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context is everything

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kittyholmes says:

Wilson pointed out that the internet is a lot like traffic, if somebody cuts you off in his car, you can hurl all the insults and shake your fist all you want, because you’ll never see that guy again. If he was walking down a sidewalk and did this, you most likely would not have the same reaction.

I mention this because how many of you here actually know Derek Powazek? Or Paul Cloutier? Personally, and not just in passing, or from what you know of them from the internet? The internet is a funny thing, it makes you feel as if you know complete strangers as well as your best friends out in the real world.

I say this because I know Derek and Paul. I’ve known Derek for years now. I moved in March, but before I did that I could see his living room window from my deck, my Chihuahua loves his Chihuahuas Chieka and Bug, and both being nerds we have a lot of the same interests. He’s been to my house countless times for barbeques, and Battlestar Galactica. We both mourned the passing of Deadwood. Derek and Heather took some amazing photos of my wedding last year. I don’t just know Derek and Heather because they are an internet super couple, I know them because I know them.

I also know Paul really well. In fact I’ve known Paul for half my life, since high school, which is about 15 years now. Paul is a standup guy, a great friend, loyal, hardworking, annoyingly good at the wii tennis fire serve thingy, and a great photographer. And also, which is a major point here, really fucking honest. If you ask Paul if you are gaining weight, (hoping he’ll say no) he’ll tell you the truth, that yes, those pants are a little tight. I can assure you that Paul does not make it a habit to lie. Even though he is honest, Paul is not a jerk. Paul is a really good guy.

At this point you may have figured out that I am more than friends with Paul. In fact I am Paul’s wife. And I’ve kept quiet, and avoided the internet for 3 days, (which is hard, all I could read were celebrity gossip blogs, since they only care about Paris Hilton) while complete strangers said really horrible things about my husband. And not just complete strangers, some of them are people who’s work I admire, and some are even contacts. I’ve commented on their photos, and they have commented on mine. Because I know them from the internet, I felt like I knew them a little. All of this makes me sad. There are no rules about how to deal with the situation of strangers flaming your husband, when they are your contacts on Flickr.

There is a thing called context. And emotions change the context of things. We are all familiar with this, it has happened to us all.

You have heard Derek’s version of how things happened, and it was detailed. And very well written, because Derek is a talented writer. But it was not a years worth of details. That would be a very long post. Conversations that happened did not make it into Derek’s version, and some that did are skewed. Some key facts are omitted. (Such as why Paul took the CEO title. Derek got to be on the board, while Paul did not. In a small company, titles don’t mean as much, it’s really just a title. I feel like Derek left this detail out to make it look more sinister. Which feels dishonest to me.) Some things are closer to the truth if you reverse them. I know this because some of these conversations happened in my living room, or over the phone while I was nearby. Our old apartment wasn’t very big, so I was there for a lot of conversations.

One other thing that I do want to address specifically is the issue of Heather in regards to JPG and 8020. Heather works for Flickr. Heather was offered a job by 8020 when they first got funding, as the editor of the new and improved JPG, and Heather turned the job down. Heather’s official role in 8020 was the same as mine, as a wife of a founder of 8020 publishing. She was never employed by 8020, and Derek and Heather were paid for the JPG name at the beginning. She had a say in what photos were chosen, because she is Derek’s wife, but she was never on the payroll. To say she was “fired” is false.

Derek is upset. It’s understandable. He’s disappointed about how things ended. So am I. So is Paul. So are the other 7 employees at 8020 publishing. It’s a sucky situation made worse by the reactions. I think it could have been handled better on both sides, but I also think it needed to be handled in private.

What you will not get is a detailed version of Paul’s story. Mostly because it won’t do any good, and Paul is not the sort of guy to point fingers, and play an online former business partner version of he said, she said. It’s not going to get any of us anywhere. I think he’s been the target of enough insults this week, and detailed posts will only continue this.

What he is doing is what he has done daily for the last year, which is running the day-to-day operation of 8020 publishing, and planning out the next step for not only JPG, but the other magazines that they have in the works. Did you know they have other magazines planned? I do, and they are fucking awesome, people. And they had better be, because we keep postponing our honeymoon because of 8020. I believe in Paul and the company, and it’s awesome employees enough to give up two weeks in Mexico.

I’d hate to see you all miss out on JPG and future projects. What I’d love is for everybody to sit back, take a deep breath, and wait. If you come back and check out JPG in a few weeks, and you are still mad, then well, I guess I can’t change your mind. But if you still like what you see, and your worst fears haven’t been realized, then please, post an awesome photo.

That whole thing about authentic media, that takes a community, not editors, not founders. The whole point of JPG and the 8020 model is that we (meaning the community) control what gets published, and that doesn’t change if people leave, even if it’s Derek and Heather or Paul. It still belongs to you, just like it did before.

JPG never publishes my photos, but maybe they’ll publish yours. And come on, that’s awesome.

-alana


P.S.- regarding Paul’s flickr avatar, Paul does not look like a pirate, corporate or otherwise. He still has both eyes. He’s dressed as Largo from Thunderball. (Is no one here a fan of James Bond or fancy dress parties?)
12:50PM, 16 May 2007 PDT (permalink)

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mclgreenville / memorymotel says:

I wish he would spell out some of the reasons. We need that context.
Thanks for the post.
84 months ago (permalink)

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minjungkim says:

Thanks for writing this.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin is a group administrator Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin says:

Haha I thought he looked like a Pirated Anderson Cooper.
84 months ago (permalink)

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antijenx says:

thank you
84 months ago (permalink)

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zenfrog says:

Having been part of a startup, it's doubtful that the reasons would make sense to you unless he included reams and reams of details and background. Startups are an unholy mixture of friendship and business and there's lots of opportunities for things to go wrong. Constant open communication and understanding of each others visions are needed, and were seemingly somewhat lacking here.
84 months ago (permalink)

