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Why Did You Apply for this Job?

September 7, 2022

Join/ Renew My Membership

That is a question I have been asked fairly consistently this year, both during the interview process and after I was hired. What made me leave an association I had led for more than a decade to come to SMPTE?

I am pleased to say that my answer, at the end of my first week of full-time employment, is the same as in my first interview, “I like serving the engineers, scientists, and artists.” The people who make things happen without getting much recognition are the recipients of the “hmmm  .” followed by silence when they tell people what they do for a living.

I am pulled to that service because I know those are the people who make the oooh’s and ahh’s of media. They are the people who ask why not rather than why. They are the individuals who see innovative approaches or new applications for old methods that spark revolutions we cannot live without.

While I value such attributes, I also recognize that without these people, the world as we know it would not exist. Streaming, video, and virtual reality are now commonplace in our world, and without them, we would have seen a far greater collapse of the global economy in the past two and half years. While many things could not happen while we lived in isolation, I imagine what it would have been like if we had a pandemic in 2000 rather than in 2020. In those 20 years, the work of SMPTE members and others has made an immeasurable impact.

These are the reasons I sought the position. But there is also work to be done. SMPTE as an organization and the industry as a whole face challenges ahead. The speed of technology can sometimes be a hindrance to our core endeavors. Some consider the current model of standards development to be slow and antiquated. When we compare standardization to the rate of progress, some technologies may be rendered outdated.

Our industry is becoming increasingly software-based. The minimization of hardware has altered the playing field and some players.

Open-source software and systems continue to drive change, which must be recognized. The global network, that is, the internet, creates new partners and new competitors that must be considered in all businesses, including SMPTE

These are just a few of the reasons why SMPTE is an exciting opportunity for me as executive director and you as a member. For 106 years, SMPTE has responded to the needs of an ever-changing industry. What began in the era of silent film has evolved to embrace the innovation of sound, expanded to television, and now serves a world that creates and consumes media on multiple devices created in a digital environment that spans the globe.

The Board of Governors and Executive Committee have expressed that SMPTE needs to continue to build upon its pillars and grow to meet the industry’s rapidly changing needs. We must do it in a climate that respects and integrates voices that have been historically marginalized, as well as respect the cultural norms of our global membership. This is only possible by listening.

Over the coming months, I will meet in person and virtually with our members. I will be coming to your offices and Section Meetings. I want to know more about the work you do and how you need SMPTE to serve your professional needs. Without your voice and input, any work is meaningless.

SMPTE speaks of its pillars, standards, education, and membership. These pillars are the foundation for SMPTE’s future. They will support the organization as a solid foundation, but you, the members, must provide the information that defines SMPTE in today’s media industry.

Let your voice be heard. Attend an online or in-person class or event. If you are unable to attend, let us know your thoughts. E-mail me directly at dgrindle@smpte.org. Why did I apply for this job? Because I have a passion for serving people like you and cannot wait to meet you and discuss how best I can serve you.

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David Grindle

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