Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

新酒與舊皮囊

By:Jim Mathis

我最近接到一位專業攝影師從另一個城市打來的有趣電話。他打電話來抱怨我的價格太低。當我知道他不是在開玩笑後,我明白他用的是1950到1990年代許多攝影師所用的計價模式。

那時大多數的攝影師都照彩色照片並送到專業的實驗室去沖洗並印刷。他們向顧客收的費用有時還無法付實驗室的沖洗印刷費,所以攝影師們就靠放大照片的昂貴費用來賺錢,而放大照片也是實驗室做的。他們就藉著沖洗許多相片來增加收入,但真正賺錢的還是沖洗實驗室。這就是為什麼我在那些年都擁有自己的沖洗實驗室的原因。

數位照相不只淘汰了膠卷和沖洗相片;它也是自1950年代以來第一次將影像的掌控權交回攝影師的手中。那是攝影的典型改變,需要不一樣的技巧,例如加強影像軟體的專門技術、噴墨印刷的技術、以及新的價格計算方式。

顯然許多攝影師沒有了解這些改變,仍然把他們的數位檔案送到攝影實驗室去沖洗,放棄了從開始就使用數位科技的掌控權。結果,他們的費用就比較高,但掌控權卻比較少。

在一個行業裡隨著改變及時作調整可以應用在數位攝影以外的更廣大領域。有些科技有能力完全改變我們的生活方式或作生意的方式,但若我們只想適應新的科技,我們可能沒有抓到重點。就像買了一支手機,卻把像它像市話一樣掛在廚房裡的電話架上。

有趣的是,聖經雖然是一本幾千年前的書,它談到了回應改變的需要。例如耶穌基督提醒祂的跟隨者:「沒有人把新酒裝在舊皮袋裡,恐怕酒把皮袋裂開,酒和皮袋就都壞了;惟把新酒裝在新皮袋裡」(馬可福音2章22節)。雖然耶穌主要是談到一個屬靈真理,但這原則對工商專業的策略也適用。

聖經另一處指出一族人:「以薩迦支派,有二百族長都通達時務,知道以色列人所當行的」(歷代志上12章32節)。即使當時事態有重大的改變,那些有智慧的人善於觀察,並且知道他們需要如何回應。

在21世紀不斷加速的步伐中,不論我們從事哪種行業,我們需要常常評估、再評估我們做事的方式。這可能牽涉到科技--從社群網站到更新電腦能力--或了解潛在客戶對我們所提供之產品和服務的心態改變。

我們需要思考自己是否把舊的習慣帶入新的環境中,或者我是否真的好好利用新的資源,運用它們去為客戶帶來更大的生產力及更好的服務。

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。

省思 / 討論題目
因為本文作者是攝影師,所以他從自己從事的專業中提出例證。你是否也在你自己的行業中看到類似的改變?你和你的公司如何回應新的發展? 你認為何時是你公司的模式和策略上作重大改變的最好時機?是當你看到你們的收入持平時,或下降時--或在這之前?請解釋。 為什麼一家公司在作生意上做必要的改變常常非常困難?可信任之顧問的智慧可以如何帶來幫助,尤其是那些沒有直接參與每天業務的人? 在本文所引述的聖經例子中,耶穌說到把新酒倒入舊皮囊的愚昧。然而,在他所談的內容裡,並不是在談論製酒。你想祂的意思是什麼?若你想看或討論聖經對此主題的其他部份,請看以下經文:箴言15章22,16章9節,18章15節,19章20節,20章18、24節,22章3節,24章5-6節,28章2、26節

NEW WINE AND OLD WINESKINS
By Jim Mathis

I had an interesting phone call recently from a professional photographer in another city. He called to complain my prices were too low. After I figured out he was not joking, I realized he was using a business model many photographers used from the late 1950s into the “90s.

Back then most photographers shot color film and sent it to a pro lab for processing and printing. Fees charged customers for having their photos did not always cover the price of film and processing, so the photographers made money selling expensive enlargements also printed by the photo lab. They tried to boost their income by selling a lot of prints, but the primary people making money were the photo labs. That is why I owned a photo lab during most of those years.

Digital photography did more than eliminate film and processing; it put control of the image back into the hands of the photographer for the first time since the 1950s. It was a paradigm shift in the way photographs were made, requiring a different set of skills, such as expertise with photo-enhancing software, inkjet printing skills, and new pricing formulas.

Apparently many photographers have failed to understand these changes and still send their digital files to photo labs for printing, effectively eliminating the control that comes from using digital technology in the first place. As a result, they have higher expenses with less control.

The importance of adjusting to changes within an industry in a timely way has broader application than just digital photography. Some technologies have the ability to completely change how we live or do business, but if we simply attempt to adapt new capabilities to old practices, we may be missing the point. It would be like purchasing a cell phone, then hanging it on a rack in the kitchen as we did with our landline phones.

Interestingly, even though it is a book many centuries old, the Bible addresses this need to respond to changes. Jesus Christ, for instance, reminded His followers, “no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins" (Mark 2:22). Although Jesus was speaking primarily to a spiritual truth, the principle holds true for strategies in the business and professional world as well.

Elsewhere the Bible singles out a group of people, “men of Issachar who understood the times and knew what (they) should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Things were changing significantly even then, and these wise individuals were observant and recognized how they needed to respond.

With the accelerated pace of change in the 21st century, no matter what type of business or professional work we are engaged in, we need to be constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the way we do things. This could involve technology – ranging from social media to updates in computer capabilities – or understanding the changing mindset of our potential customers toward the products and services we provide.

We need to consider whether we are unsuccessfully trying to drag old habits into new environments, or if we are truly taking advantage of the new and emerging resources we have available, leveraging them to greater productivity and service to the consumer.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Since he is a photographer, Mr. Mathis draws his illustration from his own professional pursuits. Have you seen similar changes in your own business? How well have you and your company responded to these new developments? When do you think is the best time for making significant changes in your business model and strategies? As soon as you see your revenues leveling off or taking a downturn – or before that? Explain your answer. Why do you think it is often so difficult to make necessary changes in the way a company does business? How can the wisdom of trusted advisors, especially those who are not directly involved in daily operations, be helpful? In the biblical example cited, Jesus spoke about the foolishness of pouring new wine into old wineskins. However, in the context of His talk, He was not speaking about winemaking. What do you think He meant?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 15:22, 16:9, 18:15, 19:20, 20:18,24, 22:3, 24:5-6, 28:2,26

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