The Answer is…

The 2012 Firebrand Community Conference (#Fire2102) was an eye and mind opening experience for all in attendance. The publishing industry has been in a state of flux for a number of years now with debates looming large over the battle between digital and print formats, how to market effectively and efficiently amidst a stream of ostensibly relevant channels, and who to turn to for answers in one’s attempt to navigate the myriad of other issues, advancements, and new noisy terrain present in the publishing world today.

The answer that seemed to prevail was: There is no answer.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes having an answer detracts from the exploration of other avenues, and those other avenues happen to be the present beauty within a scene in flux. Sure, not having one true answer can feel uncomfortable. But what good is comfort when there is literally no time for rest? What the Community Conference successfully accomplished was the notion that everyone in the room is in the same boat. There’s no such thing as smooth sailing. Power in numbers will allow you to steady the boat to some extent… The answers are in our uncertainties; they’re present in every campaign we launch, for better or worse. They’re in experimenting with new ways to conduct antiquated practices. They’re in harnessing the power of technology and using that power to better put forth a message or task. They’re in accepting change and welcoming that change into our daily routine(s). They’re in communicating with your peers to listen and hear stories of success and/or failure. And that’s what we’re all doing, isn’t it? We’re telling stories, and we’re hoping to get those stories heard.

When Firebrand’s Chief Igniter, Fran Toolan stepped on stage to welcome the crowd to “the show,” he stood in front of a projected quote from famed musician and songwriter David Crosby. This is how it read:

“Bands work, on the highest level, when there’s submission to a greater thing.”

The idea and overall validation that was found at the Conference is that we’re all an integral part of the band. Sure we represent a vast array of different organizations, but at the end of the day, we’re all in the publishing industry facing the same issues. By working together we’re strengthening the industry’s means of survival. The overwhelming participation by all in attendance during the two days that made up #Fire2012 is staggering proof that the sentiment outlined in Crosby’s quote seemingly rings true amongst publishing professionals. We may not have the answer, but collectively we have the answers to help construct the bridge that will get each of us from point A to point B. Without a doubt there was some beautiful, thought-provoking music made at the 2012 Firebrand Community Conference. As Brian O’Leary mentioned in his keynote presentation, “There’s plenty to do. Let’s keep working on it.” We’re all here due to a mutual admiration of what it means to be in publishing and working amidst a group of rousing individuals. In crazy, turbulent times the best work comes out of those that keep plugging away and keeping the lines of communication open. If we keep hitting the right notes and practice hard every day, both as individuals and as a member of the greater whole, we’ll be hard pressed to fall. It’ll be interesting to see where the band takes it from here.

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One Response to The Answer is…

  1. Pingback: The Truth About Cats and Dogs: Navigating the Digital vs. Print Publishing “Debate” « Firebrand Community Blog

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