The Dead Pixels Society podcast

Growing volume industry leadership with David Crandall and Tim McCain

April 16, 2022 Gary Pageau/David Crandall/Tim McCain Season 3 Episode 73
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
Growing volume industry leadership with David Crandall and Tim McCain
Show Notes Transcript

Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with David Crandall, executive director of the School Photographers of America, and Tim McCain, CRO of ImageQuix/PhotoLynx to discuss the importance of the upcoming MVP and SPOA conferences for the volume photography industry. Crandall and McCain talk about the importance of leadership development in the business world and how the MVP and SPOA conferences differ from other photo industry events.

The Mastering Volume Photography (MVP) conference, June 8=9, is an experiential event bringing together a broad range of industry professionals in the volume photography market.

The SPOA International Conference on School Photography and Yearbooks will be held June 9-11, in Houston, Texas. The conference is built to unite the industry and have every person leaving knowing the impact they make on schools, children, and families across the world.  

Dead Pixels Society listeners can get $10 off their conference registration with the promo code: Pixel10

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Erin Manning  
Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau.

Gary Pageau  
The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by Mediaclip, Photo Finale and Advertek Printing. Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. Today we're joined by two fine gentlemen David Crandalll, the executive director of the School Photographers of America and Tim McCain, the Chief Revenue Officer of ImageQuix/PhotoLynx. Hello, gentlemen, how you doing today? Yeah, how are you, Gary?

Tim McCain  
I am doing fantastic guys. How are y'all?

Gary Pageau  
Today we're going to be talking about a new event that's coming up in June, the spa International Conference on school photography and yearbooks. It's a new event. David, for those who don't know what SPOA is, can you give us a brief overview?

Tim McCain  
Sure, school photographers of America is basically the nation's trade association for school of photography and yearbooks. We represent the school of photography and yearbook industry. And, you know, when you think of, you know, educate, advocate, promote, protect, and preserve the great traditions, school traditions, that those volume based businesses is do. And so we're super excited this event is really focused on leadership at the executive, the business owner, the leadership level, and it's it's really focused, even when you sometimes you think back to a yearbook company, or school picture company. And sometimes we leave out like our real partners in that. And so, you know, the sale of a school picture yearbook happens right at the school building, right? Something has to be sold for to be photographed. But before it ever gets into that, that mom's hands or that students hands, it's got to be produced. And you know, there's a workflow component with that with a very good gentleman right here that, that helps people execute that to getting it produced at a, at a lab level, whether that's a company own lab or independent lab. And so we're having a lot of focus on leadership, development and professional development for leads and supervisors. We're all working in a tough environment right now from a labor standpoint, right. And so it's about the culture. And it's not just about how people are paid. It's about how they're cared for and the culture that they work in. And so we have amazing partners like Dale Carnegie, that's going to be teaching four different courses. Sandler, we've got Secret Service, Homeland Security, we've got number of folks really thinking about protecting your business from cybersecurity and all those types of things that you know, so we have a lot of industry, outside industry experts that are going to be leading that portion. So yeah, we were

Gary Pageau  
worried about when and where is the event, it is

Tim McCain  
going to be June, the ninth or the 11th. But I like to say it's going to be June 8 through the 11th because it kicks off with one of our strategic partners MVP. Image quicks and photo links with their MVP conference, half a day before and a half or half a day of and we kick off on the night at one o'clock, with a general session, our keynote, we have the superintendent of Cypress Fairbanks, that's kind of kicking off the beginning of the conference, which is gonna be awesome. The CEO of Dale Carnegie International is going to be speaking we got a number of keynotes coming in and, and so it's in the Westin Galleria, there's two hotels, the Westin Galleria, and Weston oaks. It's in a very high end mall, in Houston, Texas. And we're super excited, super excited.

