Of Strategy and Commitment

Before you read another word, if you want to cut to the chase and help: Go to the nearest public forum where court reporting or stenography is a topic and write something positive about steno. The rest of the post is a broader look at one thing I’m working on right now.Some will inevitably see my message to e court reporters and transcribers. As a matter of fact some have seen it, and I have responded. To be honest, it all goes back to a post I wrote about the limits of institution. To really sum it up, I wrote a friendly post to e court reporters and transcribers. It says, more or less:

  1. Try steno.
  2. If you won’t do that, ask for more money. The work you’re doing is valuable.
  3. Unionize.

The natural reaction to this by the typical stenographer is: But Chris, are you not outraged? Shouldn’t you be telling everyone that the main CR companies are pushing ECRs? And of course, the truth is, I am. I am outraged. You could fill a thousand stars with my outrage. But it isn’t outrage that will save us. I had the good fortune to read about the Pygmalion Effect recently and the power of words in print. The general idea is that expectations can actually affect reality, and that when people read words they are more likely to believe them and follow them.

So the strategy is simple. Take everything that makes digital reporting profitable and absolutely destroy it. Tell these people that they’re being used, tell them that they are being given less, tell them they can make more and be more productive as stenographers. It’s true! It’s the truth! It sets an expectation higher for them so that they aim for the stars and not the ground. Put steno in the best possible light with the best public face.

The next part of the strategy: Compete with these agencies. They might seem individually bigger and tougher than us because they have investors who have put down a lot of money, but if there’s one thing history tells us it’s that big companies with national presence can go broke the same as anyone else. If stenographers compete with them, we will beat them. In about a week there’ll be a post about one company that is doing its part to push us out. If you’re not in a position to start grabbing clients, that’s okay, but contribute to the environment that freelancers can do this. Write an article about how you’d do it. Platform yourself and spread a message of how people can be successful. Maybe write stenonymously.

I will do my part to bring articles and ideas relevant to business and building business. I need to rely on my court reporting friends to spread the message, and I need to rely on freelancers to take the message to heart and execute it better than I ever could, but in the end, we as a group will come out on top, and that’s what matters to me.

One thing is clear though: Relying on someone else to fix all our problems is not safe. Everyone has their own interest, and so it is imperative to fight for our own interest. NCRA and state associations will catch on and follow our lead as we develop strategies and resources for taking back our market share. Consider it this way: There are at least 15,000 stenos across the country. If each of us contributed five seconds to something for the field, that’s a day’s worth of work done.

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