Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crowd Sourced Print Centric Innovation

A couple of days ago an interesting thing happened on social media. It started on Twitter then moved to G+.

On twitter there is a group of us, @GraingerEd in Canada, @Ddrrnt in Oregon, that have been chatting over the last year or so about the problems in education. Sean Grainger (@graingered ) is a leading educator in Alberta. He did a brilliant post on Bullying. 

About a week or so ago, we seemed to have hit an inflection point. @menghe a brilliant designer joined our little band. It's an under appreciated fact that Brilliant - not pedestrian - graphic design is the defensible value.  After a couple of days of back and forth on twitter, and then a real focused conversation at G+ , Menghe presented this poster on Bullying.


If things go as planned, A printed version of this piece will be available at Jason Pinto's booth some time during Graph Expo.

Print Centric Innovation
As we chatted more about the poster Menghe did, it seems that we may have stumbled on a product that could do well while doing some good.

Another member of our little band is @Sandyhubbard . We've been having a long back and forth on Twitter about Print as the Medium of Common Sense. The fact is the Print medium is slow. It sits quietly in the background waiting for the user to engage. Unlike "social media" it does not create the expectation of a response  Now.  All you need to do is compare the image you find on this screen with a printed version available at the show to prove the point to yourself.

But the point is to do well in the service of doing good.

The format of the image should enable non profit organizations to get their message out and still allow magazines to earn money from placing the ad. Each of the twitter persona and QR should be easy to sell to corporations also trying to do well. If the charge for an ad is $2000, each position could be sold for a minimum of $500 or more. 

Do well. Do good. is the best way to integrate social media into Print. 

Stay tuned for more Print Centric Innovations to #HelpPrintThrive.

UPDATE: Sept 15

It turned out that things broke just the right way.  @raffel stepped up to get us through the last mile at the show. The other piece was quick response from @HPIndigo. Short story it was printed at GraphExpo yesterday. For the non printing nerds, GraphExpo is the biggest Print Industry show in the USA... at least for now.

 It says to me that Crowd Sourced Design can be couple with Crowd Sourced Manufacturing. Of course this is a tiny example, depending an the caring of many individuals.

But it seems to me it demonstrates what is now becoming possible.







Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Moved to Twitter and Print in the Communication Ecology blog

Since I started this blog I've used it to gather data points to help me clarify what I think are the next steps for Print. Around the end of March 2010, I found that twitter is a better tool for that purpose.

If you're interested in my blabla or my 2¢ you can find me at @ToughLoveforX I'm now focused on Print in the Communications Ecology.

{ The following was originally posted March 13, 2010 }
Yesterday I got an email from an on the ground printer in the States.

She said:
I had been wondering about the lack of input from you lately (you used to be EVERYWHERE!) – glad to be getting your tweets!

I said:
Thanks for the email. "EVERYWHERE?" yikes! Can you imagine what is was like back in the day working with me. I never shut up.

A short explanation about the blog . From where I sit, I really do think the "tipping point" has been reached in Print and from here on in, much less panic and much more money. Hooray!
But it's a bit less interesting as the pieces fall back into place. My real passion as you might be able to tell from my tweets is education. Primarily in the creation of at risk kids in really broken high schools. As an example the average grad rate in NYC is 63% and people look upon that as a great victory.

The thing about education is NOT about feel good. It's about making money for printers who get it. Marketing for globals is a loser because the margins are so low and will continue to be so low. At the local level there's more opp, but with the competition from on line and the chains - Alpha, Staples, etc. the margins are going to stay tight.

Right now there is a huge amount of money being poured into education. Also a huge disruption is going on in that market that opens up opportunities for smaller, faster, smarter printers.

Lots of commercial people think I'm all about the feel good. Suffice it to say that one of the reasons I was able to retire was by investing in print related companies. Just as examples, in the last year Consolidated is up 125%, McClatchey newspapers up 800%, Gannett up 300%, Oce up around 100%. When I say print ain't dead, my data points are the stock prices.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seth Goodin and the Printernet

Seth Godin " There's room in the market for 100,000 profitable micro-magazines" http://ilnk.me/275d >Biz case for printernet.
  • Having a very specific audience (call it a tribe)
  • Enabling that tribe to connect by sharing the ideas in the magazine among them, as well as supporting it with a forum or blog
  • Containing ads that are relevant to that audience
  • Being longer than 140 characters or even a blog post, so significant ideas can be exposed in detail

There's room in the market for 100,000 profitable micro-magazines. Why not have one about Aruba, for example? If all the people who vacation in Aruba could read about the island in detail every month, read about restaurants, resorts and politics, for free, in an easy to share format... Multiply this by every destination, every interest group, every type of profession (how about a micro-magazine for ethnobiologists?)


