LensRentals.com

Roger Gets a New Job

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Long ago in a lifetime far away, I discovered photography. I loved it. I mean, I really, really loved it. Not just learning how to make photographs. I loved learning how the camera and lenses made those photographs. I loved learning about the major and minor differences various lenses had. I spent every free moment using equipment and learning about our craft. I spent almost every free dollar buying more equipment.

In a burst of insanity I decided the best thing a gearhead photographer like me could do was to start a photography rental company. I’d have to buy everything because now it would be ‘stock’ and ‘assets’. Brilliant!! Like people say, it’s not work when you’re doing what you love. (I will mention, for those considering a similar path, that when you are working 14 hours weekdays, 8 hours Saturday and Sunday, and losing money, you should not mention how much fun it is to your wife.)

Lensrentals was more successful than I’d ever dreamed it could be.  What I found out, though, was that I wasn’t running my personal photography toy store.  I was leasing office space, negotiating shipping rates, filling out two gazillion governmental forms, learning how to regain stolen equipment, obtaining lines of credit, hiring people, managing employee benefits, trying to figure out what would rent well, and various other things that did not fit my definition of really fun stuff. Not to mention trying to learn about those business –type things like return-on-investment, depreciation, profitability, market share, corporate tax structure, and a bunch of other terms I still can’t understand.  (Maybe unwilling to understand is more accurate, but whatever.)

The bigger the business got, the less time I spent with the equipment I loved and the more time I spent being a businessman. I learned several things in a fairly short time: 1) I’m not a good businessman, 2) I don’t want to become a good businessman, and 3) I want to play with the toys and lots of business responsibility keeps you from playing with the toys. For those of you thinking I should add “I refuse to grow up” to that list, I had figured that out way before Lensrentals started.

During the last several years Drew, Tyler, and Kristin, who actually have business sense and training, have taken over the day-to-day operation of Lensrentals. They not only do it a lot better than I did, they like doing all that stuff I hate to do. Even stranger, they’ve never expressed the slightest interest in taking lenses apart. Go figure. They all came here when the company was still small, leaving secure corporate jobs and taking significant risks (and pay cuts) to do so. They’ve had as much to do with the growth and success of Lensrentals as I have.

So it makes sense, and is with real enthusiasm, that I’ve accepted an offer from the current management team to buy a majority interest in Lensrentals. I will remain owner of a significant portion of the company’s stock, but am now “one of the owners” not “the owner”.  I’m totally comfortable that the company I started will continue to be run the way I wanted it run, because the people buying it are the ones who’ve been running it that way for several years.

The best part is they basically told me “you can do whatever you want to do as long as you remain an active part of Lensrentals.” So going forward, I will continue to head our quality assurance, repair, and research efforts. In other words I will spend my days taking stuff apart, figuring out how it works, testing it, repairing it, and writing about it. I’m in gearhead heaven once again.

What will you notice that’s different? Nothing. The only thing changing is that I’ll have more time to do the stuff that leads to most of these blog posts.

 

Roger Cicala

Lensrentals.com

 

 

34 Responses to “Roger Gets a New Job”

Daniel Browning said:

Congratulations! This event may finally remove the last vestiges of adult supervision (blech… who needs the stuff?). Nothing to hold you back now. :D

Joe said:

Congratulations Roger, that stupid idea of turning your toys loose on the world continues to evolve. Let me guess, in Kindergarten you got high marks in ‘plays well with others’.

Now to celebrate, you need to road trip around and come see us!

Matt said:

Awesome! Good luck with everything! I’m really to have discovered this site.

Mark Olwick said:

Congratulations, Roger. That’s the definition of success.

Now on with the fun!

Bob said:

Nicely done – one of the hardest things to do is handing over the reigns but man is it worth it.

denise beverly db visual arts said:

Good for you!! Too many people wait far too long to figure things like this out and are miserable. Enjoy!!

Jim said:

Congratulations Roger! I am glad to hear that the business you have worked so hard to help build has been so successful!

CarstenW said:

That’s awesome, congratulations Roger! I love your gear head articles and read them all, even when I don’t have the time. Keep on keeping on!

Michael said:

Good leaders have succession planning at the forefront. Congrats on completion of a great business plan.

A said:

Congratulations Roger!

Jason Holzworth said:

Congrats Roger, I hope you keep on writing Roger’s take!

