Saturday, April 18, 2009

NYTimes, Xerox, $12MM+$125K

From Saturday's NY Times, With Goals Tougher to Make, Rules Change on Bonuses -
But changes like these raise concerns among institutional investors who worry that companies may be looking for ways to pay bonuses regardless of performance."
According to the proxy statement total comp for Anne was not $12,000,000. It was $10,941,907. It is composed of all kinds of things, but I'm a simple guy, so I went to the last column called total comp and copied and pasted.

I understand that this was awarded on the basis of rules that were set up a while ago. I also appreciate that these are based on legal agreements. But, so were the bonuses to the AIG folks, and so were all the executive comp packages that Barney Frank is going to look at in Congress.

Free advice to PR people
Get the following on someone's radar. It will make for a much better meeting on May 29th. Plus it will create about a gezillion dollars of earned media - Obama/Xerox/Education/. I don't think it can miss. All it takes is an email with a link. The subject line is "Just to get on your radar."

Free advice to Anne, Ursala, Lawrence and Jean-Noel
Anne, we love you for saving this company since you came on. I love you for your Copier Sales/ HR DNA. You are mostly the reason I bought and still hold the stock in my IRA in the first place. But, this comp is not right, not now.

I would think that changing the comp structure at this late date is much too complicated and distracting. But, consider setting up a foundation to fix bottom of the pyramid high school education, both in the schools and in the prisons. Trust me it's not that hard. It's all about learning to love to read books. Fund it with the 2008 stock awards. According to the proxy statement that's about $6,500,000. If Ursala, Lawrence and Jean-Noel kicked in it could be quite a nice start.

Get the Xerox foundation to pitch in. Fund the best efforts you can find on the ground. Not to Universities, but to educational start ups run by teachers in school buildings. Keep a look out for the ones that are not about technology, but about learning to love reading and writing. The really good news is that it's all about publishing real books and our technology.

Free advice to the Board of Directors
Nice move in changing comp, as described by the NYTimes, but consider comp based on a couple of more metrics.

1 Dividends instead of just EPS. It's going to be long slog to get the stock price up. Maybe 5% a year will make it worth the wait.

2. Employee satisfaction surveys. Anonymous, do it on line. Get some experts to put together questions measuring morale. Since the human capital is the defensible value creator, it's the most important thing to measure. My first thought is ask everyone "Do you think the company is on the right track?"

Meanwhile, here's a snippet from the NY Times story:
With Goals Tougher to Make, Rules Change on Bonuses -

Xerox has dropped revenue growth as a factor in determining bonuses for its executives, the company disclosed recently in regulatory filings. The company will rely instead mostly on cash flow and secondarily on earnings per share.

“In this unstable economy it is critical that we focus on cash generation and earnings,” said Carl Langsenkamp, a Xerox spokesman, in an e-mail message. “So as the economy shifts, there are times that we reset priorities.”

Under the old system, which included revenue growth, Xerox’s chief executive, Anne M. Mulcahy, got a bonus of $990,000 for 2008, less than half of the $2.2 million she received a year earlier. Other top executives saw similar reductions in their bonus awards, according to Xerox’s proxy.

But changes like these raise concerns among institutional investors who worry that companies may be looking for ways to pay bonuses regardless of performance.

Money is back on the prowl

Maybe they'll get interested in the printernet?
China’s Wealth Fund to Consider Investing in Europe (Update2) -
"April 18 (Bloomberg) -- China’s $200 billion sovereign fund will consider investing in Europe in 2009, after avoiding the continent last year because of trade barriers, said China Investment Corp.’s Chairman Lou Jiwei.

“Europe has started to welcome investments” without attaching conditions, Lou said today at the Boao Forum in southern China’s Hainan province. “During the world financial crisis, sovereign wealth funds have become more appealing” and less frightening, he said. Beijing-based CIC, whose investments have included stakes in Blackstone Group LP and Morgan Stanley, didn’t invest “a single cent” in European companies or assets last year, because the continent had put up barriers to limit the activities of sovereign wealth funds, he said."

One more thing for textbook publishers to worry about.

Chopra named Obama CTO, White House tech plans coming together "Chopra is holding a contest to get developers to build free educational iPhone and iPod apps that in some form teach middle school math. In case you’re wondering how the two will work together (beyond holding more contests for developers), here’s the official statement:"
If you think being a printer is tough, it's a walk in the park compared to being a textbook publisher.

How will they compete against free? The CTO of the Federal Government is getting developers for iPhone and iPod apps that in some form teach middle school math. What happens to the expensive textbooks that purport "to teach middle school math" if they are replaced by worksheets and wikibooks or wikinewspapers?

It's not impossible to compete with free or almost free, but neither is it simple. My personal opinion is to keep inventing stuff that needs to be on paper. Then sell the printed paper. Many more units, but at a much lower price.

The fatal flaw with consultative sales and educating the customer

Consider how much money is being spent (wasted IMHO) "educating" PSPs and creatives about the Power of Print. It made sense in the evangelist days. But those days are long gone. Nowadays if you convince someone that digital print is cool, that just means they are going to search the web, talk to their friends both in and outside the industry, and get the best deal.

It's the same thing as consultative sales. Unless they are paying for the consulting up front, when it gets to decision time, they will get the right box for the right price at the right time. It's not personal, it's just good business.

It's actually much easier and safer to sell boxes. For a Print sales person you only get comped for money in the door. Nobody gets comped for solving a customer's problem nor for education. All it does is give you the chance to bid. A chance to bid is of value. But it will always come down to the right product at the right time for the right price.

Meanwhile the vendors seem to think that if only the Print salesman could be educated. It's not about education. It's about time and incentives.

The real answer for a person is at the end of the post at the link..
This is the one thing I’ve come to believe in most, that if you do unto others as you would not like to see done into yourself, Karma will provide the path to enlightenment.
The real problem is how do you get comped for Karma? The snippet follows:

Karma and Digital Printers | Digital Print 360
"His service to the customer was exemplary, and the customer said they were ready to start on the project at the beginning of the following week. He was dancing on clouds, because everything worked in the solution as proposed.

On Monday, he stopped by the customer’s office to pick up the order. It was a substantial order, one that would make his number for the month. When he got there, the customer was distant, and barely looked at him as he spoke. It turns out that after the proof of concept, the customer had returned to his office with samples in hand, only to find another print provider waiting in the lobby. He excitedly told the vendor about this dilemma that the other printer had solved for him, and in doing so, opened the door to the new vendor to give him a bid for the same work. That afternoon, the customer signed the order with the new vendor because the price was discounted below cost to get his foot in the door. In that moment, it switched from a solution to a commodity."

Added 4/19/09 more?

Konica Minolta Prints Obama's Innaugural Invites

You don't usually hear much about KM in production printing. It might be something I've overlooked.

bizhub PRO C6501 Instrumental in Printing Obama Invites | Digital Print 360: "Ramsey N.J. and Chicago, Ill. - February 3, 2009 -
. . . today announced the bizhub PRO C6501 color production print system from Konica Minolta and driven by the IC-304 Plus Print Controller, a CREO Color Server, were instrumental in printing the formal invitations to President Barack Obama’s prestigious inaugural dinner and dance ball."