Gary Pageau  
Tim, David's mentioned MVP, which is the mastering volume photography conference, you've held that for a number of years. Can you tell those who have never attended what the focus of MVP

Tim McCain  
is? Yeah, so MVP is a along the same lines of David saw my leadership and training. And we try to bring in people in our industry that have done it that people are looking to to grow their businesses to give tips and tricks on our software. Even if you don't use our software, just learn the industry a little bit better. We all we always have a highly motivational keynote speaker, that's part of our thing, and we just try to pump people up and get them ready. We're doing slower in June because we've always done our MVP conference around that time, and it's six months after the last conference has happened. And they're getting ready to start their school photography season coming up. So it's a good time to get refreshed and renewed. And that's what we're all about it MVP.

Gary Pageau  
So what type of education happens MVP? You said it's an essay for people with an image click Users, but there's, I looked at the speaker program and you You've got some the leaders of the industry they're presenting about their businesses, right?

Tim McCain  
Correct. Anybody wants to see this? It's a publix.com forward slash MVP. And you can see right there we have speakers, we're gonna have things like Ryan foster talking about the stickiness of yearbooks and sports books. We have a all female panel talking about being a woman in this market in today's industry. That's, that's interesting to me. It's going to be a Cohen. That's going to be with Cory Cooper is going to do the moderation of that from from spec. We have actually, Mr. credito here is gonna be doing a talk, we have Dimitri, the Vice President of Cashman photo, he's gonna talk about how to adjust for market conditions and betterment of your business. So we'll get down and dirty about industry stuff, but we'll also tackle business in general.

Gary Pageau  
Well, that woman's panel sound industry, you've got some pretty high power people there, I see that you got caught a dancer and Janet King and Cory Cooper and a bunch of good folks on that. And that's going to be a very interesting session,

Tim McCain  
satellite and noise. Crandall will be there. There's a sandy Galleon, there's going to be quite a quite a few people that we got Ralph Sr. is coming out and speak in retirement to talk about senior photography and how he built a great business that he was able to pass on in his family, multigenerational. He's gonna talk about how he did that. I think we have 10 educational session sessions, and then nine mini workshops going on

Gary Pageau  
with that. And that's it. And that's a lot packed into two days.

Tim McCain  
It is it is it's gonna be back to back. It's high intensity, you know, high energy, we're gonna kick it all off with the keynote speaker Fetty Villarreal. He's gonna be talking about thriving and corporate culture. He has a BA in Biblical Studies MA and leadership and Ed, that D in organizational leadership. So he's almost a doctor there. So he'll be talking about how to motivate people in these times where they're not so motivated.

Gary Pageau  
That motivation is going to be tough this year, that's for sure with the economy. Now, David Tennant segues into the spoiler program, which again, is chock full of breakout sessions and keynote speakers. Yeah,

Tim McCain  
we were really excited that, again, when we say the word leadership and our focus on the protection, the preserving the promotion of our industry, we have a lot of our strategic partners are going to be launching, you know, initiatives that we've all collaborated and worked on everything from a new foundation to a to an industry report to a student, a national student photography training program that Sony is going to be launching, which is just incredible. As a guy that grew up behind the camera and always wanted my pictures and yearbooks and high school and college, it's super exciting to see that initiative. We're missing in public schools in schools today, in high schools, we're not offering that kind of trade. You know, when you think about, you know, maybe in the 70s, or 80s, you could have gone to a trade High School and been a HVAC or a technician or a photographer. And there's some of those elements are missing from schools today. And so being able to create programs like this, at such a high level is super exciting. But, you know, again, when we say we're bringing folks from the outside, there's a ton of value to listening to someone in the industry. And that's why we love the marriage of the user group of MVP on the front end with our conference. But then there's that whole element of having a group again, like Dale Carnegie, that they literally there's fortune 500 companies that don't have training departments, they just use a fortune 500 training company, that's all that they do is train people, processes and you know, organizational development, to the extent that instead of having someone come up and talk in the industry, myself included, I do it a lot, I may or may not have worked with the biggest company in the country and built a bid RFP division. But why have someone internal when we're bringing a panel of CFOs and purchasing directors from school districts to explain, this is what we want when we do a bid and RFP and this is what we're wanting to buy. And so there's no one more than an expert, then CFOs in the purchasing directors, we have a superintendents panel, that you know, we have superintendents coming in from Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and they're gonna sit there we're gonna be able to ask questions like you know, you are once a principal you're once a teacher, you're yours currently as superintendent or maybe you just retired. You know, what was the best rep don't think of pictures or yearbooks Don't think of anything other than you know many different salespeople. These people come in contact with and like, what was the difference? You know, what was that best rep, you know, what's their name, and what made that become identified to you is a top service and top partner business partner. And so those are the type of panels that you just sit back and you listen to me like, whoa, you know, if I'm a business owner, my Holy mackerel, maybe my sales approach has been wrong. And these are the people that are existing in schools today, that this is maybe who we should be listening to, because I don't care, we could all go to 10 different conferences from the photography world. And we're all going to go down at nighttime, and someone's gonna be standing at the bar talent about man, I booked blah, blah, blah. And you know that we call that a little bit of our talk. Maybe it wasn't 20 new schools, maybe it was one. And so those are great ideas that you get when you're networking like that. But sometimes when you bring those experts in who those people are in front of you, light bulbs go off at every level. And so we have a principals panel, we've got a number, so our sessions are just really heavy. And just like Tim, you know, we launched a women in executive leadership Advisory Council, here, it's boa, and I've seen that it's taken on legs, that groups like them to other groups now that have have kind of looked and go man, we do need that we need diversity in our, in our industry, we need to celebrate some of those successes. And so, you know, we realize the things that we're working on are really starting to take place and grow root. And so we have two different women's and leadership events going on, both as sessions and we have a special reception with a great guest speaker one evening. So we're super excited about that leadership that's being shown.

