Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kodak and HP: Just in case you thought you were going own digital photos to print products

The latest version of Google's Picasa has a direct link to 14 printing services. That Cloud > Print thing keeps making the competition more ferocious. And Google is going to try to connect their Cloud to everything.
Digital Printer Picasa Software - What Are the Differences Between Picasa 3 and Picasa Web Albums?:
"Both Picasa 3 and Picasa Web Albums make it easy to order prints of your digital photos. With just a click of a button on either one, you can choose an online digital printing service and place your order. Google automatically uploads the pictures for you. How easy is that? Picasa 3 gives you a choice of 14 printing services, while Picasa Web Albums gives you 4 to choose from."

Free Advice for Oce. DNN > Newspaper Printernet.

Later this week, my Print Correspondent column will be posted at PBS It's still in editing and I can't post excerpts here until after it is posted there. But I can tell you it's going to be about the printernet.

The free advice
Get in touch with one of the gezillion newspapers that aren't sure of what to do. My suggestion is the Christian Science Monitor. They have unique content. They have a 100 year old long tail of content. They run great stories about innovation on the ground and a have global focus that is very unusual in the States. Their audience is mostly readers. They've just made the very courageous decision to stop their daily print publication and organize their staff around the web. My bet is that they are going to be a lot less distracted then the others.

Then some big media company with some extra cash (maybe a global advertising agency?) to pay for some number of the system you recently announced is going to be installed near Madrid. That could be Print Node #1. Then roll out installations at print shops around the world. In the States, most likely is AlphaGraphics since they did the Screen deal. Plus they have over 250 outlets, with very professional managment at many of them.

Or Fedex? Or go for a Big Box store that is networked with a production print partner: Staples? Office Depot? Costco is a good bet, since they have such awesome relationships with a mass market of small business. It would be the perfect place to sell local advertising.

Then contact a really awesome advertising agency. I suggest Media One. They are the outfit that invented "mine", check out for Time.Inc, American Express and Lexus. They're a division of Saatchi. Their director of media understands creative, metrics, experimentation and the power of Print.

Given the buzz they're about to create, my bet is that every global agency is going to have teams of creatives who are positive they can do it better.

If I read your press release correctly, it said the machinery near Madrid can produce up to 24,000 80 page newspapers a day. So that could mean 48,000 40 page a day? or 96,000 20 page a day? Even if I don't have the numbers right, it's still lots and lots of newspaper output driven by data streams.

So, if you had installations in Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Amsterdam, London, Mumbai that would mean 9 print output nodes. Let's say each produces 50,000 20 page newspapers, printed the next day.

So that means 450,000 20 page newspapers that could be micro versioned and personalized and delivered overnight with a minimal carbon footprint

I bet that P&G or Starbucks or (you can pick the global brand searching for a way to deliver local advertising) would think that would be a pretty cool thing to do. At least two or three of them should have the focus and the resources to pay for it.

If you don't like the strictly commercial approach, talk to the folks at
They are in Mainz, Germany. Have done a deal with the Wikipedia Foundation and their website delivers wikis-in-print for $8.95 for a 100 page paperback.

The technology is mostly well tested and proven in the field. The skill on the ground to run it is in place. The necessary slice and dice intelligence exists in the Cloud. All it needs is some money flowing to catalyze the separate pieces. The problem is that printers and most publishers won't have any extra money for a while.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oops for HP. Too many indigos in the warehouse?

from Beyond-Print
HP Indigo tells its workers to take a month off:
"(March 18, 2009 – G. Alexander) According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, HP Indigo is shutting down production of its digital presses for a month due to lack of demand. So far, the company has not had to lay off workers permanently."

Good move Xerox! Re MPS Conference

Maybe you could announce a release date for era-paper?

from WhatTheyThink:
Xerox Corporation will serve as a Platinum Sponsor of the event. Other conference sponsors and exhibitors include Print Fleet, Print Audit, Print Operations Group, WestPoint Products, and Netaphor Software."
Photizo Group Hosts First Managed Print Services Event - Printing Industry News

"Lexington, KY -- The Photizo Group, a leading research firm specializing in the analysis of the printing and imaging industry, will host the first annual Managed Print Services (MPS) Conference on April 26-28, in San Antonio, Texas. This one-of-a-kind conference will provide MPS professionals a forum to network and share their experiences and knowledge. It will feature panel discussions, interactive sessions and case studies. Conference speakers are MPS practitioners from a range of companies who bring practical, real-world experience. This event will benefit companies that have existing MPS programs and those considering launching an MPS engagement.

It's not exactly the youtube Print is Awesome channel..

But it's close enough for me.
VIGC launches videoportal for the printing industry - Printing Industry News from WhatTheyThink:
"Turnhout (Belgium) -- VIGC, the Flemish Innovation Center for Graphic Communication has launched a new website, called It’s a unique resource for videos on the printing industry. It links to hundreds of relevant and interesting videos – mainly tutorials and reports – from around the world. is the unique video portal for the printing industry. And it’s free."

Oce just keeps on keeping on with books and newspapers

So what about that call from Oce to Kodak or Kodak to Oce? Most of the Screen technology is going to go on web litho presses anyway. Kodak knows every newspaper in the States. Or maybe someone will meet someone at OnDemand in Philadelphia? Now that would be a show stopper!
Oce announces 30" wide inkjet web press -
from WhatTheyThink:

"Friday, March 20, 2009
Venlo, The Netherlands -- Oce, an international leader in digital document management and delivery, today announced the new Oce JetStream 2800 system designed to support the market’s accelerating transition from offset to digital printing. Now with the industry’s fastest inkjet printing on a 30” wide web, the Oce JetStream 2800 system expands the family’s range of applications. It brings more power to newspaper and book printing, and customers benefit from increased revenue opportunities for their full color ink jet production printers. . . .