UPS as Printernet hubs

UPS Store Bringing Sign Printing in House with Mutoh’s ValueJet 1614
from| Digital Print 360:
"Hank Kronbach, Franchisee Owner of several The UPS Stores in the Winston-Salem area, decided to bring the Sign Printing Industry in house to one of his locations for the first time with Mutoh’s ValueJet 1614-64” printer.

The UPS Store located in Winston-Salem has been up and running with Mutoh’s ValueJet since June 2008. The store no longer has to farm these projects out and is serving as a hub for sign projects needed by the 21 surrounding UPS stores. The UPS Store offers UPS shipping, packaging services, freight, signs/banners, documents services including color copies, mail box services, and much more."

Friday, April 17, 2009

GO Xerox! (in India)

There's nothing like being in growth market. Since Russia imploded and the oil prices stabilized, India is the next big thing. I say one out of three is not all that bad. By the way, what's going on in Brazil? Ricoh? Xerox? HP? Sharp?

Anyway, from the snippet: So whereas the print industry is going at about 12.2 per cent, digital print is going almost at about 25 per cent,

12 percent growth for printing?
25 percent growth for digital?

Now if the accountants would separate out the Indian numbers and the 25% earned from Fuji-Xerox that would make me much happier when I think about my IRA.

One quibble. In the story, Vipin says
The three mega trends Personalization, Collaboration and Digitization will continue to be our driving forces in our business. The digital world of today and tomorrow will continue to drive these mega trends and Xerox will continue to build on its legacy of innovation.
I don't know how this plays in India. But in the States, innovation is scary. it might be exciting for vendors. But if you look at the other way around, no business wants exciting. Business wants boring.

The "big mega trends" are the growth of smb all over the globe and the disintegration of big companies into small companies. Economies filled with small companies are resilient. The best response to Black Swans is resilience. The world is a never ending series of Black Swans.

Personalization, collaboration and digitization are scary things in the real world. Earning money to keep a business happy is not scary.

It's not fear and greed. First mitigate fear. Only then is greed on the table. Once greed is the topic of discussion it's possible to have a rational conversation. Fear makes a rational conversation very hard, whether it's a high school classroom or a business meeting.

Free advice to analysts and institutional investors
Ask someone what is the Xerox v HP v Ricoh v Oce v some-company-I-never-heard-of market share in India. Which company has growing market share? How much? Over what time frame? "The overall market opportunity is huge" is an old story. While you're at it, see if you can find out whether that $12,000,000 + $125,000 thing is true. If it turns out to be true, see if you can find out which genius thought that was a good decision.

Xerox logs on to innovation to strengthen market - CIOL Interviews:
"BANGALORE, INDIA: The India digital printing industry is on a high growth mode despite the worsening economic conditions. As printing houses are increasingly shifting to digital printing a more complex and competitive printing environment has taken shape posing new challenges to the vendors.

Vipin Tuteja, executive director, Production Systems Group, Xerox India, talks about the market conditions and the strategies of Xerox India in this interview with CIOL. Excerpts:

CIOL: Has the digital printing industry been able to maintain the growth rate seen over the past decade? Where does Xerox stand in the Indian market ?

Vipin Tuteja, Executive Director, Production Systems Group, Xerox India

Vipin Tuteja: Xerox India calculates that the Indian digital printing market will grow from US$504 million in 2006 to as much as US $2.5 billion by 2012. So whereas the print industry is going at about 12.2 per cent, digital print is going almost at about 25 per cent, so the growth is enormous."

InfoTrends engages the Newspaper + Digital Printing question

Over at Digital Nirvana, Bryan Yeager has started a focused serious discussion about the opportunity for digital printing and newspapers. It's called, Digital Print: The Next Frontier for Newspapers?

The answer to the question is "Yes." I might have titled the post: Newspapers: The Next Frontier for Digital Printing.

This window is going to close in about a year. The early adopters will be replaced by "just the way we do business." Market share usually happens when early adopters spread the word of mouth. It's going to take lots of marketing and advertising and salespeople time to combat word of mouth.

Once newspapers see the opportunity to replace K-12 textbooks, it's going to mean an under capacity, instead of an over capacity problem.

Free Advice for Kodak, Oce, HP, and anyone else who is looking at the newspaper space.
Corporate time is not going to get to first mover advantage. Low hanging fruit falls in real time.

Textbooks as "bookazines?"

Quebecor World Renews Agreement with Rodale - Printing Industry News from WhatTheyThink: "The agreement also includes the printing of “bookazines,” a Rodale publication format that combines elements of magazine and book content distributed via newsstands."
They are cheap, easy, fast to produce. The kids could keep them in their back pockets. They could highlight the good parts or the hard parts with a highlighter.

They could be be ordered through Staples. They could be sold at the school building level by MPS/VARs or PSP/VARs or PSD/VARs or the ad salesperson for the local newspaper.

Or if they find the time, it could even be the sales force of a textbook publisher.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Black Swan in Education Purchasing? An opportunity for Independent MPS?

DeathoftheCopier has some new stuff on the Xerox kerfuffle with the Dept of Ed. So far it hasn't hit the mainstream, but it may just be the canary in the mineshaft. Check out the chart below. Turns out HP is in a similar situation.

As far as I understand, these contracts are of the hunting license type. You get the contract with the central office, then fill orders from the school building. Made lots of sense in a value chain economy and a one size fits all education system. It's the same rules for selling K-12 textbooks etc.

Is this going to make sense as power devolves to the school building? In NYC, Staples has a different arrangement. Prices are posted on the website, not negotiated once and for all. I would assume there is a discount for the Dept of Ed, but the real value is the ease of purchase.

What happens if Staples starts selling copiers, MFPs and textbooks to the school building?

What is going to happen when every principal in every building gets to choose from a competitive market? Copiers? MPS? Textbooks? Dancing Lessons? Are the globals going to be able to compete with independents? Are either of them going to be able to compete against Staples or Office Depot or Costco?

I don't know about you, but I'm seeing a swan swimming into view. And this is what it might sound like. And the opportunity for independents.

Free advice to independent MPS
Tell this story when you are up against the globals.
From Gotham Schools Blog
The B.O.E. had multiple vendors that competed for the business, then when the D.O.E. came along only 3 vendors were hand picked to receive all the copier/duplicator business, under the guise that the city was going to save a ton of money. What a scam this seems to have been. This probably sounds like sour grapes but when talking to the schools since we were ousted, they never seem to have anything positive to say about the current arrangements. It’s time we had some good old American competition again.
Here's the chart:

Sounds smart: EFI Announces Stimulus Package for VUTEk Superwide Printers

Now if all the vendors could get this kind of thing up and running, that could mean less blablabla and more getting back to work. XRX? EK? Oce? Ricoh?

