As a 27 year SIPA veteran, I can find a lot to like about the SIPA SIIA merger
Back in 1985, John Wilson, Steve Pepper, and Barrie Martland attended a seminar I was teaching in New York City on magazine economics. By the end of the day the trio convinced me that my company, Lighthouse Software, should join what was then called the Newsletter Publishers Association. Over the years I’ve published newsletters on marketing, writing, and technology. Every time I started a new company, I joined what’s now called SIPA. Like most publishers, my business has evolved and expanded over the years to include publishing, software, training, consulting and even technology services. Many SIPA members are also my clients. And while my company belongs to a number of publishing trade organizations, SIPA is the one I consider home. While other trade organizations are dominated by larger corporate organizations, SIPA has always been the home of the entrepreneur. Most of my colleagues and SIPA run organizations are similar in size and scope to my own.
Three things I like about the SIPA-SIIA merger
An independent division: Many SIIA members are large corporations. While I’m sure I can learn a lot from their employees, I know I will continue to hang out with the owner operators who have become my friends and colleagues in SIPA. The fact that SIPA will be one of six independent divisions inside SIIA with its own Board of Directors, dues structure, and events makes me feel nothing will be lost. At the same time, I appreciate the back-office support and financial stability that will allow the SIPA board and other volunteers to focus more time on programming and benefits.
Strong leadership: in my opinion, SIPA hasn’t had a strong consistent executive director in years. Few organizations can prosper without strong leadership at the top. Having spent some time with Ken Wasch, and perhaps more importantly done my due diligence on him and his organization, I’m convinced he is a strong leader. I believe Ken will champion our needs whenever possible and counsel us against bad decisions when he feels it’s appropriate. I also believe he’s the consummate networker and will do everything in his power to introduce me to other SIIA members where he believes there can be mutual benefit.
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Enhanced representation: I know of no other publishing industry trade organization that’s been more aggressive in defending the needs of its constituents than SIIA. The organization is active both in the United States and abroad in sorting through the complex issues around intellectual property, privacy, and piracy. Their anti-piracy program is the poster child for all media industries. With a large budget and a full-time government affairs staff, they well deserve I the portion of my dues that go to support their efforts.
As a fourth bonus, I look forward to attending SIIA events in 2013. I also look forward to having organizations that are SIIA members and that have not been SIPA members begin to attend SIPA event starting with the SIPA Digital Publishing and Marketing Institute that will be held in Miami in December.
Change is what you make it
As a small publisher with a very diversified business, I am intimately familiar with the challenges of running a small organization with a big footprint. As SIPA has attempted to expand its benefits and offerings to support my diversification and the diversification of my colleagues, the organization has perhaps bitten off more than it can chew. The SIPA-SIIA merger will bring resources to the table that map the task. As Ken Wasch and Bob Brady pointed out in last week’s call to SIPA members, trade organizations are a lot like country clubs. Once you belong to one, you really don’t need to belong to a second. I for one am happy to see that our country club is now affiliated with a well-managed, financially robust parent organization whose global perspective is aligned with our own.
Hope to see you in Miami.