Saturday, February 28, 2009

Here's an interesting idea -Germany's 'Scrap' Bonus Fuels Car Sales

Germany's 'Scrap' Bonus Fuels Car Sales -
"BERLIN -- Around the world, some economists and governments have their doubts about whether costly fiscal-stimulus measures will work. But in Germany, one measure already is a roaring success.

Germany's €2,500 ($3,200) subsidy for people who scrap an old car and buy a new one has triggered a stampede to dealerships and a run on small cars. It's also inspiring retailers of other products, from electronics to false teeth, to copy the idea."
. . .
"It's a real sales boom," says Ceyhun Tan, a Volkswagen dealer in Berlin. He says his February sales are two to three times as high as a year ago, thanks to the scrap bonus. Most of his new wave of customers, says Mr. Tan, are elderly people whose ancient autos are worth less on the used-car market than the scrap bonus.

. . .A survey by research institute Forsa found that of 16 million Germans who own a sufficiently old car, 1.2 million people firmly plan to use the scrap bonus and many more are thinking about it. Many may be disappointed: The government plans to reward only the first 600,000 new-car purchases.
Here's the part that might be appropriate.
Electronics retailer Media Markt offered computer buyers €100 for their old PC for a limited time this month. Upscale tailors Herr von Eden is offering clients up to €300 for their old suits if they order a new one.
It seems a neat way to lower prices for a brief period and keep the perception of value steady for the long run. Plus a way to build loyalty with present customers.

As it is in Health care, so it is with Education

Healing and learning happen one person at a time.

Education is NOT going to be fixed by computing. It is going to be fixed by helping people to learn to read and reason and giving them enough time to practice.

The best tool for learning to read and making the time to practice is type on Paper. The best expert is the teacher in the classroom. All the rest is infrastructure.

read at Health Care Renewal
A 21st Century Plague?
The Syndrome of Inappropriate Over-Confidence in Computing:

"The same overconfidence, indeed, to the point of irrational exuberance, affects other domains. One domain is healthcare IT. As I shall point out, the SICC syndrome has helped cause major problems in other domains as well. Yet the appetite for yet more computer magic appears to be spreading.

. . . Worse, the arrogance is coupled with ignorance about decades of research in social informatics (the study of the social impacts of computing), observational studies, biomedical informatics and computer science research, etc. (A worst case scenario has occurred to me that people who gravitate towards business IT may lack the interpersonal skills and insights into human behaviors necessary to understand the aforementioned domains and their real world importance.) In any case, this encroachment on medicine by the business IT industry is an unwarranted, unparalleled power, territory and profiteering intrusion, a form of cross-occupational piracy.
. . . I for one, would welcome a cessation of claims that IT will "revolutionize" any field that depends primarily on cognition, such as biomedicine, and a return to more temperate attitudes instead of the almost bellicose grandiosity about HIT we see today. That is to say, that HIT - with proper contributions from the aforementioned specialties - will facilitate better health care, not "revolutionize" it.
Learning critically depends on cognition.

The best thing I've read on the Newspaper business and what it could mean for commercial Print

worth the click to INMA - No Iceberg
Separating Truth from Fiction About Newspapers In This Recession:
"The rationale behind focusing industry efforts on real estate is a long-understood but rarely discussed reality: real estate advertisers hate newspapers. They're not sure that newspaper advertising moves homes, but agents feel pressure to advertise so they can show clients that they're doing something.

The strategist tells me that what's needed is a migration away from selling print ads to the real estate sector … toward evolving the newspaper into the role of marketing services agency to the real estate sector."
Imagine: A commercial print sales force partners with a newspaper ad sales force. Together they deliver multichannel marketing programs that include Ads/Web/VDP Print/ to the real estate industry.

Free advice: Call the advertising manager at a newspaper. They have a problem that needs a solution provider. That would be you.

More free advice from an expert in the Newspaper business:
My only warning for INMA members: Newspapers have about one year before the light at the end of the tunnel appears. When that light appears, the opportunity to push change will evaporate.

SMB? Watch Staples...

It's why newspaper ad salespeople should make a deal with Staples to get local business to buy Print/Web ads. Put a local commercial printer in the mix, and you could sell them a complete multichannel marketing program.

read at - 247 Wall Street:
"Staples (SPLS) is where small businesses go to buy inexpensive office supplies. The US Census Bureau says there are just over 5.9 million “employer firms” in the US. About 3.8 million of those have fewer than 10 employees. When Staples reported its most recent quarter early in December, the company said “the worsening economy both in the U.S. and Europe have led both Staples’ business and retail customers to postpone purchases that are deemed not urgent..”

With 2,000 stores worldwide, Staples is a near-perfect proxy for small business spending. The day the firm says it expects a rebound in sales and earnings is the day economists will believe that the millions of companies no one sees or talks about are contributing to improving GDP."

As in Education, so in Health Care and Government - EHG

The sustainable advantage of Print is " promoting useful knowledge, promoting the progress of science and useful arts, and promoting and preserving the public domain." To see what I'm trying to say, read the last paragraph of this post.

