Saturday, February 14, 2009

Score one for the home team!

MBA makes 5m spend to 'steal a march' in transpromo market @

Darryl Danielli, PrintWeek, 13 February 2009

MBA has defied the recession with a 5m-plus investment in continuous-feed full-colour digital kit, which centres around two 900ppm twin-engined Xerox X980s, the first in the UK."
. . .
Prior to the installation of the Xerox/Hunkeler lines the firm was producing 350m images annually and, according to Aintaoui, the new presses could potentially add over 2m A4 images per day. The 40m long lines also offer 'personalised' perforation for the production of coupons, vouchers, subs forms and other response mechanisms.

Aintaoui added that the firm, which already runs a number of Xerox iGen3s and a raft of web and sheetfed offset kit, looked at toner and inkjet technologies before opting for the flash-fusing Xerox kit.

"Inkjet is very fast, in some cases faster, but we have opted for toner technology for two reasons: firstly that it enables us to print with ease on matt coated stock without pre-treating; and secondly we believe it is more environmentally friendly."

Samsung: Still another player in MFP

read @ Multifunctional Copier Network:

Samsung Launches Fastest Ever A4 Digital Multi-function Printer:

"The MultiXpress CLX-8380ND produces vivid, professional prints at lightning-fast speeds. In fact, this MFP prints colour A4 pages as quickly as black-and-white – at speeds up to 38 pages-per-minute (PPM), ensuring that users do not have to wait for their prints. Equipped with laser technology, the MFP’s high-resolution prints (1,200 by 1,200 dpi effective output) are crisp and clear – ideal for printing important business documents. The MultiXpress CLX-8380ND provides for the entire range of business document needs by also supporting colour scanning and faxing. The MFP comes equipped with network-ready features to ensure that multiple people across a company’s network can simultaneously share the MFPs, saving businesses the cost of buying multiple machines, while the compact design and small footprint conserves valuable office space."

First inkjet newspaper printing operation goes live

from Beyond-Print -
"(February 12, 2009 – G. Alexander) London’s Daily Mail is now being printed in the US using inkjet technology. Alphagraphics is handling the production work, using a Screen Truepress Jet520 and Hunkeler finishing equipment.

The system is installed in northern New Jersey and serves the New York metropolitan area. It can produce hundreds of copies of a 24-page paper each hour. Initially, there will be excess capacity but, according to an article at, additional titles will be printed on the machine by the end of March."
Some of that "excess capacity" could be used to produce 24 page textPapers. Perhaps textPapers is a way to not use "textbooks" and also refer to newsPapers? It might be plausible that a newsPaper could use it's excess capacity to supply the content and make the sale.

Another oops! Memjet views on the economic downturn and opportunity

read and links @ Jim Lyons Observations;.
. . of an interview with Kim Beswick, Vice President of Memjet Home and Office, titled "Memjet Technology Steps Out Into the Spotlight".
I recommend the entire piece, but was particularly intrigued by Beswick's comments about the impact of today's negative economic environment, including some ideas that it might not be such a bad thing, at least for Memjet.
". . . . as customers explore new creative ways to save money or to increase the efficiency of their businesses, there is a natural tendency to explore new brands, new technologies, and new ways of achieving value. The last analyst call I was on predicted, for instance, that a greater number of customers would be considering and purchasing cheaper non-OEM supplies options."
As the price competition continues to heat up in toner, that's going to make life much more complicated. The principle that disruption leads to new opportunities apply to us, as much as it does to the K-12 Textbook Guild.

Oops! Someone should get in front of this one.

Jim Lyons Observations: Australian toner fears are back:
"So far the general and business press is slow to pick up on the story, with just a few mentions as of mid-afternoon US Time. ABC Australia's excellent 'Laser printer debate heats up' recaps the history of the story and has a current comment from HP (NYSE HPQ) press agency Burson-Marsteller, pointing out HP's interest in research the danger of ultra-fine particles (UFPs) in the office but also expressing skepticism towards a direct correlation between toner and paper and UFPs.

I have not gained access to the entire article as of yet, but here's an introductory quote from the abstract:

While current research has demonstrated that the operation of some laser printers results in emission of high concentrations of ultrafine particles, fundamental gaps in knowledge in relation to the emissions still remain. In particular, there have been no answers provided to questions such as the following: (1) What is the composition of the particles? (2) What are their formation mechanisms? (3) Why are some printers high emitters, while others are low? Considering the widespread use of printers and human exposure to these particles, understanding the process of particle formation is of critical importance. This study, using state-of-the-art instrumental methods, has addressed these three points."

Municipal Code Corporation Improves Productivity with Oce Products

@Digital Print 360:
"Municipal Code Corporation Improves Productivity with Oce Products
By Editor • on February 9, 2009

Oce, an international leader in digital document management and delivery, announced today that Municipal Code Corporation, one of the nation’s leading legal codification and government publishers, has installed three cutsheet Oce VarioPrint 6160 duplex printing systems, along with Oce PRISMAprepare™ document preparation software to upgrade its digital printing infrastructure in Tallahassee, Florida."
It's so close. I'm betting that the Oce folks in Florida already know the connection that has to be made to prototype textLetters. Plus Forida has already approved an open source reading curriculum. All that's left is to manage the business rules.

CDigital Invests In Xeikon Technology :: Digital Print 360

That's an infrastructure industrial application that is very neat. Go Xeikon! I always thought that banners for hallways in high schools to go along with the new textbooks would be very cool.

@Digital Print 360:
"CDigital was incorporated in 2001 to purchase and operate the first United States based all digital system to be used to decorate optical media - CD’s and DVD’s. The company is housed in a 35,000 square foot facility in Baltimore and, today, is the leader in providing digital print, as well as other production services, to the optical media industry.

In mid 2005, CDigital added significant technical expertise to its staff and began
adapting its process, trade-named “Grafixx”, for the general decoration industry.

In early 2006, CDigital acquired the patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,656,306) on its process and began providing Grafixx digital heat transfers to a broad range of productdecorating clients. Today, Grafixx decoration can be found on over 130 products.

Grafixx is a high quality, multicolor, and environmentally safe decorating technology
that is uniquely economical for short run projects. For more information, please visit"

HP Expands Sustainability in On-Demand Printing with HP Indigo :: Digital Print 360

@ Digital Print 360: Feburary 11
"PALO ALTO, Calif. - HP today announced it has expanded its environmental sustainability efforts with HP Indigo digital presses to meet increased demand for solutions designed to reduce waste while enhancing productivity and profitability.

Building on HP’s commitment to customer success, the HP Graphics Solutions Business is now offering several tools and programs, including:

* a revised HP Indigo media guide that includes the growing number of recycled-content papers and papers that have earned third-party certification for sustainability initiatives
* a new take-back and recycling program for user-replaceable binary ink developer (BID) parts."
Sounds good. The paper guide should also be available on a website somewhere, with a search ability by grade, price and availibility.

Now the take-back and recycling program, that is very cool.

Kevin Joyce to Lead Digital Printing Sales and Marketing for Kodak

@ Digital Print 360: "By Editor • on February 13, 2009

Rochester, N.Y., — With a focus on delivering the best continuum of digital print solutions for customers’ current and future success, Kodak has appointed Kevin Joyce as Worldwide Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the new Digital Printing Solutions group. Joyce, who also serves as a Vice President of Eastman Kodak Company, most recently was CMO of Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group."
Mr Joyce, you should consider the textbook business. A nice flow of work to your commercial print partners. Maybe customize each book with the students facebook page. Or maybe the Ofoto site. Maybe it's called MyScience Textbook. The kids will keep it for 11th grade, so they will remember some of what they learned in the 10th.