The system incorporates a growth path from monochrome up to full color enabling cost efficient print production of newspapers, books, direct mail and other jobs. . . .

First shipments of the JetStream 2800 are planned for the end of 2009 with general availability by early 2010.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ricoh MFPs Print from AS400

Lots of interesting stuff over at Print4Pay Hotel: This is the one that caught my eye.
"- Ricoh announced a $976 option that will allow some of its color laser MFPs to be able to print from IBM AS400 mainframe computers."
From the AS400 "cloud" to Print at the local workgroup. I wonder if the scanner will go from paper back into the AS400.

More on PRinternet publishing. Time, American Express, Team One

I'm still trolling the net for more info. Here's what I have so far. It sounds like it was all the bright idea of the folks at Team One. I still haven't figured out who got the clicks. But according to the story at Media Post, Infiniti is next up. In the meanwhile, here's the business case.
Once a consumer subscribes, he or she is taken to an RX page with a dealer locater--"so we will have hard leads," he says.
Fast Company has the most succinct description so far..
Essentially, mine is a printed, expanded RSS feed. Magazines available to the program include Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf, and Travel + Leisure.
Instead of subscribing to five magazines, why not just subscribe to one that has everything you want inside? And instead of subscribing to The New York Times, The Star Ledger, and your hometown newspaper, why not subscribe to a mash-up of all three?

The print media industry may be slowing down, but it isn't dead. Could personalized periodicals help magazines both adjust to the digital age and do right by the environment? Image found at

PRinternet = Ground>Cloud>Print>User's Hand
MediaPost Publications Lexus Drives 'Mine," Time's New Customized Mag 03/19/2009:
"Paul Silverman, executive media director at Team One, says Lexus is co-promoting the customized magazines with Time, Inc. 'What you will see in each of the eight respective magazines in book and online are ads breaking this week encouraging you to log onto the site.'

He says Team One developed the idea as a way to articulate the RX brand idea. 'The RX is all about driver-inspired, so in the media space, it was how do you we bring this driver-inspired concept to life? And we got the idea of how people consume content online. It was hatched at the agency, inspired by the client's product and pitched to Time, Inc.
. . .

American Express Publishing and Time Inc., along with CNN, are doing a separate, albeit similar program with luxury auto competitor Infiniti. The program centers on a customer personalized Travel + Leisure "Weekend Getaways" series sponsored exclusively by Infiniti. Created by the editors of Travel + Leisure, "Weekend Getaways" features short vacation destinations near major cities in the U.S. The "Weekend Getaways" publication will be in print, online, on mobile and TV.

The print version is a three-part booklet series inserted in the April, July and October issues of Travel + Leisure and other American Express Publishing and Time Inc. titles. Infiniti will be the only advertiser within the booklets.

Vertis, Time, Lexus, Pull Printing, the PRinternet and Fixing High School Ed at the Bottom of the Pyramid

This has been a very interesting week and it's only Thursday.

The outlines of the PRinternet are becoming more clear. Pull Printing in the UK showed what it can look like within the enterprise. The Time/Lexus collaboration demonstrated how it might play out in the service of helping dealers sell cars. The New York Times has mainstreamed hyper local journalism. Oce is replacing web offset presses with digital presses for a newspaper publisher in Spain.

And Vertis. Are they the UUnet of the PRinternet?
from Wikipedia:
UUNET was one of the largest Internet service providers and one of the nine Tier 1 networks. It was based in Northern Virginia and was the first commercial Internet service provider. Today, UUNET is an internal brand of Verizon Business (formerly MCI).
What if FSI's were redesigned so that they could "sell" learning, as effectively as they sell groceries? Given that Print is now embedded in an internet world, it's possible to use just the right tool for just the right job at just the right time. I would be glad to point to any of a number of design studios who could solve the visual part of this problem and any number of Cloud based CMS services to do the tech part.

To be clear, my passion is to fix High School education in the United States. My focus is the fifty percent of our children who drop out of High School and educating our very large incarcerated population.

Below is an imaginary story written about the PRinternet and Education. Here's the link to the real AP story about Time/Toyota at Yahoo.

Imagine if . . .

XYZ Inc. is experimenting with a customized magazine that combines teacher-selected sections from eight domains as it tries to deliver in Print the right content in the right form at the right time to high school dropouts.

Called "ours," the 15-issue, 15-week experiment aligns content with the high school curriculum determined by National Education Standards. The content is presented in the form of stories developed by editors and journalists at (AP? Reuters? New York Times?) It's as customizable as the recent Time, Inc/ Toyota collaboration.

The content is free online, but participating school boards purchase print copies for their students. It's available around the globe in English and Spanish. Other languages are being planned.

Sign-ups are available 24/7 365. Classes do not have to begin in September and end in June. Whenever and wherever a class starts, each student can access a digital edition that looks just like the printed version, but in a special format that allows virtual page turns with clicks.

Teacher/mentors can select five subject areas from nine created by the network of journalists working with The National Education Standards Board, World History, Community History, Philosophy, Law and Civics, Science, Mathematics, Visual Arts, World/Community Literature, Anthropology. The list of sub - specialties will grow as local needs are co-ordinated with local news networks.

Educators + editors will pre-select the stories that make it into every weekly issue, and students won't have the option of changing the picks from issue to issue. Summary quizzes are included in each issue. The quizzes are in a machine readable format so that the data can be stored, accessed and provide ongoing assessment of student progress.

