Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ricoh + IBM with production horsepower

@ Graphic Arts Online 2/17/09
"The new high speed models will be available in the second quarter of 2009, and run at speeds of 420 feet per minute or128 meters per minute. They provide additional flexibility in addressing specific application requirements and operational demands. Customers using the current models with speeds of 210 feet per minute, or 64 meters per minute, have investment protection with a field upgrade to the higher speed."

When a new sector is organizing itself, the ground war gets nasty

As in days, the land grab keeps playing out in the MFP (also called MFD multi function devices) wars. For the ground troops it's about sales of boxes. But the margins on boxes gets lower and lower. The toner market is getting competitive. The larger view is that it's about the customer relationships that are the stuff of the network.

HP gets it with their recent move with MarketSplash and print outlets. Staples runs mostly on Xerox boxes. Changing that fact is a nice to have, but not the point. Ricoh has introduced production equipment and joined IBM to create Infoprint. HP purchased Indigo and got a strong footing in the commercial print space. Kodak tried what HP is now doing, but couldn't get it right, while retaining their dominant position on commercial print workflow. Xerox has moved both up stream with their production equipment and down stream with the purchase of Global Services.

But sooner rather than later, this will sort itself out.
When it does each workgroup MFP will be the node of a Print Output Network that will enable distribute and print it, anywhere. The more robust nodes will be Staples and other big boxes, Fedex and other chains of "copy shops," Consolidated and other multi location commercial printers and the many family owned print for pay shops.

The foot soldiers are the copier salespeople, the print sales people and the print brokers, many of whom are now organized in the Print Service Delivery Association.

Although there is still no evidence that I've seen, my bet is that sooner or later, newspaper ad sales people will come online. Once they are in play the network will be able to create and deliver complete marketing programs for SMB. Newspaper, radio, print collateral and signage from one human contact point.

Imagine Staples, Costco or Walmart selling local newspaper and or radio/TV ads and multi channel marketing programs to their small business customers.

from MFPs.MFDs, Printers & Copiers
So the Manufacturers (Ricoh, KM, Xerox) have gobbled up the last of the national dealers (Ikon, Danka, Global). But will they be able to do what the large national dealerships couldn’t? Are not the direct sales & service arms of the Manufacturers the same as the national dealers were?
And this on another day...
@ MFPs, MFDs, Printers & Copierss:
"and then I got to talking to a friend who use to run the printer program for Ricoh in the Northeast. He reminded me that Comdoc was one of Ricoh’s biggest customers. How big? Enough so that if they stop selling Ricoh products, Ricoh will feel it. This couldn’t have come at a worse time for Ricoh. I have heard from those within Ricoh that sales for the last few months have not been good. We know that Ikon can no longer sell Canon, and (from what I am hearing) soon they won’t have the ability to sell their relabeled version of the Konica Minolta product
. . . . I lived through the Ricoh \ Lanier merger and the last time their was a merger like that was when the Titanic merged with the Iceberg!
. . .
So things are starting to look pretty gloomy for Ricoh, they make this huge purchase of ikon, financing a large debt on top of what they overpayed for ikon, Canon drops them (ikon) as a Dealer, Comdoc (one of their largest customers) gets bought by Xerox \ Global, and it looks like Konica Minolta is going to drop them (ikon) soon. WOW!
. . .
Being the low cost provider without a reasonable return can be sustained by growth for only so long. Lochridge’s comment of, “Nothing is going to change”, is a joke. Xerox (Global) spending upwards of $80 million so Comdoc can continue to sell Ricoh doesn’t fly and Ricoh won’t sit still while Xerox upgrades their base either. Further, Ricoh isn’t listed as a Business Partner or Vendor on Global’s web site.” Posted by Gunnerdog on 02/02/09 at 9:32AM

much more at

Friday, February 20, 2009

In the UK, Royal Mail goes into the Printing Business

@ blogs:

News of the Royal Mail's new Mailshots Online service caught my eye, the group is obviously targeting SMEs in a big way, as the "Partner for Growth" campaign attests. This latest development is noteworthy because it seems to me that this, and services such as the Unity Hybrid Mail and ViaPost offerings, have the potential to open up a whole new market for print that could be truly enormous.

The Royal Mail bills its service as "bringing the 30 minute mailshot to UK businesses". Enabling SME enterprises to easily produce full-colour personalised mailings, of varying degrees of sophistication, has to be a good thing. The fact that with a few clicks of a mouse users are able to send one mailout or just as easily 100 or 1,000 is going to allow small businesses to experiment with different mailings, different designs, and different frequencies at extremely low cost. And the ability to access third-party mailing lists is certain to have appeal.

I wonder who is getting the clicks?

One more for the home team! Now take the next step.

read PR release at TAXI Design Network:
"Penn State's Multimedia and Print Center, inundated with requests to print, duplicate and distribute volumes of paperwork, used Xerox digital presses and production printers, and a Web portal storefront, to streamline its operations–improving the bottom line by 50 per cent.

The Wilkes Barre School District in Pennsylvania simplified the student registration process with Xerox DocuShare, reducing time spent from two weeks per child to just 30 minutes."
Ok, no more studies to convince people. It's like digital printing. Everybody who is going to get it, gets it. The others will come along when they see it.

Given our rich relationships in education, why don't we take the lead on reinventing textbooks. If you think the admins waste time on information they don't need, you should talk to the students.

HP! It's the Print, Stupid!

@Imaging Industry Wall Street Insider
"Most readers will be aware of the results announced yesterday during the HP earnings call. Without going into the numbers that are well represented in the public domain, there are a few notes and comments to add to complete the picture. CEO Mark Hurd heaped praise on the services business area, which to their credit performed well relative to the other business areas and to the market in general. He even singled out services as the 'other' attractive annuity business with healthy and steady margins.

Missing the chance for a balanced statement, the original annuity business (IPG) was not even praised faintly, but rather criticized for inadequate execution, especially inventory management. Hardware revenues were hit especially hard, but supplies compensated to a large extent, which is what is supposed to happen. Altogether, IPG operating profits of 18.5% exceeded those of every other business group.

That said, the supplies trend was similar to the rest of the imaging industry, namely disappointing. With hardware sales hurting with double-digit declines, the hoped/expected steadiness of the consumables revenue was soft and turned negative, albeit at a more modest single-digit rate."
Here's the crux of the matter.
While Hurd has his point regarding execution and the necessity to improve the supply chain, it is also true that the IPG business model is still robust, especially at higher volumes. Without earning an explicit mention, one interesting datapoint we spotted was the impressive 25% increase in Indigo page volume.
It's why the Print Output Industry is the one to be in. If HP would spin off IPG, so it could be a clean play on POI, I might consider adding them to my IRA.

Leading Tech CEOs & CIOs Send Mandate to President Obama and Federal CTO

read @PR Newswire for Journalists
InformationWeek's research included hard-hitting advice and direction from the industry's most powerful executives, including CEO Jim Goodnight, SAS, CIO Ralph Szygenda, General Motors, CTO Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox, CEO John Swainson, CA and many more.
Contact: Sherbrooke Balser
Director of Marketing
InformationWeek Business Technology Network

Source: InformationWeek

Is the money going where it's supposed to?

from PR Newswire for Journalists :
"As much as $100 billion a year in federal small business contracts have been diverted by the SBA and federal contracting officials to firms such as Xerox, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Home Depot, Halliburton, Raytheon and General Dynamics."