Now there's a textbook that could be a Kodak Moment.

Xerox introduces new technology - The Advocate

@ The Advocate:
Xerox introduces EverFlat Paper

Stamford-based Xerox Corp. has introduced EverFlat Paper, allowing photo and other books to lay completely flat, making them more appealing to consumers, company officials said.

Xerox said it also unveiled four other photo paper products that make it easy for digital print providers, minilabs and retail outlets to deliver nontraditional photo items such as school photos, little league baseball cards and restaurant table-top displays."
So how cool would it be for one of our providers to sell team cards for all the kids on the high school soccer team, with each kids picture on the back, a statement about what they want to be doing 10 years from today.

More HP: MindFireInc Announces Product Integration With HP SmartStream Designer


"MindFireInc Press Release

MindFireInc, the leading provider of on-demand marketing intelligence and sales automation software, today announced the integration of MindFireInc’s LookWho’sClicking software with Hewlett-Packard’s SmartStream Designer. This product partnership will provide benefits to users of both solutions by facilitating the workflow between HP’s variable data composition and digital printing capabilities, and MindFireInc’s personalization technology for ROI-driven campaign management and execution."

Keep your eye on the 800 lb gorilla

HP Indigo Users Poised for 4th Annual Digital Solutions Cooperative - 2/13/2009 9:56:00 AM -from Graphic Arts Online:
"Chicago, February 13, 2009 – Dscoop expects to host more than 1,000 attendees and more than 60 partners at Dscoop4, its fourth annual conference that takes place Feb. 19-21, 2009, in Orlando. Anchored by an educational program that focuses on ways to survive and thrive in a recession, the conference will deliver training and networking opportunities led by industry experts and the vendor community to bolster business for Indigo owners and users."

How the Crash Will Reshape America

Waves of creative destruction also lead to the new opportunities. When legacy communication ecologies start to disintegrate, it's often much easier to get the signal through the noise. Newspapers, textbooks, and the entire education system are being re invented.

That's the opportunity for new markets for digital print output.

read at Seeking Alpha, posted February 14,2009
How the Crash Will Reshape America
"While Richard Florida -- author of The Rise of the Creative Class, among other books -- is a controversial fellow among some of my friends and colleagues, his new piece in The Atlantic is worth reading.

Essentially Florida argues the following:

1. Many of the hardest-hit formerly industrial (e.g., Detroit, St. Louis, etc. ) cities over the last few decades will be hit even harder
2. Sun-belt fake cities, like Phoenix and Las Vegas, will pay the price for their nonsensical existence
3. Mega-regions will rise higher
4. Exurbs will become like the abandoned settlements of the Anasazi."

My recent column at Mediashift/ Print is the Next Big Thing

Textbooks? The Buzz just keeps Buzzing . . .

At my other blog, there are some comments from a recent thread in response to a post called Will the Kindle Fail. You can see what I said at Print in the Communication Ecology or the original post and all 58 (as of this morning) comments at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard.

But here's the crux of the issue for Print Output Infrastructure players.

Cmt 52:
. . While it would be great to replace college textbooks with an e-reader, courses often require multiple books. Q: How do you compare passages and quotes in books when you only have one reader? 3. On college e-textbooks: Who didn’t write in their books in college? I don’t think that the kindle note-taking features are robust enough for a Uni student. 4. The size of a kindle is too small to digest content when speed-reading.
Then I said:
Since reinventing textbooks is one of my pet projects, I really like comment 52.

The trick is that Kindle 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 with, and only with, digital print output is the secret sauce. But Amazon is already doing books on demand, so it should be pretty soon.

My recent column at Mediashift/ Print is the Next Big Thing

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wall Street might be watching. . .

Over at a Motley Fool one of the larger retail investor sites, an analyst liked Oce but didn't know how it made it's money. Following is part of the post, and following that is my response at the Motley Fool site.

Confusion Reigns! Does Anybody Use This Company?:
"It seemed like a good idea at the time. I chose a few little underpicked stocks just for fun; no money on them, no harm done. Oceny is now outperforming beautifully, and there is no financial data to tell me why. So I am turning to CAPS. The company makes printers, copiers, scanners, etc as mentioned below (taken from their website). I am hoping that somebody reading this uses or has used the products of this company and can give me some feedback on the products and by inference the company. I can ignore a company that just sits and does nothing. One that moves agressively up or down makes me curious. One that moves up or down with no information as to why makes me nervous.

Any help out there? - And please leave a rec even if you don't know about this company. I would like for this post to stay around long enough to be found by someone who actually does use the blasted products or can fill in the reasons for the good fortune of the company."
So I said,

I spent 40 years on the ground in the printing industry running my own company, with a 7 year stint teaching graphic designers print production at Parsons School of Design in NY.

Oce is part of an as yet to be defined sector which I think of as Print Output Infrastructure . It is evolving from a mash up of office machines and commercial printing, With the addition of the internet, the sector is taking on a life of it's own.

The big players are HP, Ricoh, Xerox, Oce, Kodak, IBM.and Canon with lots of smaller players and suppliers to the big guys. The driver is outputting digital information to paper.On the ground the product is delivered on the desktop or through the web for consumers, for clients it is in a commerical "print for pay" organization or within an enterprise in an "in house print shop."

The infrastructure companies earn their revenue in post equipment sales recurring revenue. Toner, paper and services.

The success of companies like and are built on the infrastructure put in place by the big players. The disruption of newspapers, publishing and textbooks are all opportunities to expand the infrastructure to grow in those spaces.

It's a global infrastructure that , in my opinion, will expand as literacy, rules based enterprises and competitive markets expand in the developing world, especially in the BRIC countries and Eastern Europe.

Given the increasing market share of MFP (multi funtion printer) which scan as well as print and MPS (Managed Print Services) that rationalize print output at the enterprise level, in my opinion all the pieces are in place for significant sector growth.

I blog about that sector at my Tough Love for Xerox blog.

My recent column at Mediashift/ Print is the Next Big Thing

Oce Hosts Print Professionals at First in Series of Innovation VIP Events at Oce Customer Experience Center

February 12, 2009 – Trumbull, CT – . . . . hosted the first Oce Innovation VIP Event at the Oce Customer Experience Center in Boca Raton, FL. . . . . The Oce Customer Experience Center, a world-class, eighteen thousand square foot facility. . .
Maybe Oce can do the prototype start up near Baca Raton. The school board in Fla has already approved open source for teaching reading in the lower grades. Plus Florida is running out of money to buy more textbooks. They might have an edge.

Xerox Foundation supports innovative activities at Genesee

@ The Batavian - Batavia, daily news and community views, Genesee County, online newspaper:
"Genesee Community College and the Xerox Foundation have successfully combined their efforts to fund and support the President's Innovation Award (PIA) program. The President's Innovation Award provides funding for innovative activities and projects that promote community involvement in the life of the College, stimulate student and community pride in the College, and help establish pilot programs or initiatives with the potential for positive, long-term impact on the College. The Xerox Foundation was supportive of the PIA concept and gave $5,000 in support of the award program this year.

