Friday, March 27, 2009

HP got the clicks on Printernet Publishing for Magazines . . . and some free advice for Xerox

Now if HP would only spin off it's Indigo and toner business, I could add that new organization to my 401K.

Until they do that, there is no way I want to figure out how they are going to make that Compaq purchase work. Given that Cisco is going into the server business, that whole thing looks like a loser to me. Add to that Google, IBM and Amazon in the Cloud business, I can't see how HP is going to get any margins in that line of work.


You can find out what the Ace Group has to say about printernet publishing for magazines at OnDemand. They still describe it as VDP blablabla. Did you ever meet anyone aside from a vendor who is excited by VDP? It's database publishing. It has always been database publishing. It will continue to be database publishing.

And just a little snarky note: "the secret to completing the VDP puzzle" is to find the customers who want to buy it. Everything else is just technology. PSP's have always been awesome at installing technology when a customer is willing to pay for the product. It's why I love PSPs.

Time, date and location – 12:00-12:50, Tuesday, March 31, Room 201B of the Pennsylvania Convention Center

Session title – "Completing the VDP Puzzle: Your Guide to Successfully Implementing VDP Capabilities"

Speaker – Val DiGiacinto, vice president of sales and partner, The Ace Group, New York City

Anyone else seeing a pattern?
Indigo sales have been going pretty well + Consolidated bought 36 Indigos and I assume have them up and running at their multiple locations + the Ace Group is producing "mine" on it's Indigo presses + MarketSplash has gone live.

Makes one wonder where the presses are located that will fulfill orders from MarketSplash. Consolidated? The Ace Group? Indigo PSP's around the country? I'm pretty sure it's not going to be the super efficient gang run offset they do over at VistaPrint.

I'm thinking Consolidated sales people are out there now looking for magazines to printernet publish. Meanwhile, the Ace Group already has the track record with Time, Inc and American Express. Plus they're in New York where all the big publishers are still located.

So... what might it look like?
I'm still seeing the same thing:

HP is trying to grab the whole enchilada. Consumers/mSB with MarketSplash. Magazines with printernet publishing on widely distributed Indigos. Enterprises with HP printers which most IT people love. If they connect the enterprise to commercial print, MPS morphs into BPO.
BPO is one of the backbones of the printernet.

What about everyone else?
Ricoh/IBM will fight it out with HP. Ricoh/IBM have the lead with massive scale Transpromo at the CMO level. As far as I can tell they're not interested in SMB.

Oce will continue their domination of books. If they can make a deal with Kodak, they could dominate the newspaper market as it moves to mass customization and hyper local newspapers. Kodak meanwhile could increase their lead in heat set web offset, moving from newspapers to lights out manufacturing for short run magazines.

Cannon? KM? Kyocera? I don't have a clue, except to think they are still trying to figure out what's their next moves.

And that leaves my home team, Xerox.

Free advice for Xerox
Education, education, education, government.
Education is the Global Defense Industry for the next era. Education means global security. Global security is job one for everyone. Plus instead of firing people you could be helping them make a transition into education. It's cheaper for us stock holders and a better way to reduce those pension liabilities. If GM can offer their people a buy out, you should be able to do the same.

1. Forget about pushing color.
Everybody has color. Color is a commodity. Everyone expects color. After a gezillion dollars invested, everyone gets it. WikiBooks (the emerging replacement for textbooks) are printed in Black only. The cheapest, fastest way to get information is in Black only. Black only is much more sustainable. The Nuvera's, by all accounts, are awesome machines.

Sure, the "growth in color" produces some nice numbers for Wall Street, but those folks are getting more irrelevant every day. Once the betting stops, the new game is sustainable revenue and dividends. The market will probably hover at around 7,500 to 8,500 for a couple of years now that the funny money has disappeared. No funny money, no big increases in stock price.

2. Focus on the perfect binding piece.
Find the PSP's in your network that have perfect binding functionality. Work out a really good deal, from the POV of the PSP's, to integrate perfect binding into their Print Output Nodes. While Oce's machines are good for central location distribution of books, Nuvera's + perfect binding could win for Distribute and Print in many locations. Every school district should be printing their own WikiBooks. Every University in-house should be doing the same.

3. Get in touch with the Wikipedia Foundation and
Do a good deal so they have easy access to the Xerox printernet. The software is open source. Everybody loves Wikipedia. They need the revenue. Xerox has the distributed print output nodes in place. Indigos can't compete in this market. Besides they don't have a Black only machine, as far as I know.

4. Stop thinking you have to own this business.
Nobody is going to own this business, just like nobody owns the internet. Not HP. Not IBM. Not Google. Not Amazon. Not anyone. Meanwhile, advertising is in much too much chaos to see a clear path. Direct mail is being completely redefined. No one can yet tell where it's going to land. My personal bet is that mass mailings go away in a couple of years.


  1. Great stuff and right to the point. I called the good folks at PBWicki who insist their system is not meant to replace textbooks. Why not???? It's great to augment materials and be a place to share with your classmates/associates/organization, add web & other content, etc, etc. A customized living textbook, printed on-demand, for pennies on the dollar. What's stopping it?

  2. What's stopping it is the fact that folks like Oce and Xerox are focused at the top of the pyramid. It's just in their DNA.

    So...they look at the education space. They "see" the textbook companies have the "content". They "see" the only way to do is to come in from the top of the pyramid. Based on what they "see," they think it means a gezillion meetings with publishers and education administrators....

    Most of those meetings are power dances, not getting things done. So, they stay away.

    As for PBWiki, they seem to be doing very well against high cost, slow to implement, ECM and Collaboration software for business.

    It's a perfect place for a startup. In my opinion, it's now just a matter of time.