In November 2005, I did at column at What They Think called Tipping Points, New Customers and the 800 pound Gorilla. I said,
And then there is the 800 pound gorilla--the public sector--education, health and government, or EHG. . . . Every governor or mayor that wants to keep their job will be under increasing pressure to deliver lean government that delivers the goods.
This year, education will speed it's transition from value chain commerce to facilitated user network commerce. Value chain produced textbooks will be reinvented. That's the disruptive innovation. Another piece fell into place with yesterday's story that
Hearst to launch a wireless e-reader .
The publisher plans to introduce a large-format device this year based on electronic-ink technology. . . . What Hearst and its partners plan to do is sell the e-readers to publishers and to take a cut of the revenue derived from selling magazines and newspapers on these devices.
If it works for the newspaper public, it's hard to imagine it doesn't work in a classroom. If they are going to sell the e-reader to publishers, why won't they sell it to school systems.

Healthcare NBIC is a weblog blog edited by Jack Powers, director of the the International Informatics Institute (IN3.ORG), originally in support of the Health IC Summit conference on disruptive innovations in healthcare as well as our ongoing study of medicine, technology and society.

Healthcare NBIC: Disruptive Healthcare Innovations: In his 1997 bestseller The Innovator's Dilemma, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen describes 'sustaining' versus 'disruptive' technologies. Sustaining technologies are the incremental improvements in quality, price and service that exemplify sound management. Disruptive technologies are out-of-left-field; they change the value proposition in a market, and while they often provide lower performance (measured in traditional terms) they are usually cheaper, smaller, simpler and easier-to-use so they broaden the customer base, often quite dramatically."
In 1995, a story appeared in the New York Times.
Earlier this year Mr. Malamud's nonprofit research group, Internet Multicasting, pushed the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Patent and Trademark Office -- both kicking and screaming, initially -- into establishing public records distribution sites on the Internet.

Now that both sites are considered strong successes -- the S.E.C. system distributed more than two million documents in its first month of operation . . .

Today, Carl Malamud is campaigning to the be head of the Government Printing Office.


Should I be honored to be nominated and confirmed, I would continue to work to preserve and extend our public domain, and would place special attention to our relationship with our customers, especially the United States Congress.

Access to information is a human right and the United States of America is the world's leading producer of information. As the publisher of the United States, GPO plays a vital role in promoting useful knowledge, promoting the progress of science and useful arts, and promoting and preserving the public domain.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ricoh + IBM equals more than InfoPrint ?

read at Death of The Copier 2/25/09
Ricoh's Embedded Intelligence System works with IBM's Tivoli Monitoring Networked Multifunction Products- And Why is This Important?:

"Ricoh announced new, embedded intelligence technology with IBM's Tivoli Monitoring and Asset Management for IT.

This solution monitors MFP energy consumption and automates settings based on a corporation's environmental management objectives.

For instance, if all users in a particular workgroup are not using their computers, the system will recognize this inactivity and automatically shut down the workgroup's MFP to a sleep mode."

RR Donnelley Reports $687 Million Q4 Loss

@ Graphic Arts Online:
"The company took a total of $1.14 billion in charges, almost all of which to cover the write-down of goodwill and other intangibles."
So they were carrying $1.4 billion on their balance sheet as "goodwill?"

I don't know enough to know, but if it is what it sounds like, good riddance to "goodwill" and let's get down to business. You can put a value on Coke or Apple or Google, but R.R. Donnelley?

They say it's Fear or Greed. But mostly it's fear.

Customers want money. But they need security.

From Customer Communications Community

Ricoh to exhibit at infosec 2009

Posted by benpitman at 27 February, 2009, 9:00 am
Dated: 25 February 2009

The Infosecurity 2009 exhibition will provide Ricoh with the opportunity to promote to the IT community how seriously it takes security and, how secure print is high on its product development programme. infosec 2009
We will demonstrate advanced software solutions including Equitrac, which provides businesses with peace of mind when it comes to secure print and eCopy, which offers sophisticated secure scanning and distribution options.

Visit us on Stand 102.

Link to :
And from today's post at MFP's, MFD's, Printers and Copiers

MFD (Copier) Firmware - Who updates it & how?

By vincemchugh

I have recently met with a number of security people and this question has come up a few times, so I thought that it was worth the time to address it here.

Who updates the firmware on my copier \ MFD? How can I be assured that it’s getting done?

Here is how we do it at my company . . .more

Revealed: Why K -12 Textbooks will Tip Soon

You can get the details in Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change The Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen (Author), Curtis W. Johnson (Author), Michael B. Horn. You can buy the hardcover at Amazon for $21.75 or the Kindle version for $18.12.

But if you don't have the time to read it, here's what you have to know:

1. The education policy of the United States will move to a much more sophisticated way to measure student success.

2. The best model of student centered learning is a tutor.

3. According to Disrupting Class:
"As products and their markets mature, technology grows more sophisticated, as do customers. They begin to understand their unique needs and to insist on customized product. Technological maturity makes customization possible. Product and service arhitecture become more modular in this enivronment."
4. Value chain commerce is evolving into facilitated user networks commerce.

The opportunity for Print is that "facilitated user network" is another name for infrastructure. The core business of XORiHK is the Print Output infrastructure business.
Google it. Find it. Print it. Deliver it. In just the right format at just the right time.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Who exactly is dr droock's Team?

"Anon" asked a good question in the comments that I wanted to share with all our viewers.
Dr Droock, what team are you part of? IN this post you mention. "The sooner our team gets eraseable paper to market, the sooner we make a huge leap in the MPS market"
My Answer:
My IRA started at Xerox. Most of my very good and supportive friends over the years were and are at Xerox. My passion is fixing High School ed, not the Printing Businesss.From where I sit, Xerox, right now has the best legacy and the best possiblity of fixing High School Ed, the fastest.

Besides, I fell in Xerox when they released the Docutech. I have always admired the folks at Parc.