One of the recipients of the award was the Collegiate Entrepreneurial Organization (CEO Club)"
This is great. Maybe a student Entrepreneur wants to reinvent textbooks? if it scales, it's a win - win. Plus we can prototype at the Hatch Center with the best and brightest.

Local printers take aim at competition from schools

So instead of trying to get legislation passed to limit competition, why not take the game into the school's court.
Education is a much better business than printing. Imagine a CTE program run by a Printer. It used to be called apprenticeship or internship.

Then some of those tax dollars that go into CTE schools that don't work, could go to a reinvented kind of CTE that probably would work great.

read @ The Bulletin:
"SALEM — Bend-area print shops want Bend-La Pine Schools to stop taking their customers, and they’ve given up asking nicely. A bill introduced Tuesday in Salem would block school districts from providing printing services to other government agencies and nonprofits.

Though it will have statewide effect, the bill was sparked by the concerns of eight Bend print shops and is being pushed by two Central Oregon lawmakers, Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, and Sen. Chris Telfer, R-Bend.

The print shop representatives say they met with the district to discuss their concerns, and the response they received amounted to a shrug. “There’s not a single one of us who has not lost a client to them,” said Larry Peterson, owner of Press Pros Printing Co. on Northeast Second Street."

Kodak + Ricoh at PrintCeo Blog

Andy Tribute started it off this morning with his usual well informed post. If the past is any guide to the future, this will probably turn into an interesting discussion. My question to the assembled Print geniuses was: ( no answer as of 11:15 EST. But most of these folks have a day job, so it usually takes a little time to get it going.)


I’m seeing Ricoh continuing to make a big move. First with IBM in infoprint for transpromo and enterprise IT, now with Kodak to supply the consumer piece to feed into Kodak’s production machinery.

From what I think I'm seeing the real problem is for Xerox who has gone it alone with boxes for all market segments and Oce, who as far as I know doesn’t have a consumer piece.

Meanwhile, HP is going into MPS and is still digesting Extreme. With their recent successful sales of Indigo and their domination of the consumer market. It looks to me that Ricoh+IBM + Kodak v HP is the way this is going to go.

Is anyone else seeing the same thing?

You have to love Print Ceo. It's 11:25 EST, and this came in. Excerpts below:
Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group (GCG) and Océ-Nederland BV Sign Nexpress Partnership Agreement in the Netherlands.

Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group (GCG) has a partnership agreement with Océ-Nederland BV, whereby Océ will sell the Nexpress Digital Production Color Presses directly in the Netherlands. A similar relationship already exists for the German market. Océ will now be licensed to sell directly the Kodak Nexpress Digital Production Color Presses to its customer base.
Hmmm . . . So if that's true than it's Oce + Kodak in the Netherlands and Germany. The rest of Euroland must be close behind. It gets interestinger, and interestinger ... Meanwhile that lamebrain reporter at the WSJ told us in the beginning of the week that Kodak was going to sell nexpress. Not damn likely, it seems to me.

So here's maybe an idea.
Why don't we do a distribution deal with Heidelberg. That puts the offset commercial piece back in play. Kodak has the workflow, Heidelberg has the heavy metal and the brand equity in the developing world. Meanwhile, Heidelberg could use a digital printing piece to round out their network. I just read this morning that they just sold their 50,000th half format Speedmaster to a printer in Poland.

Oops, maybe Oce + Kodak will do that first? That gives them a lock on commercial printers.

Google it. Find it. Print it. Anywhere.

Ricoh & Kodak . . . Ricoh + IBM = InfoPrint

@ Print4Pay Hotel:
"Just when you thought things would settle down, today Kodak and Ricoh join forces so Ricoh will sell Kodak in Europe, and it may just be a matter of time before there's and OEM agreement here in the US."
Anyone else see a pattern emerging? Or is it just me?

Reinventing Textbooks, one more piece

A couple of days, anon, commented "more." This is the first of many responses to that request.

At my other blog, Print in the Communication Ecology the viewers include a bunch of community newspaper publishers. This morning I did a post called Context is King, Long live the King, Part 2.

These are excerpts posted here for my Print industry viewers.
To be clear, my passion is not newspapers. My mission, as I take on my new role in life as a Cranky Geezer, is to fix high school education. Since context and focus are the missing links in high school education, both fascinate me.

The purpose of a newspaper from the business point of view is to make money. An interesting ish problem. The purpose of journalism from civil society's point of view is to "inform, educate, and entertain." That's a very interesting problem because if you rephrase it " to educate and make it fun for the reader," that's exactly what has to be fixed in high school education.
. . .
Just another question to get on someone's radar.
If the purpose of journalism is similar to what's missing in High School education, would it make sense to focus on fixing high school education, instead of merely reporting on it? I hear there are tons of money floating around for whoever can fix education. Plus textbooks are very expensive and everyone agrees they are broken. Consider focused newsprint product that supply context. That might help fix the business problem and the civil society problem with same investment.
Given that there are no new ideas, I have to believe that if a Cranky Geezer like me is seeing this, there are many people in many garages who also see it. It would be great if the legacy players in textbooks could get in front of this wave, instead of having it crash down on them. And after it crashes there will a torrent of blablablabla in the blabla o sphere. And the legacy players will say, "No one could have predicted this."

The window of opportunity is that today, every community newspaper publisher in the country, will respond to an email with a subject line that says "A new profitable market for community newspapers". When this goes mainstream, they are going to put that email in the spam folder.

Consider also that I'm now the bi-weekly Print Correspondent for MediaShift, which is a part of Since mostly no one reads blogs, it's probably not a big deal. But you know for sure that in two weeks I'm going to blablabla about the new opportunities for newspapers to replace textbooks. The people who do usually at least scan this blog are people at PBS.

How cool would it be if I could link to someone's press release about how they are looking at the contribution that digital printing could make in high school education?

Then Consider that PBS has both a long involvement with education and a long tail of some of the best "educational" shows on history science and the arts. Then consider that PBS, like everyone else is prowling around looking for new profitable markets. Sooner or later, the signal is going to get through the noise.

Then consider that this is probably the year that ebooks - first the Kindle 2.0, then the copycats, will start to go mainstream in College. As soon as someone figures out the IP deal and the right price, it's going to be iTunes for Textbooks. Amazon perhaps. A startup perhaps?

Then put the ebook reader together with contextualized focused on-demand print supplements - either newsprint and/or books, that's the beginning of the end of K-12.

Then consider that our viewers here include folks at Kodak, Oce, Ricoh, and Xerox among others. Check out the Feedjit Live traffic map at the top of the right hand column to get an idea of the reach of just this little blog that is about 6 weeks old. if I can do this, in my spare time in 6 weeks, can you imagine what a really smart person with street cred could do?

People, the wagons are starting to circle!

My standing offer is if you comment anon AND describe which high school in what part of the country - real name of city or town is best, I will sketch out my ideas of how to get from here to there on this blog.

If that doesn't work for you, because of the outmoded notion that this is any more than common sense, systematically applied, feel free to email me. You can find my email at the "about" link at my other blog. Your words or name will not appear on this blog. The rule here is I post only what I find on the net. But I don't do NDA's. I don't do phone calls.

Or.. if you want to have a meeting and an NDA: The rules are it has to be in Northeast US accessible by train. Preferably in NYC. And I will charge whatever the traffic will bear.