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a real nobody says:

I agree with Matt in that I think that is why the community is so upset. Paul (or any of the other folks involved with JPG) has failed to explain anything or tried to connect with the community that has helped to create the magazine. His brief words last night were basically copied & pasted from the 8020 site (or vise versa) which smacks of insincerity and his lack of participation in a thread he started comes off as quite arrogant, which only separates him from the community even more.
His, and the other JPG staff's lack of communication & reaching out is troubling, and the longer it goes on is only making it worse. I find it really pathetic that JPG staff's loved ones are the only ones chiming in. Leaves a really bad taste in my mouth as I'm sure it does others.
84 months ago (permalink)

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camnlo4130 says:

and the "bump"ing of topics and starting a new equipment thread just seemed to throw a little gas on the fire, as if to say "hey, everything is going along as normal, nothing going on here" its kind of insulting
84 months ago (permalink)

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rutty says:

Thank-you Alana. I wish your husband had been as eloquent yesterday as you obviously are, then we may not have seen so much grief over this whole mess.

So many Admins here were far too quiet yesterday too. Leave people to chunter among themselves for too long and look what happens.

Best of luck sorting it out - this magazine has meant a LOT to many people, and it can do again as long as it remains a community project. That means you have to talk to the community!

Good luck!
84 months ago (permalink)

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Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin is a group administrator Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin says:

@Camnlo4130: JPG Employees had nothing to do with the "bumping" of threads. That was my doing. I am in no way associated with JPGMag except for the fact that I administrate this group on flickr, I am a member of JPGMag.com and a subscriber to JPGMag.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin (a group admin) edited this topic 84 months ago.

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ukraine is sane says:

ha! i'd hate to be on a ship in the middle of the Paific in battle with the imperial Japanese with these ex-jpg subscribers, first sign of a 'boat-rock' and they'd all jump ship! Not to be mean but it's going to be a bit funny once they start regretting their rash deletions...
84 months ago (permalink)

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squarerootofnine is a group moderator squarerootofnine says:

*exhale*

I chatted at length with my wife last night about the JPG drama on the internet that's held my interest over the last few days. I was struggling to make sense of it all. After reading Derek's blog, naturally, I sat back in my chair and scratched my head. I decided to monitor the boards, but not enter the fray until I'd had a little while to reflect a little bit.

Alana's post comes as a bit of relief.

Some might take exception to Alana fighting her husbands battles, but I think those people will be misguided. He is, after all, the CEO of a company and has bigger fish to fry than an online rumble that's known among only a small percentage of his customers. And make no mistake, those of us in Flickr might feel like we're a loud booming voice, but we're not. We're a rumble. Maybe less.

Business is business and anyone who believes it shold be otherwise is naive. Very naive. What happens between business partners should stay between business partners, unless, of course, the company in question is publically traded.

I noticed in my initial read of Derek's blog that, like any good story teller (or spin artist), certain details were left out. As much meaning is inferred by what was said as what was not said. And just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's Gospel and should have a religion founded around it.

Like Alana said, you can't have a transcript of the last year - which means what was started as none of our business will likely remain none of our business. And that's the way it should be. Until 8020 goes public and you invest your cold hard cash in their venture, no one owes you an explination of what went down behind closed doors. No offense to Matt above, but we don't need that context.

In fact, I have come to believe that what Derek did with his blog is fan a flame that was for his warmth only. Some of us, have somehow come to the mistaken conclusion that we were somehow burned.

We weren't.

Derek may have been, and we can all only hope that he's learned from his mistakes. The largest of those, in my opinion, is that airing private dirty laundry in public doesn't do any good.

I'm to the point where I believe Paul's lack of response, his refraining from entering into the "public debate" is a sign of his true character. With that choice, he has made the statement that he won't stoop to the level of slander with the story of his side - one that would no doubt be full of ommissions as misleading as Derek's.

We might like Derek - as much as anyone can like a guy they know from the internet. But let's not let that color our view of things. His emotional response to parting ways colored his telling of the events. Don't forget that. Ignoring that detail is as irresponsible as bringing private matters into the open - no matter how noble the intentions.

Remember what Toad the Wet Sprocket said about that -

"It's hard to rely on my good intentions, when my head's full of things that I can't mention."

- Trey
84 months ago (permalink)

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Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin is a group administrator Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin says:

Nice.
84 months ago (permalink)

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bshort says:

Meh. It's too bad Paul doesn't have the guts to say anything useful on the matter.

JPG Mag was special because of its users, but now it doesn't even have that.
84 months ago (permalink)

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squarerootofnine is a group moderator squarerootofnine says:

"...now it doesn't even have that."

I disagree. The attician witnessed in membership from this group and JPGmag.com has come from reactionaries. Statistically speaking, they represent a very small sum of the total membership.

And Paul has guts, man. Make no mistake. It takes guts, lots and lots of guts, to remain mum while a group of people drag your name through the mud. I doubt many people who are members of this group would have the same stalwart character and steadfast resolve to cling to the principle that private matters should remain private. What's gutless about that?
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
squarerootofnine edited this topic 84 months ago.

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kittyholmes says:

thanks so much everybody for all of your supportive comments. i posted this and then went away for an hour expecting to have a whole flaming mess when i came back. the fact that i didn't (so far!) is awesome.

squarerootofnine, if my oven wasn't broken i would have a box of cookies on it's way to you! i wish more people had posted such a well thought out response to all of this a day or two ago.

and as far as the flickr JPG comunity being a small part. you are not. you are a big part. JPG is a community, always has been, always will. and well, the community has been a bit pissed off the last couple of days. which is why i stopped being anonymous and put myself out here. the community needed some questions answered, and i hope i answered some of them. or at least made you feel a little better.
84 months ago (permalink)

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whileseated says:

kittyholmes' "I know Derek and Heather and Paul" argument up above doesn't wash. It doesn't matter if I know them, or if kittyholmes is married to one of them, or if you chatted with them once years ago. The quality of their character isn't the issue.

