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Author Topic: The Changing Landscape  (Read 43671 times)

luxborealis

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #80 on: December 28, 2018, 12:12:16 am »

Having just read the back-and-forth banter here, I am energized by what Iím reading. I think the newbie Ďfirst post hereí ejkrouse hit the nail on the head. And Josh, your responses to some difficult criticisms (and Slobodanís wit) have been thoughtful (not that you need my approval).

Iím looking forward to a revitalized Lula! All the best to you, Josh and Irene.
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Rajan Parrikar

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #81 on: December 28, 2018, 05:33:44 am »

The first order of business for the new crew should be to overhaul the Forum software which is woefully out of date. A platform devoted to photography ought to have a better way to display and view photos.

Chris and Kevin - thank you for all your past work.

Jonathan Cross

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #82 on: December 28, 2018, 06:01:01 am »

To me this has the hallmarks of the shock of the new.  To get a communication just before Christmas was a real surprise.  I echo all the comments about Chris and Kevin (and not forgetting Kevin's wife).  Chris kept it all going fairly much in the background, but his contribution cannot be overestimated.  Kevin was brave in taking over from an icon who died well before his time and I think he worked hard;  I enjoyed his output and learned a lot.  Lula is my go-to photographic website for all its components.  Ok I got fed up with the forum sometimes when a thread became just a back and forth between a just a few people, but compared to some other sites the level of rudeness and unsubstantiated criticism is very low. 

I just hope that the change has genuinely been amicable.  I shall continue to follow Lula and watch what happens with interest.  You have hard acts to follow, Josh.

Best wishes,

Jonathan
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Jonathan in UK

amolitor

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #83 on: December 28, 2018, 09:36:35 am »

On The Internet it is easy to develop the idea that success is easy. All one need to do is emulate other success stories, surely.

This is untrue. For every success story, there are thousands of nearly identical ideas which failed miserably, the problem is one of survivorship bias. We assume that we can identify the ingredients of success by examining a few success stories. It does not help at all that the people involved in a success almost invariably haven't the faintest idea why the succeeded -- but think that they do and will invariably share their completely knuckleheaded ideas with you. They think it was skill, but in fact it was mostly luck.

LuLa is going to see a dip in traffic, inevitably. Change always does that, it has very little to do with the substance of the change.

Josh & Irene, to be successful, are going to have to a) claw back the lost traffic and b) reverse the trend of dropping traffic, which is almost universal across the web, and moreso in the photo industry. Neither of these are going to be easy, and quite frankly, a few gimmicky ideas are not going to do it. The web is a graveyard with literally millions of gimmicky ideas buried in it.

Who do you want to attract? How do you plan to turn them in to money? What does your audience want, and what do your customers want, and how can those two things co-exist? Having sorted out that, then you turn to the question of getting hold of what the audience, and the customers, want and delivering it.

And it's still a long shot at that point.

Web sites on photography are the intersection of two industries in brisk decline. Find a niche with some legs, and play the hell out of it. I guess.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #84 on: December 28, 2018, 09:51:06 am »

On The Internet it is easy to develop the idea that success is easy. All one need to do is emulate other success stories, surely.

This is untrue. For every success story, there are thousands of nearly identical ideas which failed miserably, the problem is one of survivorship bias. We assume that we can identify the ingredients of success by examining a few success stories. It does not help at all that the people involved in a success almost invariably haven't the faintest idea why the succeeded -- but think that they do and will invariably share their completely knuckleheaded ideas with you. They think it was skill, but in fact it was mostly luck.

LuLa is going to see a dip in traffic, inevitably. Change always does that, it has very little to do with the substance of the change.

Josh & Irene, to be successful, are going to have to a) claw back the lost traffic and b) reverse the trend of dropping traffic, which is almost universal across the web, and moreso in the photo industry. Neither of these are going to be easy, and quite frankly, a few gimmicky ideas are not going to do it. The web is a graveyard with literally millions of gimmicky ideas buried in it.

Who do you want to attract? How do you plan to turn them in to money? What does your audience want, and what do your customers want, and how can those two things co-exist? Having sorted out that, then you turn to the question of getting hold of what the audience, and the customers, want and delivering it.

And it's still a long shot at that point.

Web sites on photography are the intersection of two industries in brisk decline. Find a niche with some legs, and play the hell out of it. I guess.

