At the last printing conference I attended, I heard over and over again the printing industry referred to as a mature industry. It wasn’t always said in words as clear as that, but if you listened close enough, that’s what you heard.
That can be pretty scary. It sounds so dead-end, and frankly, discouraging.
On the other hand, if you switch your thoughts for a moment and think about sporting events, when the camera is panning the crowd, who gets the attention and ends up on the big screen? It’s the guys with no shirts in the freezing cold weather. It’s the fans with the crazy clothes that your Mom would never let you wear in public. It’s the kid dancing as if there was no one one watching. Who’s getting the attention? Not people you would think of as mature. No, it’s the fans that are acting immature!
So, if printing is considered a mature industry, how should you act? Should you accept things as they’ve always been and stay where things are comfortable? Or, should you show up to work and start a new dance craze like the kid on the big screen? No, let’s not go there…please!
Acting immature in a mature industry (like printing) doesn’t have to mean abandoning the tried and true systems and technologies that brought you to where you are today. It does mean, however, being willing to adapt to some new ways of spreading ideas.
The immature fans at the football game will eventually grow up. (At least we hope they will!) The immature systems and technologies will grow up too. Keep using them as long as it makes sense to do so, but keep your eyes open for the new, fresh tools and ideas that will help you spread ideas more effectively for your customers. That’s how you’ll make sure you’re still around after mature technology finally gives way to the immature. Acting immature in a mature industry is how you stay relevant. So go ahead, loosen up a bit … and start acting immature!