There are 56 editorial combinations in all. Based on surveys by the on site teachers, who pull the content from the Cloud by filling out an online survey, the students will also find special items that are needed by that class during that week of delivery.

A sample message tag line for a 16 year old student named Steve, who lives in Los Angeles and loves basketball might be "Hey Steve, your friends will be really impressed when you learn from Magic Johnson's story everything you need to know to succeed on the court . . . and in life." It would be accompanied by snippets from the book. The full text of the book is available in the school library, the public library, on the web, can be downloaded to an e-reader, or delivered in paper to the student in class.

The Commissioner of Education in ABC state, which came up with the idea, will be the lone message manager and will buy four full pages of messages for each 36-page magazine. The message ads will be focused on low cost college opportunities, career paths for non college bound students, suggestions for entrepreneurial paths, and local apprenticeship/intern openings.

"I wouldn't call this an public service announcement, this goes much beyond this," said Ms. XYZ, Coordinator of Education Delivery. "Our message of 'the power of knowledge' and ' learning means winning" will come through a lot stronger."

Without specifying, Ms. XYZ said the venture did not cost more than other teaching/learning campaigns. She suggested that the potentially higher costs of individualized printing will be easily accommodated by redirecting dollars from the textbook and professional development budgets. In addition, some of the new Federal education money helps with the necessary proof of concept projects, until they get to scale.

The State, Local school district and Department of Education plan extensive research on how students, parents, teachers and administration react to the textbooklet magazine series.

Ms. XYZ, Co-ordinator of Education Delivery , said the magazine series strikes the right balance between student choice, classroom teacher mentoring and the school district's editorial control.

"This is the most unique project that we've ever done. It combines clear curricular content with the power of fitting the content to each student in each class." she said.

The "ours" experiment represents the latest effort by traditional educational organizations to appeal to students increasingly accustomed to picking and choosing what they see on the Internet. Online computer education, through growing, hasn't yet delivered on the promise of better outcomes for the bottom of the pyramid. Personalized print products could help fill some of the gap.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Time Inc. + LEXUS use the PRinternet

They don't know it's the PRinternet. But take the click. It's from the Ground>Cloud>Print. It will take a few days for the stories to get out about how got the clicks. Maybe a new model is one advertiser and lots of different issues, instead of one issue with many different advertisers.

Note: The message manager is in control. The magazine is the dependent variable. The Print is pulled from the ground. The enterprise - Toyota - gets 30,000 qualified leads. It's not about advertising, it's about identifying leads that are followed up by the dealers.

Added 8:25 Pm EST
Free Advice: Given that Toyota and Time, Inc. have made the first step, it might be a good idea for someone to give someone at Hearst or MacMillan and Ford or GM a phone call.
From AP via Yahoo News. Thank-you, MG for the point.
"LOS ANGELES - Time Inc. is experimenting with a customized magazine that combines reader-selected sections from eight publications as it tries to mimic in printed form the personalized news feeds that have become popular on the Internet." . . .

Readers can select five titles from eight published by subsidiaries of Time Warner Inc. and American Express Co.: Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf, and Travel + Leisure.

Editors will pre-select the stories that make it into every biweekly issue, and readers won't have the option of changing the picks from issue to issue.

There are 56 editorial combinations in all (the Lexus SUV has 22 customizable settings, plus eight options handled by a dealer). Those who fill out an online survey will also find that advertisements fit their personal circumstances in a form of hyper-targeting.

The Clouds keep forming: IBM+Sun

IBM in Talks to Buy Sun in Bid to Add to Web Heft -
"International Business Machines Corp. is in talks to buy Sun Microsystems Inc., people familiar with the matter said, a combination that would bolster IBM's heft on the Internet, in software and in finance and telecommunications markets.
[An exterior view of Sun Microsystems Inc. headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif..] Associated Press

Sun Microsystems headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.

The two companies have a common interest in that both make computer systems for corporate customers that aren't reliant on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software, and their product lines are less dependant than rivals' on Intel Corp.'s microprocessor technologies. The two companies are also strong supporters of open-source Linux and Java software."

Score a big ONE for Oce. Less rub than Indigo,Canon, Igen, Nexpress and Offset

It's interesting how testing + the internet make it so much easier to figure out the right tool for the right job.

from the PR release:
Printing Industries of America Test Validates Exceptional Durability of Oce CS650 Color Digital Printing
: "TRUMBULL, Conn., March 16 /PRNewswire/
-- . . . in independent testing, the Oce CS650 color system has proven to be a viable alternative to offset printing for direct mail without protective coatings. Printing Industries of America in conjunction with its Digital Printing Council compared the output of various digital presses to measure the durability of uncoated printed postcards under actual mailing and handling conditions. The Oce CS650 system was one of the top digital performers in all test criteria, including front side mailing and address side mailing. The system was also the top performer in the Sutherland Ink Rub test. The testing and results are presented in 'Digital Printing and Survivability in the U.S. Postal System: A Printing Industries of America Digital Printing Council Research Study.
. . .
The Printing Industries of America Digital Printing Council study was designed to show how well a digitally produced postcard could survive in the United States Postal System (USPS). The study compared the output of the Canon(R) ImagePRESS(R) C7000VP, HP Indigo press(R) 5500, Kodak(R) Nexpress(R) S3000, Oce CS650 Pro and Xerox(R) iGen3(R) digital presses, along with a Komori(R) NL28 sheetfed offset press.

Oce Outperforms Other Devices in Sutherland Test
In the Sutherland Ink Rub test, the Oce CS650 system outperformed all test devices. Sutherland ink-rub tests evaluate the smearing, scuffing, and rubbing resistance of ink on paper. In the test, a special simulation machine was run in 25 cycle intervals. As the front sides of postcards rubbed against each other, any tendency for the toner or ink on the print to scuff would be revealed.