Gary Pageau  
And especially let's talk about celebrations, because you're also adding on an awards banquet, which is I think the first of its kind in the industry, you're going to be celebrating not only, you know, leadership and individual, but also national photography contests. Can you talk about that a

David Crandall  
little, that's probably the most exciting thing people are, you're just hearing my voice, you're not seeing my face in the screen like these guys are. But I smile in a whole nother degree. We all at individual companies, and I've worked at two different individual school picture companies, and we all try to celebrate, like our own success. But how cool is it when you can have the 20 big categories that our industry represents? And let's find out who's the best of the best of the best, you know, both at company level, as well as at the school level, you know, do I think there's gonna be one company that, you know, kind of dominates? No, I actually I don't think it's going to be pretty, but I could be shocked, right. And so I don't know. And so we've got a panel of judges, we I reached out to two very large photographic trade associations and found a system called Launchpad, which manages the entire competition. So when the judges log in, they don't even know what category they have until the day they log in, they have 48 hours to score, they're only going to be scoring three different categories, but they're never scoring it like with the same person. So I may score classroom groups with with Tim here. But then the next time I'm scoring underclass fall with Gary, Baba, me and Sam will never score anything. And I may never even score senior category, I may never even score a sports category. And it's all about impact, that the image has centering, lighting, all those things that we've got a rubric that we're all following. And then once their score goes, it goes to a top 10. And then we're bringing it Sony is having an artesian judge, we have a superintendent that's going to judge and we have a retired master photographer, PPA photographer that's going to be a judge, and they will judge the top 10 and figure out who is our grand champion. And who are those top five finalists in the country. And there's still time to enter. Oh, yeah, there's two more weeks to enter. We already got. I mean, we're getting loaded down with images. Like it's pretty, pretty cool. But the system when the images come in, no judge even myself, I can't see like if Tim submitted, I can't see Tim's name, I can't see his company or all I see is the image. We hired an outside contractor with that firm to kind of manage it for us. And so it keeps it unbelievably honest, very efficient. And so we're really excited but doesn't stop there. We've got a president's award that's going to be given to someone in the industry. Kind of with both you two gentlemen with a servant's heart there. There are some companies that have leaders that truly serve not just their employees in their organization. They serve their community, they serve the industry. And so we've already had over I think 35 recommendations and we're furls applications for that one, we've got a Chairman's Award, first ever of its kind. And really, it can be I screw this word up a lot. So I apologize posthumous, meaning the person may have already passed, if I said that appropriately. But it's really for it, maybe one or two people, but people that innovated did something in this industry that radically changed the history of this industry, right. And so we can all sit back and think about people that have done something like made a massive impact. And so we see that award being not only looking back, but forward thinking there are people working on new development that could radically change our industry and the way we do business. We have a Rising Star Award, we hope we give two or three of those away. And that can be it's the one rule on that award, is it somebody under the age of 30. And the idea is man, whether it's an image quicks or a photo links, or it's someone at a Richmond or architects or APS lab, or ACI, or any of the labs or at a strobridge, or of a interstate or VIP, any school photography company, a GPI doesn't matter, it can be a photographer, it can be a leader, it can be like a lead or a supervisor, that everybody just knows, man, this, this person is going somewhere, or either rising in the ranks of their company, or it could be like a brand new startup company that started, I had the blessing of meeting a guy out of Las Vegas that literally is 29, that was starting the school Picture Company. He was talking at an event and he got done. And I was speaking next. And I looked over and I said, buddy, I don't care who you are, I'd be buying from you all day. And I promise you're going to be great at this job. And so there's people like that, that I think we should recognize. And then the last one that we're really excited about is the lab and Excellence Award. We're sending out some metrics. When you think about ship time, the types of products and programs that they offer. Well, how do they're either their field, you know, if I'm a school picture company owns mountain lamb, or their customers, you know, school picture companies go into an independent lab, how do they rate them, if that makes sense. And so, you know, the goal of a trade associate is raise the bar, you know, raise, raising tides, raise all ships. And if we can challenge that and get a higher level of, of customer service, online reputation, guests centric attitude and a servant's attitude amongst everybody, it's better for this entire industry. So we're really excited to be honoring those people.

