With a long history of experiences in diverse digital asset management solutions, Robinson understands the importance and need in respecting the technology, the process and the content to ensure quality outcomes.
What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
My career in DAM is now nearly 18 years old and I have worked at companies like Getty, Sony Music, International Paper, Yale and most recently Hasbro. In those companies I specialized in DAM and Content Platform development.
I also spent several years as a Director of a hosted DAM platform in the professional services, working with companies like the Academy Awards Foundation, Stila Cosmetics, ESPN and other SMB clients. That was a very diverse experience and allowed me time to explore content monetization more deeply. I think having been in the industry so long, there isn’t much I haven’t been tasked with; business analysis, metadata development, training, project management which has been very valuable. Currently I am looking at new opportunities in the industry while I freelance and work on a series of articles.
How do you describe digital asset management to others?
My mom asked me this early on in my career and I described it as organizing digital files, stakeholders, workflows and software so that artists, marketers, websites, and video producers could more easily search and distribute content. I think there are lots of ways and processes to do that, but most roads all lead back to some sort of DAM solution in order to grow and thrive.
How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?
I actually didn’t realize I was learning DAM when I first started out. I went to school for photography – back when everyone still used film. I remember our retouching class was with film, ink and dyes. I graduated and took a seminar on this new thing called Photoshop. I was hooked on digital photography from then on. So my first experience (after a brief attempt at a recording career), was working at Getty Images. Getty had just acquired the Hulton Archive. It is an amazing collection and my role was to start working on digitization and ways to monetize those assets it in a Web 1.0 world.
From there my mind was just absorbed with DAM and I loved everything around content management. Now there are such great ways to explore the industry. I enjoy traditional class settings but I also really support and like that you can take substantial classes at conferences as well as learn virtually through vendor webinars.
What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?
I think it depends on the role you are tasked with – but for anyone who manages content, technology or creative processes – I would offer this: Not everyone can see the value of DAM or the change that needs to happen in order make it successful. Be a communicator and advocate – of the technology, of the process and of the content itself. If you are passionate about your work – you will become a natural subject matter expert – always seek to learn more. Learn about the latest technologies as well as traditional production processes. And don’t overlook preservation – it’s a vital part of what will be your grandchildren’s content experience.
If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?
I suppose going back to a recording career might be worth considering. Although I’d likely be so hung up on controlling my brand and how it all looked and worked that in the end I’d be back into a content management career before my first album was released.
What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?
I’m a person that loves DAM strategy and vision. It’s challenging to get companies adopting and continuously improving a DAM system. It seems to be a very hard commitment for some. With probably the exception of Universities, Libraries and Museums – companies today that are struggling to manage content just don’t seem to really understand the strategy or practice of DAM. A friend and I were talking the other night about companies that ‘ghost ride’ their content technologies. The concept is like ghost riding your bike when you were young – you peddle really fast and then jump off. The bike continues on based on the initial momentum and if you line it up okay it stays upright and pretty straight for a while. But ghost riding always ends with a spectacular crash – and to be fair that’s what most folks are waiting to see. I’ve seen a lot of companies do this with DAM implementations and then sort of wonder why they never achieved certain integrations or greater value from the platform.
What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?
In 5 years – I believe DAM won’t be such a talked-about acronym. Most companies won’t buy DAM software separately – it will be a foundation module that drives content solutions like CEM/CXM. Transformation and BPM engines will be an essential component of DAM as consumers will have even more multi-screen experiences.
What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?
Hmm – my early mistakes were mostly just opportunities to learn. Underestimating change management that DAM introduces is always tricky. If there isn’t support and constant messaging – both top down and bottom up, things can quickly slip off-track.
What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?
I have taken on some major implementations and upgrades in my career. I have never been afraid to undertake those types of tricky projects. I am only successful on those ventures when I have been able to lead a diverse team of people much smarter than me. I adore and admire all the folks who were my most recent colleagues, staff and interns. They worked so hard for the last couple of years on such difficult upgrades and to expand global content platform. I’ve been lucky to work with some of the smartest engineers and technical staff from the very beginning of my career – it makes a tremendous difference when you have that knowledge base and can design solutions that truly meet business needs and goals.
What more would you like to learn about DAM?
Right now I am really focused on User Experience and what that will look like in future DAM software. I love the study and practice of developing interfaces that are intuitive and drive fluid (and proper) use of content from concept to end-user consumption.