As I sit and write this, it’s been 152 days since I joined Silverchair. In that time, I have attended five lively industry meetings, held team strategy sessions at the Silverchair headquarters in Charlottesville, and been actively involved in Silverchair’s AI experimentation and strategy.

In short, quite a lot has been going on since June 1st (my first day at the SSP Annual Conference), which set the tone for the level of engagement in community topics and networking I’m involved in now. Since then, it has been pretty much back-to-back meetings & events: from a summer trip to the UK (London, Oxford, Cambridge), Silverchair’s Platform Strategies event, to the ALPSP Conference in Manchester, and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Thus far, there are a few key themes I’ve observed aside from the industry-ubiquitous ones of AI and research integrity. These include the appetite for publishers to find vendor partners who are willing to take the time to truly understand their unique challenges, as well as to revisit their own status quo for discovering new approaches and new solutions to pain points. It’s clear that publishers, now more than ever, want vendors who are more like partners that can creatively apply the learnings and experience gained in solving other clients’ challenges, and they want those partners to do so via a collaborative, engaging process.

Another theme that I’ve been noticing has been the evolution of titles and roles of people within the publishing organizations themselves. We’re really seeing editorial and marketing intermeshed with the combined aim of establishing connection with authors and building systems and processes to service authors as customers. That truly changes the conversations that we have with people in those roles. Likewise, research integrity and ethics are becoming titles themselves and the activities around this are deeply embedding across a variety of publisher department. This shifts the overall responsibilities of those interconnected roles, and those people are actively working within their organizational groups to change the workflows and to essentially change the way that publishing is done.

I’ve got to say that another big highlight from my first 152 days has been the Silverchair team itself.

“I’m very excited to be joining Silverchair at this point of my career. Having experienced firsthand the transformative power of technology within the scholarly and academic publishing community, I’m inspired by Silverchair’s vision that innovation can fulfill the greatest promises of scholarship. I am very much looking forward to working shoulder to shoulder with a fantastic team at Silverchair who are dedicated to helping publishers thrive, evolve, and fulfill their missions.”

I had shared the above quote when I joined Silverchair, for the public announcement.  So it was very clear from the beginning that the people of Silverchair were people that would get me, that I could be open with, and with whom I could collaborate and speak my mind. We often hear people say things like, “You've got such cool people” or “The Silverchair team always seems to be having so much fun.” And so far, I can say that that is all 100% true. I’ve even started to adopt some of the quirks and some of the language that I first thought were (honestly) a little weird. For example, the term “Silverchairian” – initially I thought … come on now, really? … but now I find myself using it! The culture is very engaging and from an executive management position, I know firsthand how Silverchair’s leadership deeply cares about the whole of the organization and our wider industry, but I could not have known just how much. The focus, the concern and the care for our people, our clients and every aspect of how we operate is definitely remarkable.

Looking ahead to the next 150+ days with Silverchair, I see my biggest opportunity as continuing to be in learning mode. I want to continue to get to know our clients and prospects and to get my arms around their pain points, their hopes and dreams for their content, and understand how their platform integrates both upstream and downstream workflows. Truth be told though, as we head into Q4, I’m also looking forward to travel winding down so that I have some time off to better reflect on these early days as a Silvercharian (aha, see I just did it again!). I have my little notebook waiting on my desk, filled with notes from my onboarding … and I’m looking forward to revisiting those over the holidays, maybe over a glass of mulled wine or two by the fire :)

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