When JPG chose to part ways with D & H, they also chose to excise themselves from the community that contributed to their early success, whether issues 1-6 were a quaint zine to be forgotten, or not. This week, JPG is discovering you can't steamroll an online community - you need to overexplain changes, if anything - or you accept the consequences of the interweb echo chamber.

It doesn't matter if JPG was good, is good, or will be good. Nor does it matter if 8020 has the next LIFE Magazine in the hopper. There are great projects to contribute to everywhere, online & off. And there will be thousands of newbies who will soon arrive with their SLRs to $ave JPG and replace the hundreds who've deleted their accounts and ended their subscriptions.

People are far too eager to see their digiphotos in a magazine on the rack to let any of this stand in the way. Collective memory on these kinds of things last about six weeks. Maybe four.

As a contributor, I'm out, but I have no illusions that my absence has any meaning, beyond my own choice. It's the principle of the thing, and once in awhile, you have to flex your principles.

Have fun making buckets of money, 8020!
84 months ago (permalink)

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fraying says:

Yup, context really is everything. So here's some more.

Alana is, indeed, the wife of a cofounder of 8020. But Heather was much more than that. Heather was the cofounder of JPG Magazine, nurtured the community for two years before 8020, and curated every single issue with me, before and after 8020.

Post 8020, Heather still worked for JPG. She held a place on the masthead right next to me. She brought in much of the advertising, stories, and contributers. She wasn't collecting a paycheck for that work, which makes her sudden removal even worse.

To say Alana and Heather had the same role is to grossly misunderstand how JPG actually worked. I can't begrudge Alana for having her husband's interests at heart. But the fact is, she was not there for the conversations I talked about in my post, nor does she have any idea of what happened in the office every day.

Alana is right about one thing: I left a lot out. I tried to disclose the minimum amount of information to make sure the community knew why the founders were no longer involved.

I would have loved to handle this privately. But I was told to leave immediately. I was unable to train a replacement or transition the community to a new editor. As it was, the only official word was that I had "left to pursue other interests." That's like telling a wife her husband has "left to pursue other women."

The community that made JPG deserved a better explanation than that. So I told the story as honestly as I could. Of course, stories are all subjective, and everyone has their take. And we all have the same opportunity to tell them.

Maybe it was a mistake for me to tell this story. I don't think it makes me look good. It probably will hurt me financially. And it's certainly embarrassing. But my professional career is based on inspiring community participation online. I can't do that again if it looks like I just leave on a whim.

Heather and I formed a strong bond with the members of JPG. That's what happens in a vibrant community. So you have to expect a backlash when we're suddently removed. I waitied over two weeks for 8020 to say something publicly, so I could get on with my life. When they didn't, and MetaFilter started asking questions, I had to tell my story.

To be clear, this was never about ego for me. It has always been about respecting the community. Erasing issues 1-6 and pretending that the "new" JPG was somehow not the same magazine was what I could not agree to, and was what's made the community so justifiably angry.

I also want to make sure everyone knows that the other employees at 8020 had no hand in this. That's why I named Paul in my post. If I'd said "the people at 8020" it would have been untrue. They had no idea this was going on. I'm really sorry this has been so hard on them. It sucks, no doubt about it.

I'll tell you honestly, watching all the JPG account removals makes me sick. JPG was my life's work for three years. I hate watching it suffer. But I understand that a trust with the community has been broken, and there's always a price to pay for that.

I've always said that JPG doesn't own its community - it rents. And that rent is paid by treating the community members with honesty, integrity, and respect. No matter who says what, or who's loyal to whom, the fact is that issues 1-6 are gone from the site, and there's still no public explanation to the thousands of people who made those issues why their work disappeared from the JPG website.

I've made my response to that. How you respond is up to you.

-- Derek
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
fraying edited this topic 84 months ago.

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a real nobody says:

Derek, thank you. This truly shows who the bigger person is.
The wonderful thing coming out of all of this is seeing how many people love and support two amazing people--you & your wife, Heather. I'm sure you've got something bigger & better ahead of you guys--and a whole group of people who will be behind you all the way! I certainly will be one of them.

Happy Birthday too, by the way.
84 months ago (permalink)

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fetching says:



When I first heard all this drama the other day, I have to admit, I was confused. I know Derek and Heather personally and because of Derek, had my East Bay Rats photo essay published in the last issue of JPG. I also met for the first time, last week, Paul and Alana. I know none of the players well, but like all of them. Derek did an exceptional job with my essay and did a lot of handholding with me over it (I won't get into that, other than he was very considerate of my particular situation). I will always remember that and consider it a mark of his character and enthusiasm and passion for photography and JPG. I mean, his consideration was first and foremost the magazine, yet he worked with me personally to make sure I was happy with the essay, and that the East Bay Rats would be happy with it as well.

So I felt somewhat torn as I watched people deleting their accounts and ripping apart Paul and kind of forgetting that beyond Derek and Paul are other people who make up JPG Mag. I met one last week at the Moo Meetup, Laura, who approached me specifically to tell me she was the person who laid out my essay and how much she liked it. It was great to meet her and have the opportunity to say thank you for a job well done. I've also met Jason, too. Those are the people who are going to take the brunt of this too.

I don't know exactly how I feel (and as I was composing this, someone pointed out that Derek had commented additionally which I have read) and I STILL don't know how I feel. I have no plans currently to cancel my account there. I appreciate reading Alana's very human account and wish that Paul would step up and do the same. But not everyone is good with that sort of thing..who knows why he hasn't.