The Oce CS650 output required twice the number of rub cycles than offset before showing scratches. This result demonstrates the durability of Oce output under real world conditions. Specifically, Oce CS650 output required 200 cycles before marking, while the closest competitor was affected at 150 Sutherland cycles. Offset output showed marking after 100 cycles.

Yahoo fights back in the Cloud with newspaper ad delivery

Somebody from Oce or Kodak should call somebody at Yahoo, if they haven't already done it. Or if it's easier, somebody from either could call Quadrant.

Or perhaps they could do a joint presentation to both?

@ MediaPost Publications Newspapers Expand Digital
Platforms 03/18/2009:
"The Yahoo Newspaper Consortium, founded in November 2006 to bring newspapers together for ad sales as well as content distribution, announced two new members at the Newspaper Association of America's MediaXchange summit: The Boston Globe and The St. Petersburg Times joined a member roster of almost 800 newspapers. On the ad sales side, Yahoo also said that over 120 of these are using its 'Apt' ad sales platform, which allows them to use behavioral targeting in ad sales and placement."

. . . QuadrantOne, a national network for online display ads formed by Tribune, Gannett, Hearst and The New York Times Company in February 2008, announced a slew of new hires as well as some promotions in recent weeks.

Oce keeps on with newspapers

So I'm thinking Kodak and Oce should have a conversation.

By the time Stream hits the market Oce will find someone in the States to do what they are doing in Spain. Why not network to give American newspapers the full package now? The window of opportunity can close very quickly.

While they're at it, it would be very neat to set up a new venture whose stock I could buy. Call it something like, Newspaper Solutions. Every newspaper needs a solution.

Both Kodak and Oce have some really good parts of that solution. Kodak with MicroZone, et all. And Oce with this story, plus lots of years with DNN.

Since they are both cash short at the moment, and there is very little funny money around, issue hybrid preferreds at $25 each. (see stock symbol C+P at Schwab, C.P at Wachovia) for details). Then offer the stock to buy out the pensions nobody can afford. Meanwhile, keep a bunch of the issue in house to reward members of the newspaper PRinternet.

The only thing is with a hybrid preferred you have to guarantee a dividend. But that's all to the good anyway. If you move quickly you could probably get away with 5 or 6%. It will keep all the incentives nicely aligned.

Sounds like win-win-win to me.

Oce claims 'world first' as newspaper group upgrades to digital@ ProPrint:
"A Spanish publishing group is to produce a range of local newspapers and magazines entirely on a digital press, described by Oce as the world's first short-run production site for domestic titles in colour.

Imcodavila, a newspaper publisher based on the outskirts of Madrid and boasting 200 titles to its name, bought Oce's Jetstream 2200 rather than make an investment in a new litho machine.

Up to 40 separate titles will be printed on the press - a mixture of dailies, weeklies and monthlies."

Meanwhile, Ricoh just keeps on coming

from Multifunctional Copier Network:
Ricoh Launches 200,000 Page a Month Color Printer:
"Ricoh has just launched its newest range of functional, fast and innovative laser printers – including the Aficio SP C821DN – the fastest colour laser printer in its class. Ideal for demanding office workgroups that need fast printing with exceptional colour coverage, the Aficio SP C821DN boasts an unprecedented 50ppm speed and can handle a whopping 200,000 prints per month."

Here's what Independent "Channels" Look like

Just an FYI, for those who think they are going to "own" the channels, they way they once thought they "owned" the customer. It's worth considering, since in the PRinternet, channels turn into currents which sometime become tides.

And everyone knows, you can't control a tide.

Print4Pay Hotel: Copier Sales Proposals "Pricing on the Street":
"Just wanted to give you all a heads up. I've uploaded two down n dirty RBS Quotes from New Jersey! One for the new MP C5000 and the other for the W2400 Wide Format. Check them out you will be astonished at the pricing! Special thanks to the Print4Pay Hotel members that sent them to me for uploading.

If you're selling MFP's, or still calling them copiers, the Print4Pay Hotel currently has 6 active message boards for Ricoh Family Group, Sharp, KonicaMinolta, Kyocera , Canon and Xerox P4P In the early spring of 2009, we will launch Toshiba and OCE P4P Message Boards!

The Print4Pay Hotel averages 60,000 page views a month, with over 210,000 hits, and over 55,000 threads, we are the Global Resource on the Web for Copier Sales Professionals."

Xerox: When is the erasable paper?

Erasable paper could be the killer app for enterprise MPS. What could possibly be holding it up? If you are tied up in branding or waiting for the patent attorney, you're going to be blindsided by three guys in a garage. Again.

Added: 9:00 EST.
How about doing an iTunes with the era-paper?

Release it for a year to your network. Then releases it to everyone. Or release to everyone in beta. Use the difference in the price to incent your networks. Let the PSP's sell it. Meanwhile get a reasonable tariff. Then partner with someone - maybe Mohawk or Finch - to make it. And split the take with Mohawk and sell it through the web. You get to harvest the sales data. Everybody gets to sell it to everyone in the PRinternet.

Nice article at Print4Pay Hotel.
It's some straight talk about recycling, posted by a great MFP site.
“The case for recycling is strong. The bottom line is clear. Recycling requires a trivial amount of our time. Recycling saves money and reduces pollution. Recycling creates more jobs than dumping in landfills or incineration. And a largely ignored but very important consideration, recycling reduces our need to dump our garbage in someone else's backyard.”"

Pull Printing (MPS in the UK) = Printernet in the enterprise

When IT is connected to Print output, it's 1+1= 3. It shouldn't be that surprising since Print, in the West is 500 years old and much older in Asia.