Dave Gurtcheff said:

Congratulations Roger! I have been a lurker here, and find your comments on various lenses a real gold mine of information. I am retired, and 75 years old. Like you, I have loved photography ever since my first darkroom I built in 1959. By 1960 I was making 16″x20″ “C” prints in my basement. When I retired in May 2001 I really had the time to really fall in love all over again with my photography efforts. I now do very nicely selling my “fine art” seascapes here on Long Beach Island, NJ as a “2nd career”
best of luck to you
Dave Gurtcheff
Beach Haven NJ

Dave Gurtcheff said:

Congratulations Roger! I have been a lurker here, and find your comments on various lenses a real gold mine of information. I am retired, and 75 years old. Like you, I have loved photography ever since my first darkroom I built in 1959. By 1960 I was making 16″x20″ “C” prints in my basement. When I retired in May 2001 I really had the time to really fall in love all over again with my photography efforts. I now do very nicely selling my “fine art” seascapes here on Long Beach Island, NJ as a “2nd career”
best of luck to you
Dave Gurtcheff
Beach Haven NJ

Martha said:

Every time an article from Roger appears, I gobble it up. Now I’ll get lots more to gobble! A win win!

Bruce said:

Livin’ the dream Roger ~ well played.
Please devote as much of your new found extra time as possible to writing. As many have said, we love and we learn from your take on, . . well, pretty much everything in the realm. K? You keep playing and writing, well keep renting and reading.

Thorne said:

I remember when you guys were just starting out, and I am so glad for everyone’s sake that it’s all panned out so well. Congrats on taking it to the next level!

DeeDee said:

Congratulations, Roger, Drew, Tyler, and Kristin! And I second what Martha said! Can’t wait to see even more of Roger’s take. :)

Thomas Alicoate said:

Great, I was jealous before. Now I’m positively green with envy. Congratulations on moving on to even more fun. Keep up the great work.

anon said:

Go Roger! Way to Live the DREAM!

Roger said:

win win win for everyone. congrats, and it shows wisdom on your end to trust, be able to step down, not let the business be you (but something greater), and allow time for happiness and screw drivers. what a great success story.

Samuel H said:

Sounds really great! Congrats!

Just remember to have some healthy savings somewhere else, in case they turn on you. Stranger things have happened.

Marc Hunter said:

Absolute inspiration, thank you for this Roger and for all you do for us.

simon said:

cool :) sounds like a fun job indeed. if you ever want to expand to switzerland, and need someone to buy and play with camera equipment all day long just write me an email. seriously :)

Nathan Johns said:

Congratulations, Roger!

Your insight on lenses and the company’s terrific customer service have kept me as a customer for several years. So glad to hear we are going to be seeing a lot more of your reviews and blog postings.

Russ said:

Dude! I remember the first time I rented from you back in… 2008? Something like that. But I remember being floored that the owner of this company called to make sure that I was “for real,” that my ship-to address wasn’t some kind of hoax. We ended up talking about gear for about 20 minutes and I remember thinking “How cool is that? The guy actually digs this stuff as much as I do.” In other words, you weren’t an accountant starting a camera store, you were a gear-head opening up your box of goodies to let the rest of us play too. Through the years you-all have put together a great company, and my hat’s off to all of you and I’m thrilled that you aren’t going anywhere! Please keep writing more of your great blog posts (didn’t we use to just call them articles? :) All the best! Russ in Windsor, CO

IsleofGough said:

I just wanted to thank you for the great articles that allow the rest of us to vicariously share in the taking apart of equipment we would never dare to do ourselves (only in our dreams). Your writing is great!

jose said:

Congratulations. At least one of us got to do what you love on a daily basis. I have to wait until family is sleeping or weekends to play with the camera and lenses…..

MikeL said:

Wow. I’m green with envy. Congratulations!

MIke Strock said:

Roger – Having gotten email from you a couple times when I’ve had a question about a particular lens, or a rental I was pondering, I’m excited for you. I’m also excited for US the customer, because you will continue to be a part of Lensrentals. That makes me happy. I will continue to use them and recommend them. Thanks for starting what has become a very useful (to me) business. It is appreciated, and YOU are appreciated by me, your customer.

Mike.

Steve Shroka said:

Lucky stiff!! Congrats! Looking forward to more articles!

MRNot said:

Conga Rats, Roger.. I will just ./sign what Mark O. said at the top..

Don’t ever change.. (well, except your underwear.. You just never know when that will become critical until it’s too late)

Scott Moody said:

For those of us who love the articles are the real winners here!!!

intrnst said:

Now you’re talking!

All the best.
Cheers, man.

Sergio Munoz said:

Congratulation Roger, you finally went back to your pasion hah! What can I say I am a little envious getting up everyday and doing what you love best is a testimony of living life to the fullest. As Forest Gump says ” One less thing to worry about.”
A trully way to measure of life is how you live each day without any regrets… Good luck in the new position and have lot’s of fun….

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