Gary Pageau  
Now coming out of two years of lock downs. As an industry, it seems to me that of the industry segments that I interact with the volume photography industry seems to be the most energized and optimistic at this point. For the people you guys talk to, why do you think that is

David Crandall  
that I mean, I can tell you, I just left at a great visit with a yearbook company, secondary yearbook company, Sunday and Monday this week. And it was really interesting to engage in those conversations. And know that literally, even even at that level, people are valuing school photography and yearbooks now more than ever, and we're seeing increases in participation, we're in seeing increases in the value in the add ons that they buy. And I think that has a lot to do with the industry partners that they've partnered with, as well as just, you know, you sit back and you think about what's happening over in Russia and Ukraine. And you know, it's sad, but like, if you watched, when Ukrainians were leaving the country in their pack in their cars, it was on, I don't care if you're watching CNN and Fox or whatever, you know, those first three days it hit me like, everybody's back in their car with pictures. You just sit back and go, you know, at the end of the day, yeah, you might be creating a an eight by 10 unit that selling for whatever, 10 bucks, 15 bucks. I don't know. But do you know what that's worth to a father mother or when their grandparents and maybe their grandchildren someday? And it's just super cool. And I think our great rich school traditions are COVID gave an appreciation to people like I don't think our industry had seen in years, but that'd be my opinion.

Tim McCain  
I want to piggyback on that. I agree. 100%. And I also think that it proved we saw a lot of guys grow through this this COVID thing. So like you're saying people want pictures, the good times and the bad. I had always my whole life and I always heard that this industry was recession proof. I don't know about that. But I do know that it's proven to be durable. And I think people are excited. about, you know, the durability of their business when they thought they might be going out whenever when people I was in a cab the other day where a guy had a dojo and he had to shut it down and he was driving the cab now, because he always for Urza karate students were going to school, you know, it's Christ's way to shut down and made me think about our industry too, and how durable it is. And people do want those pictures and that true heroine also keying on another award that we're giving out at the MVP. Every year, we give out two links legacy awards, one at SPAC and then one at our MVP. So at the beginning MVP, were given out a lynx Legacy Award, as well for for high achievers in the industry, kind of like your Chairman's Award there. Usually it goes to people that are retired or close to retirement, but game changers. And you know, people that are legacy, you know, they're just the IT person and won't cry in our industry, there were ones we all look to aspire to be, will it

Gary Pageau  
be a smooth transition for somebody who's maybe attending MVP to attend the smaller conference as well, in terms of logistics, it's in the same place, right? Same?