FOSTER CITY, CA -- April 16, 2009 -- EFI™ today announced the innovative EFI Stimulus Package, financing program for its VUTEk® line of superwide printers. . . .
The program provides for zero out-of-pocket costs for the first six months of ownership followed by 50% off of the normal lease payments for the next six months on new qualifying printer purchases

Sneak Preview of my next column at

The title is actually written by the editors, but my vote is for It's The End of the "End of Print" for Newspapers. It's mostly going to be a rewrite Martin Lengeveld's post today at Harvard.

My take is going to be about right sizing the print piece; hyperlocal papers for hyperlocal communities supported by hyperlocal ads from hyperlocal business. I'll leave it to the journalists to worry about the content. That's their job, not Print's job.

How to plan for Black Swans

From Nassib Taleb's Blo

Where I explain the problems, show how to deal with it (“what to do about the Black Swan”) and provide exhaustive DATA:

Technical version: Errors, Robustness, and the Fourth Quadrant, International Journal of Forecasting, 2010, (in Press)

Literary/philosophical version on

Exposition of my problem to statisticians: Black Swan and Domains of Statistics, The American Statistician, August 2007, Vol. 61, No. 3

The short story is act right, respect everyone, don't tell lies and use your natural common sense.

Why Wall Street Can't See Print. Is it them or is it us? Both

At Schwab
Kodak is in the Leisure Equipment and Products bin.
Oce is in the Office Equipment bin.
Ricoh is in the N/A bin.
Xerox is in the Office Electronics bin.
I assume that HP is in the "Technology" bin.

From what I can figure from scanning the PR releases.
Kodak is in the Digital Imaging business.
Xerox is in the Document business.
Oce is in the Printing Business.
HP is in the Computer business.

From what I see on the ground,
The interesting business is the printing business. But everybody is really bored by the printing business. Just like utilities are really boring. Me, I like boring.

Restructuring is very difficult. Just ask AIG or Merrill Lynch. On the other hand, J.PMorgan and Goldman did just fine. The question about refocusing is not should it happen. The question is going the easy way or the hard way. Quebecor is going the hard way. But they will be a much better company for it. I'm hoping all the print vendors in my IRA take the easy way.

And meanwhile, money continues to prowl.

HP: Bragging rights doesn't equal profits

Given the margins on computer sales, and the fact that IBM left the laptop market to a very low cost OEM, is being at the top of this market a bug or a feature?

If only they would spin off the low margin computers, and focus on sustainable margins in Print, I could add them to the IRA. I always liked toner better than computers.

H-P Dethrones Dell for Top Sales Spot in U.S. Market - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard Inc. overtook Dell Inc. as the leading U.S. computer seller during the first three months of 2009, two market trackers said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, PC sales in the U.S. and worldwide during the same time frame were slightly better than expected, which builds on new optimism about an industry turnaround this year.

Hewlett-Packard grabbed bragging rights from Dell because of surprisingly strong sales to U.S. consumers, and Dell's inability to take ..."

I said it was a dealer problem for GM

On April 1, I posted Re: GM It's the dealers . . .blablabla
Today I got this.
Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News -- Seeking Alpha: "General Motors (GM) is accelerating its timetable for closing around 1,700 dealerships, said sources familiar with the matter, as it tries to meet a June 1 restructuring deadline. Around 200 dealerships were already closed in the first quarter"

Getting ready for the upturn?

Beige Book: ‘Tentative signs of stabilization’ in region’s economy - Denver Business Journal:: "Economic conditions “continued to decline in March, but showed some tentative signs of stabilization” in a seven-state region that includes Colorado, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its latest Beige Book survey of business executives.

It said that fewer businesses in the region were expecting further declines in economic activity."
And from Seeking Alpha's morning email,
Beige book: slowdown starts to moderate. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book reported overall economic activity either contracted or remained weak. However, "five of the twelve Districts noted a moderation in the pace of decline, and several saw signs that activity in some sectors was stabilizing at a low level." The overall takeaway is that the economy is getting worse, but more slowly.

PR people: Here's the real problem.

A while ago I did a post about the disintermediation of the main stream media. This morning I found this at Ad Age:
CHICAGO ( -- Domino's, in its ongoing effort to put out the public-relations fires ignited by "disgusting" YouTube videos made by two employees, has fired back with a YouTube video of its own. In it, Patrick Doyle, president of Domino's USA, apologizes for the incident, and describes the steps his company is taking to ensure such an incident doesn't happen again.
Following the clicks, I got to this:
CHICAGO ( -- Only 24 hours ago Domino's was looking for a reasoned response to a web video showing two employees apparently defacing its food. The pizza chain had located the employees and was examining its legal options but was trying to stay below the radar.
Consider how many disgruntled employees are being laid off and have lost their pensions, instead of being retrained or nurtured to move to new careers. Then consider how easy it is to make a video. Then consider what it must be looking like at the Domino PR firm today. As our politicians are learning every day, it does not pay to spin or to do the wrong thing.

Free advice to PR people
Tell the truth to your clients. If you don't sooner or later, you are going to take the hit. I know that it's really hard to tell truth to power. But that's your real job.

When your client makes a stupid decision, tell them as quickly as possible. As soon as you find out about the latest stupid decision, get someone to make a smart decision, fast. The reported $12,000,000 + $125,000 comes to mind as the stupidest thing I've heard about this week. Especially with May 29th very close. Do you really think this is not going to get on the radar of the 4 institutional investors who have almost 30% of the common?

If you don't know, say "We don't know." Don't predict profits if you don't know. Don't announce products without announcing the dates and time to market. Erasable paper? Stream?

Stop trying to play defense. Stop wasting time trying to get some distracted too busy to think journalist to get the story right. The whole thing is moving much, much too fast for defense. The time/space for PR is internet time, not corporate time. The power player is not the media. The power player is the internet and every person with a video camera who touches the company.

Morph into message managers. Consider using the printernet to manage the message. With all the OPMs (PSP) you have, you could do a million hits over night, in Print, and create revenue for your installed customer base at the same time.

So the value of a box is not just a box. It's being part of network that supplies work.

Think Apple. Think iTunes.

The emerging culture on the ground in the States

Time Magazine has a cover this week that is called "The New Frugality". Anyone who needs to understand the paradigm shift on the ground should probably read it.

The risk of mass customization and Time Inc's "mine"

The reason mass customization is so valuable is that the consequences of error creates a high risk situation. See the snippets below about "mine" magazine.

Free advice for HP, Oce, Ricoh/IBM, Screen
Big decisions are driven by fear, not greed. When you do the presentations, less talk about ROI, more talk about the safety and accuracy of your solution. Once you get that out of the way, you can then talk about new revenue streams, ROT, ROI and TCO.

Don't screw it up
About 8 years ago, I advised a startup that did school reporting at scale. The issue was not technology, although the tech was pretty cool, mostly Open Source. The real issue was risk management. Sending the wrong kid's score to the wrong kid's parents would get on the radar of the State Education Department. That would be bad.