I worked 40 years to get to Cranky Geezer, and no one is going to take it away from me.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Content in the Cloud, Published in Print

@ InfoTrends InfoBlog
A picture may be worth a thousand words… but it costs only $2.99!:
"A couple weeks ago, I heard of a new service that is bringing the ability to create and print photo books from Facebook. At first look, the Facebook application was not all that exciting, until you notice that HotBook prints a photo book (16 pages and approximately 50 pictures) for $2.99. Before this application, there was little that could be done with Facebook images other than sharing with friends. For under $4 (including shipping), this is a nice offering for people hoping to do more with their photos on the social networking site."
Facebook lives in the Cloud. Blogs live in the Cloud. Wikipedia lives in the Cloud. All that content wants to break out into the real world. That means Print.
More clicks for everyone.

iGen4 vs offset on name address personalization

"The litho Drent VSOP nine-colour press has narrowly triumphed over digital competition after CFH Total Document Management pitched the two in a race to produce an 8,000 piece personalised print run.

The Radstock, Bath-based company pitted its two Xerox iGen4 digital presses against the Drent in a contest to print 8,000 duplex four-colour process mail pieces.

Each item had to be personalised with name and address, from raw PDF artwork and a CSV data file.

In addition, 500 of the 8,000 pieces were required to be stuffed into envelopes ready for posting.

The litho team pipped the Xerox competition to the post completing the job in 1hr 40mins with the iGen4s finishing the 500 envelopes just minutes later.

However, according to CFH, a software glitch with the Xerox had held it back initially. The team completed the iGen run a second time in which it produced all 8,000 pieces 10 minutes quicker than the Drent machine."

Distribute and Print, anyone?

@Beyond Print.
The New York Post, printed on demand in Hamburg: "(January 29, 2009 – G. Alexander) Travelers can get copies of their hometown papers printed while they wait at bookstores in the Hamburg train station and airport. The price is 4 to 6 Euros per copy, and printing usually takes about five minutes.

An article in the German newspaper Die Zeit describes the process and tells a bit about how the experiment is going so far. Customers walk up to a terminal, select the newspaper they want, and order it from a salesperson. Over 700 papers from 70 countries are available, through the Newspaper Direct service ( Here is a passage from the article:"

The end of textbooks starts in Germany

Beyond-Print - all about future media - Your personal encyclopedia:
"(February 6, 2009 – D. Kulenovic) German users of Wikipedia can now have the articles they select collected into a book and digitally printed by a service provider. The books cost between 7.99 Euro (for 100 pages) and 29.80 Euro (for 800 pages).

The new service results from cooperation between the German Wikipedia and PediPress GmbH. For now, it is available only for the German version. Articles can be selected individually or via category lists, using a “Create Book” function. Then, the user can download a PDF version (for free) or order a black-and-white printed book from PediaPress."
And the difference between Wikipedia and a textbook on almost anything? The quizzes at the end of the chapters. As soon as someone writes the quizzes the race to scale begins.
Get ready. Get set.

Funded by HP . They get it.

Thanks to the folks at Centripetal for bringing this onto my radar. Blog2Print. I wonder who is going to do Blog2Magazine?

"Turn your favorite feeds into a personal magazine

* Pro design
* Automatic delivery
* 1-step setup
* Free
* No account required"

The Newspaper Solution and Commercial Print Sales

This morning I found the folks who could fix the "newspaper problem."

The leader of this manifestation of the new model is Leonard Witt, Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication at Kennesaw State University and the chief blogger at He coined the term, "Representative Journalism." The first two paragraphs of the first post follows:

Representative Journalism: A definition

Representative Journalism, a term coined by Leonard Witt, aims to build sustainable journalism one small group at a time. As mass journalism markets unbundle and become niche markets, news operations, if they are to survive, will have to join the niche movement rather than fight it. Rather than think in terms of a circulation of, let’s say, 100,000, they should think in terms of 100 niche markets of 1,000 each and form membership communities around those niches.

The centerpiece for each membership community will be the news and information tailored to each community’s needs, with a reporter and editing support devoted specifically to each community of 1,000. Online social networking, interactivity, face-to-face events will all be used to build group cohesion. Read the full post here

In response to the post, I said, (as of 6:49 am EST, it was waiting moderation)

I apologize for the over long comment, but I think you are really on to something.

I like to use the word “tribe” instead of community. Communities imply location as a primary characteristic. Tribe includes location but also captures movement, allegiance, temporary alliances and networks of power.

An under appreciated property of print is that it often function as a token for a tribe. A tribal token is one operational definition of a “brand.”

In New York City, there is a tribe of “people like us” who buy the NY Times because that’s “what people like us do.” Carrying the TImes on the subway was a signal of tribal membership. Just as having an iPod was what “people like us, do.”

When the mass market newspaper first emerged, the most vibrant newspapers were either organs of a political tribe or of various immigrant tribes. At the time, each tribe spoke their own language. As industrialization advanced, the language of the tribes at the top of the publishing pyramid prevailed. When steam driven printing came on the scene, the mass market newspaper arrived.

It is plausible to believe that with the new print technologies that are now coming on line, print newspapers will regain their place. Once it is practical to do versioned newspapers for each of the communities/tribes you describe, new revenue streams are made available.

I believe that once all the pieces you describe are put in place and streams of revenue start flowing, Representative Journalism will scale. Local ads for local organizations/business can be a pretty easy sell.

But only if they can see their ads in printed newspaper that is present in their local environment and is seen as the token of “people like us” . “People like us, shop in stores like this.” The web ad is the “nice to have” for a local business. The print ad is the “must have” to make the sale easy.

I look forward to a good discussion.

The Internet is Old. Print is New.
At my other blog, Print in the Communication Ecology my viewers include newspaper people, both writers and publishers, so I've been following the "Newspaper Meltdown" there. Digital printing is here. Over there I fight off the internet blablablablabla that defines the public discourse. By overlooking the power of the printed piece those folks can't figure out how to make money. Not a surprise to me, but there is still too much noise for people to get the signal.

The very short version of how newspapers can make money is:
1. Use the web to identify fans.
2. Make stuff that the fans will gladly pay for.
3. Sell lots of local advertising to local business for local distribution in Print.

I ask all our print industry viewers to carefully consider No. 2 - Make stuff that fans will gladly pay for. The easiest stuff for any newspaper to make is Print stuff. That's where we come in. Books and posters for loyal fans.

The organic growth opportunity for Print
Develop and sell marketing programs for local business and non profit organizations.

The sales scenario on the ground:
Newspaper ad sales persons: NS
Commercial print sales person: CS
Local business owner: LBO

Either NS or CS : Hi, how's business?
LBO: So, so. But we're holding our own, thanks.
NS: "Have you ever considered putting an ad in this?(Shows him the newspaper)
LBO: Oh yea, I see that all over the neighborhood, but I haven't had the time to do it.
Anyway, how much does it cost?
NS: We've come up with a really easy way to advertise. If you give me your business card and can tell me what makes your business special, I can take from there. It costs $x/per Y.
NOTE: "I'll get back to you with the price" loses the sale.

LBO is not going to think about this again. And if you call to remind him, it will be nagging. Then he'll figure out reasons not to answer your calls, because he doesn't have the time to focus on it.)
LBO: That seems ok.