I guess more than anything, I want to make a decision based on the facts and not so much a emotional, kneejerk reaction. And because I know the people involved personally, I think it's the only way I could be fair about it. And unlike a lot of people, I don't feel like I am owed some kind of explanation because I am part of a community; I pay no dues or have no financial stake or personal stake to really have any say other than voting for my fave photos and contributing to the magazine with my images.

But this is just me and the way I see it and a way that works for me.

I do wish the best to everyone involved.
84 months ago (permalink)

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woodendesigner says:

In the context of being a jpg member who did not know a lot about it, I have to make judgements on what I see and hear. I have been getting the feeling that a great majority of the jpg members are in the same boat. I love jpg as a forum to share your photos with others and even have the chance to have them published. I am not concerned about what the individual people in this argument feel about one another. Sometimes it is not possible to make everyone happy but you have to try to do the right thing.
Again I have to make decisions on what I see since I do not know any of the people involved personally. What I see is the head of a publishing company hiding behind some not so well thought out comments on a website. I saw the site yesterday when there was absolutely no credit given to the founders and the fact that issues 1-6 are not listed as the base for what jpg is today. It seems childish and selfish and so far that the head of such an amazing idea can't give a simple explanation or try to explain why the history of the publication was changed. This is the context that I am looking at. I was really sad to think that I would not support jpg anymore. I'd like to hear the other side of the story but I don't hold much hope of liking what I hear at this point. I hope to be able to support a publication like this one again sometime soon.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
woodendesigner edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Kristal says:

I really appreciated this post, Alana. I read it on your blog and without any way to comment I headed over to flickr. My initial plan was to email you privately, but then I saw that you had posted here as well. I appreciate hearing the other side.

The biggest issue for me was not the absence of Derek and Heather. Yes, I would miss them. Yes, I feel like JPG won't be the same without them. BUT, I understand that things happen. Business is business. I don't pretend to know Derek or Heather. I've never met them. I don't even know them through phone calls or email. All I know is what I see and read on the internet. BUT that small part of them has inspired me.

The story of walking in the park and an idea shared by two people that grows into a community of people working together is inspiring. It is romantic. It is the belief [and hope] that anything is possible.

Anyone can look at my life and see that I am an ordinary woman living an ordinary life. I stay at home and take care of my kids. I scrub my floors and do laundry and go grocery shopping. And then I sit at my computer and read about this new magazine, an inclusive publication that doesn't care who you are or whether you know what the hell you're doing. All this new magazine cares about is photography and finding pictures that are extraordinary.

For the first time, I felt like there was a possibility for me to do something great. Maybe, just maybe, I could share my 'hobby' with people who would get it. And I did. And it felt good.

I was published in Issues 5 and 6, both of which were removed from the site along with the story of the creation of JPG. It may not be much to anyone else, but that was the first time I had ever been published. Those were MY issues. It felt like something that was important to me was gone with no explanation. Without the history, JPG is just another slick magazine.

I don't want another slick magazine.

I want the idea. The dream.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Kris Kendrick says:

All this great perspective on people's personal lives is wonderful... but I couldn't care less who Derek and Heather have dinner with. Don't get the wrong idea - I admire and respect Derek & Heather for reasons I certainly do not have to explain here... but this really isn't about personal relationships for me - it's about why in the world anyone would delete issues from the JPG web site. I think someone needs to address that. Specifically.

Like - VERY specifically.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
Kris Kendrick edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Kristal says:

Prosediva: EXACTLY
84 months ago (permalink)

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rion says:

I appreciate this heartfelt response from a wife and a community member. But as someone who had record of her photographic contributions removed from the site (until people said something with great solidarity), I'm still disappointed.

Whatever the context is that I'm missing, there are a few inescapable facts:

---
When you work in a community-based business, the community is an extension of the business, like employees at another office who aren't in on any of the big meetings. Or like clients and consumers who have a high level of expectations that need to be met.

When big shifts happen, the community is going to form opinions with whatever amount of information they are given. This part of the business -- either a form of "internal" communications or just good old public relations -- could have been factored into the decision-making when the high profile management shifted or when early issues were removed from the site.

Transparency could have been employed upfront re: these two changes. That's not how it was handled, and it appears that was a mistake.

---
When you work in a community-based business, and you take more care of the business than the community, it can backfire. Taking down issues 1-6 (whatever the reasons) was insulting to a lot of people and confusing to a lot more. The pride and ownership of being a part of JPG through those contributions was greatly damaged for a lot of people by that misjudgment.

And though I can imagine a theoretical scenario where earnest business priorities might have haplessly lead someone into crafting a more simple and focused story for the company's publishing model pitch, I don't think that's the point.

The point is that removing issues 1-6 tells me (no matter the intent) that the priorities of "the new JPG" are not aligned with the priorities of the old JPG. And that's disappointing to me, and a lot of other people.

---
No matter what business you are in, the title of CEO means you take the praise in good times and the brunt of the criticism in bad times. That's a part of the CEO's role.

Public relations lead, vision evangelist, spokesman... also all part of the CEO's role. I say this, not to be hurtful, but to emphasize another part of why some in the community feel misled: Being mum might be a sign of character, but it could also be a lack of attention toward these duties.

---
Even though this has been a strong example of solidarity in an online community, I must agree with WhileSeated: JPG will continue to move forward as a different publication where new communities and cliques will form in the place of those of us who have left. 8020 will weather this public misstep and hopefully learn from it.