So, like the Chicago Cubs, Xerox is my team. Once I really started looking at the space, on around February 17, I diversified my IRA as it says on the top of the blog.

7 Signs of an Economic Bottom - Maybe he's right?

7 Signs of an Economic Bottom -- @ Seeking Alpha:
"There are opaque and early signs that the U.S. economy has started the beginning of a bottoming process. Just like a diving submarine needs to stop its downward motion and reach its lowest depth before it can resurface, the economy needs to go through the steps of slowing its decline and stabilizing before it can start rising again. Some recent economic data seems to suggest that the rate of economic decline has started to slow and that sometime in the second or third quarter the bottom may be found."

AIG to do radical restructuring?

Xerox divides itself into separate operating companies under a holding company. PARC becomes PARC University and gets J.S. Brown to accept the position of President to get it going. PSG focuses on Print, with toner, supplies and MFP under one roof. Global Services stops consulting and focuses on going from 51% to 60% on MPS and making it more profitable to boot.

Free advice:
If it makes sense for AIG , I figure it makes sense for our team but without the "government-controlled" part.
Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News -- Seeking Alpha: "advanced talks with U.S. officials about a radical restructuring plan that would split the troubled insurer into at least three government-controlled divisions. Described by one insider as a 'controlled break-up,' the move could end AIG's 90-year history of independence and serve as a model for carving up other troubled institutions."

Ricoh = "global manufacturer of printing equipment and solutions"

Even Wall Street could figure out what that means.
Ricoh Named one of the 100 Most Sustainable Corporations for the Fifth Year in a Row
@Customer Communications Management Community:
"Ricoh, leading global manufacturer of printing equipment and solutions, has been named as one of the “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World”. The 2009 Global 100 was unveiled at the Annual General Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland."

The value proposition for a Printer

Here's a solution that solution providers should provide.

Kodak Selects Ohio Direct Mail Printer to Receive Industry’s read
@ Customer Communications Management Community:
"Cyril-Scott was founded in 1959. . . (it) has built its business around innovating cost saving methods of print production for its customers."

From the Cloud to . . . Print. Creative destruction in US Government Information?

Today, Adam Dewitz, PrintCEO put up a post called Yes We Scan–Carl Malamud’s Campaign to Reboot .Gov. The lede,

For over 20 years Carl Malamud has published government information on the Internet. His Public.Resource.Org is a digital repository of millions of pages of legal documents.

Now Malamud is looking to “reboot .gov” with his campaign Yes We Scan to become the next Public Printer of the United States.

Then I said,

While the likelihood of Bob Tapella stepping down is very low, what Malamud is doing at his sites may turn out to be a wave of creative destruction moving through the government information delivery system.

There might be an opportunity for digital printers especially and all printers who have the right set up to get in touch with Malamud to see if they could do some profit share deal and get the information he has assembled out in Print.

A niche market, no doubt, but with what is going on in Washington it might be a niche of a couple of million people.

When public information moves to the Cloud, sooner or later it's going to be raining down Print. The tech to go from XML to PDF is well defined. PDF = Print ready files. All that's left to do is push the Print button and aggregate the market.

The small number of interested readers in each community that want to follow or get the real information about whatever government issue they are following. They need about 10 copies to convince whoever they want to convince. The only thing is that the hearing or meeting or dinner is in two days.

They walk up to the counter or a W2P storefront that lives in the Cloud. Click on the report they want. Next day, they pick up 10 copies at the local bookstore, the local Printer, or the closest Staples . . .or dare we dream? Walmart.

Free Advice:
Given that I read this morning that RR Donnelley Reports $687 million Loss maybe a really enterprising sales person at Donnely, could make the contact. On the other hand, I also read that RR Donnelley Awarded $500 Million Contract for Publishing Group of America . I'm betting this kind of project is just below their radar. So how about Consolidated ? My understanding is that they have some pretty sophisticated deliver and Print infrastructures.

Or maybe a VP at one of the vendors will postpone that next planning meeting or conference call and get in touch with Malamud. This is a black and white product. I'm thinking it's a natural for either Oce or Xerox.
I'm pretty sure Malamud would answer an email that looked like:

Subject line: " Have time a for a short chat Re: getting a revenue stream for Public"

Body: "If this sounds worth while, and we can schedule a call at your convenience."
A link if you got one for the silo in which you live.

Signature: Ms XYZ, (A =Vice President) for ( B = Global Print Output) , (C = Big Global Company.)

You can fill in A, B and C as appropriate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More on MarketSplash..also HP is an investor in

As expected, the conversation continues at Print CEO - The latest was by Slava Apel on Feb 25, 2009
So, are we facing web to print software challenge? Manufacturer going direct challenge? Distribution challenge?

Glad to see so many comments. Would love to see the real numbers coming out; how many orders are actually being placed through marketsplash. went from 0 (zero) visitors in September to 5,000 visitors in November, 22,000 in December. This is impressive. If 5% visitors end up purchasing (getting cards for free), that’s over 1000 orders per month. At their current growth rate, they can reach that per day very quickly.

. . . HP also invested into Mimeo"

Revealed: the Internet is Lame, Print is Cool & Textbooks will be replaced by textbooklets - The short story

The web is Telephone + TV + Search + a big filing cabinet + the best way to buy and sell stuff every invented.

Print is a 500 year old evolved search platform in physical space. Everyone with eyesight was born with necessary tech to search Print. The visual part of the brain can be harnessed to search in the background. Well crafted typography and design enables search in a blink.