Source: American Small Business League
CONTACT: Christopher Gunn of American Small Business League,
Web Site:

I'm starting to think that Canadians really are smarter

I can always depend on Print4Pay Hotel to post the most interesting stuff about the MFP industry. This morning I found a post with the following byline: CALGARY, ALBERTA (February 19, 2009). That's why I'm starting to think there must be a lot less noise across our northern border.
"In their new promotion, Print Audit will offer dealers Guaranteed Deal Packages, which include one 60-day assessment program for use on any sized customer, online technical and sales training, free award-winning technical support, and a money-back guarantee if the package does not lead to a sale. Additionally dealers can earn a free Assessor use for each assessment they perform that leads to the sale of a Print Audit product."
. . .
Print Audit 5 and the Assessor already have a strong history of increasing sales. The value added by the tools has helped Print Audit’s partnered office equipment dealers bring in $650 million in additional hardware sales to date.

“Print Audit recently helped me uncover the total expenses a trade school in my territory was paying out on a monthly basis,” said Stephen Fogarty, an Account Manager with Zeroid & Company.

“With the help of Print Audit we were able to show the school that they were spending over $8,000 per month, and presented a solution for them to recoup costs as well as reduce their monthly expenditures by over $3,000. For less than the cost of operating their present HP printer system, we were able to upgrade their entire fleet of Xerox devices to 10 units and replace many personal HP printers.”

Hey Wall Street! The Print Output Industry will be the Walmart of Information

A Print Output Industry is forming from the mash up of information technology, a reorganizing traditional printing industry, workgroup printing and desktop printing. The new enabler is the MFP which is the on ramp to the Cloud.

Like Walmart this is a industry that delivers a "must have" - information - to a mass market. While the internet serves a rapidly growing niche at the top of the pyramids in many silos, printed on paper is the method of information delivery for the middle and bottom of the pyramids that is the mass market.

Like Walmart, internet functionality is leading to data emitted by the user to inform product delivery in predictable, much more efficient ways. The leading edge technology includes QR codes and searchable visual databases that can be accessed by cell phones pointing at print products. But the proven technology is tracking the use of print products. More about that in later posts.

Like Walmart, the physical footprint of product delivery is global. Built on the massive number of output nodes that include big box stores, commercial printers, and most recently every workgroup or personal printer connected to the internet.

Like Walmart, the margin on each purchase is small. The volume of purchases is large. For the infrastructure players the revenue is after sales service, low cost of upselling, and supplies.
Each output node has different revenue streams depending on their specific situtations.

As the traditional organizational forms of print delivery are being disrupted, new forms are emerging to take their place. With all due respect, I understand that it is hard to get the signal with all the noise. But by now the effects are clearly visible in the market.

If you look closely you will see that newspapers are being re invented with versioned and personalized product tied to websites and social media. College textbooks are being reinvented by a read for free, pay for print business model also integrated with websites and social media. K-12 textbooks will soon follow.

At the same time the years of ruthless competition are now starting to give us a picture of the next generation of commercial print. It seems to be multi location, internet front ends, standards based production and pricing computerized process management procedures.

Book publishing has already been reinvented in the last few years by print on demand. While still a niche market, new technology is coming to market that will take this to scale. The release of Kindle 2.0 and the copycat e readers will only accelerate this movement. Printing books at point of sale is just now coming out of prototype testing.

The Print Output Industries are driven by the secular global drive for education. While there is a consumer and marketing aspect, that is a noisy market subject to unpredictable highs and lows.

The need for education on a global, mass scale has now become unstoppable.
As the investment increases to meet that growing need, print will output content from the web. The big new thing is that information generated by tracking the use of print is now starting to be harvested so that it can inform the crafting of the best content to be delivered.

As of today the industry is still organizing itself. Each player is growing from the niche they have earned over a long period of time. They are still trapped by a legacy of marketing and advertising. But, as each player grows and standards continue to emerge, the sector as a whole is getting ready for significant organic growth.

Now that HP and Ricoh are seriously in all sections of the sector, it is much closer to the Tipping Point.

More to follow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hey Wall Street! Looking for an undiscovered industry?

Education, information technology driven. Reinventing itself faster than at any time since World War II.

And oh yes, blablabla global blablabla growing in emerging markets blablabla internet based blablabla infrastructure with predictable revenue stream...blablablablablablabal

Dr. Joe Webb's Chart of the week

800 lb gorillas can be as dumb as anyone

If MFPs are the on ramp to the Cloud for workgroups, then getting the MFP right and out there is a big deal.

Here's what Print4Pay Hotel said yesterday about HP and their MFP.

HP tried to take copier market share from Copier Manufacturers, even though they put some copier dealers on, HP did not do it's homework on the media and finishing applications that end users need (or maybe they did, but thought they could capture market share based on cpp pricing). I heard from many reps around the country who complained that there was no bookletmaker option, the system could not print or copy thicker stock, no 3-hole punching, Slow FCOT, duplex limitations and limited paper supply and the weight of the unit. If you're going to attack the copier market place, you need to make a copier or MFP centric device, not a printer centric device.

I have client who has an HP MFP because they thought they were getting a good deal on the Internet. Everyone in the office despises the unit because it is not user friendly, I must say over the years that's one thing that the Japanese manufacturers got right "Ease of Use"!

Hey, being on sales for 29 years in the office equipment business you need
to "sell" the sales people, and get them pumped!

The "Edgeline" concept was a good one based on the low cpp of color and monochrome, however end users want more from these systems. They want to be able to print almost anything at any given time. Today' business climate is an "on demand one", I want it now, I need this ASAP, we need to make changes now. With the limited specs of the HP Edgeline, sales people could not recommend these systems to end users and some of the companies that purchased or leased them wish they had bought something else.

Update on HP. It's about Distribute and Print.

At 5:10 yesterday, Adam Dewitz over at updated the original post to include comments directly from HP. I found it this morning.

By the way, if you can afford it, sign up for the premium service over there. To be clear, I get not comp from them in any way. But as they keep getting better and better, the easier it is for me to keep blogging.

The last two paragraphs from the post,

For customers that choose to receive their order via mail delivery, MarketSplash is working with Print Service Providers (PSPs) for print fulfillment. The PSP network for MarketSplash is not exclusive and HP expects the network of PSPs to grow as MarketSplash and its customer base grow.

MarketSplash’s intent is not to be a printer or print provider. MarketSplash actually works in a complimentary manner with PSPs and enables and promotes printing for them.”

I'm betting that no way does HP want the manufacturing piece of the network. In this case, they don't even mind that they are missing some of the toner sales, as Staples runs mostly on Xerox boxes.

The growth engine is the network.

Consider the information that can be harvested from a distribute and print network serving SMB. Every business card order indicates a new business formation or a change in business. it also gives all the contact information and the time of the event. If they have the systems in place, imagine the continuous stream of live leads that gives to their network of equipment resellers.
The Use Case:
Abc SMB in xyz town orders a "free" business card. Three days later, an HP equipment reseller, or maybe the HP store or maybe Staples, or maybe a member of PSDA, or best of all HP sends in the name of one of the above . . . sends an email.

Subject line: Congratulations on starting "abc SMB".

Content: Please give me a call if there is any way I might be able to help.

I can offer you a start up deal on computers, printers, cameras, MFPs and by the way, we're doing a co op deal with Staples for your supplies.