And though I don't have context, I can say again that I'm disappointed (and feel a bit betrayed) that 8020 didn't show more consideration and appreciation of the early-supporters as it moved forward.

edited for spelling
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
rion edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Computer Science Geek says:

A good example of how you serve your community is Flickr. When Flickr was bought by Yahoo there was a lot of hand wringing and gnashing of teeth, threats to leave Flickr, etc. But before any of this happened, Flickr offered their membership who joined before the offical merger date a gift of two years free Pro account status extension and the chance to gift two non-Pro members with a Pro membership. See, that's how you thank your community. You give something back.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Rebecca Weeks says:

I think everything I want to say has been said more eloquently than I am able to, but I'd just like to reiterate. For a lot of people, the main reason we are upset is not because Paul turned his back on Derek and Heather, It's because he turned his back on the early JPG community. And in my opinion, community is what JPG is (or was) all about.

The response from Alana (and more limited response from Paul) is all about individuals, abouth themselves, their role, and their changing relationship with Derek. Dereks post above is all about the community. His commitment to community is what brought everyone to JPG. His absence, along with the new disregard for that community, is what is driving people away.
84 months ago (permalink)

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John Goldsmith says:

Excuse me, I don't wish to change the conversation, but I never got a two year free pro account and I am officially Old Skool. Is there some documentation to that effect? lol . . . .
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
John Goldsmith edited this topic 84 months ago.

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deyes is a group administrator deyes says:

I can't say much for the overall drama, but I can say that we all miss Derek. I've been there (@8020) for 5 months (give or take a minute), I've met Heather briefly a couple times, but from what I could tell, she's chocked full of passion, talent and integrity. Derek has an infectious and calming charm that makes you feel like you've known him for years within the first 30 seconds of meeting him.

I flew 3,000 miles to meet Derek, Paul, Jason and Devin P in December. I flew back and then drove the 3,000 miles again, in the middle of winter, just to become part of something I knew I would be proud of. And I am. Incredibly proud. (The love of my life is an aspiring photographer and our 11yr old has already grown a love for the art and exhibited a natural talent.). I've logged 7,224 votes for issue 11 and have probably seen 80% of all of the photos on JPG. My point is, I'm just one of 7 (+ or - every other tuesday) who is insanely passionate about what we're doing and how we're doing it. Yes, we miss Derek, very much, and in order to honor his wishes, the history of JPG, all its contributors past/present, support our own love and passion we're pushing through. We're all dedicated to what we do and who we do it for.

I miss Derek, but I know Paul and the rest of the JPG team to be honest, dignified, extraordinarily passionate and talented (pretty sure those qualities are a hiring prerequisite). I am still proud to be part of what we built together and equally saddened by all that's gone on. Unlike an application, I can't just find the bug and fix it before more people notice.. so, I'm kind of helpless in that regard. I just wanted to say that, I believe in JPG as much, even more, as I did before I became part of it.



From Derek:


As you probably know already, I'm taking my leave of 8020
Publishing / JPG Magazine as of today. Paul and I just had different
visions of where we're going, and where we've been, and we decided it
would be better for the company and each other to part ways now.

I just wanted to say that you are one of the most talented teams I've
ever worked with. I'm so incredibly proud of all the work we've done
here together. JPG has grown from a side project to a newsstand
magazine, published hundreds of people, held two gallery shows, and
become the talk of the photography community. Please keep it growing
and thriving. The community is depending on you.

84 months ago (permalink)

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kittyholmes says:

i second the huh? about the pro account, i've been a member here for ages, and i never got that offer. maybe i wasn't mad enough about the yahoo account switchover thingy!

and honestly i don't know if i'd use flickr as an example, there's a bunch of people who are mad at flickr right now for not being nice about somebody's photos being stolen and sold.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Wespionage says:

I haven't gotten all uppity about this yet. I, like many others, have had an emotional response to it and felt like deleting my JPG account. I decided to just wait on it for a few days though.

I'd really like to thank Alana for her post. I think this is generating, or has the potential to generate, some genuinely productive discussion about the situation.

Perhaps it's just the wonderful coincidence of listening to the NPR interview at the right time, but I was listening to a couple of sociologists discussing politics and individuals' response to political situations. I think the anecdote was from a study at Emory University, where the professor collected partisan groups and fed them political stories regarding Bush and Kerry. To both groups, the researcher would say something negative about their party's candidate and map the brain response. After that, the researcher would give them another story indicating that the other candidate has done something equally or more stupid that might alleviate the consequence of their candidate's stupidity.

Apparently, the only portions of the brain firing during these sessions were those mapped to fear and pleasure. The portion of the brain responsible for rational thought was unchanged.

In their ideal world, the most well-informed people would surround themselves with stories from "the other side" before making any decisions. Only in that situation, if they still felt that their initial reasoning was correct (or more correct than the alternative), would they make a final decision.

I think that is what we need more of around here. I am not really looking to take sides. I don't personally know anybody. I am waiting to know what the right thing is for me to do here. And also to give Paul (or JPG or 8020 or whatever entity wants to step up) time to respond or to correct the situation.

On a related note, Flickr deleted a photo and post (many posts of support) from Rebekka yesterday and many people had a negative response. Flickr very quickly turned around with an apology, even if they haven't restored the photo/post. Still, it shows that it can't be all that hard to apologize to people when you upset them...
84 months ago (permalink)

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laanba says:

I think Flickr is a perfect example in this situation. They have apologized and joined in the discussion surrounding that incident.

I remember reading pages and pages of discussions when the old school deadline was finally going to be enforced. For some weird reason I couldn't look away. What impressed me through it all were the employees in there, connecting with their community and Stewart reading threads and responding to the concerns of his community, just as he did regarding the deleted photo. That is a community that I want to spend my time with.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
laanba edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin is a group administrator Account moved to http://flickr.com/codooaustin says:

Derek we will miss you. We all look forward to your next project and wish you the best of luck. We know you will succeed.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Steve Rhodes says:


And that is the problem Devin (I'm sure you and the other staff do believe in the mission of JPG), the community was depending on how Paul handled this.