Well there is a lot to think about here Andrew, but I would imagine a way to guarantee some sort of succeed with this site, is to go back to what it was originally when Michael first set it up (if it aint broke etc), which was a totally FREE to access site, but with video downloads that you had to buy if you wished to watch them, but once having done so you could then keep them and watch them repeatedly.

It certainly worked for Michael and Chris for decades and if re-introduced exactly as it was before and with the same level of quality and content, I can't see why it shouldn't work just as well again.

Dave
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #85 on: December 28, 2018, 10:32:00 am »

Well there is a lot to think about here Andrew, but I would imagine a way to guarantee some sort of succeed with this site, is to go back to what it was originally when Michael first set it up (if it aint broke etc), which was a totally FREE to access site, but with video downloads that you had to buy if you wished to watch them, but once having done so you could then keep them and watch them repeatedly.

It certainly worked for Michael and Chris for decades and if re-introduced exactly as it was before and with the same level of quality and content, I can't see why it shouldn't work just as well again.

Dave
Look at the ways for a site to make money:
1) Advertising - already done
2) Membership Fee - already done; but this has to be carefully done in terms of amount as both existing and new users will evaluate whether the cost is worth the benefit
3) Provide some kind of Product - this was done with the Michael and Jeff videos that were well produced and filled a need.  I paid for several of them and found the content and quality exceptional.  At this point in time the Internet is loaded with video content and any new offering has to fill some kind of void.  This is what the new proprietors are going to have to struggle with 'if' this is the way they intend to go forward.

The bigger question is what type of content do LuLa members want.  Some of the reviews, in particular the printer ones done by Mark Segal, were excellent and provided great information for those wanting to purchase a printer (my Epson 3880 continues to perk along so I not in that category yet).  Other reviews were hit and miss.  Some of the photography articles were quite lame.  If the content is not there, the site will slowly fade away.
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jeremyrh

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #86 on: December 28, 2018, 11:43:55 am »

Reviews are tricky. There are millions of review sites around and probably most of them are biased by advertisers. There are also test sites providing objective measurements. I don't want a reviewer making test shots because I can get that data more reliably elsewhere. I want someone telling me what it's actually like to use the camera. Of course anyone can do that, so it has to be someone you trust. Like Michael. Until someone else shows up who can deserve the same level of trust then reviews will only be a subsidiary feature (IMO, obviously)

Having said all that it would be nice to see a Nikon review from time to time  :-)
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jeremyrh

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #87 on: December 28, 2018, 11:50:11 am »

Reiterate? This is the first Iíve read concerning your sincere thanks to Kevin.  That should have been in your first post, donít you think?

Jeff

From the front page article:

"Of course, we extend our very best wishes to Kevin Raber as he pivots to focus on offering Rockhopper Workshops and setting sail towards other endeavors. "
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amolitor

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #88 on: December 28, 2018, 12:17:43 pm »

Two of the more common mistakes in business are:

1. confusing "what I want" with "what the market wants"
2. confusing "what worked last year" with "what will work this year"

Marketing is an actual discipline, but many people who fancy themselves experts do not practice it.
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RMW

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #89 on: December 28, 2018, 01:31:42 pm »

Many thanks to Kevin and Chris for all they've contributed. I hope they know how much appreciation they deserve.

My enjoyment and learning from being a part of LuLa is great. And I hope that what I don't know about this change in leadership was anything regrettable.

Besides being a resource for photography, this website has always been a place of friendly support and good humor (well almost always). May it stay this way.

Richard
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #90 on: December 28, 2018, 02:29:15 pm »

... It certainly worked for Michael and Chris for decades and if re-introduced exactly as it was before and with the same level of quality and content, I can't see why it shouldn't work just as well again.

Because it would be like fighting yesterday's wars? The French tried that with the Maginot line and failed miserably.

Nothing today is the same as ten years ago. There was the novelty of digital, there was excitement, there was next to zero prior knowledge for us switching from film to digital. There is only yawn today. Nothing creates that level of excitement today. Without its faithful samurai Bernard, even Nikon Z wouldn't reach one tenth of the pages on this site. It isn't Kevin's fault, it certainly isn't Josh' fault either, it simply is.



Ray Harrison

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #91 on: December 28, 2018, 02:30:31 pm »

I wish Kevin and Chris huge success in future endeavors and I wanted to thank them for the talent and dedication to making this site what it is today. They have the ability to "think sideways" and I know we'll be hearing of their next successful ventures soon. Thanks guys!

Josh and Irene - welcome!

