them to work and pay them for their efforts?

I spent the break drafting how it would all work. After the break, while we were planning to announce it, WebDAM announced an affiliate program of their own. There was no way I was going to announce such a program then.

I told my boss that I would rethink it and come up with something better. He agreed.

Once I started thinking about it, I was glad we didn’t go that route. That’s not who Picturepark was. Instead, I started thinking about how to best counter all the bullshit DAM vendors were spewing—all the lies, promises, etc. That was the premise of DAM Survival Guide, and it was something that really mattered to me. It occurred to me that if we could link people to one another, they could help each other avoid all the industry nonsense. This felt more like Picturepark to me.

I spec’d out how it would all work. Most important to me was that Picturepark sales personnel would have no access to membership records—this was not intended to be a sales tool, and it could not become one.

So, really, we have WebDAM to thank for DAM Guru Program!  I’m still really proud of that program—it’s the best thing I did during my time in the industry. I think it was a good resource for a lot of people, and I think it helped force a few DAM vendors more toward a focus of education rather than just selling.

In addition to having Picturepark CEO, Ramon Forster, to thank for permitting me to get it going, I couldn’t have done it without Ben Smidt and Carol Thomas-Knipes, who kept it running.

Every now and then, I would hear from a marketing director at another DAM company about what a brilliant marketing idea DAM Guru Program was. They just didn’t get it. DGP was an educational idea that was intended to actually empower individuals—it was never intended to be a marketing scheme. Any brand benefit that came to Picturepark would come only from the company’s ability to manage it cleanly and honestly.

So, in a way, what could be considered the company’s greatest marketing tool, is also a monkey on its back that keeps it honest.  I’m okay with that.


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