He should have known there would be a strong reaction (though not reactionary - squarerootofnine is so wrong in so many ways) and thought about how to start a conversation with the community about this.

Instead, what happened was damaging to the community. It will take a lot of time to begin to repair that damage.

And this is one one of the worst corporate practices:


But I was told to leave immediately. I was unable to train a replacement or transition the community to a new editor.


And what happened when yahoo bought flickr is people who had already bought pro accounts had their extended from one year to two years and were given two one year accounts to give away.
84 months ago (permalink)

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myla kent says:

Kristal wrote: The story of walking in the park and an idea shared by two people that grows into a community of people working together is inspiring. It is romantic. It is the belief [and hope] that anything is possible.

That is so well said, and so true.

The bottom line here is that if it were not for those two people:
JPG magazine and this entire JPG community would not even exist.
Your husband would not have his precious CEO position.
We wouldn't be having this discussion.

I am still appalled at the gall that it took to erase them from JPG and its history -- the way this was handled -- and that as of this writing there has *still* been no public apology.

Just shameful.

That's not how business partners should treat each other, and certainly not if you're friends. Paul's actions clearly speak louder than his words. That Derek was told to leave JPG Magazine makes me so angry that I can't even continue to write how I feel about this whole thing.

WHAT. UTTER. NERVE.

If anyone ought to have been shown the door, it ought to have been the so-called CEO. Ugh. I can't take anymore of this.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Computer Science Geek says:

Excuse me, I don't wish to change the conversation, but I never got a two year free pro account and I am officially Old Skool. Is there some documentation to that effect? lol . . . .

Oops, WAXY, my mistake, it was only a 1 year gift of a free extension to existing Pro account memberships. I received it on April 18, 2005. It had nothing to do with the OldSkool logins which was August 15, 2005.


*edited to add*
Just combing through the FlickrBlog archives, Caterina announced on March 20, 2005 that Yahoo was buying Flickr. I believe the free gifting was given to Pro members who were pro on or before that date.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
Computer Science Geek edited this topic 84 months ago.

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kittyholmes says:

thank you, productive discussion is all i wanted from this. you can agree, or disagree, but name calling is not productive. i know that the employees of 8020 were cheered up by the response. it's been a hard couple of days for them. and me. and paul, of course. i mean, nobody likes being compared to karl rove.

i'm going to basically go away now, i've said all i really need to say today, and i think any further comments by me in regards to this will just be me repeating myself. i also want to say that i wish derek and heather luck with whatever comes next for them. i'm sure they will do well at whatever they choose to do.

as someone who has been here since the beginning i really want to see JPG make it in a big way. a lot of people said it wouldn't work, that a non traditional magazine wouldn't make it, and i would like to see them proven wrong.

thanks again to everybody who send me nice emails, and who had nice things to say today, you rock.

-alana

(i totally never got that free pro account offer from flickr. i feel cheated.and i just bought another year, too!)
84 months ago (permalink)

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Computer Science Geek says:

Alana, see my edit above.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Computer Science Geek says:

Oh and this was the message I received when this happened:

Hi Computer Science Geek!

You may have heard on the grapevine that we planned to
reward our dear Flickr members who bought a Pro Account in
the early days. Well, it’s true! And since you’re one of
those lovely people, here’s a little something to say YOU
ROCK!

1. Double what you paid for!
Your original 1 year pro account has been doubled to
2 years, and your new expiry date is Feb 26, 2007.

2. More capacity!
Now you can upload 2 GB per month.

3. 2 free Pro Accounts to give away to your friends!
This won’t be activated for a day or two, but when it
is, you’ll see a note on your home page telling you
what to do.

Thank you so much for putting your money where your mouth
is and supporting us, even while we’re in beta. Your
generosity and cold, hard cash helped us get where we are
today.

Kind regards,
The Flickreenies.


I purchased my first Pro Account on Februrary 26, 2005
84 months ago (permalink)

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rion says:

so that's what loyalty to early-supporters looks like. :(
84 months ago (permalink)

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Dragonhide says:

I'm a partner of a 51-49 % owned company.. I am the 51% holder.. and what happened....

While I dont know the whole story...

yet I can say this--

It could be handled better.

My best to Derek and Paul I hope they work out their differences and can be friends again.

Friendship means more than anything. Yup, I'm friends with my business partner.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Dragonhide says:

And for the record-- I deleted my JPG membership. I might rejoin, it depends on how all this falls. For now, I'm being cautious... infighting in an organization is never good.
84 months ago (permalink)

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pigeonpoo says:

Context? What context? A catfight between two couples? Yeah right!

I don't think you guys should readily swallow this laughable spin that Paul's wife is throwing at you. The legendary Rion is right. This whole thing isn't about Paul and his woman versus Derek and his woman. This is about Paul and his woman versus the whole community! What these clowns did is completely unacceptable. Their attempt to erase some important historical facts from the JPG record was entirely reprehensible and unforgivable! Don't let them off so easily guys. After all, they only backed down - providing a most anaemic update to the About page - after your initial pressure.

All power to you JPG folks!
84 months ago (permalink)

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deyes is a group administrator deyes says:

And that is the problem Devin (I'm sure you and the other staff do believe in the mission of JPG), the community was depending on how Paul handled this.
I don't think there is much to be gained from a public peeing contest.. particularly when popularity is a major factor. I think Paul has been pretty considerate and respectful in not countering public statements. Just my opinion.. obviously, they both mean a lot to me and I'm hoping for an amicable end.. and maybe when the yuckiness subsides, we'll all be able to move past it personally and professionally.. we'll see.
84 months ago (permalink)

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regularjoe says:

Rion was spot on with her assessment of how a company ought to be communicating with their customers and how the CEO is the face and the heart of that communication, especially in difficult situations...