Here's my mobile number. Please don't circulate, but feel free to use it if you have a problem in the next couple of months, I could help you solve.

Personalized direct mail peices follow at appropriate intervals.
What this means for the rest of XORiHK
Let's say that HP is the leader in consumers and this is the plan to increase their share in SMB. For those in the same space, I would respond sooner rather than later. If and when they get this to critical mass, their first mover advantage is going to be very hard to overcome.

Meanwhile, learn from them. Do the same thing for the networks you run. I don't know enough about Ricoh to say anything even remotely realistic.

But for Xerox and Kodak. Stop chasing advertising and ROI. Xerox , you own the education space at the school district level. Kodak, you own the commercial offset space and are real players on the Cloud with the Kodak Gallery.

The principles are becoming clear.
1. Distribute and print.
2. Aggregate users on the Cloud.
3. Harvest the Cloud based information to figure out who might buy what, when and where.

Go get 'em.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A bookstore that prints 3,000 books a month

The tech is in place. Last step is linking them together.
read @ Beyond-Print "“One of these machines, installed a year and a half ago in the bookstore of the University of Alberta now makes about one hundred books a day, seven days a week, including publisher owned custom course books, professor created course materials, out of print and pd titles, custom anthologies, short print runs for small publishers, vanity titles, conference proceedings, user manuals, facsimiles of rare library books, replacement titles for the library and so on. These results can be achieved on the appropriate scale in any of the 4,500 college and university bookstores in the United States and the 200 in Canada; for the smaller ones perhaps through a joint facility
. . . a deal that was struck between On Demand Books (the company that makes the Espresso) and LightningSource last April. (We wrote about the agreement, and a similar one between On Demand books and the German company BoD, back in August: This deal has the potential to make all the books printed at LightningSource – which means a large fraction of all US titles – available for in-store printing.

What exactly is the relationship between Fuji Xerox and our team?

"Fuji Xerox’s digital color multifunction device lineup, ApeosPort-III and the DocuCentre-III C2200/C3300/C2205/C3305 series,as well as DocuPrint C2250/C3360*1 color printers won the Director General Prize of Agency of Natural Resources and Energy in the 19th Energy Conservation Grand Prize for 2008 (energy-saving machines and systems category) presented by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan
. . . While the number of Fuji Xerox copy and multifunction devices in operation throughout Japan increased by approximately 44 percent from 1997 to 2007, a reduction of 45 percent in power consumption per device was achieved through improvements in energy–saving technologies, resulting in a 21 percent reduction in total power consumption at consumers In terms of CO2 emissions, this outcome is equivalent to a total of 470,000 tons of CO2 reduction over the period from 1997 to 2007.
You would think this is a great story for non profits and educational sales.

The other 800lb Gorilla: Ricoh muscles in on heavy production digital market

read @ ProPrint Aus/NZ:
"Ricoh Australia has launched its heavy hitter, the Pro C900 and C900s production colour and B&W printer, at a function at Sydney’s Luna Park, and will take the launch to Melbourne and Perth in the next week as it flexes its digital muscles in the lead-up to PacPrint 09.
. . . the company is obviously very confident that this machine, alongside its recently-strengthened digital production team, can make significant inroads into the local markets. Ricoh predicts that the production printing market will grow to $A20 billion by 2013.
. . . Among its main features are a print speed of 90ppm in both colour and black-and-white for all stocks up to 300gsm (heavier stocks don't slow the machine's speed during production), paper capacity of up to 11,000 pages, the ability to replace toner while running the machine, an SRA3 large capacity tray with Air-Assist Paper Feed for feeding coated paper, and up to seven trays.
. . .
Among the finishing features are fully automated ring binding, with a binding capacity up to 50 or 100 pages on A4 booklet sizes. The perfect binder option produces books with up to 200 sheets, cover page insertion as standard and paper support up to 300gsm. Three/one edge automatic trimming comes standard for book sizes of A4 and A5.

The 800 lb gorilla makes a move

Ya gotta love PrintCeo. I'm sure an interesting discussion will ensue.

from Print CEO - - HP Launches MarketSplash - A Design and Print Fulfillment Service: "
HP Launches MarketSplash - A Design and Print Fulfillment Service
By Adam Dewitz on February 18th, 2009

Last month HP officially launched a new Web-based service targeted at small businesses to provide “the industry’s lowest prices and fastest delivery times for brand marketing services such as professional-quality design and print fulfillment.”
from the PR release:Bold Face are my comments.
The launch of MarketSplash by HP follows a successful beta test with Nestlé Confections & Snacks, which recently used MarketSplash offerings to create new packaging designs for its classic brands GOOBERS®, SNO-CAPS® and OH HENRY!®. America can now vote for its favorite new designs via “A Delicious Dilemma,” an online sweepstakes.

Distribute and Print
HP also introduced convenient same-day pickup at Copy and Print centers in Staples stores(1) and a free business card offer. HP is licensing the MarketSplash platform and application to retailers for co-branding.

I guess they figured out the distribute and print business. Meanwhile others were selling boxes to Staples. I wonder what is going to happen when it comes time to renew the box contracts at Staples and the other "retailers" to whom HP is licensing the MarketSplash. What happens if they figure out that lots of printers are retailers who are looking for work.

It may just be me, but that textbook thing is looking better and better everyday. These HP folks really seem to get it.

more from the PR release:

They figured that out from VistaPrint.
To introduce customers to the high quality of MarketSplash designs and the ease of use of its services, HP is offering first-time customers 100 free business cards.

Talk about Web 2 Print
Small businesses can choose from more than 1,400 professionally designed templates, pay no processing, shipping or other fees, and receive their cards in seven business days or less. With MarketSplash DIY tools, small businesses can create business cards, mailing labels and postcards, all for under $40 with no processing fees.

Unlimited revisions?
Customers who prefer one-on-one assistance can take advantage of MarketSplash’s custom design consultation services. MarketSplash has one of the industry’s largest networks of design and brand experts, delivering one-of-a-kind projects at unprecedented low prices with a fast turnaround. Branding packages start at $579 and include original logo concepts with unlimited revisions, custom business cards and stationery design work.

Building the buzz among celebrities?
MarketSplash services also have recently helped a group of independent filmmakers participating at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival create a professional portfolio of promotional materials, such as posters, postcards and apparel, to better market their films at Sundance and beyond. Participating films included: The Cove, Boutonniere, So the Wind Won’t Blow it All Away, Trece Años, Copper On The Chopping Block, Knife Point, The Yellow Bird and The Reckoning.

I wonder how anyone else going after SMB is going to respond. Stay tuned fans. Meanwhile, If HP would just spin off their printing and toner piece, I could add them to my IRA.

Oops! Number 11

20 Reasons Why 2009 Will Be The Year of the Ebook
Already companies are reporting higher profit margins on ebooks versus books. There are so many direct costs involved with books, that now disappear with ebooks, including printing, shipping, and handling. There are also the indirect costs, all the people needed to support that type of operation. Ebooks take away those costs and overhead."
Good for authors and publishers is not great for printers. I'm seeing a problem that needs some very creative solution providers.

Reinventing textbooks, anyone?

The big guys are in the game. The question is only how much are they going to be able to charge. The margins on the web are not the same as margins in Print. Just ask the newspapers.
The new rules are read for free or very close to free, and pay for Print. That means customized Print. That means us. That means more clicks for everyone.