The web serves a niche market. Print serves a mass market.

Back on February 13, I did a post in which I said,
I'm now the bi-weekly Print Correspondent for MediaShift, which is a part of . . you know for sure that in two weeks I'm going to blablabla about the new opportunities for newspapers to replace textbooks.
The title of the post is Read for Free, Pay for Print or Stuff. Selections and out takes follow:

Textbooklets instead of textbooks.

No doubt, once textbooks are redefined in college ( Flat World Knowledge is releasing Open College Textbooks) the next low hanging fruit is K-12, textbooks. One possible scenario is that the companies now dominating the textbook industry will respond fast enough to do well in the new market. But then again, consider General Motors. The legacy overhead is going to make it very, very challenging.

I did a post a while ago about replacing textbooks with textbooklets. Below are some thoughts about how that might play out.

The Use Case from the teacher's viewpoint
A teacher in a high school history class is starting a unit on World War II. it will take 4 weeks.Wk 1 - the background. Wk 2 - the outbreak of war. Wk 3 - the course of war. Wk 4- the outcome.

He goes to a website, chooses the appropriate "textbooklet" - a 24 page tabloid print product. Each Friday 120 copies of the next week's subjects are delivered. Each of his students gets a copy to scan, search and view over the weekend. Those who are absent can scan, search and view on the web.

Starting Monday, the class will work together to read and think about the words on the background of World War II. For the inevitable, "I lost it. I forgot it. You never gave me a copy" a supply of textbooklets are on hand for the Monday morning class. Every student has a highlighter. The discussion ensues.

The Use Case from the newspapers point of view
A three person team--an educator, an editor and a writer create the content for the textbooklet.

The educator makes clear to the editor the standards in place for 9th grade high school. The editor chooses legacy copy from the newspaper's morgue and perhaps an ongoing related story. The educator collaborates with the editor to get it right. The writer creates a 300-500 word summary and some captions and call outs to surround the original source material. The educator, editor and writer look over the final before it's approved to go.

The read for free part is that all the content and links to more are posted at the newspaper website. In the best case there is a social web component to host and nurture a discussion about the content. High school students and their teachers might rub shoulders with World War II buffs and, if it were played correctly, old timers would chime in with their experiences.
If the discussion is productive and permissions granted, it is published on paper for the class.

The pay for print or stuff part is that school pays for the print by moving some of the textbook budget to pay for textbooklets. Meanwhile the newspaper team and some graphic designers are working on inventing more "things of value" their growing audience will buy. Quizzes? Posters? DVDs? Baseball caps with a Learning is Way Cool logo? and of course the T shirts.

The real problem with textbooks in the service of learning
It is not that they are too heavy or too expensive. It is that they are too slow. . . .
. . . Newspapers, on the other hand, are built for speed. . . .

Teachable Moments
As every teacher knows it is impossible to predict when the "teachable moment" will occur. They will also tell you that it can disappear as quickly as it appeared.
. . . More at

From the Ground to the Cloud to . . . Print Output

Free advice: IBM+Ricoh (InfoPrint) should find the Open Source software that enables
From the Cloud to Print Output. Mostly on Ricoh boxes. Give it to a skunk works project. They could probably get a "good enough" version in a month or so.

Plus they'll be in a great position for Blog2Print and Wiki2Magazine and Newspaper website to NewsPaper.

Give Google a call. They have a gezillion engineers looking for great projects.
IBM Delivers Software to Ontario Universities via Cloud Computing:
"IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence today launched a pilot project that gives university students, professors, and other researchers anytime, anywhere access to some of IBM's leading business software via cloud computing.

Cloud computing is an emerging compute model for delivering and consuming IT capabilities as a service. This Tools as a Service (TaaS) technology showcase, which enables researchers to have 24/7 access to IBM's WebSphere Integration Developer and Rational Software Architect over the Internet, is a major milestone for the IBM Canada Centre for Advanced Studies and its partners in the Centre of Excellence for Research in Adaptive Systems (CERAS).

Early adopters of this pilot include the University of Waterloo, York University, Queen's University, University of Toronto, Carleton University, the Ontario Cancer Institute, and developers from the IBM Canada software lab."

Sounds smart: Oce and Sefas Innovation form partnership - Content & Data Management

read @ Content & Data Management:
"Oce, a provider of digital document management services, and Sefas Innovation, a publisher of document production software, have formed a partnership to expand market availability of post-composition software tools.

As part of the partnership, Oce will offer Sefas Open Print Remake software, a print stream re-engineering tool that allows companies to perform complex document enhancements without changing the original application."

Internet time instead of corporate time, turns this around

Stump Is The Exception -
"Corporations biting the dust currently aren't Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) and Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ), mere teenagers, but venerable banks and insurance underwriters and golden oldies like Kodak and Xerox (nyse: XRX - news - people )."

If we set up Parc University, would J.S. Brown come back to run it?

Former Xerox scientist to speak at NCSU graduation - Local & State - News & Observer:
"Cutting edge digital and organizational thinker John Seely Brown will be N.C. State University's commencement speaker, university officials said Friday.

Brown, the former chief scientist for Xerox Corp., now does writing, speaking and research on such topics as digital culture and the management of radical innovation.

The University of Michigan School of Information holds an annual symposium on technology and society named for the futurist, who is often referred to by his three initials. He also is co-chair of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation and a senior fellow at the Annenberg Center for Communication."

Another one for the home team!