Consider XMA (in the UK.)
XMA is a leading supplier of IT products and services. XMA has been in the business of supplying IT products and services for almost 20 years. Today, with a turnover over £200 million, we are supplying more products to more customers than ever before.,
They call their Print piece "Pull Printing"
XMA Pull Printing Solutions:
"What is Pull Printing?

Pull Printing is a networked system that enables companies and large organisations to successfully manage their print output - making it more efficient and effective.

With Pull Printing the user sends their print job directly to the Pull Server, they can then go to any Pull enabled printer in the organisation and request the printout at that location. Because the computers do not have to be configured with multiple printer drivers this reduces IT time and costs of installing drivers and associated software."
Modify "Pull Printing" and put it into a different context. It gives one scenario of what a PRinternet will mean.

The steps of a global PRinternet campaign
1. The message manager crafts the right message.
2. Advertising experts create a range of Print products - posters, newsletters, books.
3. Data analysts + marketing experts determine which form should go to which people at what time.
4. The campaign begins when the Print products enter the Cloud.
5. The sales people, retail outlets or evangelists on the ground contact any Pull enabled printer in the world and request the printout at that location.

Because the Print Output Nodes are all based on common standards and are connected by trust based Cloud communication, hundreds of millions of Print product can be in the hands of users at just the right time.

Note: The required experts might live within the enterprise. Given the impediments to innovation in most enterprises, it is more likely they will live someplace in the real world. But wherever they live they are in small teams. Physical space is not the issue for experts. But, it is the defensible advantage for Printers. That's why it's 1+1 = 3.

The Apple Example: Ground>Cloud>Music Player
Steve Jobs invented an enterprise in which innovation is supported by the Enterprise. Pixar has set up their own University. Apple changes the world with each major product introduction. Design and maniacal focus on both the customer experience AND earning money has paid off.

Apple figured out how everyone could make money when the music industry imploded. Sooner or later someone will figure out how everyone can make money as the newspaper industry implodes and the education, health and government industries are being reinvented.

Because of iTunes Apple sold many iPods. Now they are selling many iPhones. Meanwhile, iTunes is at least self-supporting while the real value is an ever growing fan base that will pay more for stuff because that stuff is connected to the Cloud. Their stock price is pretty stable even during the last couple of months.

Mr. Jobs, in both Apple and Pixar, understands creating value by making great stuff and "facilitating a user network" instead of being trapped in a value chain mindset.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quincy Allen Leaves Xerox, now CEO of Vertis

With 100 locations in North America, 95 percent of the US population lives within 200 miles of a Vertis facility.
PRinternet anyone?

Xerox, HP: MPS Association is a really important piece

New associations are the visible manifestations of independent network formation. Associated independent business can be the most powerful networks on the ground.
Xerox, HP: Take a long look at your enterprise MPS offerings. If these folks get it together, there is going to be a powerful new player in the game. Following is just one reason, I'm thinking they are going to get it right.
MPS offers customers the opportunity to reduce costs, reduce burdens on overtaxed IT personnel, and have a positive environmental impact with little to no upfront investment. At the same time, it provides MPS capable vendors with a compelling customer offering, which in return can help them retain their revenue base in the face of increasing competition and increasingly commoditized technology. This is a classic ‘win win’ scenario.
@ Photizo Group:
Why Now Is The Right Time for a Managed Print Services Association:

Ed Crowley, CEO of the Photizo Group, Thought Leaders in Managed Print Services (MPS)

During the 2009 MPS Conference in San Antonio Texas, a formation meeting will be held for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Forming an association is always a challenging, and somewhat daunting task. So why, in the midst of the current economic climate when we have so many other daunting business challenges, should we, as an industry, care about starting the MPSA?"

One more piece of the printernet emerges

In a zero sum game one side wins. When networks grow the exchanges are non zero sum. The best strategy for creating value in a network is an evolutionarily stable strategy.

That just means win-win-win. As e readers go mainstream it's just another node to incorporate into the printernet.
Print Media Matters: Printed content on a touch screen: "Plastic Logic will be introducing a new e-reader, a super thin plastic touch display using polymer-based circuitry (which is a lot cheaper than silicon microchips). The reader has about the size of an A4 and weights as much as a notepad. The company not only introduces this reader, but also groups content partners for its Content Store. The Financial Times, USA Today and Zinio (providing over 1000 digital magazine titles) already signed up."

Meanwhile, Oce keeps on Printing Books and now Newspapers

I have to love a Print company, that stays focused on Print. Black and white is good enough. Good enough is good enough.

behind the Premium Member pay wall at WTT:
"March 16th, 2009 -- The days of digitally printed newspapers seem to be finally arriving. This is not to say that we have not had such newspapers before. In fact in the past week I have received information from Oce that at their largest digital newspaper printing operation at Stroma in London, the five millionth digitally printed newspaper copy has rolled off their Oce monochrome presses after eight years of operation. It prints eight international newspapers every day and overall prints between 6 - 70 titles perday with run lengths from 5 to 500 copies. Later this year Stroma plans to expand its current Oce DemandStream 8090 press with inkjet JetStream technology to be able to offer color newspaper printing.

Stroma is a member of the Océ Digital Newspaper Network that between them have printed more than twenty million newspaper copies around the world.

IBM/ricoh catch a whale: Citibank uses transpromo on screen and in print.