We didn't screw it up since the startup was purchased by an 800 lb gorilla.

An under appreciated problem is that high stakes printing has to have 99.99% accuracy and even that .01% can require damage control. The normal accuracy rate of normal OPMs is not close to that high.

Even for low stakes mass customization, it has to be just right, every time. "mine" is an amazing advance in mass customization, but here's what two bloggers had to say about it. Be forewarned it's not pretty.

Is “Mine” Just a Stunt?
@The Scholarly Kitchen:
Print distribution for customized content seems like an idea whose time (about 15 minutes in 1998) has come and gone. But as a PR effort in support of an advertiser, this one has clever written all over it. Sorry, I meant, “Clever, don’t you agree, [insert name]?”

. . . yesterday, I received an email letting me know that my “Mine” is off to a rocky start:

We want to let you know that a computer error may have affected the first issue you received this week. It’s possible that this issue did not contain the combination of magazine content you selected."
The irony is that the "computer problem" was probably not in the OPM's power. My bet is that the time honored "Blame the Printer" rule will come into play.

Meanwhile over at Harvard,
Last month, Time Inc. announced a new “customized magazine” project it’s calling Mine. The idea is that you tell Time Inc. which of its magazines you like, and it’ll send you a customized set of issues combining content from each. I was on the record as skeptical, since I think customization is something the Internet will always be able to do better than a printed magazine can — and I don’t think that customization is, fundamentally, what people want when they read a magazine. They want someone else’s vision of what is important or interesting or enthralling . . .
I would add that he's correct about that the real purpose of a magazine is to see someone else's vision of what is important or interesting or enthralling. To just do a technically easier thing, pulling canned stuff out of a database is NOT going to scale. It needs that human editor to get the collection of stuff all high quality.

It's the same problem that plagued the industry with Purl's and VDP (yeech!). The tech without human intelligence is just tech. Print does tech. That's the correct job for an OPM. The job of a VAR is to find the right stuff. Time, Inc did not do their job.

Nice from Muller Martini

Muller Martini’s Book Data Center can be retrofitted for use with touchscreen-equipped perfect binding lines purchased during the past few years.
Imagine if all improvements could be retrofits. Buy new stuff to make old stuff better. That's what Apple did for the iPod. Buy music to make the iPod more valuable so they could charge a premium for a commodity product. They don't make money from iTunes, but lots of money from the iPod. Now they are doing the same thing with iPhones.
Muller Martini’s Book Data Center - Printing Industry News from WhatTheyThink: "Engineered for Acoro, Bolero and Corona adhesive binding systems, Muller’s new BDC (Book Data Center) enables all relevant book measurement data for the entire perfect binding line to be recorded and retrieved by individual machines.
The new electronic BDC enables book mass data to be recorded and that data can be utilized for setting up the rotary gathering machine, stream feeder, perfect binder, front trimmer, splitting saw/turnover belt, three-knife trimmer and counter stacker. The Book Data Center is also linked to the controls of the line assemblies. Once the measurement process is complete, relevant data can be directly transferred to the line assemblies. The effective set-up time is reduced to a minimum because subsequent orders can be prepared on the BDC during production.

Muller Martini’s Book Data Center can be retrofitted for use with touchscreen-equipped perfect binding lines purchased during the past few years.

In the UK, it's print to mobile phones.

So maybe it's ground > cloud > print > cloud > ground.
printed codes in the text offering immediate connection to internet sites via a mobile phone
Imagine a wikibook that lets a student go from the printed page to wikipedia, by using their cell phone.

Print's "magic" provides revenue opportunities for magazine publishers
London, April 15th, 2009 – In partnership with the international cross-industry PrintCity Alliance, the UK Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) has produced an interactive and visually enhanced printed programme for the 37th FIPP World Magazine Congress. The Congress takes place in London on 4-6 May 2009 and is hosted by PPA on behalf of the International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP).
"Some of the innovative methods used in the Congress programme include a triple gate fold cover, thermochromic and 'Scratch and Sniff' effects and printed codes in the text offering immediate connection to internet sites via a mobile phone. In addition, the programme features a range of tactile and visual enhancements including UV protective coatings, Dayglo florescent inks, cold foil and soft touch effects, pearlescent coatings, hexachrome printing and the use of translucent paper printed on both sides for added dimension and interest."

Meanwhile here in the States, Sandy Alexander keeps ahead of the pack:
CLIFTON, NEW JERSEY -- Sandy Alexander Inc., has produced the first ever mix and match magazine cover for Hearst Magazine's Esquire which went on sale April 10. The magazine's May cover, "How to Be a Man", features a new "make your own face" perforated cover.

Big win for Quebecor! Multi Year Contract with CVS

CVS is one of the strong players in retail pharmacy. Baby boomers will need lots of pharmacy. CVS has 6,900 retail locations. I wonder who is doing Rite Aid?

A retail pharmacy is a VAR. They combine various products from OPM and present the right stuff in the right form at the right time to the right people.

Printing is a OPM that supplies stuff to VARs to make it easier, faster, cheaper for a VAR to make money. On Wall Street that goes into the business service bin.

A user network economy has three elements, OEM, OPM and VARs.
"Quebecor World's unmatched coast-to-coast network and dual process capabilities allow for flexible and market responsive solutions for CVS Caremark and other leading retail marketers' insert programs . ."
In the jargon of communication ecology, it would be
Quebecor is articulating their OPM printernet to better integrate with the CVS VAR network.
Quebecor, when they emerge from the cleansing bankruptcy process, is going to be a very efficient OPM. Given the continuing explosion of VARs I'm willing to bet they will do just fine. Besides, how wrong can I go when it's .08 a share? If CVS signed the deal, I figure the chances of them going out of business is very small. And the only way to go from .08/share is up.

Added after original post:
Oops! Just read
Montréal, Canada – Quebecor World Inc. today announces that it has received a written request from the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) that trading in all of Quebecor World's outstanding classes and series of securities currently listed on the TSX be suspended.
Thank you, WTT. I guess I'll just have to wait until they finish the bankruptcy thing.
Quebecor World Awarded Multi-Year Extension by CVS Caremark
"Montreal, Canada – Quebecor World Inc. announced today a multi-year extension of its relationship with CVS Caremark Corporation. CVS Caremark is the world's largest provider of prescription medication offerings and the leading retail pharmacy with over 6,900 stores nationwide. This extension assures Quebecor World will continue to produce 100% of the CVS retail insert program as well as incremental volume from CVS Caremark's recent acquisition of Long's Drug Stores."

Meanwhile on March 3, there is this press release:
Montréal, Canada – Quebecor World Inc. has further expanded its co-mail offering with the addition of two new 30-pocket machines in the recently opened Somerset, New Jersey consolidation facility. This new capacity allows more publishers and catalogers to take advantage of the benefits of co-mail. This additional co-mail capacity comes on line several months before the USPS price increase giving our customers an opportunity to mitigate the impact of the additional postage costs during these challenging economic times.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

News Corp. gets it

News Corp. creates content-sharing unit
"NEW YORK -- News Corp. is looking for more collaboration and cost savings among its global network of journalistic brands.