#Printernet is massively parallel manufacture of Print output. 50,000,000+ Print pieces w/a minimal carbon footprint. http://ilnk.me/27d1

Massive parallel manufacturing with standards-based interfaces, real time production information and easy access for everyone. Each printer — the combination of the machinery and the intelligence that manages the machinery — is a print output node. Each node is both part of the network and self-sufficient. When the nodes are working together mass customization of print product becomes commonplace at previously impossible speeds and quantities.”


Sunday, April 18, 2010

So what's up with PrintCafe? Not pretty it seems.

So yesterday I got this tweet from EliotNessCyLab
@ToughLoveforX The 'rest of the story' about Printcafe: www.PrintcafeSecuritiesFraud.com
Then this morning I got an email. A section of it is reproduced below:

1) The victims of the Printcafe securities fraud were:

a) Creo which lost between $75 and $100 million and was attacked by Cenveo's Bob Burton (who gobbled up Banta instead), [Creo chose suicide-by-Kodak rather than suicide- by-Cenveo],

b) the former owners of the acquired software companies -- Hagen, Logic, Printsmith, PSI -- who were shortchanged by $51 million when PCAF shares were split 66:1,

c) the career employees who built the aforementioned companies, HUNDREDS of whom lost their careers as PCAF had to slash and burn as it abandoned the successful software products and pursued "e-commerce" that did not exist,

d) ALL printers nationwide, who lost the benefits of competition as Printcafe/EFI formed a virtual monopoly, (a monopoly even more complete now that EFI has gobbled up ePACE),

e) ALL printers nationwide, who endured higher prices and diminished service from Printcafe/EFI,

f) the public and private investors who had lost a grand total of $250 million (that's one-quarter of a BILLION) by the year 2003 when PCAF imploded (and only got about $50 million back from EFI),

g) the Aileron hedge fund investors who never heard about the Printcafe fraud from the printing industry's 'journalists' and therefore invested with Guttman,

h) Carnegie Mellon which never heard about the Printcafe fraud from the printing industry's 'journalists' and therefore hired Guttman and has retained him lo these many years.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's money with the wrong dna. (originally posted May 25,2009)

Funny money thinks it has all the answers. It forgets that its replication is based on a rising market and its arrogance on a short memory. If something crashes it's usually because "the economy is blablabla." If money gets burned in the Print space, it's because "the internet balabala and the End of Print." That's why Cenveo closed Anderson, that's why Boundary Capital is closing outlets all over the UK and why Zell took the Tribune into bankruptcy.

Meanwhile David Black is doing very nicely with newspapers in Southwest Canada/Northwest USA and The Color Company just replaced Fedex Kinko's in London and is also growing nicely.

In the States we have this thing about "Go West! Young Man." Maybe the Color Company should "Go North!" They could pick through the debris and find those smart, ever resilient, persistent Printers and click them on to their printernet. Then they could move to Australasia and do the same. Then maybe they could give AlphaGraphics a real run for their money in the States.

Then they could both fight it out with our homegrown good guys to see who will be the Starbucks of the Printernet.

"Earning" money by getting transaction fees from your VARs may work in finance. It's not sustainable in the real economy. Earning money from your VARs through value given, value received transactions is a different business model.

The End of Print? Hah! More likely it's the end of Funny Money poking it's nose into places it doesn't belong.
Prontaprint accused of supplier 'kickbacks'
@ comment posted at printweek.com

"Firms that want to supply Prontaprint had better be careful.

If anybody from Boundary Capital or ODC rings you up and says 'you can supply our franchisees but you'll have to grease our palms first, by the way your not allowed to speak to anyone about it' just remember that the guys that pay the bills namely the franchisees won't touch you with a bargepole if they find out about it. If we find out your doing it already we'll tell each other. Kickbacks mean WE HAVE TO PAY MORE. Be careful what you get yourselves into.

We want to deal with firms that don't give kickbacks.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Time for a change. In the Blog and in Print.

{ Originally posted March 13, 2009 }
If you're interested in my blabla or my 2¢ you can find me at @ToughLoveforX
I'm now focused on Print in the Communications Ecology.

Yesterday I got an email from an on the ground printer in the States.

She said:
I had been wondering about the lack of input from you lately (you used to be EVERYWHERE!) – glad to be getting your tweets!

I said:
Thanks for the email. "EVERYWHERE?" yikes! Can you imagine what is was like back in the day working with me. I never shut up.

A short explanation about the blog . From where I sit, I really do think the "tipping point" has been reached in Print and from here on in, much less panic and much more money. Hooray!
But it's a bit less interesting as the pieces fall back into place. My real passion as you might be able to tell from my tweets is education. Primarily in the creation of at risk kids in really broken high schools. As an example the average grad rate in NYC is 63% and people look upon that as a great victory.

The thing about education is NOT about feel good. It's about making money for printers who get it. Marketing for globals is a loser because the margins are so low and will continue to be so low. At the local level there's more opp, but with the competition from on line and the chains - Alpha, Staples, etc. the margins are going to stay tight.

Right now there is a huge amount of money being poured into education. Also a huge disruption is going on in that market that opens up opportunities for smaller, faster, smarter printers.