A friend pointed me to this one last night,
Citibank Targets Ads for Merchants in Online Credit Card Statements
Citibank customers are noticing a new addition to their credit card statements viewed online: ads. For the past few months, the company has displayed text ads from a variety of merchants directly within line items of secure online credit card statements.
From the first few paragraphs I thought the story was going to be about a new use of Google Ad Sense. But then at the bottom of the story . . .
In addition to including ads directly adjacent to line items in online credit card statements, the company recently began featuring similar ads in printed statements, according to a source familiar with the situation who asked to remain anonymous.
. . .
InfoPrint handles the data, ad targeting, and related marketing services, while its clients sell the ad placements, according to Lee Gallagher, InfoPrint manager of direct marketing solutions. "It would be up to [our clients] to...sell that Web space," said Gallagher, who said the system bases ad messaging and targeting on business rules and customer data.
Wow. a Print company doing what Google should do, but doing it first. It warms the heart of this cranky Print evangelist.

IBM is using Print as another lever to deliver Cloud computing to top of the pyramid private enterprise. At the end of the day, IBM sells the hardware and software that deliver massive computing power. Every fortune 500 business needs massive computing power. Maintaining hardware and the software to run it is an expense for private corporations. For IBM it is a profit center.

IBM's maybe insurmountable lead for private enterprise is that "Nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM." If Citibank is comfortable with letting them slice, dice and analyze their customer data, it means the comfort level for every other CIO goes way up.

The way the printernet works
The Print piece is a "nice to have", but not a "must have" for IBM. The cloud piece is a "nice to have" not a "must have" for Ricoh. IBM sold their print piece to Ricoh. Let them run it. Ricoh has deep networks and expertise in making marks on paper. IBM has the deep networks and expertise to deliver computing power. The customer gets what they want, at a price they think is appropriate, without devoting internal resources to get it.

Customers don't care about either computer or Print hardware. But private companies are afraid to give access to their customer data. IBM has a track record and capabilities that eliminate the risk. The Cloud is a profit center for IBM. Print is a profit center for Ricoh.

Win-win-win is the business model of the printernet (the PRinternet for message managers.)

Jeff Jarvis is quoted as saying to frightened newspapers, "Do what you do the best, leave the rest." I might add, if you're not making money, don't do it.

"Transpromo" for large private enterprise has now left the station
The only possible challenger in this space might have been HP. But they got distracted from the toner business when Carly bought Compaq. That put them in the very low margin computer hardware business. Given yesterday's announcement that Cisco is going into the server business, it's not a pretty picture. Meanwhile, HP seems to be still digesting the Extreme purchase. In a Google-Mart economy, time is everything. It seems that HP hasn't moved fast enough.

Large public enterprise Clouds probably mean Google. Google Apps is ready for prime time. When Washington, DC buys a 35,000 seat license, that game is closing fast. Sooner or later the independent MPS sales force or the PSDA sales force are going to join the Google resellers program. As they do, any other enterprise software solution that doesn't link to the Cloud at Google prices, is going to have a hard time.

The ground war has shifted to SMB and mSB
The battle is going to be for SMB (small medium business) and mSB (micro small business.) The good news is that is that is biggest market of all. Given the reinventing of the newspaper business, the advantage may go to Kodak. They own the workflow piece in commercial offset and newspapers.

Added after original post on 3/17 at 9:00EST.
On the other hand HP has already done a Staples and a Tesco deal. But on the third hand, if Kodak and Oce learned how to play together nicely. And if Xerox or Canon or KM gets into the mix, then it would be much easier to create multi-channel marketing programs for small business, delivering Print and Web ads for mSB . . . .

Stay tuned. A clash of the titans is shaping up. The printernet is forming. Yikes, it's starting to feel like 1995 all over again. But this time without the funny money. Just organic growth.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oops! Canon v Igen3: Canon 2, Xerox 0

From the always interesting Print4Pay Hotel:
"Canon announced it has replaced two Xerox iGen3 production color systems. Go To Digital, a printshop in Laurel, MD, replaced the two Xerox units with two new Canon imagePRESS C7000VP systems."
Their website says they also have an Indigo 5000.

Bad news for Vista means good news for competition . . . Market Splash?

Given the bad word on the web about Vista, there is an opportunity. Vista has identified a huge market - smb businesses that need a web site + business cards + collateral. It seems, according to the web, they have not delivered what they promised.

The good news is the blueprint for "Vista 2.0" is on the table. 17,000,000 users seems like the right scale. Mistaprint? Shmistaprint? Gristaprint? I'll leave the exact name for others. Just do exactly what they did, but deliver the service.

Maybe it will be Marketsplash offered at Staples + Tesco + every Indigo shop on the planet.
But don't forget the website. Every small business thinks they need one. Vista is a portal model. So was AOL. The PRinternet - ground>Cloud>print - should be alot more resilient.

Worth a click. It's not a pretty story.
read at Beyond-Print
Vistaprint’s public-relations quagmire:
"(March 13, 2009 – G. Alexander) Some customers of VistaPrint, the huge and fast-growing web-to-print supplier, have been complaining that they have been unintentionally signed up for fee-based services they didn’t want. The result has been a lot of negative publicity on the web and some class-action lawsuits. The following article summarizes our on-line investigation of the situation.

VistaPrint is by far the world’s largest web-to-print service, with a claimed 17 million customers and growing. It has achieved this position through a combination of highly effective marketing and extremely efficient operations to keep costs low. In some respects, it is a model of how printers can thrive in today’s environment. But recently, it is suffering from a spate of bad publicity."

Oops! HP: Take a look at the printernet. Toner is a great business.

As Growth Slows, Ex-Allies Square Off in a Tech Turf War - "Cisco plans to announce it will start building its own servers, the powerful machines that run corporate computer centers across the globe. Its 'blade' server, which it designed and developed for two years under unusual secrecy, places it in direct competition with long-time partner Hewlett-Packard Co."