Xerox Emirates registers 25% growth in revenue for 2008
"Xerox Emirates (XEM), the market leader in Document Management Technology and Consulting Services, announced that it witnessed a revenue growth in excess of 25% for the year ended December 2008 as compared for the same period of 2007."

Score one for the home team! Personalized drug packaging

Why does the coolest stuff happen Not-in-the-United States?
read at Graphic,
Graphic Repro On-line was established in September 2001 by Mike Hilton, who founded Graphic Reproduction (later to become Graphic Repro & Print) magazine in South Africa in July 1985
Xerox, along with Stora Enso, one of the world’s leading producers of packaging boards and papers, has created the industry’s first integrated, cut-sheet digital packaging solution. It can, for example, print a folding carton with variable security codes or with personalised instructions based on a patient’s medical needs. . . .
According to industry consultancy Pira International, the worldwide digital print market for packaging was $580,7 million in 2005, expected to reach $6 billion by 2015, with the pharmaceutical segment in particular expected to grow to $1,34 billion by 2015.

On demand, personalised printing can produce small batches of products with specialised, relevant consumer information.

‘The solution enables printing in multiple languages and quickly switches from one job to the next, providing the flexibility needed in today’s rapidly changing marketplace,’ said Haglich.

Another voice heard from re Xerox and MPS

Xerox Attempts to Diversify - GLG News:
"MPS is an example where they should have an advantage over others in the marketplace, but continuous turnover in the employees hinders any progress that blossoms, then has to re-start when new personnel come in. Pitney Bowes Managed services stands as a more successful competitor that customers see as more committed to the relationship and willing to deploy whatever technology is best for the customer, rather than being slanted to the in-house hardware and software."

Don't give them stuff. Comp them on referrals.

Xerox announces scheme for tier-3 partners - CIOL News Reports:
"NEW DELHI, INDIA: Xerox India announced an interesting reward scheme for its tier-3 channel partners.

The reward scheme is valid on its top selling models—Xerox WorkCenter 3119 and Xerox WorkCenter PE 220 and provides an opportunity for the channel partners (VARs and system resellers) to take home gifts like 4GB pen drive, branded wrist watch and a premium pen.

The scheme is valid till Feb 28, 2009."

Dividends, anyone?

Tech Trader Daily - Barron’s Online : Xerox: Barclays Downgrades, Chops Target Price: 2/20/09
"Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes this morning cut the firm’s rating on Xerox (XRX) to Equal Weight from Overweight, with a new price target of $7, down from $15."

The real threat to the toner business

Xerox Phaser 750 Toner For Less Money With Compatible Toner | Debt Consolidation Tips News:
"Everyone can easily get compatible Phaser 750n toner cartridges which are now being distributed by a number of companies. These cartridges come with similar features as of brand name toner, supplying the same toner density and color quality. Though equal in features, the price of these cartridges are drastically low, thus reducing the cost per page. All these benefits make the Phaser printer an attractive investment to owners."

The Xerox advantage - MPS. Use the force, Luke.

"Use the force, Luke." - Star Wars, 1977
The Force = network relationships + referral comp.
If you want to follow the MPS space, the best place I've found is Jim Lyons Observations. This morning I found his latest which is called Xerox (NYSE XRX) Tries to Go Beyond Copiers -- Today's Wall Street Journal.

The blog post was so interesting that I actually paid WSJ $109 for a year subscription so I could read the whole thing at WSJ. I thought it would probably be worth it over the long term anyway.

Here are selected sentences from the 800 word article.
Xerox, Hewlett-Packard Co. and others say they are seeing strong demand for consulting services that show companies how to eliminate desktop printers and force workers to share multifunction devices that copy, print and fax. The vendors say such moves can reduce printing costs up to 30%.
My bet it is not "show companies" but organize the printing fleet. Nobody has time to be "shown." This is not, in my opinion, a consulting gig, as much as an execution gig.
In some cases, clients let a single supplier manage the whole system for a monthly fee.
"Manage" is not "show." People don't easily pay for "show." Everybody will pay for "manage."
. . . Ed Crowley, president of Photizo Group in Lexington, Ky., which tracks the print-consulting market. He estimates revenue from managed-print services will jump 36% this year to $15.7 billion. . . . Last year, services, including maintenance as well as managed print, contributed $3.5 billion of Xerox's $17.6 billion in revenue.
Does that go into the "after sales bucket" or does it have it's own bucket or does $3.5 billion include toner and paper sales? Is it me or is it an over complicated, opaque statement of revenue?
. . . Last month, Procter & Gamble Co. agreed to turn over to Xerox its vast fleet of printers and copiers in a multi-year contract valued at more than $100 million. . . . You can read the whole 800 word article behind the pay wall, or in this mornings Print edition.
What I think I see
The sooner our team gets eraseable paper to market, the sooner we make a huge leap in the MPS market. Imagine HP or Ricoh or ?? competing with an epaper offering in MPS. What exactly is the hold up?

Until then, Xerox has the lead in formal organization MPS. I think I read somewhere we have over 50% of the market. Although $3.5b is not 50% of $15.7b. But anyway, it's a nice place to start. As this part of the network continues to get organized, one trick is to create value that nourishes the other parts of the Print Output networks that are also self organizing.

This could play out a couple of ways.
Comp MFP dealers through some kind of "affiliate" model if one of their leads is ready for MPS. If the MFP dealer is ready to execute, he does. If not, bring in the MPS team from corporate. Or do it together with appropriate split comp. How about Global Services + XGS?

