Strange Bedfellows

I was attending a meeting this week in Austin, Texas hosted by the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE) regarding advocacy.  The featured speaker was Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education during the Bush Administration.  The program was beneficial, but what was really interesting were the participants.

There was a room of 40 folks, many who are full time lobbyists.  Nearly 70% represented either the medical or education industry, which says a lot about whose voice is heard in Austin.  What I truly found ironic was the person seated to my right led the charge by Texas educators to replace printed textbooks with digital media.  When I introduced myself and who I represented, I felt her desire to be somewhere else – but fortunately she stayed, and we were able to have an intelligent conversation regarding education and media.

What if found fascinating was that those of us in the print industry easily get blinded by our history and our love for process.  We forget that print is just another method of communicating.  As she and I spoke, I realized that she had nothing against print per se, but that digital media provided flexibility necessary in today’s world of education.   And that my friends, is why it’s so important for us in the print world to better understand our customer’s business. 

If our customers need another form of communication/technology to solve their challenges, we should find a way to provide them with that form of communication.  Waiting for them to make that decision for us is not an option. Today’s world does not belong to the meek, but the swift of foot.

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