July 3, 2013

Take the Jump

By Stephen Laliberte


Every summer, the IProduction team gets together to do something out of the ordinary. These events often strengthen our communication and bond us together with a shared experience. This year we decided to find out why IPro staffer John Kretzschmar is so passionate about skydiving.  John has completed over 2,200 jumps and competes nationally in four-way free-fall formations. 

On July 3, our staff drove to a rural Wisconsin airport, where we saw the single engine plane waiting on the grass runway.  It was a beautiful day, sunny with light winds. Still, I was not sure I could jump out of a plane traveling 100 mph at 13,000 feet in the air.  My family even has to convince me to get on Space Mountain at Disney World. 

However,  John’s experience gave me confidence.  John is in charge of our product release control.  Since John took that over, we have regular platform-wide updates, and in two years we have had only one rollback.  John is detailed, accurate, and thorough.  I knew skydiving had to be somewhat safe and predictable—otherwise John wouldn’t have taken the leap more than 2,000 times.

IProduction programmer John Kretzschmar, Steve Laliberte, and the tandem jump instructor in a free-fall at 10,000 feet.

Our team couldn’t all fit in the plane, so we went in different groups. I was scheduled for the last group.  I watched the plane disappear into the sun, and then watched the IProduction team members come back into view, suspended only by the air under their parachute. As the day unfolded, nearly the entire IProduction staff jumped.  They not only survived—they walked off the drop zone with big smiles, eager to share their experiences.  This added to my confidence.

The time finally came to get in the plane.  As we climbed past the clouds, the tandem jump instructor connected all the clips and tightened the straps. I knew that if I could trust my jump instructor, he would scoot me to the door, jump, and fly. 

I let him push us out the door, and I hung on for the ride. The ride down was frightening, exhilarating, and amazing. John joined me in the free-fall as well, right as we passed through a cloud. I trusted the tandem instructor’s ability to get me safely to the ground. After viewing the landscape from a new perspective, we landed with ease. I’m glad I took the risk!

On the drive back to the Twin Cities, I realized that for many publishers, the digital transformation is like skydiving.  Many are fearful of things like erosion of print subscriptions.  Others fear eroding print advertising dollars.  The best offset to those fears is to hook up with an experienced digital transformation tandem jumper like IProduction. 

We know that trust is essential to the process. Publishers trust us because we have made thousands of jumps and can help ensure a successful and profitable outcome. The result is well worth it.

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