As a long time reader, lurker, I was initially miffed when it went "paid" a number of years back and threw my toys out of the pram and sulked in a corner. After all, the web is full of photography sites, right? That said, when I wanted to up my game on tools like Capture One and to get into printing, I realized that maybe, just maybe, the content was well worth the super-high cost of $12/year  :) - and it definitely was. And the current price is obviously laughably cheap. And I would certainly pay more for similar quality, in-depth content such as Camera-To-Print/Screen and Mark Segal's truly excellent reviews, though I may be in the minority.

I pay for two photography sites: Luminous Landscape and Reid Reviews and both because for me, they provide a rather eclectic and often in-depth look at things I find interesting. LuLa's community is an eclectic mix too and I enjoy reading and learning from the wide variety of minds that frequent the forum and that create content here. I'm much less interested in videos on paid junkets to vendor sponsored events, though even I like fluff reading/viewing every now and again. I'm OK with making money off of targeted advertising, much the way it is now. And like others have mentioned, getting into the minds of photographers and other videos like the Masters series, keep it coming! I'm not too interested in video as a subject, but I am very much interested in story telling with images, so am interested to see where Josh takes his video interests with this site.

If the site has dreams of being a "YouTube Influencer", I'd very much pass unless the definition of that happens to change. I definitely get the need to grow traffic and since my day job involves working to understand a large customer base and getting them to part with hard-earned cash, I have some sympathy with the need to take things to the next level. It is tricky to get right though.
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JeanMichel

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #92 on: December 28, 2018, 04:08:01 pm »

I add my best wishes to to Josh and Irene for the continuing success of LuLa. I equally wish to thank Kevin and Chris for all their contributions to the site and forum.

I first registered in 2009 when I transitioned from film to digital; the greatest value I got from LuLa were the early camera equipment review, printer reviews and the video tutorials such as Cameras to Print, Lightroom series, and such. I often recommend those to people asking me for advice, they remain an excellent source of foundational information for 'digital' photography. I frequent the site daily, mostly out of general interest and to occasionally offer a solution to an issue encountered by a member. I am one of the old foggies  and frankly do not need nor get much new information from this or any other sites. By now the digital stuff has reached the "how to design a new kettle" stage and save for minimal valuable enhancement to equipment or software there is not much for me to be gleaned; but there is to the new generation of photographers.

I quickly searched for information on Josh and Irene. Both are graduates from schools I attended and that makes me happy; however, the experience they list is definitely not in what most people would describe as photographic, so it will be interesting to see how they make LuLa relevant to both more recent converts to photography and to the old practitioners.

I am looking forward to the next iteration of LuLa.
 
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davidnumrich

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #93 on: December 28, 2018, 04:23:51 pm »

Because it would be like fighting yesterday's wars? The French tried that with the Maginot line and failed miserably.

Nothing today is the same as ten years ago. There was the novelty of digital, there was excitement, there was next to zero prior knowledge for us switching from film to digital. There is only yawn today. Nothing creates that level of excitement today. Without its faithful samurai Bernard, even Nikon Z wouldn't reach one tenth of the pages on this site. It isn't Kevin's fault, it certainly isn't Josh' fault either, it simply is.

I only seriously got into photography for the first time in November of 2016 with the A7R II. I had a Canon Rebel DSLR before that, but it never clicked for me. Mirrorless technology that brings the ability to see what your settings are doing to the exposure in real time is really what it took for everything to start making sense. It just feels a lot more natural coming from a smartphone and I think there are a lot more people out there like me who will continue to discover more advanced photography through affordable mirrorless cameras.
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Rob C

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #94 on: December 28, 2018, 05:09:27 pm »

Because it would be like fighting yesterday's wars? The French tried that with the Maginot line and failed miserably.

Nothing today is the same as ten years ago. There was the novelty of digital, there was excitement, there was next to zero prior knowledge for us switching from film to digital. There is only yawn today. Nothing creates that level of excitement today. Without its faithful samurai Bernard, even Nikon Z wouldn't reach one tenth of the pages on this site. It isn't Kevin's fault, it certainly isn't Josh' fault either, it simply is.


Yes, that's the hard reality, Slobodan: the world has turned blasť and not much can turn that around.

For this old guy, the interest is firmly planted in his hereos of yesteryear, certainly most of them already made men, as it were, back in the days of film and 45rpm. I don't watch much tv apart from a thirst for some news channels, and I enjoy some old series such as House and The Sopranos and, if I feel short of concentration, I still realise that I can find my face in a smile watching Friends where, to my surprise, I now find myself much more drawn to Ms Cox than to my earlier favourite, Ms Aniston. How old do you have to get before maturing ends? Music? Lost in the 50s and 60s most nights (and days).

