When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, one of the original board members reminded him that “Great companies reinvent themselves when they need to”.
Well is it’s good enough for Apple, it’s good enough for [ b ] School!
But first, a bit of history:
When we started working on The [ b ] School back in 2006, we wanted a place where photographers could connect online and help each other grow their businesses. We also wanted to provide a safe place to ask questions, share ideas, encourage one another and continue learning, as we believe a true professional never stops growing.
When we first launched [ b ] School in the fall of 2008, after almost 2 full years of development, we, like a lot of you, were disappointed in the speed of the site (or more precisely… the lack there of speed). We had lots of bugs, we had issues with the developers, and the site pretty much sucked. It was a total bummer because we put so much time, effort, love and $$$ into it. Seriously… I could have bought a Ferrari for what we paid for that site. :-(
However… even though the site itself sucked… I was very pleased by the helpful and friendly vibe that took hold within the community. The giving spirit of our members, the willingness to help out other photographers, the eagerness to grow & learn and the over all positive attitude kept us going. We were happy to reinvest just about every penny we made into rebuilding the site from the ground up (with a new developer of course)!
In February of 2011, we opened the doors to [ b ] School 2.0 and proudly showed off our new home on the web. People were raving about how much better the site itself was, and I am proud to say that we still have the same helpful and friendly vibe going amongst our amazing members. It’s been awesome to witness all of the sharing, the learning and the growth by our members. I am constantly impressed by the quality of images shared in our gallery and the information shared in our forums and clubs.
But guess what… we know we can make it even better, and create a site that is more useful and valuable to photographers… and we are going to do just that with “[ b ] School 3”!
Notice that “[ b ] School 3” is in quotes. It’s because we are mixing it up a bit and rebranding! We actually taking the site in a new direction and we felt a new name was in order.
We know that not everyone is going to be happy with the change, but I realized in high school that I couldn’t please everyone so I stopped trying. I believe the changes we are making are better for our community, and the industry as a whole. Here are a few reasons we are getting away from the [ b ] School brand:
#1 Well technically, we aren’t a school.
I mean, it’s been my goal to connect, educate and inspire as much as I possibly can, and I feel I’ve shared every secret about the biz that I can think of… but it’s not a school in the sense of how most people think of learning and classes and online education (Creative Live, After Dark Education, etc…). My favorite part of school was recess, and for me it was all about socializing and connecting instead of actually learning. In that respect, I am proud of the work we did during the almost 6 years of [ b ] School.
#2 - It’s not about me.
Look, I know some folks think I am a crazy egomaniac, so full of himself, cocky, whatever. I always try to assure new people that I meet that I am not nearly pretentious as I pretend to be ;-) The folks who truly know me deep down, know that I am a pretty laid back guy who just loves life and feel blessed to be doing what he loves for a living. I also love helping others… It’s the whole “teach a man to fish thing”. And while I do believe in branding and the [ b ] logo will live on in my photography business… this idea for our new community is way bigger than any one person… I don’t need it to be, or even want it to be, about me. I want it to be all about the talented photographers who share and help and inspire.
#3. We are professionals.
I do believe that it’s important to never stop learning. Ever. Seriously. But our new site is going to focus on getting your work in front of potential clients, who will hopefully book you. We can’t be referring to you as “students” even though we all are right? We want to assure the prospective clients that this new site is full of dedicated professional who are passionate about photography. I can’t tell you how many people have dropped out of [ b ] School over the years for the simple reason that they didn’t like think of themselves as students. Let me tell you folks… The moment you stop learning you may as well retire. But their point was well taken and we won’t be referring to you as students in front of prospective clients.
But don’t fret…
Thebschool.com isn’t going away… there are way too many valuable conversation, tons of videos and plenty of connection that will live on for the time being.
Private School members will continue to have lifetime access to the new site.
Any yearly subscriptions still active at the time our new site launches, will be automatically transferred to the new site, and a fresh year will be started at no additional charge. (Although your original [ b ] School subscription will end when it is scheduled to).
Even though we are changing directions, we are still committed to help photographers, connect, learn and grow as professionals.
”[ b ] School 3” is being reincarnated as PhotogRefers.com…
A Social Referral Network for professional wedding & portrait photographers.
We’re building a new kind of photographic directory unlike anything we’ve seen on the web. We believe we have a better way to get your work in front of people looking to hire you. We’re also building tools to help you get & share referrals with your peers as well.
Our #1 goal is to help you get your work seen by people looking to hire a professional photographer. While we will have a bias towards wedding photography, portrait & event photographers will be also be welcomed.
Our #2 goal is to help you connect with other professionals and share referrals when you are booked, or unable to do a job. We’re going to continue right were we left off at the [ b ] School, with a commitment to helping photographers connect with one another.
Our #3 goal is to help you find the best products, services & educational opportunities that this industry has to offer. We’ve been at this a long time, and we’ve made partnerships with other companies that are also dedicated to helping photographers.
We’ll have a lot more to tell you about our plan in the weeks to come, but for now, head on over to PhotogRefers.com and reserve your username. Mine is going to be PhotogRefers.com/thebecker, so think of something else!
Also, once you sign up, you’ll be given a custom link, just for you to share with your photo friends on your various social networks. The more people you share it with, the sooner you’ll be invited into the new site.
Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and pay close attention to our blog, as more details will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Seriously friends… I can’t tell you how excited I am about this new venture and I hope you’ll get in on the ground floor of this new community. As always… our commitment to helping photographers has not, and will not, ever stop!
PS. If you have any questions about this at all, please email me at email@example.com
PPS. I’ll be at WPPI in Las Vegas from Sunday through Thursday next week, feel free to ask me about PhotogRefers.com
PPPS. Seriously… go right now and reserve your username then share your link with your friends!