All right, I'll admit I've been dropping the ball on the blog this week. But you know how it is when you're burning the candle at both ends: The fun stuff is always the first to go. I'm just trying to do too many things at once. Oy vey. But I'll take some rambling action today and see where this post winds up.
The big thing on my plate right now is the Self-Storage Training Institute (SSTI). This is an an education portal launched by Inside Self-Storage several years ago but never quite got off the ground. It was originally designed by people who worked for our parent company but were unfamiliar with the industry. I won't bore you with insignificant details. Suffice it to say, between lack of staff and a magazine that keeps growing every year, the project just didn't get the attention it deserved. That is, until now. The old SSTI website is such an embarrassment ... ugh ... I can't even talk about it.
So with the change in my position along with an evolving self-storage business, the decision came that it was high time we got with the program (no pun intended). I've been working night and day with our web team (who are just real troopers, by the way) to design a new website and series of educational products to suit the needs of today's storage owners, operators and managers.
I won't say too much more about this right now because the official launch isn't until about April 15th (we hope). I will tell you that this new venture is really quite something. It'll be a work in progress, maybe indefinitely. But it'll fill a real need in this industry. We are constantly being contacted by self-storage professionalsexisting and rookieswho want to know where they can get training and education besides the bi-annual expos, which can be cost-prohibitive for some.
I also want to say a something about another educational service on the market, the new Self Storage Education Network, which was recently unveiled by industry experts Jim Chiswell (Chiswell & Associates LLC) and Mel Holsinger (Professional Self Storage Management). These guys have been huge supporters of ISS over the years, between article contributions, speaking engagements, advertising and postive word-of-mouth. In addition to colleagues, they've also been great friends to us. I can't say enough good things about them.
The process of revitalizing SSTI hasn't been easy, in part because it would entail competing on some level with SSEN. While our products are different, our aim is the same: to provide quality industry education in a variety of formats at affordable prices. In the end, we decided it was our duty to provide customers with the resources they've been requesting for so long.
But for the record: We don't view our relationship with SSEN as adversarial. In fact, we've had meetings with Jim and Mel, and we hope to find ways to work collaboratively in service to the industry. Our intention was never to go head-to-head with their new enterprise; and I believe we can meet different but compatible needs. So don't be surprised if you see SSEN being promoted in our magazine or on our website along with SSTI. Two unique companies, yes, but with a single (and singular) vision.
Gosh. And I didn't think I had much to say.
By the way, SSTI isn't the only thing keeping me busy these days. For one, it's Arizona Bike Week, and the weather has been oh-so-fine. I'm also assisting a friend with the launch of her ebay business, preparing the household for the introduction of two new kittens (see entry from 3.15.06, titled "Family Values"), and trying to design some fresh ink for this weekend's big event: the Valley of the Sun Tattoo Convention. Hot-cha!
Don't you just love spring time?