David Crandall  
Absolutely. Matter of fact, registrations at the same desk. And so it'll be a seamless transition between the two. And exciting I can tell you how to, you know, the tickets that have already been sold their fare, very few separate tickets, most people are doing the bundled ticket and going to be joining. And, you know, we're seeing probably a 75 or 80% are coming to the dinner and the banquet as well. That is a separate ticket, that banquet is separate ticket and it's not joking the anybody can go on the Westin and look at their FMB. And what it costs for a full course dinner plus wine and beer. And it's $92.87. So we're selling the tickets for I think $94 We're literally just covering the cost. And we're super excited to have like a really fancy dinner and celebrate the people that, you know, get those honors and stuff like that, you know, Tim said something that I go back in and want to reiterate, because I wholesomely agree, people are growing. And so you can sit back and look at look at other industries, and you could sit back and go man, people aren't reading videos anymore. No, they are like just blockbuster didn't want to change and Redbox and some other, they just came out with new ways. And then Netflix. And so if you're not innovating, and you're not able to pivot, yeah, your business might not be growing at the level that others but there's a lot of people that pivoted, they invested in there, they did a capitalization that they had not done, and they needed to do in a major way. Because COVID forced that behavior. And and you know, they're shipping the home, they're seeing all kinds of increases, because they got great business partners for their, their workflow, and their shopping carts, and all of those things and their businesses is growing exponentially. And sometimes, you know that that comes from innovation also comes from other big companies that might be, you know, not having the years that they've always had, maybe they're losing market share. And so there's there's amazing opportunity for existing companies. If someone wanted to start a school picture company, and was a great business person with the loves of passionate kids. There's no time like right now is there. There's a lot of schools that are looking for great business partners right now.

Gary Pageau  
And I think you'll find that this is a very welcoming industry, too. If you were to come in and say somebody, you know, rings up, Tim or and says, Hey, I want to I'm starting up, I need some help to start, you're gonna help. There's a lot of people in this bow and stack world, we're more than happy to welcome newcomers.

Tim McCain  
Absolutely. And that's one of the coolest things about going to the conference, is you're going to be meeting people like that. In the halls and SPOA at the MVP conference where you know, you're going to you're going to meet guys to network and guys and gals network and talk to and they're going to help you along the way. When I heard David say when he was talking about what's going to happen is I was thinking man, this is pretty complete man from workflow talks that we'll be doing in business talks, all the way through all the way through, we're gonna have a very complete whole conference. 

David Crandall  
Yeah, it's exciting as one of the things we're going to talk about. Are we having like, lighting courses and stuff? No, not at all. What we are focused on I told you is leadership. So we have a panel of, I think five photo managers and leads that are going to be teaching a course like how do you facilitate weekly staff meetings with your photographers to keep it creative? Because you're in a grind, right? And September and October, it's a grind. How do you keep that motivation? What are some contests that you can do? How can you make it fun? How do you make a meaningful And then some of those things can radically change your business and your culture. And so those are like, really important things that so often that we get to conferences, and it's like, how do you light a dance studio out? Elijah, we're leaving that to our other partners in January. And we're really gonna focus on the leadership development of your company, and how do you scale? How do you grow that? That business in that facility where we're actually having some camera manufacturers? See, they're gonna stand up as a panel, and they'll there's been a lot of company owners want to know what's common with camera technology, and mirrorless? Should I hold off where I'm at what's coming in the future, and they're going to be explaining where their companies what new technologies to expect. There's one big camera manufacturer that's potentially working on a volume industry camera, that's good radically change everybody. So a lot of cool stuff like that. So speaking

Gary Pageau  
of vendors, you are having an exhibition, there will be trade show portion.

David Crandall  
We don't have any vendors, we have industry suppliers and business partners.