The MFP cavalry finds the opportunities, decides how to monetize. Working together with an XGS team will be the best form of "education." Earn, while you learn. But don't learn on the customer's dollar.

Comp MPS players using the same affiliate model for recommending members of the commercial network. The pitch is "If you need a larger job, here's a list of 3 Printers who you should consider." And of course, visa versa.

For the commercial Printer, "If you need someone to organize your fleet, you can save more money than you print in a year. Here are the names of three outfits who have done it for organizations just like yours."

Meanwhile, everybody can keep selling Google Apps.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

To XORiHK Boards of Directors: C-level Comp based Dividends?

So, after Bernake's testimony today it sounds to me, like a plausible plan is in place to make sure that the big 20 banks are not going to go out of business.
According to The
"The stress test will establish how much capital a bank will need to lend and support the economy, so that even if the bad scenario occurs, it will have enough equity to meet its obligations, said Bernanke. Key was that Bernanke said the capital will be provided in convertible preferred shares, so that the bank can convert the preferred to common only if losses warrant it.

. . . he seemed to say that the government would provide capital, but it wouldn't count as a government ownership implication unless the bank needed to draw down to it -- it would only convert if those losses occurred," says Stone. "I think a lot of people thought that it would simply dilute shareholders."
I'm thinking that with a 60% wipe out of alot of funny money on Wall Street, stock prices will now slowly, very slowly start going back to sustainable levels. But given everything that still has to be fixed. It's going to take a while.

So, how about while we're all waiting, you folks change executive comp so it is based on dividends instead of stock price? If senior management gets comped on dividends, it seems we all have our incentives aligned.

DISCLAIMER: I make no assertion this information is actionable. Make your own investment decisions after your own research. Remember I'm just a blogger, NOT an investment adviser.

Here's what I think I found at Schwab this afternoon.
XORiHK sector dividends - - February 24, 2009 3:18 EST

XRX - Xerox .0425 @5.67 = 3.2%
OCENY OceNY -$.1965 @2.25 = 13.8%
Ricoh was listed as 0 dividends, but that might be because you can only buy ADRs.
HP Hewlett-Packard $.05 @22.98 = 0.9%
EK - Kodak - $.25 - @3.79 = 15.1%

We're Printers. Not market service providers. Not print service providers.

Another discussion is starting up at PrintCeo.

It started when Cary Sherburne posted What is a PSP?
It seems like I always hear suppliers and consultants to the printing industry, particularly those that have a “digital” heritage, taking about the wants and needs of PSPs. What the heck is a PSP anyway? . . .
then from the first comment
. . . So I’d like to challenge the pundits and consultants to come up with a name that actually describes this direction they are advocating that PSPs take their companies. And I look forward to the responses you get!
then from the next comment
. . .To this day calling myself a “digital printer” vs. an “offset printer” (we do both) has absolutely no meaning to 99% of my customer base. Yet saying “Yes, I can do that in 24 hours” has tremendous meaning! The terms PSP or MSP only have value if they allow me to communicate some level of differentiation to my customers. I would be a fool to believe that success in adding fulfillment services would come from rebranding myself a FSP. If I add multiple additional services and then aggregate all that into one generic label like PSP I wonder if I’m not actually damaging any brand equity I could build by “genericizing” the additional services into a category that no-one except consultants would recognize. . .
then from another comment
. . . I agree with Ric. Being proud of our trade, in an outdated sort of way, may not be such a bad thing. Once upon a time, after 30 years or so, you could call yourself a printer, and people knew you could help them communicate to the public. Maybe this will have less to do with which machines or media we are talking about, and the term Printer will remain vital as technology changes.
Then I chimed in,

I also vote for Printer. Everyone understands it. Market service provider, print service provider, originate up at the corporate level, not on the ground. Sounds good at conferences or in a business plan. Or when someone is trying to figure out a “marketing plan.”

But imagine saying to a real person who wants to spend money, “Hi, I’m a market communications service provider.” Or “My company is a Print Service Provder”. No offense, but it sounds alot like sanitation engineer.

Printer. Ben Franklin was a printer. My dad was a printer. A nice word with a 500 year tradition.

Plus almost everyone on the planet knows pretty much what it means.

Now if we could only get the vendors to stop being document solution business streamling communication providing global leading suppliers of . . .

For a while, I guess people thought if they called themselves something else, Wall Street would be impressed. But they weren't impressed. All it did was confuse the team and dilute the focus.

It's time to stop drinking the Internet Kool-Aid. This is the Printing Industry. It's the undiscovered growth market. It is driven by education and information technology. It has a clear sustainable revenue stream. It is becoming the Print Output Industry. One of the dominant players is going to become the Walmart of information.

Besides, Ben Franklin is much cooler than Jeff Bezos.

More book printing for Oce + some free advice for Kodak

I can't get around the perception that Oce has the lock on the POD book market(see snippet a the end of this post). Fair enough.

So Oce in book printing. HP with consumers and a beach head in formal organizations. Xerox with a lead in digital production print in commercial print and the Big Box stores. Meanwhile, I still can't figure out where Ricoh fits, but (Infoprint -Ricoh+IBM), (Ricoh + Kodak in Europe) and Ricoh bought Ikon. Ricoh and HP are the two 800 pound gorillas prowling XORiHK.

