Changin' Lanes - A preview

Andy Williams in his new "lane."

Earlier this week I announced a new project: Changin' Lanes. The concept: I am looking for personal and positive stories about people who have changed lanes, so to speak, in the business world and in the field of personal growth. These are people who changed lanes to follow their passion – to live the life they want to live.

These inspiring stories will be posted on the Changin' Lanes web site (a work in progress). We are also planning a web-based TV series (we start shooting next month).

For more on Changin' Lanes, click here.

Here's a preview. Keep in mind that Changin' Lanes is not only limited to photographers.

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Changin' Lanes
Andy Williams – From Suits & Ties to Shorts & T-Shirts

Andy after changing lanes

For 20 years, I worked in technology and sold big ticket software to big companies, big banks and other financial institutions. However, I've always been a photographer, and I have always have done professional photographic work for many years.

In 2003 I was looking for a way to get my photographs online - and to sell photos online. I stumbled upon SmugMug in 2003 and it's changed my life. From the very beginning, I was contacted by the founder, who offered assistance as I was setting up my website. And then, we got to talking about the business, and from there it snowballed. I became an adviser to SmugMug, then joined on full-time as General Manager and House Professional in 2005.

Andy before changing lanes

I was the 10th employee. This was a big change for me! Going from the big-corporate world, suit-and-tie, working on Wall Street, to shorts and t-shirt, and a 20-foot commute to my home office :)

Now, 5 years later, I'm COO and we're up to 60 employees and hundreds of thousands of fanatical customers. I'm immersed in photography 24/7 and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love working with all of our customers, family shooters, serious amateurs, and all types of pros as well.

I still shoot professionally, and I also do a bunch of workshops each year. My passion now is the landscape, and I love teaching others how to improve their craft. Here's a link to my site.

It's funny - even though I work tremendously long hours - I don't consider it work! I get to be part of an amazing company, providing a service to photographers all over the world, and I get to shoot - all the time. I get to meet with other photographers on a regular basis and I see amazing photography every day from so many wonderful shooters. I can't imagine ever changing lanes again!

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Thank you Andy!

If you have a Changin' Lanes story, email it to me at ricksammon at To those of you have emailed me, thank you! The stories are amazing.

Good luck,

P.S. You can follow the progress of this progress on Twitter.