E-books are also becoming increasingly available in the education market. The MBS textbook exchange, for example, offers e-books from many of the largest publishers of postsecondary instructional materials. Higher Ed publishers Pearson, Wiley, Cengage, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and Bedford, Freeman & Worth have created CourseSmart, another e-textbook store, to provide a critical mass of available titles at one site.

The e-book format even empowers educators to assemble components of books into one electronic package. Examples include Primis from McGraw-Hill, and Cengage Learning’s iChapters.

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.

An opportunity for someone? Anybody have contacts in Yonkers?

This one is for real professionals in the field.
read at the Empire Center for New York State Policy
. . . - The governor's proposed aid cut for Yonkers comes to $10.9 million, according to the schools superintendent. That's about 2 percent of the current school budget and 4.2 percent of the district's salary costs."
Given what I think I know, savings by outsourcing and MPS + replacing textbooks with textbooklets might get to 2%.

I'm thinking the Union and admins in the Yonkers school district might be looking for a solution provider, right about now.

Ricoh Streamlines Document Management With Archive Studio Solution

Either bring it to market your self, or partner with whoever is the first and best on the ground.
DocuLex was established in 1996
read PR release Article: "via PRNewswire

Ricoh Americas Corporation, a leading provider of digital office equipment, today announced the release of Archive Studio document management software to the Ricoh Channel through its recently introduced Ricoh Independent Solutions Vendor Program (RiSVP). Archive Studio, a product of DocuLex, is a business-ready document management solution that enables knowledge workers, regardless of location or system, to securely capture, manage and share electronic content in document repositories."

MFP s Connect the Physical World to the Cloud

@ DSGI: The Fax Server Experts:
"New Ricoh MFP integration with RightFax

New Solution Provides Ricoh Multifunction Products with Seamless Integration with Open Text Fax Server (RightFax) or Open Text Fax Appliance (FaxPress)

WEST CALDWELL, N.J., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Ricoh Americas Corporation, . . . today announced the release of the RightFax Connector for embedded software architecture (ESA) enabled multifunction products (MFPs). Ricoh's RightFax Connector enables businesses to integrate their existing IT and RightFax infrastructure without adding new fax processes or middleware, providing users with a single interface for electronic and hard copy faxing directly from Ricoh ESA MFPs."

Oce ColorStream Fifth Color Addition - 2/16/2009 10:15:00 AM - Graphic Arts Online

@ Graphic Arts Online:
-- Graphic Arts Online, 2/16/2009 10:15:00 AM
Venlo, The Netherlands, 16 February 2009 — Oce . . today announced the launch of a fifth color station for the award-winning Oce ColorStream™ family of full color, web-fed production printers."
Sounds cool if you have to corporate logos for a real finicky art director.
The Océ ColorStream web-fed digital press delivers full process color at 168 ipm, with the additional Océ CustomTone at 136 ipm, . . . The press prints on all kinds of popular media, including lightweight paper, news print, coated and uncoated stocks.
Newsprint? Personalized newspapers? Versioned textbooklets?

Score one for Canon!

@ BusinessWest:
. . . "In 1999, Andrew Associates moved to its present location just minutes away from I-91 in Enfield. Knapp explained that the move to the current headquarters allowed them to focus on printing for the first time. “We started to go into black-and-white digital printing,” she said, “and we have grown that business substantially. We do millions of pieces per year. About four years ago we got our first color digital printer, and started to do color variable pieces.”. . .

But she has installed the newest generation of Canon color printers, and finds that a lot of her work is performed on this machine. “I realized that, with the capabilities of that machine,” said Knapp, “we could expand our business into the creative side of the industry.”

Location, location, location - the defensible advantage on the ground.
Their proximity to both Springfield and Hartford offers a strategic dual front: the company taps into the Connecticut health care and insurance markets, but is also close enough to take advantage of the post office’s bulk-mail center in Springfield, one of only 21 across the U.S"

XORiHK, sell this in your channels

Every SMB needs small quantites of stationery. The problem is that before this, printing the envelopes was a huge time sink. All it needs is for someone to make the deal. Your print partners will love it.

from WhatTheyThink:
"Xante Ships Ilumina Digital Envelope Press
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mobile, AL -- The XanteIlumina Digital Envelope Press , unveiled to enthusiastic crowds at Graph Expo 2008, is now shipping and available with several feature enhancements including an output conveyer and the capability to run up to '13' x 15' catalog envelopes.

Printing 3000 full color (including window) envelopes an hour, the Xante Ilumina Digital Envelope Press is a a cost-effective transpromo solution available at introductory pricing of $14,995 through the end of February."

Xerox Canada appoints vice president, Eastern Operations

Instead of just selling to the public sector, we can help to reinvent it. Of course, the legacy players will resist. But in a NoDramaObama world they are going to have come around sooner rather than later.

We can help make it sooner.

read Press Release:
OTTAWA, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - Xerox Canada today announced the appointment of Patrick Tallon to vice president, Eastern Operations, effective immediately.

This is a new position for Xerox Canada, as Eastern sales operations were previously bundled with the company's public sector sales organization."
. . .
"The population and public sector influence in Eastern Canada has always made it a significant region for Xerox," said Kevin Warren, president and CEO, Xerox Canada. "Pat's breadth of experience and extensive knowledge of the marketplace and federal government operations make him an ideal leader for this important geographical division of our business."

Xerox Grants Technical Minority Scholarships - But the follow the money

Very good stuff, but consider. Scholarship money while given to deserving students winds up in the bank account of "educational institution."

Meanwhile the education business is one of the great cash cows in America. A monopoly held together by their own certification. A price that only keeps going up. And every parent in America willingly goes into debt to buy it.

And yet, there are no measures of success.

At the K-12 level in urban areas 50% of the students don't graduate. At community college that stats for graduating are worse. In 4 year college there are no stats for the effect after $100K from the family out the door.

Imagine if we could stay in business and increase our prices with a 50% success rate and no accountability measures. A nice job if you can get it.

As soon as the wave of creative destruction finishes with newspapers, this very ripe fruit is going to fall from the tree.

@ Carnegie Mellon University:

Xerox Grants Technical Minority Scholarships to 122 Students

Xerox Corporation has awarded its annual Xerox Technical Minority Scholarships to 122 graduate and undergraduate students from across the country in recognition of their high academic achievement in the fields of science, engineering and technology. Seven recipients are from Carnegie Mellon."

I love one trick ponies


The company came to prominence in 1959 with the introduction of the first plain paper photocopier using the process of xerography (electrophotography) developed by Chester Carlson, the Xerox 914.[5] The 914 was so popular that by the end of 1961, Xerox had almost $60 million in revenue. By 1965, revenues leaped to over $500 million. Before releasing the 914, Xerox had also introduced the first xerographic printer, the "Copyflo" in 1955.
When you do one thing, you have a good chance to be the best in the world.

If they do it there, they could do it here
BERLIN -- Germany's cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill that seeks to allow the forced nationalization of banks as a last resort for a limited period to prevent the collapse of a bank resulting in a systemic crisis, a government spokesman said.

Keep an eye on how this plays out News
"Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama will today outline an estimated $50 billion plan to stem a surge in home foreclosures that will subsidize cuts in mortgage payments for millions of struggling borrowers."
My bet is that it will all sort out much faster rather than slower. I hope all the XORiHK folks are ready if it does.