Anyway, not only has photography appeared to have changed from skilled production to ubiquitous selfie, but perhaps skill no longer matters much anymore. In an odd sort of way, perhaps that can be a blessing: I no longer cart a meter around like a necklace, and I have become totally lazy and depedent on auto-ISO. Is that a bad thing? If it allows me to enjoy snapping away just to please myself, then no, it's not bad at all.

Perhaps this ease has brought us all to the point where we eventually realise that being able to click and get a technical wonder without thinking is no longer quite the buzz it was supposed to be going to be; maybe, just maybe, we'll all come to conclude that content matters most. Square 1?

It's funny how long it takes for people to realise the inescapable interconnectedness of everything. Look around our city centres and you see closed, crushed, abandoned dreams on every little corner; the once untouchables are faring no better, and some of my prized, favourite clients have been bought over and decimated, and they are the lucky ones; the car business has seen marques fall like last season's leaves. Camera companies have been whittled down to what Sinatra might have called these precious few. We look around for evil entities to blame and to curse for our lost jobs and options, and hey, we realise it's all out own damned fault: we can't resist the short-term bargain and the siren song of the multinational tech. company. Serves us friggin' right, I guess.

But yeah, I'd take the chance and return LuLa to its earlier, more innocent time, but then that requires the factor of love, and doing something just for the hell of it, which from the outside at least, was what Michael seemed to be doing. Bring in the need for big bucks to run an expanded site, amd perhaps it can no longer be done for love alone.

I would hate to run my own blog, never mind something like this project, so thank goodness it doesn't depend on the likes of moi!

Buenas noches.

Peter McLennan

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #95 on: December 28, 2018, 06:35:08 pm »

Help me out here.  Is Chris "off the island", too? 
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faberryman

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #96 on: December 28, 2018, 06:52:19 pm »

I quickly searched for information on Josh and Irene. Both are graduates from schools I attended and that makes me happy; however, the experience they list is definitely not in what most people would describe as photographic, so it will be interesting to see how they make LuLa relevant to both more recent converts to photography and to the old practitioners.
Can you provide a link.

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #97 on: December 28, 2018, 06:56:18 pm »

Help me out here.  Is Chris "off the island", too? 

Yes.

32BT

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #98 on: December 28, 2018, 07:18:35 pm »

Because it would be like fighting yesterday's wars? The French tried that with the Maginot line and failed miserably.

Nothing today is the same as ten years ago. There was the novelty of digital, there was excitement, there was next to zero prior knowledge for us switching from film to digital. There is only yawn today. Nothing creates that level of excitement today. Without its faithful samurai Bernard, even Nikon Z wouldn't reach one tenth of the pages on this site. It isn't Kevin's fault, it certainly isn't Josh' fault either, it simply is.

+1

The numbers were already dwindling, the worst advice is any suggestion of going back to the way it was. In order to revive into a new and thriving community, you need to change the entire scope. Whether it is even possible on internuts these days is also a good point. It's interesting to note that the Instagrams of this world may be successful in some sense, but certainly not in creating a community spirit of shared interests.

If you really want to make money, the site needs to be the equivalent of an influencer, just like this site used to be in the sphere of professional photography and medium format gear. Apart from the fact that there is little money left in that sphere, i don't believe this site is the kind of influencer it used to be.

Is properly filtered, quality info still a valuable asset to become the kind of influence that generates sustainable income? I doubt it strongly, or otherwise newssites wouldn't be in such dire straits. Stonewalling with paywalls is the worst choice though, there may be options using very low barrier forms of PWYW using proper account management.

I wish anyone responsible for continuation of this website the best of luck and wisdom, and sincerely hope they succeed, at the very least in keeping the legacy resources available.
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JeffS

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Re: The Changing Landscape
« Reply #99 on: December 28, 2018, 07:26:45 pm »

From the front page article:

"Of course, we extend our very best wishes to Kevin Raber as he pivots to focus on offering Rockhopper Workshops and setting sail towards other endeavors. "

Exactly... good luck going forward... but no thanks or recognition for past accomplishments or role as CEO and Publisher for the last year and a half following Michaelís passing.  The snub is made more stark in contrast to the clear thanks expressed to Chris for his past contributions.  Common courtesy, especially on a public forum.

Jeff

« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 07:30:17 pm by JeffS »
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