Gary Pageau  
But there will be booths and things people can go back and forth and do that. So so there's that portion for those. So one other thing that I think I heard you mentioned in one of our earlier talks is this is not just CEO level stuff, not for courage to bring staff from various levels of the organization, so they can be trained up, if you will,

David Crandall  
yeah, if I were, if I were an independent lab, and I was going to exhibit and I saw the breakout courses, I'd probably be bringing in probably four to seven of my leads and supervisors, when he was looking at the management courses that are being taught there, their retail value alone at Sandler, Dale Carnegie's probably to 49 to 59, per course, you can get four courses right there for 1000 bucks, and you're paying 300 bucks for a ticket, right. And so it pays for itself. And it's it's there, people teach it, it's their national trainers teaching those courses. But there's so many other values, but at the exact same time in the school photography industry, there's one company that bring in almost 12. And it's it's some of their field leadership, some of their, you know, anyone from HR, to finance to marketing, we're teaching some SEO, we're having an outside agency teach real SEO, which a lot of people really just don't understand. You know, when Google changed, everybody thinks that you can get on the top of Google by buying an ad, it has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with how was how efficient is your website, and the ads and stuff that you build, and the optimization that you have. So again, these are really very specific things. And I would, you know, the I would challenge people to just go look at some of their sessions, a lot is getting ready to change over the weekend, by the way. So whenever this post, if it's after Easter, you will already see a really very close schedule as it is as well as the trainers in the educators that are going to be leading it. If you're watching this before Easter, there's a few changes that will be happening. So

Tim McCain  
I just want to reiterate on David's point here is that it is for everybody, all the way from from start to finish. The best money I've ever invested into fallings employees is when I took them to conferences, and you're you're just one person, right? So if you're the leader of a business or the owner of business, and you think you're gonna go out and get it, they're gonna catch some nuggets. After you get back from the conference, you sit down with all 10 of you, everybody pulls out their notes, you can brainstorm, it really, really will help benefit the business. I mean, we did it one time with the Brendon Bouchard Leadership Conference, and I ended up paying like 40 grand to bring nine people, but we got well over that out of that conference. So this is a steal, like you said, it's 1000 value and you're, you're paying for it, you know, double or triple

David Crandall  
well, and you start thinking, as you say that, and that's what I'm saying the challenge that anybody's gonna have when they really go man, I'm gonna bring my, my leadership team is have which courses do I want them in? Because I hate it, but there's competing times, like, if I would tell anybody, I would have someone in my company on the Secret Service cybersecurity session. And if our lab if our software coming out of our day might bet that that session is gonna be pretty packed out, you know, there's little thing nuggets like that, that you're going to be challenged on, you know, so that's where bringing a team to this is probably a wise a wise piece. So

Gary Pageau  
why is investment for the future? So where can they go to learn more information? First of all, MVP, Tim flog that that URL again?

Tim McCain  
Yes, www.photolynx.com/MVP. And you can get your tickets right there and they also that goes to the spa website so they can get there too. tickets as well right? For the whole conference right then in there.

Gary Pageau  
And David, where would they go for information about these?

David Crandall  
You can go to www dot school photographers of america.com. You can go to www dot school traditions.org. Either one. When you get to the site, top right corner it says conference touch that button takes you to everywhere you need to get and literally you can buy tickets you can get. You can see keynote speakers, you know, some of our other keynotes. Vijay Smith, guys, when everybody hears Vijay, he wrote the book, the richest man in town, it got picked up by a group called simple truths that has, you know, anything from Maxwell to call them pow, man, there's some killer like little small books that you'll read. But VJs book got picked up and he became an author and a speaker at the national level. He's now a state senator. So he's going to be able to give a different kind of vantage point. And they're making a movie after his book. So he will be he will be a speaker and like many others, and then Tyler Tarver is a huge, huge industry speaker in the in the education world, former teacher, former photographer videographer, and we're super excited to have him

Gary Pageau  
well, and I'm super excited to announce that there will be a $10 off ticket code. If you use the ticket, pixel 10 You'll get $10 off your registration for dead pixel society listeners. So that in itself is the most exciting thing. I have to announce that

Tim McCain  
I can't compete with that. That's awesome.

Gary Pageau  
Well, thank you, gentlemen, for your time. Looking forward to seeing you in June in Houston.

Tim McCain  
You too, man. Thank you very much. Thank you, Tim.

Thank you, David. Thank you, Gary. Appreciate you.

Erin Manning  
Thank you for listening to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. Read more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at www the dead pixels society.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai