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Taren Talk: The Blog and Journal of R.A. Baker

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Comment by Brian Jud on January 1, 2013 at 3:52pm

Brad Flora did a great job steering SPAN successfully through some turbulent times in the book-publishing industry. I wish him well as he begins a new era in his life, and thank him again for choosing me to succeed him as the Executive Director of SPAN as of today.


Each New Year brings with it a sense of renewal. We start every January with glorious expectations of good things to come. Historically, these hopeful visions gradually yield to our habitual practices and attention to unanticipated “fires”. My objective as Executive Director is to resist these temptations and lead SPAN unerringly on a new course.


One source of inspiration on this journey is Jeff Bezos, CEO of Mr. Bezos is the Fortune magazine 2012 Businessperson of the Year. In an article announcing that honor (Fortune, Dec 3, 2012, p 102), he made a comment that describes the approach I will take to making SPAN responsive to your needs. He talked about his approach for continuous improvement at Amazon. “We innovate by starting with the customer and working backwards,” he says.


With that philosophy as my guiding beacon, I ask that you tell me what you want SPAN to be. Describe additional services you would like to have SPAN provide. What member benefits do you want that do not exist? How can I improve the value you receive with your membership?


I have plans to reenergize SPAN as a vibrant organization responsive to members’ needs for increased sales, revenue and profit in non-bookstore markets. I will describe these in future correspondence with you and invite you to comment and elaborate on them. Let us open and maintain a dialogue that will help us work together to make SPAN the premier organization for independent book publishers. After integrating your ideas into my vision for SPAN’s future we can begin our voyage to mutual success.


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