The conglomerate said Tuesday it is creating a new operation that will allow its worldwide properties to share editorial content and resources."

The New Business Model for College Textbooks

Once we solve the newspaper problem, K-12 textbooks is next on the agenda. Hint: It's about turning K-12 textbooks into wikibooks and wikinewspapers and printernet publishing.

Free advice to Xerox
Consider mashing up MPS in education. Then printing wikibooks and wiki newsletters for learning in CRD's. And if there is overflow, give it to independent OPM/VARs (PSPs). So if the problem is education, let Xerox be the solution. This also works for Ricoh/IBM and OCE and independent MPS, but Xerox has the clear advantage.

Anyway, here's the College Textbook model. The VAR is I still don't know who is doing the print OPM piece.
We preserve the best of the old – textbooks by leading experts.
Then we flip it on its head.
Our books cost $0 online. We provide paperbacks, audio books, and self-print versions for under $30. Our books are open for you to edit for your class. Our new editions are on your terms. We publish them - you decide if and when to use them.

Flat World Knowledge. Because great minds are evenly distributed. Great textbooks are not. Until Now.
And, as always, money is on the prowl.
New York VC: Flat World Knowledge:
Much has been written over the last year about the imminent demise of the $40 billion print newspaper industry at the hands of digital media. At Greenhill SAVP we believe the newspaper industry is just the tip of the iceberg and that conditions are in place right now for disruptive and rapid acceleration of other print content to all web-based or web/print hybrid content solutions. College textbooks are near the top of the list. Let me explain why. . . .

If everyone stops forecasting revenue, what a nicer world it might be

But then analysts would really have a lot of work to do.
Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News -- Seeking Alpha:
"The company said that due to economic uncertainty it would not provide a revenue outlook at this time; however, for internal planning it expects revenues to be flat for Q2, with gross margins in the mid-40% range."

The potential size of funny money

Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News -- Seeking Alpha: "American International Group's (AIG) Financial Products unit - the department responsible for the bulk of AIG's problems - is unlikely to wind down by year's end as originally planned. Gerry Pasciucco, the Morgan Stanley vet hired to close the unit that sold CDS, said that as of end of Q1 positions have been reduced to $1.5T (yes, trillion), vs. $2.7T in early 2008, and that billions of dollars remain vulnerable. He expects that it will take at least another year to wind down all positions; the company may require more bailout funds meanwhile."

This is what the Printernet really needs

from WhatTheyThink:
Waterless newspaper production
"Participants’ readiness to reveal their companies’ technical strategies and publishing ploys engenders a community spirit among these pioneers of waterless technology."

J Thomson Colour Printers hasn't heard that Print is Dead

J Thomson Colour Printers buys Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 pair in 5m spend
"J Thomson Colour Printers has boosted its production output after it invested in a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105-12-P and XL 105-6 L as part of a �5m investment plan.

The colour printer said it has never been more important to increase efficiency and now is a prudent time to invest and prepare for the future."

The Good News for Independent MPS and why the Kodak ad campaign is dumb

Everyone knows they are paying too much for toner. But does that mean they are going to buy Kodak boxes? I don't think so. The roll out will probably take too long. Plus risk/benefit equation is not going to be higher than the cost of change. Plus the market for desktop printers is pretty saturated in the States. And the risks of change in the enterprise are much too high.

So that probably means folks are going to accelerate their movement to alternative toner. There's a name for it in the independent world, but I don't remember it just now. Besides, I'm a commercial print guy, not a copier, MFP, MPS guy. But anyone can see that it probably means the margin on toner will continue to be squeezed on all the global's recurring revenue streams of toner and supplies.

Maybe it's an awesomely clever campaign to attack the competition's recurring toner revenue. So is Kodak actually really smart? Only time will tell.

But in any case, check out just one site I found by clicking on the link to a commenter. It's called

Then Google search "discount toner cartridges". I got 1,100,000 hits.

Where is the market for versioned newspapers? Part 4

The discussion at Harvard keeps growing. If you want to see what the Print is Dead meme looks like from the journalist's point of view, this is a must read.

The remarkable event is that a well respected journalist, Martin Langeveld, had the temerity to suggest that only 3% of newspaper readers read their news on the web. While the numbers may or may not be spot on, just raising the issue started a fascinating and revealing conversation.

As far as I can tell, I'm the only Print Evangelist engaged. It would be very nice to have some company. HP? Oce? Screen? Kodak? a VAR? a PSP? a MPS? a PSD? Somebody over at WTT?

Here's the link again. Print is still king . . . Perhaps at the very least some of the PR people at HP/ Oce/Screen/Kodak could weigh in. It could be a great way to engage with an ongoing conversation. It's that whole "social media" and "word of mouth" thing that everyone says is so important.

Today we're up to 25 linkbacks and 65 comments. If you follow the linkbacks you will be able to see how the conversation tracks through the blabla-o-sphere.

Anyway, here's what I said this morning at post 64.

Interesting post, but I think by not clarifying the role of news-on-paper, there is a blind spot for a very clear business model that is proven and eminently clear.

“They just need to figure out how to migrate from paper (it will happen and some of us will miss being able to NOT look at a screen for a few minutes a day) and get paid for content generation.”

As long as the focus is “migrating from paper”, it’s going to be harder and harder to find the business model.

Journalists have to face the fact that mass circulation is not built on “news.” While that is the primary focus of journalism, it is not the basis of a mass market product.

Since at least Hearst and the steam driven printing press, news-on-paper is first and foremost a product manufacturing business. The product is an advertising medium. The purpose of news for that product is to attract a niche audience. The sports news consistently attracts the biggest niche market. Crosswords, book reviews, Wednesday coupons for the supermarket,and gossip all attracted different niches.

The mass audience was an aggregation of all these niches. Using legacy print technology it was forced to be a “one size fits all” that hopefully has at least one or two items of interest for everyone.

News-on-paper as a manufactured product will most likely move to the same business model as other manufactured products - mass customization. The same thought model that allowed Dell to mass customize computer product is now available to newspapers to deliver less irrelevant content to interested niches directly. Sports news on the front page to some. Supermarket coupons to others.
And even long form investigative reports for still others.

Meanwhile, the physical newspaper product is still the best media for local advertising for small, medium business. Given that the globals are now moving on, there is a huge presently under served market of SMB that needs to advertise.

The business problem for the product is that the process of ad buying is not built nor priced for SMB. There are any number of community papers and shoppers that have solved that problem and are doing quite ok.

Whether journalism can continue to be supported by the excess revenue of news-on-paper advertising is a much bigger problem. I think if hyperlocal reporting is delivered in hyperlocal print it would naturally garner hyperlocal advertising and all the incentives would be aligned.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The "Google" of Online Printing

What a great tag line! Now someone has to say the SMB Printernet, or the designer's printernet or the educator's printernet or (pick your vertical..)