After the ad runs.
NS: Hi, did you see any action from the ad?
LBO: I guess a little, but it's really hard to tell.
NS: Why not let me give you a mounted display sheet to put on the counter. See how that works. Maybe some reprints and put in a couple of coupons.
LBO: Thanks. What's it going to cost me?
NS: No charge. I know that if our ads work for you you'll buy more. Oh by the way, let me introduce you a person I've worked with in the past. Mr. LBO meet Mr. CS. CS is with the XYZ Printing Company. They specialize in marketing programs for small businesses like yours.
LBO: Oh, nice to meet you. But I can't afford any marketing programs. Especially now.
CS: Makes sense. . . . . Blalbablablabla . . . . Would you mind if my folks took a crack at what a marketing program might look like for you? No charge or $X.
( The trick is not to make money, but to get some skin in the game. Around $20 should do it.)
LBO: What do I have to lose?
(He takes $20 out of the cash drawer and hands it over.)
Repeat as needed.

The hard parts and an easy way to solve them:
1. getting newspaper ad salespeople networking with commercial print sales people.
2. Figuring out the comp. But appropriate referral fees should be easy. Something like,the newspaper person gets a small one time piece of the print sales and visa versa.

The easy way to fix this is to have the same person sell both ad space in the newspaper, ad space on the newspapers website, commercial printing and integrated marketing programs for small business. Given that our sales people are usually much better than newspaper ad people, I think we should do it.

Maybe someone at the top of the pyramid should give a call to the AP, while those in the middle could get in contact with a TV or radio station. All these folks most definitely need a solution provider.

A little tough love for print salespeople
Stop the whining and get in touch with the publisher of the closest local paper in your area. The pitch is "I would like to talk to you about a much cheaper way to sell ads for your paper." How could he not take the meeting.

Just so we don't forget: Newspapers and textbooks
Sooner or later, some newspaper some where, is going to realize that one of the best businesses around is the textbook business. Then they will realize that they have a long tail of content that has a marginal cost of zero. Then they will realize that the best way to teach history is by special editions of local history that are slices from 50 to 100 years of their newspapers.

If I were a textbook printer, I would call those local newspapers, sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A short break before we get back to textbooks - coupons, coupons, coupons

read @
Coupon clipping makes a comeback
"As US consumer demand falters, the humble money-off coupon – rather than the high-profile advertising campaign – is emerging as a new battleground for some of America’s biggest packaged goods brands.

Procter & Gamble, the largest US advertiser, said recently that it was “shifting funds, where effective, to coupons and consumer promotions that deliver better value”. The group has been battling to stop customers shifting to lower-cost private label rivals.

Bob Recchia, chief financial officer of Valassis, a third-party distributor of coupons, said last week that the company had had a “good” fourth quarter in its newspaper insert business, and expressed cautious optimism about demand in 2009. “Historically, when you get into this type of an economy, consumer packaged goods companies do put out more coupons."
Local advertising. Local retail. Local Service. The problem is it's hard to focus on the bottom of the pyramid when you're used to focusing at the top. But that's where the growing Print market lives. The top is in "deer in the headlights" mode. Down at the bottom payrolls have to be met every week.

Step one: Check out the stores in your area that have names and addresses as part of their point of sale system. Dry cleaners, definitely. Liquor stores, usually. Keep your eye out. When you see one:

Here's the pitch:
( Walk into the store about 3:00 or 4:00, it will be slow, NOTE: buy something):
She: How's business?
He: I'm getting by.
She: You know I specialize in marketing using print newsletters and coupons. Alot of our retail customers are sending out coupons to get more people in the door.
He: Oh really.
She: Let me ask you a question. Do you have a list of your best customers?
He: I don't have a list. But I do have all their names in the computer.
She: If your computer does get them out, we have a service where we'll send over one of our technicians to get the list. Then we can send a couple of hundred coupon newsletters so that you can see how it goes.
He: How much is that going to cost me and how long will it take?

(This is the most important part)
She: It will cost $x and take about Y days.. Do you have a business card? Great. Give me a 15% deposit and I'll be back in a couple of days with the proof. And I'll give you a call tomorrow morning to make an appointment for our tech to get those names in a list for you.

A small step for Xerox. A huge step for High School Kids.

I think our company has the best record of all the players, HP, Oce, Canon, Ricoh, et al, in supporting education and communities. Just one more step can help us by helping others. If we lead the Reinventing Text Book business. The kids win because they will not drop out of high school at 50% rates in the US. Our partners win because they have a new product to sell. We win because more clicks, more after sale revenue.

My bet is that the missing piece is that you don't see how Print is the best way to amplify signal to break through the noise in a High School classroom. If you really believed that, this would be a done deal and we could all focus on the interesting problem of fixing High School, instead of the pressing problem of growing the company.

"OK," I say, "Keep an eye on your RSS feed and I'll try to prove it to our viewers in the next couple of days."

Preview of coming attractions:
In one of our next episodes, I will tell you how I was able to increase homework compliance to about 85% in a totally dysfunctional inner city Vocational High School. it was done with essentially no cost to anyone, without taking more than 3 or 4 minutes of the teachers time, and with no badgering or threats. And it all depends on digital printing. Stay tuned.

For our RSS viewers, the post will be titled: Homework Compliance with Digital Printing.

from South Africa
Anybody else wonder why all the really cool stuff doesn't happen in the States. I'm betting, like so many other innovations these days, this is already happening in South Africa or someplace in India, or maybe in the Middle East. My theory is that we live in too much noise and life is too easy to want to change. They think it's because we're dumber. I may be wrong. But I know we are not dumber than anyone else on the planet.

Here's the story:
Xerox supports solid education
Monday morning started well for the management and learners at Tom Naudé Technical High School when they received a sponsorship of R100 000 from Xerox Data Master.

The cheque, handed over by Xerox CEO, Mr Jacques Nell, forms part of an even larger sponsorship, which includes a full-time Xerox technician on the Tom Naudé premises. “It is with great pleasure that our company has decided to invest in education for Tom Naudé High School, due to the fact that Tom Naudé delivers (produces) excellent students every year,” Nell said.

He added that companies like Xerox can employ students from the school and send them on further training to become service engineers in the company. “This is the main reason why we invested in a school that delivers top students. This is a top reward for a top school,” Nell said.

An all-smiles Tommies principal, Mr Ferdie Liddle, thanked Xerox on behalf of the school. “It is worth it to do business with Xerox because you get more out than what you have to put in,” Xerox

Mr Jacques Nell, CEO of Xerox Data Master, paid a welcome visit to Tom Naudé Technical High School to hand over a cheque to school principal, Mr Ferdie Liddle, in the company of Mr Ben Mphahlele from Xerox.
(Photo: Anna-Marié Schoeman)

The defensible advantage of Xerox

snippet from R News
Xerox Execs Named to Top 100 List
Black Enterprise Magazine named three Xerox executives to its list of the 100 most powerful executives in corporate America."
read more @ Trading Markets,
Kevin Warren, Xerox Canada, has been named one of Black Enterprise magazine's "100 most powerful executives in Corporate America." Warren's appointment makes him the first CEO of a Canadian company to be named to the list since its inception in 2005
.. . . Xerox Corporation president Ursula Burns and Quincy Allen, president, Global Business and Strategic Marketing Group, were also named to the 2009 list. Burns and Allen are both based in the United States.
The diversity of our top management is one of the real hidden values of the company. That three out of the top 100 are on our same team is just too cool for school. It is one among many reasons I'm so sure we'll get it right, sooner or later.

If Barack Obama can filter the noise from "seasoned professionals" and draw directly from his life experience, then "yes, we can" "fix the economy" and most of the other things we have to "fix."