Typically, when a company loses a significant number of customers over the course of a couple of days, that becomes cause for damage control. So far there appears very little to no damage control and mounting PR problems....

Perplexing business practices indeed...
84 months ago (permalink)

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James Jordan says:

The JPGers appear to be an incredibly dense lot. Now I see why Derek no longer fit in ...
84 months ago (permalink)

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Adam Torgerson says:

"I'm to the point where I believe Paul's lack of response, his refraining from entering into the "public debate" is a sign of his true character. "

I think you are right, but probably not how you meant it. That would be the Bushian school of community leadership. If it were really a traditional private business, I might agree that public debate is unnecessary. It is not. It is user generated and community based.
84 months ago (permalink)

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*steve_gobeil* says:

OK, so this is what I think I understand.

Heather and Dereck got kicked out and Paul won't talk about it but we should believe his wife that he is really a good guy who just won't talk about it.

The whole thing stinks...it really does.
84 months ago (permalink)

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squarerootofnine is a group moderator squarerootofnine says:

Adam -

You're right, it is user generated and community based, but JPG doesn't invite us to participate in their day to day operations, nor do they invite us into creative meetings or brand development meetings or layout meetings or, heck, any kind of meeting. So, why should we be privy to the details of a meeting between the two partners in charge of everything? We shouldn't.

As to the insinuation that a biased volley of mud merits an equal and opposite volley is what I disdain most in current American politics. Remaining silent is much more difficult than speaking out. You can argue all you want that it's a gutless move, but I couldn't disagree more.

I don't expect my view will be up for many popularity votes... I certainly seem to be the dissenting view in the court of public opinion. However, the popular view seems to be wholly based on the idea that "as a community, we deserve..." whatever. And I believe that is a flawed position. Arguing about anything past that, is moot.

Why?

Because that kind of foundational argument leads to drivel like "so this is what I think I understand..." We don't understand, we don't need to understand because we don't deserve to be included in the day to day operations of JPG any more than we do the day to day operations of any other privately owned, community based organization.

The employees got enough from Derek when he said:

Paul and I just had different visions of where we're going, and here we've been, and we decided it would be better for the company and each other to part ways now.

That was enough. He should have left it at that.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Laura Brunow Miner says:

Are any of you children of divorce?

Were either of your parents entirely or not at all to blame for the split?

When your parents split, did you beg them for details on what they thought the other did wrong?

When I was a kid, I got out of the car at the red light and walked the rest of the way to the school when one parent was badmouthing the other.

I endlessly appreciate Paul's discretion.
84 months ago (permalink)

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squarerootofnine is a group moderator squarerootofnine says:

Laura -

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Perfect metaphor.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Adam Torgerson says:

"You're right, it is user generated and community based, but JPG doesn't invite us to participate in their day to day operations"

Except choosing the photos in a photo magazine. I don't think there is a more important operational decision.
84 months ago (permalink)

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pigeonpoo says:

It's not a perfect metaphor you silly boy! A community of users isn't the same as a traumatised kid of divorced parents. That her first question was, "Are any of you children of divorce?" means that the metaphor doesn't work. Geddit buddy?
84 months ago (permalink)

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sins_unforgotten says:

Let me just say that I've been on the intarweb a long time... like there was one start page everyone went to and no portals, search engines, etc.

I've interacted with Heather before and been involved in her past online endeavors. Never talked with Derek, Paul, etc. This was before that time. From my past experiences let me just say this doesn't entirely surprise me. Maybe marriage has changed her... maybe things are different.... but I can't help but think of Lady Macbeth pulling strings and fueling ambitions from the background.

Take it for what it's worth (probably nothing) from someone unwilling to get into details.
84 months ago (permalink)

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sins_unforgotten says:

@adam photographic

There really and sincerely are more important operational decisions. If you don't think so you've never been involved in operations at a business.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Laura Brunow Miner says:

@pigeonpoo: I work at JPG/8020. Metaphor stands.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Half full heart says:

It's been helpful for me to think of what has happened as two separate things. This isn't a perfect distinction, so bear with me.

First, there is the personal conflict between Derek and Paul. This is a complicated affair and I don't think it's any of my business.

However, it relates to the second thing that has happened, which is that amid Derek and Heather leaving JPG (which is sad for all of us), we have also learned that some of the beautiful roots of the magazine have been erased or marginalized.

This move in itself has been damaging to the community.

I think it is natural for those of us who feel hurt to sympathize with Derek and Heather. We believed in their vision for JPG. That's not to say that that vision has been destroyed, by any means. But it sure feels like it has changed. In the wake of the founders leaving, isn't it natural for some people to feel shaky about where JPG is headed next?

Obviously many of us feel strongly about it, and I see no reason why it wouldn't be good for everyone if the following were explained:

Why has the history of JPG been reduced to a paragraph on the About page, and what is the notion of "the new JPG" all about?

I am not going to cancel my membership. I have faith in the talented folks who are still on board at JPG. I just would like a little more reassurance that JPG will continue to strive to be the wonderful, romantic, and honest endeavor that it started as than was provided by the marketing speak that was posted as an addendum on the 8020 blog.

Isn't that fair? Maybe I'm off the mark. What do you think?
84 months ago (permalink)

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suZen. says:

Wouldn't it be nice to have a do-over of this whole mess? Start at some point in the past (however distant one would have to go) and everyone could do things differently with the knowledge that no one really wanted to end up at this point, with a bunch of community/strangers hashing it out on the internet?
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
suZen. edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Laura Brunow Miner says:

Yes, it would, suZen, and I appreciate your positivity.
84 months ago (permalink)

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*phototristan says:

Of course the wife of paul cloutier is going to blindly stand by her man and tow the company line.

