Upload & Sell: On
Good analysis Nick! The verdict on P1 is pending, but I don't know if they have any better sales people than Blad in the final analysis. In the heavy equipment business we had marketing people and we had "order takers". Some people thought that Caterpillar only had order takers because our equipment was so superior to the competition. They were, of course, mistaken. Our equipment was superior, but it was also 60% more expensive than anyone else's. Every once in a while you had a client who just wouldn't consider buying anything that wasn't Cat, in those cases one was an order taker. In most situations, the client needed to be persuaded that there was at least a 60% benefit to choosing our product, so you had to know your stuff and believe in what you were selling.
Hasselblad lost their sales people a long, long time ago. Like many companies, they read and believed too much of their own press. When Rob Morgan (my rep) and Ernst Wildi faded from the scene, all that was left seemed to be people waiting around to do you a favor and let you buy their product. Anyone in sales knows that signals the beginning of the end. Certainly Blad doing that closed system thing was more evidence of an increasingly unmerited arrogance, mixed with a blatant disregard for the client's needs. More of, "we're Hasselblad, be happy we will even speak with you". I'm a good example, for decades I had five or six bodies, a dozen 12/24 backs, 20 lenses, accessories out the wazoo. Hasselblad regularly serviced my bodies and backs, mostly preventative maintenance, especially in the backs to prevent that light seal weakness they exhibited. I was very well known in the Hasselblad inner circles. When Rob retired and Professor Ernst left the company, no one ever contacted me again to keep up the relationship. Never got a call to coax me into Hasselblad digital, just dead silence. Few photographers had the breath and depth of their product I did, I would have considered me a sitting duck as a prospect for upgrading. In fact, a few years ago I initiated some dialogue with them and they repeatedly dropped the ball.
We'll see about P1, at these prices I have no intention of jumping in without a lot of confidence that it is the right thing to do, both in the product performance area and the support department. My experience tells me that if you can't get a company excited about selling their product to you, their support staff will be exponentially less interested in you. While I can get myself stoked about a camera that captures 200mb files with 13 stops of dynamic range, looking objectively at my market, my clients are very pleased with the product I produce for them. I constantly over deliver, as does my chosen equipment. Adding medium format digital will be something I do more for myself than for my clients, it's that desire to stretch to the next level of quality. Sure the clients will notice it and hopefully be impressed, but only incrementally. I think most of us here will agree that we strive for the end product we do, largely for our own satisfaction, and I think that is a very honorable motivation. When you go wading out into the surf, you're not doing it to make our jaws drop (certainly we love the accolades from people we respect), but you are doing it to one up your expectations.
The ball is firmly in Phase One's court now. I don't expect any special treatment, just a supplier who is confident in their product, and who is so excited about it, and getting it into the hands of a new client, that they can't wait to tell me about it and demonstrate why I can't go on shooting without one. If they care that much, I'm interested, if they don't, I don't. Weebeesee.
I like your "all over you like a bad rash" approach, it tells people you believe in what your selling. I'm confident in the product I am going to deliver to a client, but to this very day they can see that I am excited and enthusiastic about being able to create that product uniquely for them. That's the clincher, indifference rarely inspires confidence, particularly in a sales situation.
As far as your work, it's beautiful. I hope one of these days I can wade out into the surf with you and create something breathtaking.