If the signal can break through the noise, I am sure we can take the lead in fixing Urban High School education. The really neat thing is that most of it is about delivering contextual accurate information in the form of Print.

This blog viewership is growing nicely. Lots of viewers and some repeat customers who have the power to make BIG changes. Since I am a Baby Boomer who has seen impossible things happen before, at tipping point speeds, I know it can happen.

But how to break through the noise is always the biggest challenge. Actually it's the secret sauce of fixing high school ed. There is so much noise in a kid's life and a teacher's life and a principal's life and a school board's life and in the lives of all the smart people who are trying to get right, that simple obvious solutions are overlooked.

It's not rocket science. Just common sense systematically applied.

Full disclosure: I am not looking for a gig. I already did all the gigs in my life for fame and fortune. I love the role of Cranky Geezer. I worked 40 years to attain this status, and no one is going to take it away from me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

These folks could do the best Science K-12 Curriculum on the planet

picture gallery CNET News
"PALO ALTO, Calif.--The Palo Alto Research Center was built here by Xerox in the early 1970s and was chartered with creating information architecture to serve as a West Coast center of research and development for the company.

Linda Jacobson, PARC's communications and marketing manager, recently showed CNET News around the now-independent facility where laser printing and Ethernet networking--among many other innovations--got their start."

Reinventing Textbooks News edition 1.0

read the PR @
"Today, Kirtas announces a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Libraries to make over 200,000 titles available to the public in a unique way.

Using existing information drawn from Penn's catalog records, Kirtas is able to offer out-of-copyright books for sale through its own retail site, What makes this initiative unique is that the books can be offered for sale before they are ever digitized, so there is no up-front printing, production or storage cost."
I wonder who's getting the clicks.

Anyway, consider the difference between this and "time/content specific workbooks" or "textbook chapters on demand" or "MyTextbooks" or "MynewsLetters" or whatever name is going to work in any particular market.

"Content, IP, the school system will never change, blablablablabla," you say?

I guess you didn't see this article published way back in November 2007 at USA Today.

Free online materials could save schools billions.

. . . But the idea has been slow to make a mark in the less technologically savvy K-12 world.

That may soon change. Websites such as offer free materials tied to high school textbooks, and several college-level open-source projects are trickling down to K-12 schools.

The California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is funding K-12 open-source projects worldwide, including English-language training for native Chinese- and Spanish-speakers.

Here comes the really cool part!

But perhaps the most significant development is at the most elementary level. Last fall, a Florida textbook adoption committee approved Free-Reading, a remediation program for primary-school children that's believed to be the first free, open-source reading program for K-12 public schools. It's awaiting approval by Eric Smith, the state's incoming education commissioner, who could approve it by mid-December.

Here comes the ooops! moment. . .
Florida is one of the top five textbook markets in the USA, so its move could lead to the development of other free materials that might someday challenge the dominance of a handful of big educational publishers.

Gosh. I hope the folks in Texas and California don't get wind of this.

I don't know about you, but I'm smelling some very ripe low hanging fruit. So why exactly aren't why jumping into the textbook business? Or if we are, how come nobody knows it?

Print4Pay Hotel: Oce’ launched its new VarioPrint 4000 production b/w series

Read @ Print4Pay Hotel
"Oce’ launched its new VarioPrint 4000 production b/w series, which includes the VP4110 and VP4120:

- Uses CopyPress technology
- Low heat reduces limitations on media
- Does not slow down when running thick stock
- Single charge reduces static buildup
- Does not use developer
- VP4110 offers top speed of 106ipm for $39,961 MSRP
- VP4120 offers top speed of 120ipm for $45,961 MSRP
- Rated for 1.5 million impressions per month (max of 2.5 million/month)
- Both versions run 51ipm for 11’x17”
- 600x1200dpi with 141 lpi
- Back to front registration guaranteed at 0.5 mm"
"P4PHotel was envisioned as a means to satisfy our "Need for Knowledge" for the Copier Industry" What does it mean when they do posts on production equipment?

While continue to having meetings about getting our channels to support each other, the copier people are already ahead of us.

Didn't Ann start as a copier salesperson? Maybe instead of educating them, they should be educating us.

It is time for banks to behave like banks

read @Financial Times
"Just about everyone else believes that banks should in future be, well, banks: the reliable, responsible and financially sound institutions needed to make the capitalist system work. Some even harbour the hope that they might start to rebuild decent relationships with their customers."
With a little editing it could read,
It is time for Printers to behave like Printers

"Just about everyone else believes that Printers should in future be, well, Printers: the reliable, responsible and financially sound institutions that can Print, with minimum friction at an affordable price. Some even harbour the hope that they might start to rebuild decent relationships with their customers."
"Do what you do best. Outsource the rest." - Jeff Jarvis
What our industry does best is Print. All the rest is window dressing.

The big problem on the ground that is crying for a solution is making it easy, reliable and affordable to Print and still meet or reduce the budget.

The big problem that is crying for a solution from the vendors is making it easy, reliable and affordable for everyone to Print, while still meeting the goals of the plan.

"Some even harbour the hope that they might start to rebuild decent relationships with their customers"

Monday, February 9, 2009

Digital Print and Reinventing Textbooks Part 1

To be clear, my passion is to fix the educational system.

Based on my experience plus what I've seen and read, the problem is not that hard. It doesn't require a lot more money. It's a question of focus and breaking through the noise in our public schools with an amplified signal.

I am agnostic whether Xerox, HP, Canon, Oce or Ricoh take the lead. Of course, since I am a Xerox stockholder, I would prefer it be Xerox. But shares can be kept or sold.

To that end, I am today beginning a series that outlines how to get from here to there. I will try to sketch out my ideas about how present strengths can be leveraged to get this done faster, rather than slower.

I believe that if a serious player focuses on this space, it will help deal with the destruction of social capital that is entailed in firing good, smart, experienced people. To be clear, I appreciate that legacy overhead must be eliminated for the corporation to thrive going forward.

Part 1:
Here's the use case:
Science teacher X is planning a lesson on Y science topic next week. It's been really hard to keep the class on track because that's always the way it is in a real life classroom.

She goes to a website. The content is vetted by our Science Consulting Group, who are presently doing the work anyway.

At the website, she chooses the content that is right for her classes, next Monday.

A local Print providerprints and delivers 30 booklets - say 16 pages - for the class in a day or two. If the content is aligned with standards and a quiz is included, why wouldn't anyone prefer this to a heavy out of date textbook that you can't write in?

The secret sauce
The students could be required to highlight - in the physical magazine - the parts they don't understand or find particularly interesting. If a quiz is included, the booklets are collected at the end of the unit. That gives the teacher great guidance on which student gets it and which students don't. It is guidance that can be taken home and mulled over. As opposed to a meaningless test score that can be used for sorting, but is meaningless for feedback to teach.

In future posts, I will look at the problem from the bottom of the pyramid, the middle of the pyramid and the top of the pyramid.

I welcome comments and especially criticisms until we get this right.

More clicks + more smart kids.

Here comes Kindle. There go textbooks.

Kindle 2.0 will reinvent textbooks for college. Kindle 3.0 plus POD space/time specific workbooks will reinvent textbooks for K-12.

Say Hello to The New Kindle
Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback

Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images

Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging

More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books

Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns

Read-to-Me: With the new Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you

Large Selection: Over 230,000 books plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs available

Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise"

Ricoh + Ikon + IBM, hmm. . . .