To help understand Kodak, I found a a very helpful story by Noel Ward over at WTT. It's behind the pay wall, but here's just a couple of the many sentences that caught my eye.
Kodak, Kodak Versamark (previously Scitex Digital Printing), Nexpress (formerly the Heidelberg Digital joint venture), KPG and Creo. While the latter four have all been under the umbrella of Kodak's Graphic Communications Group these business units had separate management, sales, marketing and support organizations. The Nexpress and Versamark businesses are now aligned as a single organization called Kodak Digital Printing Solutions.
Good background to set the context.
As a continuation of its trade show strategy that started in 2007, Kodak has opted not to exhibit at this year’s AIIM/On Demand conference. Kodak will be at PMA without equipment, focusing instead on applications and business growth opportunities made possible by Kodak’s solutions. This approach to trade shows has freed up resources for road shows, bringing customers to demo centers and the like, tactics that have proven to be effective.
Very smart. But the next part is not.
Part of Kodak's plan for the wake up call is continuing to educate print providers and their customers about how digital print can be a effective strategy for succeeding in our down economy and to come out stronger and more profitable.
Take it from me. I spent 7 years "educating" designers at Parsons. And 30 years before that "educating" customers. Nobody wants to get "educated." What they want is to do next the next thing they think they have to do. Every printer thinks the next thing to do is to get customers.

So . . .use Kodak smarts to organize the Printer's customer base.
Kodak has the advantage because PSP are much less afraid that you will go directly to their customers. Unlike some of the other players in the space, as far as I know, you've never made a move in that direction. That means that at least some of the PSP's will let you analyze their customer base. Given the "deer in the headlights" syndrome on the ground, the timing might be just right.

It's not about knowing what to do, it's about having the time to do it. Your PSP's can't make the time. Kodak corporate can.

Divide the PSP customer list into 4 bins
1. Prospects - asked for an estimate
2. Customers - did one job
3. Clients - did a couple of jobs over a 3 month period
4. Inactive clients - at some point in the past did a couple of jobs over a 3 month period.

1. Figure out the lifetime value of every customer.
2. Figure out the customer acquisition cost.

And, don't educate the printer to educate the designer who will then educate the customer. The only people who get an ROI from education are colleges who get $50K a year to "educate" people who get someone to pay for it.

No doubt, it's a good business. But it's not our business.
Oce Helps Quebecor With Digital Book Printing
- Printing Industry News from WhatTheyThink
"Trumbull, CT– Oce, an international leader in digital document management and delivery, announced that one of the world's largest commercial and book printers--Quebecor World, Inc.--has enhanced its book publishing infrastructure with an OceVarioStream 9210 continuous feed printing system, along with Oce PRISMAproduction software and Lasermax pre- and post-processing systems."

A nice razor by Xerox. But, it's all about incentives.

We'll have to wait until we hear more from the ground, but this looks very nice from here - $549 list for a workgroup MFP that has lots of cool features. It's not a lot of margin after street price discounts and sales comp, but it runs on EA Toner. We invented the stuff, have a new plant in Rochester, NY to make the stuff and from everything I've heard, EA toner rocks.

It's amazing what maniacal focus on Print can do.

Now, the problem is to grab as much market share with our first mover advantage. That's a problem because it's all about working in Internet time, instead of Corporate time. Corporate time is ok for measuring top down. Internet time is for bottom up.

Here's some free advice (remember, you get what you pay for.)
Learn from Google and Amazon. Save the advertising budget and "Use the Force, Luke." The force in question is the network + referral fees. Google calls it "Ad Sense." Amazon calls it "affiliates." Whatever anyone calls it, it's referral income earned with no extra time investment.

Cross incent the MFP sales forces with the PSP sales forces.
That's the operational definition of building a strong network. Forget about educating them or even managing them. Focus on incenting them. Proximate incentives are the real glue of networks.

Stop having meetings about "integrating the sales forces" or "educating sales people." The best sales people are cowboys anyway. That's their feature, not their bug. Cowboys like to roam on the range. They HATE staff meetings. But if you are in a land grab, there are few things more effective than a tribe of well incented cowboys. Then they become a calvary.

Here's how it might play out
PSP people get a fee when they refer someone to MFP people. MFP people get a fee when they refer someone to a PSP for printing. Local MFP networks will make different deals with local PSP networks. Eventually both MFP and PSP people will sell "complete marketing solutions" to SMB.

Sooner or later some locals will network with Newspaper Ad people. Then it's done. That missing link will enable affordable multi-channel marketing solutions for very stressed and busy local business delivered in the right form at the right time.

First sell the MFP, or the collateral, or the ad in the paper/web or the computer or the camera.
Then sell the MFP, or the collateral, or the ad in the paper/web or the computer or the camera.
Then sell the MFP, or the collateral, or the ad in the paper/web or the computer or the camera.
Mix, bake and repeat.

Eventually someone will cobble together just the right multi channel marketing program for each local business. It might include Purl's, signage, VDP brochures, newsletters, websites, pens, baseball caps, whatever. In a few cases, it might lead to an a MPS contract based on boxes and Google Apps or even DocuShare. The referral fee on an MPS contract could be real money.

If a local cowboy could get to Costco, the counter could be set up right next to their photo lab. Maybe it lives in Staples or Office Depot. Or Fedex? Or, dare we dream . . . Walmart.

Meanwhile, our cavalries can be selling Google Apps all the time. That way they get the fee directly from the source of referral fees - the Google itself.

Priced at $599, the Xerox Phaser 6128MFP copies, scans and faxes, and prints up to 12 pages per minute (ppm) in color, and 16 ppm in black and white. The MFP comes with 600x600 dpi and uses Emulsion Aggregate High Grade (EA-HG) toner with smaller, more consistent toner particles that enable higher resolution and sharper image quality. In addition, access controls track costs and ensure color use is appropriately managed.

