Sunday, May 10, 2009

Blabla Point: Why Printernet Publishing wil save the world and my retirement account

The Printernet is the Cloud based network that connects printing enterprises around the world.

It is 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. It means hundreds of millions of print product delivered around the world in a day or two with a minimal carbon foot print.

The Printernet has three moving parts; the OEM, the OPM and the VAR.

The OEM manufactures, distributes and continuously improves the machinery and supplies necessary to print. The OPM - original product manufacturer - uses the machinery and adds the intelligence and supplies to manufacture print. The VAR works with the end user to select the most appropriate products and software to create a new value for the customer. The customer supplies the energy, usually but not always, in the form of money, to power the whole thing.

Managing the network falls to the UNF - the user network facilitator. This function is primarily self evolving, but as the network matures necessary parts will be increasingly taken on by formal organizations and enterprises.

The Battle of the Titans is for the number 1, 2 and 3 OEM/UNF positions.

Like all resilient networks each level is self sufficient
A printernet can have a self sufficient presence in a school building or a school district. The UNF/VAR is the MPS. The OEM are the MFP manufacturers. The MPS chooses the most appropriate hardware and software for that specific local situation. Each is different in the details. Each is the same at the conceptual level. Print from the Cloud is enabled at the desktop, the workgroup or the CRD within the organization.

The new experience occurs when the school based printernet is seamlessly connected to commercial printernets. At that point production equipment is clipped on as a print output node - an OPM. That allows yearbooks, student newspapers and textbooks to be pulled from the ground and delivered in print in very close to real time.

The local commercial OPM is connected to a regional printernet. Newspapers can accumulate content in the Cloud on an ongoing basis consistent with the way that events occur in real time. When interest based communities form, the appropriate content is pulled from the Cloud and print manufacturing occurs to satisfy that particular interest. The VAR are the reporters and editors. Their job is know which slice of information is interesting to what group. They use their experience, website + transinfo analytics and web 2.0 to identify and anticipate the emergence of communities of interest.

The regional printernet is connected to the global printernet. From the Cloud the physical location of the OPM is irrelevant. Space and time disappear as a limiting factor on distribution of print product. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can originate content. Any OPM anywhere can manufacture the print product that captures that information. VARs are distributed all over the planet. Pulling just the right content in just the right format at the just the right time for just the right person.

The save the world part revised May 10, 6:00 EDT
Complexity begets Black Swans. To respond to them, every one and every thing has to get much smarter, much faster. When smart has power at the top of the pyramid, it unleashes the huge reservoirs of smart at the bottom.

If the question is "Stupid" - the inability to think systematically and ignorance - the answer is the "Printernet" - Print for the thinking part and the Internet for the ignorance part.

Now for the retirement account part
Print is the ignored step child of the media industry. Analysts and investors have not yet noticed that a printernet is growing. Nor do they appreciate that print is the best artifact to deliver information for the masses of people on the globe or in a community or in a school. That's fine with me. The longer they don't get the signal through the blabla internet blablabla twitter blablabla youtube, the longer I have to find under priced companies.

On February 17, I started to assemble a print based portfolio in my IRA. It started with Oce, Xerox, Ricoh, Kodak. Sometime in the last two weeks I added McClatchey, Gannett, Consolidated Graphics and Donnelly.

As of this morning
Oce +114.35%
24 Jetstreams in place in commercial establishments around the globe.
Gannett +49.56%
McClatchey +26.82%
Newspapers are not dying. Print is not dead.
Ricoh +22.57%
Xerox +10.4%
Add HP and they are fighting for the 1,2, 3 positions in enterprise printernet.
Consolidated +9.07%
Donnelly - .39%
Both in the commercial printernet space with national and global footprints.
Kodak -22.66%
Still has to unlock the value of their dominance of offset workflow.

No doubt there are other many players. DaiNippon Screen, Canon, KM, etc.
There are resilient printernets growing in Europe and Australia. Probably others in India, China and South East Asia.

On the ground the big box stores (Staples) and the franchises ( Fedex, AlphaGraphics, Sir Speedy, and knowledge based networks like Crouser) are competing for local community printernets.

For the purposes of investing HP is too entangled with computers to get a view of their Print piece. Same story with IBM. Same story different details for FEDEX or UPS. Actually it's also a similar story for Kodak with different details.

Still to become visible are the global composition companies. They may turn out to be the real winners as they supply the link between physical and digital. They are the UNFs who can produce PDF's and print data streams at the appropriate scale at the appropriate speeds. In a network the greatest value is created by OPMs that provide the links.

At any rate, it's a whole new set of reasons to love Print! Also, I have new found appreciation of blablabla.


  1. Great Blog!

    We love this:
    "Space and time disappear as a limiting factor on distribution of print product."

    CGX how has the largest integrated digital print network in the world. With digital hubs and locations around the globe - this company is leading the way.

    Sally Hiler
    Recruiting Manager
    Consolidated Graphics

  2. Yup. It's one of the reasons I recently became a shareholder.

    Maybe one of your top salespeople or VP of sales wants to get in touch with the Obama administration or Google or

    Check out today's top post to see what I mean.
    It's about information rich QR codes as part of the print product. I'm calling it Clickable Print Printernet Published.

    Go, go, go... I'm depending on you to enhance this shareholder's value.

  3. Very interesting indeed. I agree that tapping into areas of buzz and community and being able to pull out relevant data and share it via print makes for strong mojo.

    Are the printers just the print and distribution piece or does their role have a broader role?

  4. I think they concentrate first on the print and distribute piece. Once they get that down perfect there's no telling where it could go.

    That's just means there is a path to scale:
    First be a great printer.
    Then see what the next opportunity is.
    Then if it makes sense try it.
    Then if it works, do it some more.

    The end game is not the beginning game. If a printer has a great relationship with a newspaper or magazine publisher it's a pretty easy sell.

    If a printer has a great relationship with a school teacher or principal, then go there.

    It all depends on the trusted easy to talk to relationships you start with.

  5. Great blog. I'm also with CGX (thanks Sally for connecting me) leading the expansion of our global "on demand" infrastructure.

    Anyone can buy a press. The infrastructure that allows for automation, production controls (color, consistency, clear production instructions to operators, etc.), and accountable outcomes (turn time, standards, etc.) are the real challenge in this environment and where companies like CGX are focused.

    Getting it "too market" is only a part of the equation - customers expect the delivered product to not only be quick and accurate, but also representative of the associated brand.

    We're all about bringing shareholder value. Our success in bringing these solutions is largely going unnoticed to date, but in a few years the results of our hard work are gong to be much more self evident.

    Yes, there is a retirement opportunity in the opportunities you outline. Thanks for sharing.