Anyone else seeing a pattern out there?
I wonder how close their SG&A is to the Wal-Mart standard of 16+%. Do they give dividends? Notice I don't give a hoot about the stock price.

Maybe they will get in touch so I can lay out the steps to reinvent in the textbook industry? I will, of course, charge them whatever the traffic will bear.

Or . . . if anyone wants me to post it here. Comment as anon. Say "more." And I'll do a series of posts describing what I think will work, on this blog, for free!

read the PR release

"Ricoh Completes Acquisition of IKON Office Solutions

WEST CALDWELL, N.J., Oct. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ricoh Company, Ltd. (TSE: 7752, 'RICOH' President & CEO: Shiro Kondo) today announced that it has completed its previously announced $1.6 billion acquisition of IKON Office Solutions, Inc. through RICOH's wholly owned U.S. distribution subsidiary, Ricoh Americas Corporation. As a result of the merger, IKON is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Ricoh Americas Corporation."

"Content Specific Workbooks" are the leading edge to reinvent textbooks

Ok, so don't call it textbooks. We call it "content specific on demand workbooks." The real name should be space/time specific workbooks, but no one will know what that means.

At any rate, "supplementary materials" and "standards based workbooks" usually falls below the radar of the Textbook Oligopoly.

But a rose still smells, no matter what name you give it.

It's not a matter of inventing it. It's a matter of getting on a train that is starting to get ready to move out of the station. Whoever jumps aboard first gets the window seats.

Textbooks, anyone?

read @Innovation in College Media:
"This question focuses on the sharing of content and data among colleges locally and nationwide. For example, if textbook prices are outrageous at your school, should you be able to go to a database maintained by other college newspapers and see what kinds of stats they have on textbook prices?

The New York Times and ProPublica are looking into doing something similar through DocumentCloud, which would be a place for reporters to store documents they gather during reporting for other newsrooms to use."

HP seems to be getting closer to MFP to Internet

read at
"HP recently invited European analysts for its first Halo telepresence briefing, a departure from its usual format and demonstrating the use of its own technology which is now installed at 30 offices across HP, aimed at reducing travel and the associated financial and environmental costs. Along with Halo, which is part of its Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) business, HP discussed its strategy for its consumer, SMB and enterprise markets and its goal of capturing colour or 'value' pages across all segments, whilst minimising the environmental impact of printing."
And some cut and paste:
. . . Meanwhile, to capture incremental pages in the highly mobile and connected consumer market, HP has developed software such as iPrint and Cloud Print. iPrint is a freely downloadable software application to print photos from an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch on most HP networked WiFi printers

. . .Its ambitious plans are to capture a 51% market share by expanding its MFP product portfolio.
It's that "Google it. Find it. Print it. Anywhere." thing again.
Inkjet and Web Solutions Business
LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions Business
Graphic Solutions Business

Each group has profit and loss responsibility for hardware, supplies, services and software solutions.
It would probably be worth considering giving our divisions separate Profit and Loss responsibility. It will help us to figure out who's making money and who isn't. Then instead of having long meetings to figure out who to fire, we can fire, sell, or spin off the folks who aren't adding to the pie.

Then we can focus "like a laser beam" on our core strengths and network with SAP or IBM or Kodak or Ricoh or one of our own spinoffs or whoever comes up with the latest invention or open source solution on the net.
HP has $4.2 billion under MPS contract worldwide, and MPS revenue grew by 70% in 2008 compared to 2007.
Meanwhile on June 2, 2008 2:37 PM EDT
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) today announced that it has signed a multimillion dollar agreement with Consolidated Graphics Inc. (NYSE: CGX) for the installation of as many as 36 HP Indigo digital presses - including multiple HP Indigo 7000 Digital Presses - at facilities in the United States and the Czech Republic this year.
Textbooks, anyone?

Let's face the fact that in the next couple of years a wave of creative destruction is going to sweep through the education business. Wouldn't it be a lot more fun to surf the wave, instead of having to worry about how any reorganization is going to hurt our legacy business? Of course, it's a really hard decision to implement. But that's why C level people get the big bucks.

When you get a chance, google NIMAS.
The NIMAS provision was included in the revised Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004. In this legislation a standard NIMAS file format was created for the production of textbooks for the blind and print-disabled students. The result is a common file that will be provided from the publisher to a repository of NIMAS titles stored at the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Center (NIMAC). The NIMAC will then make the files available to both State and Local Education Agencies who will then have them converted into the desired accessible formats such as Braille, large print and digital talking books
So how about we partner with someone in the cottage industry of NIMAS converters and produce customized personalized workbooks for every kid?

Then our network of printers can print them, we get the clicks and everyone buys a little time until the commercial printing industry figures out where it lives in a Google-Mart economy.


read the PR release at Ricoh Global:
"Tokyo – February 2, 2009 - Ricoh Company, Ltd (President & CEO: Shiro Kondo) today announced that it will participate in the SAP Printer Vendor program as a gold -level member.

Through the SAP Printer Vendor program, SAP AG is collaborating with Ricoh and other leading printer manufacturers to develop and deliver high-quality printing solutions that will lead to broader support of printer models in SAP business software applications. The program offers participating vendors, now including Ricoh, access to specific SAP development environments necessary to optimize support for their devices when operating in SAP solution-based environments."
the boilerplate at the bottom of the release:
About Ricoh
A global leader in digital office solutions, Ricoh ( creates new value at the interface of people and information, offering a broad range of digital, networked products, including MFPs, printers, fax machines, semiconductor related products and digital cameras. With 83,400 employees worldwide, and $22 billion in revenue, Ricoh is also one of the world’s leading environmentalist companies, committed to sustainable business everywhere.

Note: they are a "global leader in digital office solutions". And they sell " "networked products " In Europe they are hooked into SAP and the United States they are partners with IBM.

Anybody else see a pattern?

I have a theory that businesses in Island nations like the UK and Japan have a much easier time learning how to network so they don't stagnate. Their own markets are just to small to grow. Wonder what Ricoh is doing in India or the Middle East?

Do you think Ricoh gets it that MFP's are the links on the ground between Paper and the Internet? Textbooks, anyone? Reinventing Education?

If it not because it's a way to grow, it might turn out to be a good way to protect our network.

Why is the stock price the way to make business decisions?

from Printing Industry News, Commentary & Analysis, Research and Consulting at WhatTheyThink:

"By: Gail Nickel-Kailing February 9th, 2009 --
The last two years have been a series of ups and downs for Cenveo – mostly downs. 2007 started off with the company’s shares well over $20 each, heading into $25 plus. Even as late as August 2008, more than 18 months later, when the stock price was $9.56, CEO Robert Burton Sr. was still saying he was looking for a stock price of $30
. . . As economic conditions continued to worsen, companies across all industries had to take steps to keep revenues stable, cut costs, and bolster share prices. The last week of September, insider stock purchases were fast and furious.
Further on, Gail quotes Dr Joe Webb,
In November 2007, he wrote “stock buybacks are disappointing, or worse…

One of the topics that has drawn negative comments in my direction are my concerns about stock buybacks and how they are not in the best interests of shareholders in the long run. This form of price manipulation increases the earnings per share of companies, giving the illusion of improved financial performance to those who might not have the wisdom or ability to dig deeper into the history of the numbers of shares offered.