Focus on growing the printernet. Get out of the "Information Busyness."

The internet is already organizing the world's information. The printernet is the way to output the right information at the right time in the right form to the right communities.

It's a problem of scale. No single vendor or printer can get to the scale needed to create the necessary experience. Without scale, delivering the experience can not earn enough money to be sustained. The longer it takes for everyone in the network to earn money, the longer it will take for the printernet to crystallize.

In a more precise language, networks grow naturally when local ESS game strategies are embedded in systems thinking.

Imagine the value creation
President Obama has to help every American understand what the "Financial Meltdown" means. The mass media can't do it because they are limited to sound bites and manufactured drama to keep their audiences. Long form radio/TV with the space for a nuanced discussion does not work in the mass market.

The internet works, but only for a niche audience of fans. After fine tuning the best use of the internet during the campaign, the Obama team continues to deliver information to a couple of million fans. They communicate directly through their web site and deliver television through YouTube. The task at hand is to reach everyone.

So . . . the Obama staff goes to a Public Relations firm that specializes in using the printernet. Together they map out the Congressional Districts they need to reach - top, middle and bottom of the pyramid, speaking 5 different dialects of English and 6 other languages.

They harvest the information from the website to identify their fans in those communities. They will distribute the print product to everyone. They use anecdotal information from their fans on the ground to fine tune the voice. They link community journalists, both inside and outside, formal newspaper organizations to experts, both inside government, universities and outside to get the content right.

They do small proof of concept projects - beta tests - in selected communities. After incorporating what they've learned, they move to the next low hanging fruits. This sets in motion a recurring cycle of test, improve, deploy, test, improve, deploy.

When the team is ready, with the content and the versions, they pull the trigger. Within 2 days, 300,000,000 million Print products are in the community. Within a week, those Print products are in the hands of the citizens. Versioned first for Congressional District, then for type of community, then micro-versioned for health, education, private sector, small business within each community. The Print products might be in the form of newspapers, newsletters, or posters.

Getting to scale
During the bubble fortunes were spent and lost in the land grab in the information business. Ten years later, Google and Amazon seem to be the big winners. Note that Google and Amazon have remained profitable, while Auto and Finance are struggling to keep their organizations intact.

Google Apps have over 1 million users. Recently Washington DC contracted with Google to use Apps instead of Microsoft to organize the information of the local government. The reported cost is $50/per user/per year. No servers to install. No techs on the ground. Since Google has spent years in "beta" with millions of users, the GUI is optimized for ease of use.

The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.

To be clear, Google's real advantage is their un equaled capacity with the best and probably the most server farms on the planet. The installed base and the software that runs it allows them to keep the marginal cost of computing very low. It gives them the freedom to price to the market and experiment at a huge scale.

If Microsoft couldn't change fast enough to leverage their ownership of the desktop, how does any print vendor seriously think they can compete in the information business.

The advantage of Print
Print on the other hand has its own disorganized but massive physical base that is virtually impossible to replicate. In yesterday's post, I referred to the Clay Shirky essay that has been creating a buzz in the blabla-o-sphere. He notes that "Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and run." That is the sustainable advantage, if and only if, they are networked to create a new experience for consumers and business.

The appropriate metric is not production time. It is the elapsed time to get the product in hand. A distributed print functionality can radically reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the time between "produced" and "in hand."

Printernet is already growing
MPS is bringing standards, metrics and therefore efficiency to formal organizations. Ubiquitous MFP's are bridging the physical document and the digital cloud. Companies such as AlphaGraphics and the other networked "copy shops" are on the ground and growing. Staples has production centers and retail outlets. Consolidated and others have built expensive and hard to replicate multi location print output nodes. Most important are the thousands of family owned print shops with deep ties to local communities.

Seeing the new value
To understand the value it's important to look at this through the lens of parallel processing. That's the production power of a network. 300 offset/digital plants x 10,000 copies. = 3,000,000 copies that can be produced and delivered in a day or so, while still leaving a massive amount of capacity.

With the additional power of versioning - both in offset, with retro fits to existing equipment and pure digital - both toner and inkjet - the new capability is to produce massive amounts of print product, customized for micro communities at an acceptable price.

Like the internet, the remaining problem is how to make money for everyone
Amazon invented affiliate marketing. Google invented ad sense. Once "word of mouth" is incented on the ground, mass market advertising is replaced by mass market selling. Networks grow naturally when local ESS game strategies are embedded in systems thinking.

Printers need a reliable base line revenue stream. As soon as they feel they have one, they will purchase whatever equipment they need, without a long sales cycle. The idea that they can generate demand by marketing their services is demonstrably false. Asking the mass of them to become "solution providers, " in addition to being bad advice, does not work. Telling them to "fight Print as commodity," is also bad advice and a losing strategy for most.

The local pieces are in place. Resellers and trade shops have been very resilient through good times and bad. As they link up , it's network arithmetic, 1+ 1+1+1+1+1+1 can equal 100.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Here's why I think I'm right

About 5 years ago, I worked with some great people at Xerox to produce PS Magazine. Then a few years later I worked with the same folks at Xerox to produce the Parsons Guide to Getting It Right, The Art and Science of Digital Printing. The second book is still available at the Xerox website for sales support.

The first got many dollars worth of ads and trade exposure. I seem to remember that the number was over a 1.000,000 impressions. The ROI was hard to figure since the cost was pretty close to zero, except of course the cost of the ad placements.

If you want more details, get in touch with the folks at Xerox who supplied the interest and focus to get the two projects done. Or if you want to leave a real name, I'll tell you all about it here.

