I recently sat on a DAM discussion panel during which I repeatedly mouthed off about the way DAM ought to be if, you know, it were entirely up to me.
A woman came up afterward and said, “I love hearing you talk about DAM because you’re so passionate about it.”
Her gracious compliment felt like a battering ram to my gut. I smiled, of course, and I thanked her for her very kind comment. But at that same moment, I heard my number called at the Midlife Crisis Counter.
Had Digital Asset Management really become my passion?
She continued to speak and I continued to smile, all the while resisting the urge to run to the restroom and upchuck my breakfast.
I just couldn't accept the idea that Digital Asset Management might be what I’m all about now. After all, I have gold and platinum records on my wall; I fly airplanes for fun and, dammit (no pun intended), I've published two books! (Granted, one of them was about DAM.)
Left with no clear idea how I’d become this passionate DAM geek, and having no DAM Geek 12-step program to fall back upon, I was forced to rethink my steps during the past 15 years in which I've been associated with this industry. Perhaps my wrong turn wasn't so long ago and a course correction was still possible.
After two or three minutes of ample introspection, I realized that my passion was not actually about DAM (thank God). My passion is about quality content and the good things people do with the content they manage via their DAMs. DAM is like the corner pub in a neighborhood full of creative geniuses who like to drink. Hang out there long enough and you’re going to see some amazing things.
I thought about some of the DAMs I've seen over the years. I recalled how impressed I was to see the Red Cross use DAM to share photos from the scene of a disaster. Or how it warmed my heart to see Pixar use DAM to give homes to characters I adore. And I remembered being awed by a cancer research center that uses DAM to share images with the world’s medical scientists, because someone is going to cure this disease one day, but that’s not going to happen without access to research.
When I think of DAM applications like these, I see goodness and potential and I want to help. I want to make sure these people have all the tools they need, and I want to make sure those tools are awesome. I want artists to have ready access to the content that inspires and enables them to create even more content. And I want the receptionist who’s working on the invitation for her company’s picnic to easily find a nice image to use, because I want her to be as proud of her invitation as Pixar is of Nemo, Buzz and Wall*e.
In essence, I see DAMs as portals into our collective creativity. They are not just repositories of intellectual properties; they are showcases of human expression and potential.
DAM: A Place for Beautiful Things
I once asked Picturepark founder (and my employer), Bruno Jehle, about the origin of the product’s name. He explained to me that parks are where we go to enjoy the world’s beautiful things -- the trees and landscapes, the water and fresh air, children playing and, of course, infinite blue sky. He envisioned his software being a place people could go to enjoy their own beautiful things.
I both loved and hated his answer.
Truth be told, I got goose bumps when he told me. The concept was simple, emotional, and it was so easy to see that he really did feel this way. Yet at the same time -- come on -- this is database software we’re talking about. Jehle came across like a complete DAM geek -- totally over the top, and giving DAM far more value credit than it deserved.
But I couldn't deny the goose bumps I got when he told his story. It was like my scrunched up brow was saying, Have you been drinking? while my heart was saying, Yep, that’s exactly it.
I know I’m not the only DAM geek in the world; there are others. And though we all have our own reasons for entering the field, I suspect we share that our passion was never really about DAM or DAM software, even if that is what we create.
If I ever come off as being too passionate about DAM -- trust me -- I know how it appears. But I just want to make sure nothing ever stands in the way of your potential to create beautiful things, or to do beautiful things with the things you create.
Image courtesy of travellight (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: David has a thing or two to say about DAM (among other things). To read more, see his 5 Good Reasons to Avoid DAM Software