Anyway, I found the line at the site below, BTW, they use the same gang run as Vista. Pretty funny with all the digital serves small business stuff. Now if Kodak could talk them into putting Stream heads to do the addressing and personalization.

So here's what I found at

For over 25 years, we've catered to small and medium sized businesses nationwide. Powered by brand new fully automated in-house Komori presses and CREO direct-to-plate, we offer faster turnaround with minimal human error and lower overhead cost. This allows us to provide customers with consistently high-quality printing at the lowest possible prices.

We are part of the U-Printing Network, with offices and offset production facilities located in Los Angeles, CA.

Introducing the Free Project Review

We are the only online printer that provides Free 1-on-1 Technical Help and Press-Ready Proofs, before you commit to an order.

Printing experts at your service.

Our experienced staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They are always ready to answer your questions and help insure that your printing project is completed to your specifications.

Reinventing the Gang-Run

Using our fleet of brand new 28” and 40” fully automated presses, direct-to-plate infrastructure, and high-quality print standards, we are able to produce business class prints much faster and at more affordable prices.

Big Time Printing on a Small Time Budget

All of our print jobs go through our fully automated workflow to help minimize human error, maintain consistent high-quality printing standards and reduce overhead costs.

The "Google" of Online Printing!

Simplicity, easy navigation, straight-forward ordering process and easy-to-use job management portals are all trademarks of the U-Printing Network. Our award-winning family of web sites are recognized for their simplicity and use of innovative technology.

CNBC says personalized print saves Newspapers! Where's the market for versioned newspapers Pt 3.

Ok, it's only a blog post at CNBC and fair enough, the blogger is Ron Coughlin senior vice president, Worldwide Marketing, Imaging and Printing Group HP. But the issue is that CNBC ran it. And a Sr Veep at HP took the time to write it. Nice post, by the way. Most definitely worth the click.

Given the recent buzz in the blablabla-o-sphere, can you see what I'm seeing. I see the window opening. But trust me, this is going to close in about a year. When CNBC gets it, the signal is going to break through the noise. Then it's all about price, price, price. Much lower margins when the window closes, then when it starts to open.

Go Print!
HP? Oce? InfoPrint? . . . and bringing up the rear with Stream, Kodak . . .

Can Digital Technology Save Print? - CNBC Guest Blog -
"Some would say that newspapers’ circulation, readership and revenue declines are directly caused by digital technology. But I contend that it’s actually new digital printing technologies that could very well be the savior of the printed page.

Could personalized newspapers, specifically printed to meet the needs of an individual reader, alter the fates of publications slated for the chopping block? I say there’s a strong reason to believe so. Before we call it quits for print, let’s be sure to take a fair and balanced look at the industry and all of its technology options, just as we would expect any good newspaper article to do. Given the current environment, technology could very well provide the type of transformative impetus that could keep the newspaper business relavant and viable for many years to come.

Read what others are saying about the future of newspapers including:


Another opportunity for personalized newspapers and printernet OPMs?

If Marriott is paying attention to "news-on-papers for guests", it stands to reason other hotel chains will pay attention to "news-on-paper for guests" . So if you are a print4pay OPM that has contacts with a motel chain, why not print news-on-paper for guests with Purl's. There would be heaps and gobs of information to harvest. Hotel chains usually know what to do with harvested information.

InfoPrint? HP + Staples? Kodak + Oce? Screen + AlphaGraphics? . . . and so forth and so on.

Marriott Streamlines Its Newspaper Delivery Program - Printing Industry News from WhatTheyThink: "BETHESDA, Md. -- Marriott International, Inc. announced today that guest demand for newspaper delivery at more than 2,600 hotels in the United States has declined by about 25 percent. Marriott will become the first major hotel company to shift to a free newspaper delivery system based on customer preference, reducing waste at the same time"
FYI, here's one about more machines talking to the printernet. Running a facilitated user network means feedback from the ground.

Remote Diagnosis and Real Time Data Gathering for Sheeters
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Maxson Automatic Machinery Company (Westerly RI USA) has upgraded its product offerings to include both Ethernet and serial ports that allow remote diagnosis of drive, logic control, operator interface and safety faults. This capability allows Maxson service personnel to assist Customers in the timely trouble shooting and problem solution process despite not being near the machinery. Additionally, when using a Windows based OPC server, real time production data (such as speed, sheet count, cut off accuracy) can be accumulated. This feature provides plant management the monitoring ability that can assist in production scheduling and continually evaluates the process quality.

What if Ricoh/IBM took their enterprise printernet and put it into school districts?

I'm thinking textbooks turn into wikibooks and the teachers could do it themselves. DIY textbooks. No textbook publisher can compete with DIY.

Three more goodies from MPF Solutions Blog . . . $12,000,000 + $125,000 for commuting expenses?

Here's the source. I trust Art, so I'm pretty sure it's all true.
Patriarch Partners LLC of New York purchased the assets of Polaroid Corp. in bankruptcy court in Minnesota for $60 million.
That's just one more example of money on the prowl.
Xerox announced that it has cut its pay of its CEO, Anne Mulcahy, to only $12 million, a decrease of 6%. Xerox revealed that it reimburses its CFO, Lawrence Zimmerman, $125,000 per year, for the cost of traveling between his home in Boulder, CO and his office in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Can this be true? With a stock price that won't budge. With 68% of my original IRA investment in XRX disappeared. With no release date for Erasable Paper. With yesterday's Market Cap at $4.5 Billion. Going down when the Oce stock price went up over 40% since the 17th. With all those layoffs. How many people could get something on their pensions with $11 million + $125,000?

To be clear Assuming this story is true, I have no problem with Anne or Ursala. They are doing their jobs within the rules. My problem is with the Board of Directors and most especially the head of the Executive Comp committee. I need to understand the thinking behind this kind of decision in the present political climate. I'm hoping they have a really good story to tell on May 29th. Say a power point for us little folks and a story for the institutional investors who hold 86% of the stock. I figure if I've been forced to take a hit, their mutual fund investors have taken a real haircut.

Fuji Xerox or Xerox Fuji? or Xerox Rank? or Xerox Canada? Maybe that's why Quincey and Tom are no longer with the mother ship?

More News from Down Under

It was easier to just copy and paste from my Print21 weekly email, so see below. Meanwhile did you know that there are more known reptile species in Australia than in all other listed countries combined. So maybe it's not the beer or the coastline. Maybe it's the reptiles.

