Ghosts of Christmas Past
It is impossible to avoid Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in December. At least one of the more than 50 movie and television versions, including those featuring George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart, Kelsey Grammar, Mickey Mouse, the Muppets, the Smurfs, and Mister Magoo, is showing somewhere on any given day. Clearly, more than 150 years after its publication, the message of the little book still resonates no matter what Hollywood does to it.
What has always struck me most about Ebenezer Scrooge is that, surprisingly, his unhappy present was not the result of a miserable youth. As he looks back with the Ghost of Christmas Past, he is shown the joyous celebrations of his employer, Mr. Fezziwig, and remembers the good times of those days. He is saddened not by thinking that he lacked something in the past, but that he lost something he once had.
Many in our industry have a similar feeling about what graphic communications companies once were before the emergence of the Internet and electronic alternatives to print―about a time when print was the medium of choice for everything from manuals and directories to forms and bills.
But what Scrooge goes on to learn from the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is that although he cannot reclaim his past, he can make a future that, while different, will still be happy and fulfilling―if he changes his long-entrenched ways. He looks at the world as it is and acts to make it and himself better.
The companies in our industry that will thrive in 2015 and beyond are those that also recognize they cannot return to the past, no matter how good it might seem to have been in hindsight, but know that they can still create an exciting and successful future by adapting to today’s new markets and new customer needs.
The graphic communications industry may be vastly different than it was a decade ago, but it remains an industry of energy and strength, embracing new technologies and growing in new areas such as marketing and multi-media. There’s no need to mourn the past when you choose to live in the present and know you have the ability to create your own future.