Reinventing Textbooks: The secret sauce

It's not technology. All the technology is in place. It's not content. All the content needed is either free on the net or can be licensed from XML compliant databases. It's not even the legacy sales process and relationships that make the cost of sales so high.

It's about standards.
From yesterday's post at The English Teacher's Companion
National Standards Are Coming
By the end of President Obama's first term we will have national standards for the core academic subjects. The rationale for this is best summed up in a recent Washington Post op/ed by AFT president Randi Weingarten who wrote . . .

We can opt for the elegant simplicity and clarity of the New York state standards or we can choose the more detailed standards already created by the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (MCREL). The MCREL standards offer a carefully researched synthesis of standards from across the country.

I vote for adopting the MCREL standards so we can spend the next four years focusing on how to teach these standards and achieve the difference President Obama seeks instead of what to teach

. . .bold face not in the original.
Professional teacher have always focused on HOW to teach. The ability to craft just the right way to reach each student is the core value they create. Textbooks are collections of WHAT.

Going forward, textbooklets need to be tools that will make it better, faster, cheaper for teachers to do the hard part- HOW.

One of the many killer applications waiting to be deployed.
Consider 4 MFP's in every high school in the States. Then consider a teacher choosing just the right textbooklet for today. Then outputting 20 versioned, and if appropriate personalized, textbooklets. There is no difference between a personalized newspaper and a personalized textbooklet.

Now that the standards are open, nothing is left to be invented. Just a lot of smart creative people to create a database of standards aligned content that works in the classroom. My bet is that it wouldn't be that expensive to hire teachers on the ground to manage a crowd sourced Cloud database plus the very best book designers, and this is done.

To any educators who may be visiting, you might want to give Ricoh a call and ask them when they are going to bring this functionality to the States. If anyone from the other XORiHK companies have similar functionalities, please leave a comment, preferably with a link.

But if it's "a going to have," or "a could have," then it needs a date when it is at least prototyped even of it's in a demonstration facility. Be forewarned, my response to any comment will be "when and where?"
From: Syntops, Individualizing Print Products

The "Druckspiegel" (german expression for "the printing mirror"):

"The magazine for premedia, print and finishing" wrote in November 2008 a article about one of our products: "Newspaper by desire". It is a product which the Syntops GmbH has created together with the Company "RICOH Germany".

A customer approaches his card (for his hotel room, or time recording card in a company) to the cardreader of the printer. Then the printer "knows" who is talking to him. In the display of the printer appear several buttons, with which the customer can order his product, e.g. a newsletter, weather information and concerts in this town after his desire, or a individualized newspaper.

After pressing one of these buttons, the id of the user and his order is sent to a server in the (inter)net. There the wished data is picked out from databases and a userspecific file is produced. This file will be sent back via the net to the customer and printed on his printer. The whole process lasts about 4 seconds. After 0.5 to 2 minutes (depending on the volume of his document), the customer has his newspaper in his hands.

Here you can download the whole article .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This is a pretty big deal for Kodak

If you can retrofit inkjet heads onto an offset press, that means personalization and versioning can leverage offset prices, create an entire new market for offset printers, and do the hybrid digital /offset that just might well revise the "sky is falling discussion" about the future of offset printing. Heidelberg? Textbooklets?

Given that Kodak owns the workflow piece in offset printing, if this plays out as described, it's a game changer.

Plus it means they protect their installed base and they can sell toner, without having to sell boxes.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I purchased 3,000 shares of Kodak @4.09 asked, market order this morning @9:15.

from Print CEO

"ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 27—Cyril-Scott Company, a Consolidated Graphics company located in Lancaster, OH, is set to become the first installation of Stream Printheads, Kodak’s new, much anticipated continuous inkjet solution for inline printing on an offset press."

Kodak back in the game?

Andy Tribute, one of the most perceptive of those who follow the industry posted a column this morning at (subscription only)
These are the words that caught my eye:

@ Kodak's Injet Strategy, February 17, 2009
"These new products make the Kodak Versamark VL range more competitive against the other suppliers’ products. The VL6200 how fully compares against the Oc�2200 in terms of speed at 150 meters/min and I would not be surprised if Kodak does not enhance it further in future for higher speed by dripping the resolution in one direction to achieve higher imaging speeds. The Versamark VL4200 also compares with the speeded up Screen Truepress Jet 520 and IBM Infoprint 5000 that achieve speeds around 125 meters/min by reducing one imaging resolution."
My question is always speed to market. The Screen Truepress Jet is up and running and has customers in Norther New Jersey, today.

The engineering work in Rochester has always been the best. This is just the latest example. But speed to market has always been the weak link. Too much noise, not enough signal.

It's not Marketing. It's Education.

Ellen left a comment on one of Friday's posts. She said,
Thank you for your suggestion. We are proud to already have a partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County called the Oce Future Authors Project, now in its fourth year.

Every summer, we gather a group of middle and high school students for a free eight-day writing workshop taught by licensed language arts teachers and professional authors. Writings produced by the students during the workshop are then digitally printed on Oce equipment. The formal book is then unveiled at a commmunity-wide book signing event attended by local community leaders, politicians, school officials, teachers, parents and other family members. We also invite the media.

The public-private partnerships does fill a void in the District and demonstrates what great education opportunities can be created for students, despite budget cuts and a challenging economy. Local companies, such as BankAtlantic, as well as the Lawrence Sanders Foundation have joined the effort to help cover the costs of the teacher salaries.

To learn more, visit

Meanwhile, over at the Motley Fool, Mary953 said,
Oceny is now outperforming beautifully, and there is no financial data to tell me why.
Then I said,
blablablablabla. . . education . . .infrastructure . . . blablablba
Then Mary953 said,
Thank you - Finally a growth industry that I can understand! Publishing/information science driven
Doing very well, by doing very good
Meanwhile, Wall Street is on the prowl for organic growth stories. Advertising and copiers are are stagnating. Education and publishing are growing. XORiHK is implicity the infrastructure for both education and publishing. Plus we make our revenue from maintaining and supplying that infrastructure. Now all we have to do is make the implict, explicit.

Growing infrastructure is a very nice growth story, that has the extra added advantage of being true. about everyone puts less attention on marketing, ROI and more attention on learning and a smarter citizenry. I bet it would get everyone's SG&A down to the Walmart 16+%, instead of the middle 20%s.

Employee to Teacher Transition Program
And . . .we could help our employees make the transition from copiers to education. Changing education is going to need many life experienced professionals. All they need is some training and the certification. Maybe we get a fast track teacher cert program in place and pay for it for all of our experienced, hard working people we can no longer afford to pay.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Placeholder until Stream comes to market? . . . or the perfect machine for textbooklets?

Expanded KODAK VERSAMARK VL-Series Systems -
@ WhatTheyThink:
"LUCERNE -- With the addition of four new models, the KODAK VERSAMARK VL-Series Printing Systems family extends Kodak's inkjet leadership and includes six total models to meet the complex needs of a wide variety of users and a broad range of applications. . . .
• KODAK VERSAMARK VL4000 and VL4200 Printing Systems-offer increased speeds up to 410 fpm (125 mpm) with resolutions of 600 x 360 dpi. The VL4000 allows for 1-up or 2-up simplex or 1-up duplex, while the VL4200 allows for 2-up duplex. These models are designed for unique applications such as distributed publishing of newspapers
Might be just perfect for textbooklets.

