Chief Library and Information Science Evangelist

I received a gift in the mail the other day that left me feeling so thankful and humbled. Deb Fanslow had a couple of journals made for me that featured the #LearnDAM tag and identified me by the title, “Chief Library and Information Science Evangelist.” On the inside of one of the journals was the sweetest note. My mother couldn’t have written anything sweeter! (Not that my mother has any idea what I do for a living.)

It’s been a long, long, long fight to get the DAM community (and DAM vendors, in particular) to recognize the value that information professionals can offer when it comes to planning and maintaining digital asset management initiatives. But it does seem as though people are starting to get it. So to get a recognition like this, from a library science professional, really meant the world to me. (I experienced the value Deb can offer while working with her on the DAM Guru Program membership management system.)

If you’re not familiar with Deb’s work, I encourage you to visit her website and absolutely do not miss her now-legendary Who Needs a DAM Librarian? series, published on the Digital Asset Management News website.

Thank you, Deb! You are already “paying it forward” in the most wonderful and effective ways. The DAM community is lucky you’re here, and I’m so happy to have met you.

— David


Digital Asset Management Predictions for 2015

It occurred to me whilst reading some DAM predictions this year that I usually don’t agree with the predictions I read. I’m not sure why my gut says something so different than the guts of others who ought to know better than me, but there you have it.

Here are my DAM predictions for 2015:

  1. Digital Asset Management Predictions for 2015DAM vendors will remember that digital asset management is not always about marketing. They will scramble to reconnect with the Education, Cultural, Research and other segments that do not see what they do as marketing, and don’t relate to all this “customer experience management” bullshit.
  2. The notion of metadata schemas that can change over time (Adaptive Metadata, as Picturepark coined it) will become the flavor of the month. All DAM vendors will claim to have some new feature that addresses this need, but it won’t be until 2016 that they actually realize they didn’t fully understand what Adaptive Metadata is, so they got it all wrong. Whoops.
  3. Multi-DAM vendors will realize that they’re going to have to pick a favorite between their multiple offerings and stick with it. No DAM vendor is big or competent enough to manage and grow more than one DAM system. And if you think I’m wrong, create a document in Pagemaker or Freehand that illustrates my error.
  4. DAM Lite vendors will realize that in order to stay relevant, they have to add a feature…and then another feature…and then another feature, and then, before they know it, their DAMs will pack all the calories of a full system and their customers will say, “Remember when this used to be easy?” (Hint: Today’s dinosaur DAMs didn’t start out complicated either.)
  5. By year’s end, it will be tough to find a DAM vendor that’s willing to admit it makes DAM software. In fact, the term “digital asset management” will be replaced with so many different (stupid) alternative terms, that customers won’t know what to think.
  6. As DAM vendors give up on the term “digital asset management,” CMS and other technology vendors will hijack it and turn it into a menu option. This will further threaten the viability of the DAM industry as an industry. Then, in 2016, all the DAM vendors who have started playing dress-up as “marketing technology stacks” and “customer experience management systems” and god knows whatever else, will realize they’ve confused Google, so they’ll reintroduce the term to their websites.

With predictions out of the way, I want to thank CMSwire for not only enabling me to speak my mind on some controversial topics, but to name me one of their top contributors of the year and pick one of my articles as their #1 piece in the DAM category.

I also need to thank the Createasphere organization and its judging panel for awarding me “DAMMY of the Year” last year. I appreciate it so much! I’m so sad that I was not in New York to accept the award, and I’m even sadder that there will be no opportunity to honor a 2014 (or beyond) recipient.

2014 was both interesting and boring for the DAM industry. It was boring (as hell) in the sense that there was no technology innovation going on. Perhaps that changes in 2015.

But 2014 was interesting in that we’ve never before been introduced to so many newcomers who are talented and worth listening to. In many respects, we have DAM Guru Program to thank for giving DAM newbies a vehicle with which to connect to others so they can lose that newbie status. It’s happening all the time now, and it’s benefiting this entire industry.

As I mentioned to my pal John Horodyski the other day, I see a whole new generation of DAM professionals percolating to the top. I can’t wait to read what they write, learn from their expertise, and then get the hell out of their way.

Bookmark this page and set a reminder to come back in a year and see how I did with the predictions.

I hope everyone has big plans for 2015. Make it your best year yet.

Are You Ready for Digital Asset Management?

I just recently published a piece in the Picturepark blog that deals with helping organizations determine whether or not they’re even ready to adopt a DAM system. (Yes, I realize that sounds like someone’s getting a puppy.) It comes from the “DAM Prep in 7 Steps” eBook, but we figured it was worth publishing on its own.

If you’re in the “I need a DAM” stage, please read it. Please also direct others to it who are getting into DAM. I’ve seen many DAM systems fail because the purchasing organization’s expectations weren’t in line with reality, or in line with the reality of the DAM they chose.