Kwik Kopy Ringwood wins Franchise of the Year
Kwik Kopy Ringwood wins Franchise of the YearLou Pannunzio was a stranger to the printing industry before taking over the Ringwood Kwik Kopy franchise in 2001. Eight years on and it is a decision he has never looked back on.
View full article »
Kiwis raising the profile of print
A new campaign to overcome the invisibility of printing and promote the industry in NZ will be developed by the end of May.
View full article »
Melbourne University moves into print on demand
At a time when most tertiary institutions are outsourcing their print work, the University of Melbourne is expanding into print on demand with new Océ VarioPrint 4000.
View full article »
Hannanprint completes IPMG’s PSO rollout, NSW
IPMG’s third print site, Hannanprint, receives Fogra Process Standard Offset certification as standardised printing continues to penetrate the industry.
View full article »

Ricoh+IBM. Step after step after step

from Death of The Copier:
Ricoh can monitor Copier Power using IBM software:
"TOKYO, Apr 13, 2009 -- Japan's Ricoh Co. said Thursday that it has developed a system that can be used to monitor copy machines' power consumption in real time, managing multiple copiers simultaneously via a network to help a company save energy and cut costs."
Meanwhile over at MFP Solutions Blog
Ricoh announced its Account Development Fund (ADF) Program to assist in large account take downs:
- Single take down deals or initial orders only
- Must be accounts with over $100,000 in hardware revenue installed
- Money can be used for short term price reduction, early lease buyouts or customer rebate
- Up to 8% of deal may be provided as support on low margin deals

At the enterprise level, "nobody ever get fired for hiring IBM." Plus all the IT folks, speak IBM or HP. Meanwhile, Ricoh keeps releasing the print output nodes for enterprise printernets. I assume that HP and Xerox will or already have similar functionalities. But how are they going to break IBM's legacy in the enterprise?

Now if only InfoPrint would sell stock, I could add them to my IRA. I've got Ricoh, but it's an ADR so I can't really tell what's going on. I don't want IBM, too much non Print stuff going on.

Where is the market for versioned newspapers. Part 2

Newspapers are afraid they will go out of business if they don't find a new revenue source. Everybody, including printers and newspaper people, are blind to the value of print to earn money going forward.

They say people make decisions because of fear or greed. The reality is that big decisions are made by going businesses on the base of fear. But they call it "risk management" because nobody wants to admit they are afraid.

So read these conversations at Harvard. Don't forget the comments. If it's too much of a pain to read it on the screen, print it out and use a highlighter to remember the important parts.

and most important of all for the Big Picture

WTT: Consider going over to YouTube

As you may know, I really like They make my kibbutzing from the sidelines so much easier. I wait for the morning email, it's usually there by 5:00 am EST. I pick my way through the latest and the greatest, then have an easy time bloviating. Monday's is usually the best because I can reasonably expect Dr Joe to do some heavy lifting that gives me an easy peasy blog post. This Monday morning's post.

This morning, I got an email that took me to a link for a video on Erasable Paper, an interview with Maggie Ochs. You also might know I think erasable paper is a game changer for Xerox MPS. I took the click. I heard "Hi, this is Gail Nickel-Kailing, and I'm here with Maggie Ochs . . . and then it froze the browser. Every time I try to view a video at WTT, it does the same thing. It's probably me, but I'm much too cranky to care if it's me. Then I have to force quit. Then I have to reopen the browser. Then it happens again.

My humble suggestion to my dear colleagues. Put the video on YouTube instead of whatever you're using. Set up a WTT channel over there. Embed the video on Put ads against the video at YouTube. I never, never had a YouTube video lock my browser.

Even better, how about a transcript in addition to or instead of the video? I hate spending the time watching a video when I can get the information in print so much faster. Meanwhile, I'll try again in a little while, when I have the time to see if waiting for it to load will make a difference.

Will Maggie Ochs suggest a release date? Stay tuned. As sound as I find out, I'll post it here. Here's the link to the video: 04/14/2009 - Maggie Ochs of Xerox Talks About Erasable Paper.

FYI I get the same customer experience over at Digital Nirvana.

It's not Web to Print. It's DIY Printing.

Everybody loves DIY. My granddaughter always wants to do it herself. If I have the time I much prefer to do it myself. Creatives always prefer to do it themselves. If it's important, everyone becomes a creative, and wants to do themselves. That's why it's so hard to get teams to work together.

The printernet (ground > cloud > print) brings in huge new markets of people who don't want to find, communicate, wait for, or trust a printer. They want to Print themselves.

So . . . one path to success is to be the Home Depot or Martha Stewart of Print. Since it's so time consuming to deal with customers, always give them the choice of doing it themselves. That's what they really want to do anyway, if they have the time.

But if you describe it as "Web to Print" nobody knows what it means. It makes it sound important. "Words spoken to sound important" is Dr Frankfort's definition of "bullshit."

Monday, April 13, 2009

UPS vs Staples? UPS Stores' printernet to launch in May

@ Beyond-Print -
"But the more intriguing aspect of the system involves a central web site where corporations can put their print-ready collateral files. Salespeople in the field can then log in and have materials printed as needed at the nearest UPS Store or Mailboxes, Etc. location. Since there are 4,400 stores across the US, and since more than 50% of the US population is within 2 miles of a store (and 80% is within 5 miles), the system has the makings of an ideal distribute-and-print operation.
. . .
Initially, the system will use Nowdocs software to handle the front-end e-commerce aspects of the network. Later, UPS/Mailboxes expects to develop custom software for this.
Here's the cool part:
Jobs that are too big for the smaller stores in the network will be farmed out to partners. These can be larger stores in the area, if there are any, or other nearby digital printers with more capacity.

Direct Mail is a shrinking market

Print Media Matters: Direct mail in transformation: "A recent report from the Winterberry Group analysed the Direct Mail trends in the USA. One of the most important conclusions is that, under influence of the recession, the use of mass mailings is shifting to more targeted direct mail. In 2008 direct mail spending declined 3%, this is the first decline in more than 60 years."

This is what I mean about the newspaper window opening...

Posted today at 11:00 AM
Print is still king: Only 3 percent of newspaper reading happens online
Nieman Journalism Lab:


All generally accepted truths notwithstanding, more than 96 percent of newspaper reading is still done in the print editions, and the online share of the newspaper audience attention is only a bit more than 3 percent."

The Wall Street Says News-on -Paper is the way to go.

Well, not exactly. But if you read the full column it turns out that the basic understanding was well articulated in the 1950's. No internet, no blablabla. Here's a snippet.

L. Gordon Crovitz Says Bernard Kilgore Knew How to Make Old Media New Again

"If readers would prefer more-compact city newspapers, a less-is-more approach could help cut newsprint, printing, distribution and other costs that don't add to the journalism. Newspaper editors could craft a new, forward-looking role for print, alongside the what's-happening-right-now focus of digital news.

There's a lot of experimentation by editors around the country to find out what people want from their print and online news. For city newspapers on the brink, the Barney Kilgore approach might deliver some badly needed good news."
Less is more sounds like versioned newspapers to me.

Oh oh! Money is on the prowl...

I guess MPS Digital Printing hasn't heard that Print is dead. Sounds to me like they are building the packaging printernet in the States.
Multi Packaging Buys Ivy Hill Assets - 4/13/2009 6:58:00 AM - Graphic Arts Online: "Media package printing firm Ivy Hill has closed on the sale of select assets to Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS), a label and package printing conglomerate whose MPS Digital printing of labels; a unit of the firm acquiring Ivy Hillholdings include John Henry and Great Western Industries. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. MPS is owned by investors Irving Place Capital.