Added February 17. 7:55 am
a comment at Print Ceo blog:
Bob Riendeau on Feb 16, 2009 | Reply


Kodak is moving with Kodak momentum with its Stream technology already installed in Ohio at a very large customer. The Stream color breaks the mold as continuous color is typically similar in quality to a business color copier. From what we are seeing off the Stream it’s comparable in many ways to the outstanding color you see of our Nexpress product line. As for Screen Trujet, I am not sure of how its quality will compare to Kodak’s Stream. Read below on our install in Ohio. read the rest at

Ya gotta love Public Accountability

I wonder what standards Harris used?
Rejected copier bidder protests contract choice - Westport News:
"In losing the bidding competition for the Westport school system's new contract for photocopier management services, CBS/Xerox (CBS) of Newington has described the outcome as fiscally flawed.
. . .
'n answering CBS's protest on Dec. 22, Harris did not respond to Vega's claim about the higher costs of ACT's services, but said that his letter "incorrectly" assumed that the "photocopy management services were awarded on the basis of which bidder bid the lowest price."

Are Canadians really smarter?

According to here: as of today, 0.085 CAD = 0.0682958 USD . But our dividend in the USA, was .0425 USD. I must be missing something getting something wrong.
Is it me or is it ??? Anybody know what the SG&A is in Canada?
NW Group | XEROX CANADA | Xerox Canada Inc. Declares Dividend on Class B Shares:

"TORONTO, Feb. 12 /CNW/ - Xerox Canada Inc.'s board of directors today declared a quarterly cash dividend on the Non-Voting Exchangeable Class B Shares. The dividend of the Canadian currency equivalent of 8.5 cents (U.S.) per Non-Voting Exchangeable Class B Share will be payable on April 30, 2009 to Xerox Canada Inc. shareholders of record on March 31, 2009. . . ."

Reinvented Textbooks: Print is the Next Big Thing

The Kindle 2.0 starts shipping next week. It's the beginning of the end for college textbooks. An emerging business model for content is "Read for Free, Pay for Print." The Read for Free part is being led by Flat World Knowledge. Their Open College Textbooks are starting to be released later this month. There will be more about the Pay for Print part in other posts. Stay tuned.

Textbooklets, instead of Textbooks.
But the real opportunity for XORIHK, is in High School teaching. Consider that instead of text books, there are text booklets. The product will vary, but for now, let's say 12 pages, 8 1/2 x 11 saddle stitched, either in black or 4c as budget dictates.

Last week I did the first of a biweekly column as "Print Correspondent" for Mediashift, a PBS organization. The title was Print is the Next Big Thing. Here's just one way that might play out in High School education.

Print enables the optimal Customer Experience in the classroom
Yesterday, I posted Jim Burke's vision for what teaching is going to look like for High School students. Consider the optimal customer experiences outlined by Jim Burke and how Digital Print can supply that experience today.
1. The article they read might be from that day's San Francisco Chronicle, downloaded for free as part of the digital version of Newspapers in Education program.
Versioned Print newspapers could be delivered directly to classrooms. Maybe three times a week. Edited with the classroom experience in mind. My Weekly Reader, on steroids. Printed either in the school or the district. It would be Printed locally, distributed locally, edited in the Cloud, and contextually accurate for that community. It might have a "News in Brief" for international and national news, and two feature stories about that community. It could be newsprint product or a text booklet.
3. When they encounter a word they do not know, they will simply highlight it and click a button and the definition will appear with the option of an audio link. If they encounter references (cultural literacy references) they will highlight and search the encyclopedia (or wikipedia) for the necessary background knowledge in context.
Each student has their own text booklet and a highlighter. They highlight any word they don't understand. Some time during the lesson, the teacher writes everyone's highlighted word on the white board. Defining each word is part of the homework assignment.
4. They will read actively, marking up the text with a stylus or some other means, saving these to a notepad on the DBook where they can jot down brief notes to prepare for the subsequent discussion using the keyboard on the DBook.
Same scenario as number 3. If the text booklet has a 2" blank column on the right of each page, students only need a pencil to make their notes.
5. When they finish, I will flash a quiz on the screen which they can use the embedded interactive wireless voting button to answer the questions. I will ask them all to choose the answer they think is best for each one; we will discuss these as we go, using wrong answers to provide opportunities for discussion and clarification. It will feel a bit like a game show; it will be fun; it will be instructionally productive and effective.
A great experience, but this needs the Kindle or a copycat. In the meanwhile, the quiz is in the back of the text booklet. And an 18x24" version is displayed in the classroom. Each question is answered. Each student answers first in their own text booklet, then the discussion ensues.

The teacher collects all the text booklets at the end of class or a unit. This gives the teacher a permanent record of the student's learnings. They can then be studied, shared with parents and used to inform instruction the next day. The collection of text booklets can also be used as a resource to improve next semester's approach and for Professional Development in that school.
6. For homework, they will write (or use the voice recognition option to orally compose) a paragraph in which they summarize and respond to the article.
A page or two left blank will accommodate the writing in class. Two slits would allow the student to insert the Print out of computer writing done at home.
7. When they come in the following day, I will ask them to upload their homework wirelessly, after which we will discuss what they wrote (for they will still have it to refer to).
The booklets are collected.
8. After warming up with this discussion, they will click into the assigned novel they are reading, the previous day's news article having prepared them to read the next section in the novel.
Each student will have their own Print edition of the novel to highlight and mark up as they wish.
9. After they read for a bit to answer the questions I provided them, they will click a button that will take them into a social network within which students post their remarks, interacting with each other through writing in a threaded discussion, their visible avatars and real names keeping them accountable.
The class relaxes. For the next ten minutes, they walk around and casually share any thoughts they have. Meanwhile, they are building a culture of intelligent, but lively discourse.
10. After ten minutes or so, we come back as a class, at which point I use comments from their discussion--which I have monitored and joined to nudge their thinking in certain directions when needed--to lead a focused discussion about what they meant, what the author was saying, and how that related to(which is only a click away to return to for easy reference).
A summary of the focused discussion is done by a team of three students every day. They enter the summary into a blog. Every week the blog is transformed into a PDF. The PDF's are Distributed and Printed, either in the classroom, in the school or at a commercial printer close by. Printed summaries are regularly given to each student to read, highlight and write their notes.

At the end of the semester, the edited summaries are printed as a Paper back book and one is given to each student so they can be reminded of what they have learned. A publishing party is the culminating event of each unit. The school, the student and their parents have a clear signal of what the student learned that semester, without being a slave to high stakes standardized test results.

Ain't Print grand?

The digital Print tech is well established and the Distribute and Print infrastructure is growing quickly. The last questions are sales, speed and price. My bet is that it will be easier to sell, much faster to the delivery and lower price than the all in cost of doing a textbook.

Plus more clicks for everyone! And a much better experience for teachers, parents and especially the kids.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reinvented Textbooks : Jim Burke's Use case.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will try to convince XORIHK that a mass under served market for digital Printing is just waiting to be served, as the American educational system is going from here to Jim Burkes "there."

Jim Burke has pretty impressive credentials.

From the Heinemann's Author's website,
Jim has received numerous awards, including the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award, the NCTE Conference on English Leadership Award, and the California Reading Association Hall of Fame Award. He served on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Committee on Adolescence and Young Adulthood English Language Arts Standards and recently worked with ACT on their high school English Language Arts standards. In 2007, he participated in the national Adolescent Literacy Coalition roundtable and worked with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
But I'm pretty sure he must have it right, because he teaches "at Burlingame High School every day as I have for the last sixteen years and plan to do for many more to come" and he says that "My dad worked in the printing business for thirty-seven years."