Alana doesn't even address the facts; why did JPG at first remove Derek and Heather's names from the about page at jpgmag.com/about and then put them back? And why did they pull the early issues from existence?

I have a link to Scott Rosenberg's (a VP at Salon.com) take on the matter on my blog at:

www.tristantom.com/blog/2007/05/shakeup-at-jpg-magazine.html

He has a lot of good and balanced things to say about journalistic integrity as it pertains to this situation.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Elinesca says:

All I know that it is very easy to say "my man won't make his side of this public like that other part did because in contrast he's honest and decent" - hiding behind "noble" silence is very effective. If there is more to the story, I think we'd like to hear about it - or I am going to assume there is nothing.
84 months ago (permalink)

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kittyholmes says:

hey all-
i'm still here. and still typing. it's been a long day.

2 things,
the rosenberg article is a few days old, and the posts it links to are from derek, heather and metafilter, so it's not exactly a fair and balanced view. and as far as journalistic integrity, nobody at 8020 got an email asking for any facts.

and elinesca, it's not easy, i put myself out here today, expecting to get flamed by strangers, and i never said that paul will stay silent, clearly he won't. what i did say is that he isn't going to make it as personal as dereks original blog post was, because that doesn't get us anywhere.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
kittyholmes edited this topic 84 months ago.

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pigeonpoo says:

Oh so now Derek is the bad guy? I mean, hello, you guys have basically pulled the rug from under his feet . C'mon! We're not bloody stupid here you know. Fact is, you pretty much slapped him in the face in front of the whole world by removing his name, the issues, blah...blah...blah and now, only now, do you realise that it's defcon 3, red alert time at 8020 central and so here you are, the faithful, rational, calm wife speaking on behalf of hubby for some desperado damage control.

What you should be doing my dear is to reach back out to Derek and wife and patch things over. Tell us all that this is what you're doing. For a lot of folks here, it's like those two are intrinsic, completely inseparable from JPG that a JPG without them is no JPG at all. If it ain't sinkin' in, that's what it is. That's why a whole bunch of people are hurtin'.

OK?
84 months ago (permalink)

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kittyholmes says:

so paul has a new post going, go and check it out.
84 months ago (permalink)

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dottavi says:

First, I agree with Prosediva and Marinegirl: explaination is needed, it's all a community story

I would also like to read Paul's words: his point is important

But as a member of the community since a year and a half, I've learn to trust Derek. And I've bought the magazine because of this trustee

There's plenty of good photos everywhere, but JPG was a project. And a project means people with ideas...
84 months ago (permalink)

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Alt.Frames says:

lol @ e-drama
84 months ago (permalink)

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grace*c* says:

I second that e-motion.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Adam Torgerson says:

"There really and sincerely are more important operational decisions. If you don't think so you've never been involved in operations at a business."
Great logic. That premise does not lead to your conclusion. Oh yeah, you are very wrong.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Kristal says:

@Laura: the metaphor of a divorce is one I used on my blog

definitely appropriate here
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
Kristal edited this topic 84 months ago.

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sins_unforgotten says:

@adam

the fact that you don't understand the difference between operations and line-of-business tells me that I'm right.

Editorial decisions about photos in a photography magazine? Not operational decisions. That's line-of-business. Accounting, HR... that's operations.
84 months ago (permalink)

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jeevs says:

thanks suZen.
your comment has made my day, if only ...
84 months ago (permalink)

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Adam Torgerson says:

@sins
Once again, way to bypass logic with your fallible conclusions.

The business model of jpg is based on community action. It is different than a typical art journal in that respect. PR/marketing is absolutely part of operations, especially in the business in question even if you somehow discount editorial content in a photo magazine.

BTW, once again, you are very wrong on two levels. It is pretty funny actually.

[spelling edit]
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
Adam Torgerson edited this topic 84 months ago.

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jwdsail says:

Wow...

As a long time lurker/loner, that was finally going to take the plunge and "be a joiner" for a change, this is all unsettling ...

I'm sure 8020 and the "new" JPG mag will re-grow/grow into a new community... I just think that the scope will now be limited by those that will see how the first 6 issues were yanked, and wonder when the next "reinvention" will occur... and what will disappear then... the loss of all the people leaving is also disappointing to see... these people made JPG mag ... literally...

I'll continue to lurk for now, see how all this splats after it stops hitting the fan...

Good luck to all....

(fades back into the fog)

(fades back in)

I guess I'm really late to the party... is everything back to normal already? Man, I have to stop working 18hr days.. Well back to lurking and keeping my yap shut...

(fades back into the fog)
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
jwdsail edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Renee May says:

"I'm to the point where I believe Paul's lack of response, his refraining from entering into the "public debate" is a sign of his true character. With that choice, he has made the statement that he won't stoop to the level of slander with the story of his side - one that would no doubt be full of ommissions as misleading as Derek's."

I whole-heartedly agree with this viewpoint.

Thank you for posting this, Alana. I'm sorry you guys have had to deal with this backlash.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Elinesca says:

Like I said, saying nothing is saying a lot, and actions speaks louder than words. The way Paul dealt with this is really disappointing to subscribers and members of jpg mag. Personal or not... by saying nothing, he let us down.
84 months ago (permalink)

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squarerootofnine is a group moderator squarerootofnine says:

Elinesca...

I think we all read his "not saying" anything a little differently. from my perspective he didn't let anyone down. you see it as a disappointment.

in this group, over at jpgmag.com, and all over the internet people are on either side of the fence, so to make a blanket statement that says he let us all down, collectively, just isn't true.

he let some of the subscribers and members of jpgmag.com down, no doubt. but not everyone.
84 months ago (permalink)

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