Wednesday, February 18, 2009

20 Reasons Why 2009 Will Be The Year of the Ebook |
"According to a California State Board of Education study, the average weight of a high school student’s backpack is 20 pounds and contains about 6 textbooks. In comparison, the average weight of an ebook reader, capable of holding hundreds of books and instantly accessing hundreds of thousands more, is less than a pound.

It doesn’t take a genius to see where this is all going."
According to Wikipedia
Electronic paper was first developed in the 1970s by Nick Sheridon at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center.
Ok, that was then. This is now. But fella's come on!

It's about time to market, not about patents. If we can't figure out how to monetize our amazing engineers, spin it off. Get it off the balance sheet. Turn it into a University. Pixar set up a University. Collect tuition. Locate and find the next great generation of engineers. Send our people there to get certs. Put in place a Xerox to Teacher training program for our workers we can no longer afford. Get grants from the National Science Foundation.

From the NY Times
According to Randy S. Nelson, who joined the company in 1997 and is dean of Pixar University, a company-run education and training operation, this model reflects "Pixar's specific critique of the industry's standard practice." He explains it this way: "Contracts allow you to be irresponsible as a company. You don't need to worry about keeping people happy and fulfilled. What we have created here — an incredible workspace, opportunities to learn and grow, and, most of all, great co-workers — is better than any contract."

Since 1995, with the release of "Toy Story," Pixar's films have reinvented the art of animation, won 19 Academy Awards and grossed more than $3 billion at the box office. But the secret to the success of Pixar Animation Studios is its utterly distinctive approach to the workplace. The company doesn't just make films that perform better than standard fare. It also makes its films differently — and, in the process, defies many familiar, and dysfunctional, industry conventions. Pixar has become the envy of Hollywood because it never went Hollywood.

and from 37 Signals
(Pixar) . . . has created an incredible work environment that keeps employees happy and fulfilled. The result: “A tightknit company of long-term collaborators who stick together, learn from one another, and strive to improve with every production.”

At the heart of this effort is Pixar University:

The operation has more than 110 courses: a complete filmmaking curriculum, classes on painting, drawing, sculpting and creative writing. “We offer the equivalent of an undergraduate education in fine arts and the art of filmmaking,” [Randy Nelson, dean of Pixar University,] said. Every employee — whether an animator, technician, production assistant, accountant, marketer, or security guard — is encouraged to devote up to four hours a week, every week, to his or her education.

Randy Nelson is adamant: these classes are not just a break from the office routine. “This is part of everyone’s work,” he said. . . .
This is not rocket science. The amount of teaching talent looking for a great gig has never been greater or less expensive.

If anyone in XORiHK, could do an "anon" post to explain why this does not pass the "Why wouldn't we do that?" test, please do. What's the hard part?

By the way, anyone hear anything about Erasable Paper? I would hate for three people in garage in India to invent it, make a deal with someone and get the first mover advantage before we figure out a business plan that doesn't cannibalize our legacy business.

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