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March 27th, 2011

Embracing Change

Posted by liveBooks

I’m back in the San Francisco office after a couple of weeks due to the passing of my mother. She was an amazing woman who taught me many lessons, not the least of which was the importance of story-telling and how to embrace change. I recall my first semester of Sophomore year in college. I was disillusioned with school and decided that I would walk across America in the foot steps of the author Peter Jenkins. Upon hearing this news via phone one night, my dad suggested I finish out the semester and come home so we could talk about it and plan out the trip. My mom added that I might want to take some workshops on the various skills I would need to complete such an adventure. She would later find an incredible teacher from the National Outdoor Leadership School who lived in our home town and was willing to take me under her wing. My mom & dad always supported me in this way, respecting me enough to make my decision, while asking insightful questions and providing me the support to find needed answers.

So, it was in this spirit of embracing change that I took the news that one of our wonderful employees was leaving the nest after nearly seven years with liveBooks. The hard core businessman in me wanted to fight to keep him on, as one never wants to lose such talent. But, Taylor Smith is more than just an employee to us, and the lessons of my mother seem ever more relative. We’ll miss Taylor, but we can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next.

This is one of my favorite parts of being a leader – watching those on my team learn, achieve, find happiness and evolve. When Michael Costuros first created what we now know of as liveBooks, it was called Evolution Studios. How appropriate! Michael himself has evolved, leaving the day-to-day activities of liveBooks and creating another successful venture. Miki Johnson, trusting in my vision and herself, left New York for San Francisco and a position at liveBooks. Now she is out on her own conquering project after project. And just as we continue to work with Michael and Miki on a project basis, I’m sure we’ll find our paths crossing again with Taylor.

At the funeral service I listened intently to my mom’s friends and family tell stories about her. What struck me most was the tremendous impact that she had on people’s lives. The little things that she did and said in a spirit of caring and giving. Regardless of the type of creative professional you are, remember that those around you are paying attention and your impact is significant. Don’t take this opportunity for granted for you never know how important your actions will be to someone close by, whether someone in the studio, on a shoot, in a wedding, or in the field. Do your art with integrity, intent and insight and you’ll create an ever-lasting legacy.

Be well Taylor – make us proud!

Please read more about “my last day at liveBooks” on Taylor’s blog

Posted in Leadership


  1. March 28th, 2011 at 12:31 pm


    Thank you for this thoughtful post. It comes at a time of transition in my family and has advice we can all consider.
    I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. She sounds like a very wise woman.

  2. March 28th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Harvey Tillis

    Condolences on your mother’s passing. She was a lovely woman.

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