Lots of commercial people think I'm all about the feel good. Suffice it to say that one of the reasons I was able to retire was by investing in print related companies. Just as examples, in the last year Consolidated is up 125%, McClatchey newspapers up 800%, Gannett up 300%, Oce up around 100%. When I say print ain't dead, my data points are the stock prices.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Textbook Medium is The Message Of High School Education in the States

The inconvenient truth is that in High School education in the States approved textbooks supply the standards for education.

There is no longer any doubt in my mind that textbooks are now entering the tipping point into something new. It seems that education is traveling along the same trajectory.

Our usual focus is on the textbook as print. Today let's take a look at the political economy of education in the service of getting a more nuanced view.

In Rhode Island
All teachers fired at R.I. school. Will that happen elsewhere? { CSM http://ilnk.me/1c08 }

All teachers fired at R.I. school. { CSM http://ilnk.me/1c08 } "This will be a canary in the coal mine,”

Rhode Island is now ground zero for reforming America’s worst-performing schools { CSM http://ilnk.me/1c08 }
The game changer is
US Secretary of #Education Arne Duncan applauded the Rhode Island decision this week." { CSM http://ilnk.me/1c08 }
in Texas:
Texas "House Bill 2488 – the “open source” #textbook bill – is a watershed piece of legislation" http://ilnk.me/1bf6

Open Source” Textbooks Are Reason for Grave Concern in Texas http://ilnk.me/1bf6 ( The Political Economy of #Education)
The game changer
Open Source” #Textbooks Are Reason for Grave Concern in Texas http://ilnk.me/1bf6 --> " weakening the duties of the Board,"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

If you still can't get clarity on one future for textbooks . . .

It's now clear to everyone that textbooks in their present form are over. A bit like a zombie bank waiting to be reorganized. Here's one example of what's next.
Remixable textbooks by expert authors. Free online and affordable offline. http://ilnk.me/1bc2 me: Read for Free. Pay for Print. Go Print !
1,000 students 30 schools in Spring '09; 40,000 students 400 colleges in the fall 2009 used free Flat World textbooks http://ilnk.me/1bc1


I bet if you did the growth chart it would look like a hockey stick.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

IBM + Ricoh v Xerox v HP v ?? for MPS

Came across this piece this AM. So now it's IBM + Ricoh and Xerox(ACS) and HP. Wonder how Canon(Oce) is responding.

In any case it's all good for print. And my print-centric IRA.

IBM and Ricoh combine to help reduce print-related costs | TradingMarkets.com:

"IT company
IBM (NYSE: IBM PowerRating) and Ricoh (Nasdaq-OTCBB: RICOY PowerRating), a printer manufacturer, announced yesterday that they have partnered to develop an advanced device and printing management system which offers organisations the opportunity to reduce their costs and improve service availability."

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's up with Appleton Coated, NewPage, Sappi trying to get higher tariffs on Chinese paper.

To be clear all the info below comes from folks who represent Asia Pulp & Paper, the leading exporter of coated paper from China and Indonesia. It's fair to say they have skin in the game. But I consider the source and then see what makes sense to me.

To me it sounds like a couple of companies are trying to protect their market. That's not a problem. If I were a big company I would do the same thing. They do it because it's good for their company. If I were a shareholder that's precisely what I would expect.

But, please. No bullshit about good for America. Getting the United Steel Workers to join their suit, makes tactical sense, but give me a break.

Anyways here's what's on my radar so far.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) is investigating accusations that Chinese and Indonesian paper makers have received unfair subsidies from their governments and dumped certain types of coated paper on the U.S. market. The DOC will issue an important preliminary decision on subsidies on March 1
Over at Dead Tree Editions Blog ,whose insights and info I've grown to respect. He says:
If you think prices for coated paper have declined a lot recently, hang on to your hats. A bigger drop may be just around the corner.
I'm not sure about Appleton and NewPage but am told that
"Sappi is a South African multinational corporation. Sappi is gearing up operations in Asia, while it is closing plants in the U.S.
Of course there is the whining about subsidies for foreign paper. I don't have the details handy, but I'm pretty sure my readers remember the tax credits the paper companies got from the fed for smart business decisions to take advantage of the rules.

To get the full story, Dead Tree does a serious rundown at Both Sides in Asian-Paper Debate Are Lobbying U.S. Printers
U.S. industry received about $9 billion in black liquor credits during 2009. NewPage and SAPPI received more than $400 million last year in black liquor credits, which critics claim is an abuse of a program that was intended to encourage production of new, environmentally friendly fuels.
I have no problem with the companies. They are supposed to play by the rules to maximize shareholder value. I do however, have lots of problems with a Congress that make rules without a full consideration of the unintended consequences.

Bottom line is this kind of using the government to protect margins and markets really has to stop. It's what got us into the trouble we are in.

For the more reasoned and nuanced explanation, I suggest a read through Super Capitalism by Robert Reich. or you can watch a 10 minute vid here or the 60 minute video here.