Read “Are You Ready for Digital Asset Management?” »

When You Steal It, Admit It

By and large, I find marketing people to be vapid, oxygen wasters. Not because I find the art and pseudo-science of Marketing to be inherently evil—I don’t. After all, I’m a marketing director. But it bothers me that marketing people come into their positions, usually without a shred of industry experience, and then start blogging about best practices and tips like you’d think they invented the damned topic.

And the Digital Asset Management industry is full of examples of this. We’ve seen DAM News take on an unnamed DAM vendor for stealing content on several occasions. Recently, I also had to send a takedown notice to a company that had stolen content right off the Picturepark website.

And, really, this is bad enough. But when one marketing director uses his CMSWire authoring slot to steal copy verbatim from a CMSWire article written by the marketing director of a competing company, this is below low. In fact, it’s shameful.

Here’s an excerpt from a piece I wrote called “Lost in the DAM,” which CMSWire published on March, 12 2014:


Here’s an excerpt from a piece called “6 Reasons Why People Don’t Use Your DAM,” written by Neil Monahan, marketing manager for Brandworkz, and published by CMSWire on August 20, 2014:


Thank you for the vote of confidence, Mr. Monahan. But I’m not Wikipedia. 

Here’s what I would like to have happen from this:

  1. I would like Mr. Monahan to publicly apologize for his plagiarism, to me and any other authors from whom he has stolen content. And I would like him to remove that content from the Internet.
  2. I would like CMSWire to require their contributing authors to verify that all materials submitted are original, not copied in any way from another source, and not written by a ghost writer. After all, if we are to trust CMSWire content to be valuable and educational, we should have some assurance that it is so, to the best of their knowledge.

Don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with someone learning from something I’ve written and using that knowledge in their work—that’s why I do what I do. But it irks me when someone tries to pass himself off as some sort of DAM expert when, in fact, copy & paste is the only expertise that has been adequately demonstrated. 

The Digital Asset Management industry has enough problems without being polluted with nonsense written by (or stolen by) people who don’t know enough about what’s going on to speak from experience and tell their own stories.

UPDATE: CMSWire has since removed the three numbered points from Mr. Monahan’s article and replaced them with a link to my article. I was not told of any policy changes that would be made as a result of this. I will update this post if that happens. Mr. Monahan has also emailed me an apology in which he blames an intern whom he had to do his research. This, of course, made me feel stupid because all these years I’ve been doing my own DAM research. I didn’t even know that outsourcing expertise was an option. 

The DAM Plumbing Problem

water faucet

Digital Asset Management at the “point of consumption.”

“Point of consumption” is a concept I’ve used for years to explain away the primary reason digital asset management has not become the business staple it was expected to become. The problem, as I see it, is that DAM too closely follows the metaphor of having to go places to get what we need.

But this isn’t us. We want entertainment streamed into our homes because a trip to the local video store is too much. We want food delivered so that we can watch that streamed entertainment and not go hungry. And when that TV is no longer awesome enough, we ask Amazon to bring us a new one.

We want what we want when we want it. This means delivery to the “point of consumption.” There are countless examples of this around us. Enough so, in fact, that the world supports not one, but several international delivery companies, such as FedEx, UPS, etc. We are all about “bring it to me.”

Yet, digital asset management software was built on a paradigm that says, “if you want it, come and get it.” DAM vendors are trying harder than ever to make their systems attractive and usable; but the core problem isn’t beauty—the core problem is that no matter how wonderful the local video store might be, it’s not Netflix.

CMSWire has published “Reinventing Digital Asset Management,” an article I wrote about this topic. Until we reinvent the DAM paradigm, I think we remain stuck where we are now.


Image courtesy of Gualberto107 /

Take My DAM Away



I got an email today from my pal, Andrew Mannone. I’ve known Andrew for years. I consider him to be one of the world’s most talented and creative DAM admins.

In today’s email, he said that he and his coworkers at America’s Test Kitchen (creators of recipes that make me fat) were taking the day to clean their offices. While cleaning, they were listening to 80s music. And while listening, Berlin’s Take My Breath Away came on. He thought of me, so he sent me the email. In turn, I got to thinking about that song (which I never liked) and I couldn’t help myself.

Andrew, this version is for you, my friend. Sing it freely as you walk the halls of ATK. May it bring you strength when you need it most.

Installing every update in this stupid database.
All the endless the errors; features oh so out of place.
Turning and returning to support queues every time;
Never gets much better; ruins all my days and nights.

Take my DAM away…

Watching, I keep waiting, still anticipating work.
Never hesitating, overlooking all the quirks.
Turning and returning to support queues every time;
Watching in slow motion; stupid progress bar won’t climb.

Take my DAM away…

Through the user group I begged you;
Bugs won’t go away.
When the upload crashed I called you,
And yearned to hear you say:
Only one more day; the fix is on its way.

Take my DAM away…