It also implies that the company has exhausted its compelling ideas about where to better invest excess cash. If there is so much cash, giving it to shareholders in the form of a special dividend is clear and less open to the fluctuations of the marketplace. In most cases, holding onto the cash for potential acquisitions, future investments in research and development in areas not yet apparent, or to withstand market downturns might be a much better use of funds. Or here's a new idea: increase the regular divided, or establish one, which will inspire long-term investor confidence and better support the stock.

It may placate Wall Street "analysts." But we've seen that most of them are too busy to get it right anyway. Why do we keep trying?

How about if executive comp were tied to dividends instead of stock price? It might get all our incentives aligned.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Competition: Ricoh Eco - Why It Matters

viedw the videos at Print4Pay Hotel
"Saturday, February 7, 2009
Ricoh Eco - Why It Matters
This is the first video I had seen of the Ricoh ECO billboard in Times Square, NY. Seems like Ricoh wants to be known as the ECO MFP company of the world. All in all a pretty interesting video:"
Whenever I see Ricoh I think Infoprint. Ricoh + IBM. I'm betting that Ricoh understand that MFPs are the OnRamp to the Cloud.

If MFP's are the On-Ramp to the Cloud . . .

read @ :
Bytes Document Solutions launches cost-effective Xerox MFPs, printer range:
"Johannesburg, 6 February 2009 ] - Bytes Document Solutions, Xerox distributor to 24 African countries, has launched two new low-cost multifunction printers (MFPs) and one laser printer into the South African market.

The new offering includes the Xerox Phaser 3100MFP multifunction printer and the Xerox Phaser 3635MFP multifunction printer, devices that print, copy, scan and fax and the Phaser 3250 monochrome laser printer."


1. Bytes Document Solutions has feet on the ground in 24 African countries with great MFP's. (thanks, again engineers)

2. Everyone in Africa is going to need textbook type things because education is so top of the agenda

3. Whatever government money or foreign aid is going to be spent on health and eduction.

4. Doing eduction is being on the side of the angels.

5. MFP's can link Print to the Cloud.

6. Printing content from the Cloud is our sweet spot.

6. More textbook like product means more clicks.

Q: Why don't we catalyze the textbook like business over there and not even have to get into a fight with the American oligopoly, here? . . . until we get it just right over there.

A: ??

Oce has the same "organizing busyness" stratgey

Oce Business Services Introduces CaseData(TM) ASP Document Review System:
"Comprehensive System Provides Advanced Features; Streamlines Identifying and Organizing Case-Relevant Data

NEW YORK, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Oce Business Services, Inc., a leader in document process management and electronic discovery, today introduced CaseData(TM), a rebranded and significantly enhanced version of the company's current dataDeliver(TM) ASP document review system."
So, if you were at C level would you call Adobe or whoever the leading players are or would you call Xerox or Oce?

I thought it was the End of Print...

read @
"CDS completes major investment programme at Aylesbury site

Adam Hooker,, 06 February 2009

Print and mailing giant Corporate Document Services (CDS) has rounded off a major investment programme at its flagship Aylesbury site with the purchase of a new Morgana DigiCoater.

The Leeds-headquartered 25m-turnover company has added the DigiCoater to two new Oce 6250 Varioprints, a Horizon BQ270 perfect binder and a new EBA programmable guillotine, which were purchased in 2008."

Let's catalyze the reinvention of the textbook business

read at
"But these are the resources our schools do have: My fourth-grader learns hands-on science from professional scientists through the Xerox Science Consulting program. He takes part in literature circles run by volunteers from St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and is enrolled in accelerated math and advanced English/language arts classes."
We are already investing some of our very precious increasingly scarce resources in the public schools in Rochester. That's a very good thing. But while we are doing good, let's help our Printers do well.

Consider, everybody -teachers, admins, school boards, students and parents - agree that textbooks are broken. They are too slow, expensive and their one size fits all doesn't in fact fit anyone. There is little doubt, that the Xerox Science Consulting program, which I just found out about from the web, has better, more up to date content than any textbook.

Here's the use case:
Science teacher X is planning a lesson on Y science topic next week. It's been really hard to keep the class on track because that's always the way it is in a real life classroom.

She goes to a website. The content is vetted by our Science Consulting Group, who are presently doing the work anyway.

At the website, she chooses the content that is right for her classes, next Monday.

One of our local Print providers in Rochester prints and delivers 30 booklets - say 16 pages - for the class in a day or two. If the content is aligned with standards and a quiz is included, why wouldn't anyone prefer this to a heavy out of date textbook that you can't write in?

Here's the secret sauce and the next big thing!
The students could be required to highlight - in the physical magazine - the parts they don't understand or find particularly interesting. If a quiz is included, the booklets are collected at the end of the unit. That gives the teacher great guidance on which student gets it and which students don't. It is guidance that can be taken home and mulled over. As opposed to a meaningless test score that can be used for sorting, but is meaningless for feedback to teach.

Given the social capital on which we have already spent a gezillion dollars over many years, why not help our vendors do pretty well, while we are doing very good.

My bet is that much of the social capital that is being destroyed by short sighted decisions to placate the idiots on Wall Street by "cutting staff," could be repurposed in the service of creating even more social capital where you live, in Rochester and the Mid State region that needs lots of investment

Textbooks is an oligopoly market. As such, they command silly legacy profits. They have the same problem we do, legacy overhead that is no longer necessary. As we well know it's a very tough problem. The reason they can't do this is the same reason we can't make fast decisions. Most everyone knows what to do. There are no new ideas. But protecting a legacy overhead is a huge drain that can sooner or later destroy any company.

It's the same problem for the textbook publishers. But that's there problem. We have our problems.

Even as some textbook content drifts to the next Kindle, the teacher in the K-12 classroom needs Print. Mostly for the granular stable information it gives the teacher to better craft their individualized approach for each student.

Meanwhile, as we continue the painful process of eliminating overhead that is no longer producing value, we can help people who no longer fit in our business to monetize their experience in a way that will work for them.

To be clear, this is NOT about setting up even one more overhead item. It is about being the catalyst, to create a new, huge market for digital printing.

If it works in a pilot in Rochester, why wouldn't every school district in the United States do it?
Why wouldn't most of our printers sell it on the ground? If we can get the incentives for referrals to Global Imaging think of the on the ground sales force at $0 extra expense. Given our deep penetration in the education systems, this seems like a no brainer.

Perhaps PARC can become truly income generating without destroying their extraordinary social value by being the "go to" place for appropriate content for tech, engineering and science for every school district in America.

If the plan is to expand in India and the Middle East, why wouldn't we do this? If the plan is to expand in China with our partnership with Fuji, why wouldn't we do that?

No more firing.
Just taking responsibility for the necessary transitions.
It will do wonders for morale, on the day the program is announced.

For shareholders it means an organically growing market.
More clicks for everyone!

If the Wall Street "analysts" don't like that story, let's just do more and more dividends until the next bubble comes along. The problem is speed of response - timing is not only everything, it is the only thing. But I bet that some of our recent retires could get on this tomorrow.

Plus probably many of them have spouses already teaching. Start this pilot program with them. Do not waste valuable time talking to busy people at the top of the pyramid that are facing the same problems that are facing our top management.

Then all we have to do is host some meetings between them and our smart people.

Hosting meetings is value add. The value creator is making links.
Having meetings is legacy overhead. The value destroyer is wasting time.

Since I'm just a blogger,who doesn't go to meetings, I just can't see the hard part.