For busy offices that require a single-function desktop printer, the Xerox Phaser 6280 color laser printer offers up to 26 ppm color print speeds and a first-page-out-time as fast as 10 seconds. With the capacity to hold up to 950 sheets of paper, the Phaser 6280 quickly prints documents without the need to refill paper trays often. In addition, the Phaser 6280 includes an intuitive front panel complete with a toner gauge that allows users to quickly check levels before starting a large print job.

Starting at $549, the Phaser 6280 features a variety of tools to help manage color, such as True Adobe PostScript3, PANTONE color-approved simulations, Xerox color correction technology and 600x600x4 dpi that delivers 16 shades of color per pixel.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Oce offering sounds smart

@PR Newswire for Journalists
"Complete system of hardware, software, consulting and service for cutting and trimming rigid or flexible media
TRUMBULL, Conn., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Oce expands its display graphics offering with a complete digital system that streamlines the workflow -- from prepress to finishing -- of rigid and flexible display graphics media. The new Oce ProCut(TM) digital cutting solutions include a range of Oce ProCut Digital Cutting Tables to automate cutting operations, Oce ProCut Software for preparing the cut data in a seamless workflow, and expert pre- and post- installation service & support."

HP is looking smarter and smarter

"Community" is the operational definition of the social capital that takes the friction out of an efficient network.

From Print CEO - Post by Noel Ward
A Pervasive Sense of Community:
. . . "The key word is “community.” Print providers and the execs from HP and the other partner companies alike all say the secret sauce of Dscoop is the sense of community that pervades this gathering. Everyone is sharing ideas, knowledge and experiences, fostering a sense of belonging and an awareness that everyone is facing the same economic uncertainties."

HP keeps rolling along ..

from WhatTheyThink: By: Cary Sherburne
"February 23rd, 2009 -- As the date for Dscoop4 was approaching, event organizers were concerned about attendance, especially in light of the state of the economy. But fears were unfounded. Dscoop4, the conference produced by the independent users group for HP Indigo owners, had its largest turnout ever—1,300 people, including 150 from abroad, were in attendance and the atmosphere was charged with optimism and excitement."

IBM is in the education business in the Philipines..But not in the organizing "busyness" business

Infoprint = IBM + Ricoh.

If IBM encourages Open Source and Google has a resellers program for Google Apps, how can it possibly make any sense for any player in the space to sell proprietary "busyness" management software? IBM's bottom line is about hardware. They make very, very good hardware and the systems to manage that hardware. Plus all the enterprise IT is on IBM hardware. Nice.

Why not just all become Google Apps resellers on the ground, and maniacally focus on the Print piece?

Imagine if Ricoh MFP salespeople sold and offered to train their prospects in Google Apps ($50/seat/year for enterprise sales), free for SMB.
The headline on the brochure or Press Release says,
Buy a Ricoh MFP and get all the software you need to run your business for free!!!!
IBM is already on board. Maybe they will figure out how to implement distribute and print through Google.
The headline on that brochure or Press Release says,
Google it. Find it. Print it. Anywhere by InfoPrint.
The sales channel gets comped from Google in addition to their comp from Ricoh. I have no idea about how the comp works for Google APs sales, but it's not hard to imagine that an MFP salesperson or one of the amazingly inventive players in the PSDA space, could make more money selling Google Aps to a school district than by selling a gezillion boxes. Plus Google does all the after sale support. The sales person is done, when the sale is made.

What do you think the comp might be for a deal like the following?
This story was posted in October, 2008
Washington DC latest to drop Microsoft for web apps

Washington D.C. has joined 500,000+ businesses and organizations in moving its communication and productivity tools into the cloud. Vivek Kundra, CTO for the District, signed an agreement with Google to migrate the organization's 38,000 employees to Google Apps, the search giant's web-based offering of communication and productivity tools. Washington D.C. is a not-insignificant win for Google, and yet another blow to Microsoft's incumbent Office suite, as a surge of web apps steadily replaces their desktop counterparts.

Kundra signed the contract with Google back in June, and it's estimated to be worth nearly $500,000 a year, according to Bloomberg.
Plus how does Xerox expect to sell DocuShare at $50/ per seat/per year with essentially no learning curve and no after sales support.

Meanwhile, PARC University, anyone?

And by the way, how's that erasable paper thing working out over at Xerox?
Do you think it might be time to get some proof of concepts running the real world? My bet is that our amazingly talented engineers and middle management are still busy with focus groups, meetings, while someone at a higher level is still figuring out how to protect the legacy revenue stream. No doubt, the last is a very hard problem. But that's why C level people get the big bucks.

Here's IBM's education piece:
IBM to open its first innovation center in RP
read at Latest Philippine News - BETA

"MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine unit of IBM will open its first Innovation Center in the country – and the second in Asia – at the UP-Ayala Techno Park in Quezon City.

Although the company refused to disclose the project’s actual amount, the center will focus on developing open-source and Web 2.0 solutions geared towards helping the Philippines move up the BPO chain.

The Philippines “has a big pool of developers who can create applications and solutions that will allow people and corporations to collaborate and gain access to technology,' Janet Klein, director for developer relations at IBM Asia Pacific, said during a small media gathering.

The laboratory is also intended to give students, particularly those interested in BPO or services industry, a clear road map to develop their skills, Klein said."