Lessons from the past and the "PRinternet"

This morning I found an unusual post by Tim Windsor at the Neiman Journalism Lab. He said,
I try not to do too many of those “You’ve got to read this” posts. But you’ve got to read this. Clay Shirky:
So I did.

Usually when searching through the internet you find blog posts, such as you find at this blog. Every rare once in a while you come across an essay. This is a very good essay.

Shirky says we are living through the 21st century replay of the 1500's. I agree. Last time it was a network of print enterprises.. This time it will be a network of networks of print output, both machines and print enterprises. That's the reality I'm trying to capture with the term "The PRinternet."

Below are two excerpts from Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable .
Elizabeth Eisenstein’s magisterial treatment of Gutenberg’s invention, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, opens with a recounting of her research into the early history of the printing press. She was able to find many descriptions of life in the early 1400s, the era before movable type. Literacy was limited, the Catholic Church was the pan-European political force, Mass was in Latin, and the average book was the Bible. She was also able to find endless descriptions of life in the late 1500s, after Gutenberg’s invention had started to spread. Literacy was on the rise, as were books written in contemporary languages, Copernicus had published his epochal work on astronomy, and Martin Luther’s use of the press to reform the Church was upending both religious and political stability."

What Eisenstein focused on, though, was how many historians ignored the transition from one era to the other. To describe the world before or after the spread of print was child’s play — those dates were safely distanced from upheaval — but what was happening in 1500? The hard question Eisenstein’s book asks is “How did we get from the world before the printing press to the world after it? What was the revolution itself like?”

Chaotic, as it turns out.
This is the heart of the matter for our industry:
If you want to know why newspapers are in such trouble, the most salient fact is this: Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run. This bit of economics, normal since Gutenberg, limits competition while creating positive returns to scale for the press owner, a happy pair of economic effects that feed on each other.
"Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and run" is still true for offset printing. Still true for production digital printing. No longer true for printing at home, the work group, or the classroom. But it doesn't have to be a zero-sum game.

The New Value Created by a PRinternet
Alvin Toffler says the deep fundamentals are Time and Space. After 40 years, the internet has redefined Time to "now." and Space to "everywhere people live in communities." Every product wants to be available now. Every information product wants to be in the language of the Space into which it is delivered.

In a previous post I blue skyed how it is plausible to believe that a "PRinternet" could enable 700,000,000 print products versioned for hyper and micro communities produced and delivered in a couple of days, with a minimal carbon footprint. The exact number is irrelevant. The issue is that it could be produced closer and closer to now and delivered in any quantity to anywhere close to a Print output node.

Below is a mash up built on Shirky's paragraphs to try to clarify how this might play out.
. . . descriptions of life in the early 2000's, the era before the PRinternet. On a global scale and at the bottom of the pyramid, literacy was limited. In all parts of society the ability to think logically was an ongoing challenge. As nation states were losing their power in the face of the most recent stage of globalization, implicit tribal divisions were becoming the basis for violent conflict. Science was written in specialized language, unaccessible to both politicians and citizens. Education, while expensive, had only minimal effect on those whose learning styles did not fit the value chain model of education. The fruits of the breathtaking medical innovations had yet to help more than a fraction of the world's population.

By 2020, when the PRinternet was only 10 years old, literacy was on the rise as information organized on the the web was fixed and distributed in space defined world on paper. Books, posters and newsLetters (newspapers for micro audiences) are written in the language of hyper local and micro local communities they serve. As Print enters the space of communities, micro cultures move closer to civility and responsibility.
A Defensible Advantage of Print
The advantage of print over the internet is that Print starts conversations. The last paragraph describes what I mean. the context is K-12 education.
If it's a book, a publishing party is in order. If it's a newspaper, the students talk about it in the lunchroom and the classroom. If it's a poster, students see a new information addition to the hallways, as they listen on their iPods, text message their friends and twitter to their posse.
Journalists + Print + Web in K -12 Education
Students work with teachers-as- mentors to write their own "textbooks" and "supplementaries." The focus that organizes the curricular content changes with the ever changing focus of the class group. The specific content also depends on information harvested from on line, real time diagnostic testing of each student.

The form of publishing is chosen as appropriate. Day to day, the content is organized in the Cloud and published to the Screen, appropriate to each student's learning style. A key element of education has become nurturing a responsible civil culture. Culture grows best in small groups - like familes, or "people like us." Print is the vehicle of choice for an information laden cultural artifact.

Every school and some classes have their own newspaper. But the newspaper has become central to the process of education. A team composed of an educator, an editor, a writer with the help of a designer manage the school newspaper.

The educator clarifies the standards and content the students need. The editor selects just the right stories from the morgue and current events. The writer produces a couple of hundred words and captions to frame the stories for a specific community of students.

Before publishing to Print, the newspaper is published to the screen. Students have a week to read and comment. The editor and educator go through the comments to find the most interesting threads. They ask just the right questions to move the discussion forward. As the threads get complex, the moderator -educator, editor, journalist as circumstances dictate- intervenes.

At the end of the week, the Screen version is ported to Print. The Print can be a book, a magazine, a newsletter, a newspaper, a banner or a poster. It will depend on what best moves toward the educator's goals. As standards evolve, there is a "Print as" button on the screen and/or someplace to go to talk to a person. (Staples? Costco? WalMart? local printer? a publishing center in the building? a local newspaper?) In either case, once ordered, it enters the PRinternet. Two days later it is in the teacher's hand.

If it's a book, a publishing party is in order. If it's a newspaper, the students talk about it in the lunchroom and the classroom. If it's a poster, students see a new information addition to the hallways, as they listen on their iPods, text message their friends and twitter to their posse.