The Bull Shark, The Giraffe, The Thief and The Pink Pony - PPA Today
The Bull Shark, The Giraffe, The Thief and The Pink Pony
By: Mariah Ashley
A few weeks ago I watched an amusing little video clip about an artist from Denmark. He had just had his latest creation, a giant wooden Pink Pony, stolen from a park near his home the very evening he had installed it. The video was offbeat because instead of violently banging down doors demanding the release of his pony, the Danish artist launched a friendly campaign of retrieval peppered with good humor, understanding and well-wishes toward the pony thief. Even more surprising was the pony thief's openness to returning the giant pony with an apology and explanation, reciprocating the good humor and well-wishes the artist had extended to him. They parted as friends with a renewed faith in humanity.
The pony scenario has hardly been the experience I've had with thieves, especially when it comes to the business of photography. In 1820, Charles Caleb Colton said, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." In the words of angry marine biologists everywhere I declare, "That's BULL SHARK!"
A few years back my business partner Trish had a great idea for a luxury photo booth which she dubbed "The PhotoLounge." Sure, now every photographer and her mother has added a photo booth to their repertoire, but back when Trish conceptualized the lounge it was very novel. There definitely wasn't anyone in our little Rhode Island backyard who was offering a swanky PhotoLounge. Unfortunately, not long after our beloved lounge debuted on our blog for the whole world to see, another local photographer started advertising her own "version" of the photo lounge. Which by the way, was less like a version and more like an exact copy, right down to the name "Photo Lounge".
We were more horrified and annoyed than flattered I assure you. In the spirit of the Danish pink pony artist, Trish made a friendly phone call to the photographer where she awkwardly but politely asked if maybe pretty please the photographer could just give it a different name, because after all, we had come up with the lounge concept first and couldn't she (the thief) see how two Photo Lounge businesses might cause a little confusion for clients?
The thief's response, and this is a direct quote, was "W.T.F. why should I have to explain myself to you?!" Click. Dial tone.
After that encounter of the rude kind, the fun was just kind of sucked out of the lounge idea for us. We kept lounging for a few seasons, but we never regained the enthusiasm or the momentum that we once had for peddling our lounge. Against the good advice of our accountant, after a while we just stopped offering the lounge altogether even though it often generated another 2K+ for us per wedding. On the eve of our last lounge, in the eleventh hour when I had promised Trish she could throw the imitated lounge into the harbor outside the venue and drive away, I had a vision of... a giraffe.
You know who giraffes have to compete with for the tastiest, most tender-est leaves at the tippity top of the trees? No one, that's who. Why? Because a long time ago, giraffe's had short necks and were all like, "This is bullshark hanging around sharing the low-hanging leaves with greedy hordes of rude zebras." Stripes are so yesterday anyway. Ever hear of evolution? Try on a long neck and some square spots for size, oh and throw in a purple tongue while you're at it. Suck on that zebras.
That's right I just compared the photo lounge thief to a ridiculous zebra. Now ask yourself this: What do you often see on a zebras back? Answer: a hungry lion. It's true, turn on the Discovery channel, you'll see what I mean. The final outcome isn't usually too great for the zebra either.
Hungry lions remind me of those difficult clients you don't want--the clients that are always on your back, trying to get more than they deserve or at least have paid for. You know what you probably won't see on the giraffe's back? That's right, a hungry lion. Why? Because giraffes also evolved some long spindly legs and they can run really fast away from the discount-loving, blood sweat and tears-sucking lions. Suck on that lions.
So instead of throwing the lounge into the drink, I declared we should "Make like a Giraffe and Evolve." There's absolutely no sense in throwing away a great idea, especially a great money making idea, just because some uninspired lazy zebra tries to rip you off. There's no need to fight with them about it either because the lions will take care of that for you. The only real solution is to keep changing, to keep thinking, to be inspired, and to keep moving up...up...up... that's where the tastiest leaves are anyway.