Some cut and paste from his February 13 post.

In five years (three? two?!) I will not ask my high school students to open the 6.5 pound textbooks that currently sit on the floor under the desks. . . . Here is what will be different:
  1. The article they read might be from that day's San Francisco Chronicle, downloaded for free as part of the digital version of Newspapers in Education program.
  2. Those who find it more helpful will, instead of reading the words with their eyes, pop in their earbuds from their iPods and hit the Audio button to listen to the book read to them (choosing from a menu of different voices) while they follow along with their eyes.
  3. When they encounter a word they do not know, they will simply highlight it and click a button and the definition will appear with the option of an audio link. If they encounter references (cultural literacy references) they will highlight and search the encyclopedia (or wikipedia) for the necessary background knowledge in context.
  4. They will read actively, marking up the text with a stylus or some other means, saving these to a notepad on the DBook where they can jot down brief notes to prepare for the subsequent discussion using the keyboard on the DBook.
  5. When they finish, I will flash a quiz on the screen which they can use the embedded interactive wireless voting button to answer the questions. I will ask them all to choose the answer they think is best for each one; we will discuss these as we go, using wrong answers to provide opportunities for discussion and clarification. It will feel a bit like a game show; it will be fun; it will be instructionally productive and effective.
  6. For homework, they will write (or use the voice recognition option to orally compose) a paragraph in which they summarize and respond to the article.
  7. When they come in the following day, I will ask them to upload their homework wirelessly, after which we will discuss what they wrote (for they will still have it to refer to).
  8. After warming up with this discussion, they will click into the assigned novel they are reading, the previous day's news article having prepared them to read the next section in the novel.
  9. After they read for a bit to answer the questions I provided them, they will click a button that will take them into a social network within which students post their remarks, interacting with each other through writing in a threaded discussion, their visible avatars and real names keeping them accountable.
  10. After ten minutes or so, we come back as a class, at which point I use comments from their discussion--which I have monitored and joined to nudge their thinking in certain directions when needed--to lead a focused discussion about what they meant, what the author was saying, and how that related to(which is only a click away to return to for easy reference).
From what I've read, but NOT tried, Kindle 2.0 enables almost all of these experiences. Meanwhile, it's going to be a bumpy ride to Jim's "there." It will emerge at different speeds in different forms in different places. But there is little question that's where the train is heading.

As I argued in this morning's post , the College train will start to leave the station February 2009. K-12 is not far behind.

For our RSS viewers only...

Ignore the RSS version of this post: ( I got about 4 hits from blackberries around the world, in the few minutes between publishing and checking the facts.)

Please accept my sincere apologies.

Here's what went out on the RSS:
XRX Xerox Corporation announces common stock dividend:
The board of directors of Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX), a developer, manufacturer, marketer, service provider and financer of document equipment, software, solutions and services, announced on 12 February a quarterly cash dividend of USD4.25 per share on the company's common stock."
Ya gotta love these people. NOTE: Still need more time to confirm that I read this correctly. But in the meantime, I'm just going to feel good about it.
So if the stock is selling at around 6.5 or 7. And if I read this correctly, we are firmly on the right track. Just keep those dividends coming, while we wait for Wall Street to stop being so silly and frightened.

Go team go!

Plus you have to love "a developer, manufacturer, marketer, service provider and financer of document equipment, software, solutions and services," so much better than "office equipment blablablabla.

I read "USD4.25" as $4.25 per share. Although it most definitely was much too good to be true, I did learn a little about how greed and frustration works in shaping what you do. It helps me answer the "How do so many smart, relatively honest people get involved in Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

While I was doing my regular scan of Xerox, Oce, Ricoh feeds, my eye noticed the headline. Then when I clicked on the link I focused on USD 4.25 and changed it to $4.25 in my head.
Somewhere in my brain I heard "This has to be bullshit" But I clicked the Publish Button, before not after I did a few minutes fact check.

As regular viewers of this blog know, lots of my 401K is sitting with our Board Of Directors. I've been blablabla'ing about how they should increase the dividend while waiting for the idiots in Wall Street to stop being "deers in headlights" and our PR and Investor Relations people get the signal of what we do through the noise of the "analysts."

It makes much clear to me, how the WSJ could have published that story about Kodak earlier in the week. It reminds me that on the web, "loose key strokes can sink companies." And it reafirms to me that importance of trusting Print, even some newspapers, more than quickly running around yelling either "Fire! Fire!" or the "Messiah has come!" on the internets.

I'm pretty sure that by the time you read this, the web page at will have been corrected (the one I cut and pasted from was posted on Feb 13, 9:24 am or I will learn that USD4.25 does not mean $4.25 per share/per quarter.

The byline does say Feb 13, 2009 (M2 EQUITYBITES via COMTEX) . That should have set off an alarm. It should have said Rueters or Bloomberg or Press release.

I have to take my own advice that everyone needs to slow down a bit, take a breath, and only then hit the publish post button.

XORiHK, It's the Print, Stupid.

XORiHK is Xerox, Oce, Ricoh, HP, Kodak.

XORiHK is the Global Print Output Infrastructure. Print output is a truly defensible advantage and the real source of sustainable revenue.

The future of Printing is Distribute and Print. Startups on the Internet are already doing the Distribute. XORHiK can now focus all it's attention on the Print piece.

Meanwhile, the content being organized in the Cloud wants to break out into the physical world of Print. Some of that content wants to be TimeSpace Relevent Print product inserted into the lives of classrooms in K-12. Student Writing? Team books? Yearbooks? . . . . Textbooks?

ECM? Document Management?
Exactly how are you going to be profitable against a start-up that has no legacy overhead? What exactly is the plan to constantly improve and add features in weeks or days, not quarters or years, without a maniacal focused team of experts who are living their passion and free to do it?

According to their website, PBWiki already has over 1,000,000 users. You can try it for free. The entry price is $8/per seat. The tagline on their email says "Over 40,000 businesses trust PBwiki, including 1/3 of the Fortune 500."

The following is a straight cut and paste from their website.

The textbook reinvention starts February 2009

It starts this year in the colleges. Kindle 2.0 leads at the last mile. The first player is Flat World K-12 textbooks are next.

My bet is that Staples or Fedex or AlphaGraphics will be, or already have gotten, in contact with Erick Frank about the benefits of a distribute and print platform. If not, then Ricoh, HP, Xerox, Oce, Kodak still have a chance to make the pitch. For any vendor that has significant presence in University in house plants, the sell should be a no brainer.

It will be niche this year, mainstream in three years.

Two refugees from publishing giant Pearson (PSO)-Prentice Hall - who were on a fast track for promotion - formed Flat World in 2007, snaring $1.5 million in seed money to shake up the $3.7 billion textbook industry.

"We are definitely perceived as disruptive," says co-founder Eric Frank, 39. "The big textbook publishers are aware there's a problem; but whether they have the ability to turn the Titanic around is another story." read at Money at CNN.

Following is a cut and paste from Flat World Knowledge In The News.
Wired Blog Network
Flat World Knowledge to Bring Free Textbooks into Blackboard
by Chris Snyder

February 4th, 2009

"Flat World Knowledge, a free, open source textbook publisher, has announced plans to add support for direct integration of its books into campus learning management systems (LMS) like Blackboard and ANGEL. With Flat World's LMS-supported textbooks, professors and publishers will be able to include supplementary material content in its entirety available directly on the platform and split up chapters into various folders according to their syllabus. "
Outsell Inc.
Outsell Publishes Information Industry Outlook 2009; Cites Apple, Elsevier, and LinkedIn Among 30 Innovators to Watch by Christan Graham

December 18, 2008

"Among others in Outsell’s “30 to Watch”: BBN Ad Network, Blurb, British Medical Journal, BrownBook, CNN, Collexis, Critical Media, Data Explorers, Demand Media, Exact Editions, Flat World Knowledge, Google, The Guardian, Hakia, Hulu, IHS, LiveMocha, MarketTools, Nature Publishing Group, Public Library of Science (PloS), Safari, Thomson Reuters, Wood MacKenzie, and ZoomInfo."

Fortune Small Business
Next Little Thing 2009 by Melanie Haiken

December 4, 2008

"Undergraduates spend an average of $1,000 a year on course materials, and textbook costs are rising by an average of 6% annually, according to the National Association of College Stores. Early next year, those scholars will have another choice. Flat World Knowledge, a startup in Nyack, N.Y., will release its first set of online college textbooks. " Small Businesses
Save cash: Download your Textbooks by Melanie Haiken

December 4, 2008

""The Web gives us a rare opportunity to rethink the delivery mechanism for textbooks," says Regan Caruthers, director of communications and business development for the California State University system. "If someone does this right, they'll make it better for everybody concerned: the professors, the students and the publishers.""
Publishers Weekly
Open Source Text Publisher Gets More Financing by Jim Milliot

October 21, 2008

"Flat World Knowledge, a year-old company that plans to publish free open source college textbooks, has received $700,000 in new financing, bringing total investment in the startup to $1.4 million. The company has also announced a number of new appointments, including that of former Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Newcomb to its board of advisors."
Community College Week Fall 2008 Technology Supplement
Redefining 'Open Book' For The 21st Century by CCW Staff

October 20, 2008

"Flat World Knowledge, the world’s first commercial open textbook publisher, saw an opportunity to leverage principles of openness, technology, and a new business model to...create real value for faculty and students.."

ars technica
Flat World Knowledge: an open-source textbook revolution? by Nate Anderson

September 17, 2008

"Eric Frank spent 11 years in the dead-tree textbook industry... And then he gave it all up to launch a startup called Flat World Knowledge. His new company's business model: give high-quality textbooks away for free on the web. It doesn't take a psychology prof to ask the question, "Has Eric Frank lost his mind?"

The New York Times
Don't Buy That Textbook, Download It Free by Noam Cohen

September 14, 2008

"SQUINT hard, and textbook publishers can look a lot like drug makers. They both make money from doing obvious good - healing, educating - and they both have customers who may be willing to sacrifice their last pennies to buy what these companies are selling."
Wired Blog Network
Open Source Textbooks Challenge a Paradigm by Chris Snyder

September 1, 2008

"A small, digital book startup thinks it has a solution to the age-old student lament: overpriced textbooks that have little value when the course is over. The answer? Make them open source -- and give them away."
The Washington Post
Break on Cost Of Textbooks Unlikely Before Last Bell, 2010 by Ylan Q. Mui and Susan Kinzie

August 20, 2008

"The rising cost of college textbooks has driven Congress and nearly three dozen states -- including Maryland and Virginia -- to attempt to curtail prices and controversial publishing practices through legislation. But as the fall semester begins, students are unlikely to see much relief."
L.A. Times
Free digital texts begin to challenge costly college textbooks in California by Gale Holland

August 18, 2008

"Caltech economics professor R. Preston McAfee is one of a band of would-be reformers who are trying to beat the high cost -- and, they say, the dumbing down -- of college textbooks by writing or promoting open-source, no-cost digital texts. Thus far, their quest has been largely quixotic, but that could be changing."
Thad McIlroy: The Future of Publishing
The Future of Educational Publishing by Thad McIlroy

August 7, 2008

"There is no publishing segment under attack right now as strongly as the educational publishing sector. Most of the vitriol is focused on publishing for higher education (colleges and universities). With headlines screaming: "Textbooks at $200 each?" it's challenging for the industry to mount a defense, or for anyone to make much sense of what's happening here."
US News and World Report
Four Reasons Textbook Costs Will Drop, by Kim Clark

July 21, 2008

"Textbook prices, which have nearly tripled in the past 20 years, may finally start to decline thanks to some new laws, technology, and upstart companies. Undergraduates who take advantage of the new alternatives could easily slash their textbook costs in half this coming academic year."
Coming This Fall: Free Textbooks By Kathleen Kingsbury

July 16, 2008

“Shelling out big bucks at the campus bookstore is a college tradition that students can count on each semester. Textbook prices have risen steadily over the past two decades to the point where the average student now pays $900 a year, an expense that typically is not covered by financial aid. But come September, publishing upstart Flat World Knowledge will offer a much more appealing price point: its books will be free."
USA Today
Online "Open Textbooks" Saves Students Cash By Svetlana Shkolnikova

July 10, 2008

“As textbook prices skyrocket, college students and faculty seeking more affordable options increasingly are turning to "open textbooks" as an alternative. Some in the publishing industry have noticed the trend…. It became clear that open textbooks would provide the ideal solution, Frank says."
The Chronicle of Higher Education - Wired Campus
Community College Open-Textbook Project Gets Under Way
by Catherine Rampell

April 29, 2008

"The Community College Open Textbook Project begins this week with a member meeting in California… They will initially review four providers of free online educational resources: Connexions, run by Rice University; Flat World Knowledge, a commercial digital-textbook publisher that will begin ..."
Competition in the Free Textbook Market

April 26, 2008

"The NYTimes has an editorial plugging Flat World Knowledge, a startup that will offer college textbooks inexpensively (~$30) in print, and free as PDFs. They plan to make their profits from add-ons like podcast study guides and mobile phone flashcards. Books will be licensed under CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike."
The New York Times
That Book Costs How Much?

April 25, 2008

“Schools are beginning to balk at outrageous pricing. Rice University offers textbooks for some classes free online and charges a nominal fee for the printed version. A new company called Flat World Knowledge, based in Nyack, N.Y., plans to offer online textbooks free and hopes to make its profit by selling supplemental materials like study guides and hard copies printed on demand."
The Chronicle of Higher Education
An Online Company Tries an Unexpected Publishing Model : Free Textbooks
by Catherine Rampell

April 24, 2008

“The high prices of textbooks, which are approaching $1,000 per year for an average student, have those students and their professors crying for mercy. Yet publishers say their cheaper options—electronic versions of traditional texts—aren't selling.

Enter Flat World Knowledge. Starting next year, the new digital-textbook publisher will offer online, peer-reviewed, interactive, user-editable textbooks, free of charge."
National Public Radio - Marketplace
Textbook Costs Getting Hard to Cover

April 15, 2008

“Most high school seniors know where they'll be spending the next four years of their lives -- college acceptance letters went out earlier this month. Now all they -- and their parents -- have to do is figure out how to pay for it. One big and growing chunk of that tab is textbooks. The typical undergraduate book bill is $900 a year and growing. So today, a group of college professors went public with a call for low-priced and free texts online. Congress is trying to ease the book burden too.
Marketplace's Jill Barshay has the story."