MPS says the acquisition of the operations of Ivy Hill, which is headquartered in New York, NY, results in a manufacturing network of 14 plants throughout the U.S. for MPS. Last month MPS acquired Innovative Creative Packaging Solutions, a 200-employee South Plainfield, NJ, folding carton, point-of-purchase and label printing firm with flexo, offset and 7-color HP Indigo ws4000 presses.

Founded by Marc Shore with the financial backing of Irving Place Capital, MPS U.S. production facilities include Innovative Creative Packaging Solutions, Great Western Industries, Dallas; John Henry and John Henry Packaging with seven locations; MPS Digital, a John Henry digital start-up funded by Bear Sterns; The Printery, a Holland, MI small-format offset shop; and a strategic partnership with Pozzoli SPA, Italy.
Here's the interesting part for my IRA. On the strategy page on the Irving Place Capital website it describes their strategy investment size as
$100 million to $250 million of equity capital in companies with enterprise values of $200 million to $2.0 billion and with EBITDA in excess of $20 million
Last Time I looked Kodak's Market Cap was $1.1 billion. RR Donnelley Market Cap was $1.9 Billion.

To be very clear, I am NOT suggesting NOR should it be inferred that there is any interest on anyone's part in anything. I'm just saying if this one investment firm is aggregating print manufacturing for packaging, it's not unreasonable to believe that other investment firms will start looking at this space. Given that the casino has been closed, that means lots of global money is on the prowl.

Ya gotta love Dr Joe Webb. Are the globals too big to fail or too big to succeed?

In my Monday morning, Dr Joe fix, I found a column called The Annuities Trap. Back around 2005, I paid my money to, saying at the time that "Dr Joe is worth the price of admission." Anyway, I think it's behind the pay wall, but here are two snippets.
The culture of the supplies business is different than the capital equipment business. It is rare that a company is equally successful at both. The executive skills needed for success are different, too. An absurd example might be a company selling press wipes desiring to manufacture web offset presses, or a press company wanting to make wipes. The wipes executive is not used to the constant rejection that equipment executives deal with; the equipment executives don't get the satisfaction of going after the big fish and often feel like they are scooping up minnows with a net.

There are other differences: the sales cycles for equipment can sometimes be years; consumable supplies, though they can be less cyclical, are subject to their own characteristics of competition and demand factors. I've wondered what office equipment and digital print technologies companies like Xerox might look like if broken into separate equipment and “click” companies. The strategies might be quite different, and a broader range of strategies might be considered rather than dismissed.

Ricoh does it again!...printernet printing in the enterprise

When my two favorite windows on the real world of copiers and MPS , MFP Solutions Blog and the Death of the Copier both do the same post on a Monday morning, I'm thinking something big is going on.
A Ricoh HotSpot Printer allows users to print documents securely simply by emailing the file they wish to print to a HotSpot Printer or loading the file to the HotSpot Printer’s webpage. Any user with an Internet-enabled PC, laptop, PDA, or cell phone can use a HotSpot Printer. With HotSpot printing, there is no need for Drivers, additional Software or access to the network hosting the printer!
Ground > Cloud > Print. Anywhere.

If a printer on a desktop is functionally equivalent to an OPM/VAR anywhere on the planet, the printernet is revealed. Millions of Print products delivered within two days anywhere on the globe with a minimal carbon footprint. Distribute and print.

Where's the market for versioned newspapers?

From where I sit, it's pretty clear that the major stresses of the newspaper industry will lead to versioned, microzoned newspapers. That's why my IRA sits in Print.

The "news" organization will move to the model of the adopted by Gazette Communications in Eastern Iowa. The short story is that gathering the news is separated from the publishing event. That frees news-on-paper to be a series of versioned newspaper products that will tap a huge underserved market of local advertisers.

Who should a VAR call today?
First, unless you already have the trusted attention of any of the top of the pyramid players, don't waste time. By the time you get the meeting, first movers will be all over the ground. The top of the pyramid can't move fast, have a very, very low risk tolerance and are just now shaking off the "deer in the headlights" syndrome. When they get, the window for real growth disappears. Good for my IRA. Not so good for vendors late to the party.

Focus on the bottom of the pyramid
First call might be to Gazette Communications in Iowa. Follow the link in the 2nd paragraph.

I got the following chart from Seeking Alpha. It turns out that while real estate values are blablabla, they published a list of the top 25 housing markets in the States. I'm betting that every one of them has a family owned newspaper/radio/TV outfit that is too busy making a living to worry about the "sky is falling." Housing market prices are not a bad surrogate for the health of a community. The issue is not to look at the prices, but the direction of movement of the prices.

If you have an OPM/VAR (PSP) in those areas, give them a call. Get the contact info of the local media companies. Get in contact with them to "test out some ideas for making lots more money by doing what they are already doing, just smarter."

Anyway, for your consideration, from Seeking Alpha

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

MPS in Asia: HP v Fuji Xerox

Fuji Xerox and/or Xerox Fuji? If you are going to take on HP, it has to be all over the planet, that includes the States. Does Xerox have the right DNA? enough money?
from Death of The Copier
China becomes a regional leader in managed print service:

HP and Fuji-Xerox top vendors

In the MPS competitive landscape, HP is the clear leader with a dominant market presence in the region's marketplace, said Springboard. In second place, Fuji-Xerox has leveraged its robust set of MPS offerings and a strong partner ecosystem to strengthen its regional presence, Springboard added. Lexmark is the only other global printer vendor who has a discernible market presence in the region, Springboard noted. The remaining market is highly fragmented and is made up of local service providers and other printer vendors, the research company observed.
By Computerworld Hong Kong Staff , Computerworld Hong Kong , 03/19/2009"

The newspaper paradox resolved. Newspapers are a low hanging fruit for Print

The conversation over at Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab is getting to clarity on the "newspaper problem." After years of discussion, realities on the ground are merging with the new thought models that indicate the next steps.

Today's post is by Matthew Ingram, the title is
Why Nick Carr is wrong on Google as a middleman for news
: "After seeing recommendations on Twitter from Clay Shirky and others, I was expecting a tour de force from author and former Harvard Business Review editor Nick Carr, but I confess that I found his post on Google as middleman — and its effect on newspapers — disappointing. Not just because the middleman comparison is one that has been made repeatedly over the past couple of years, and therefore doesn’t really add much to the conversation, but also because I think he is wrong. . ..
The post goes on, and is well worth the time to read in full" Anyway, at comment 13, I added my two cents,
Clay Christensen describes the change from a value chain commercial model to a facilitated user network commercial model. When the world was defined by asymmetric information, the supply was limited and guarded, the econ 101 argument makes sense. Turn off the spigot of supply and prices go out. That was the Standard Oil model at the turn of the century.

But once information is symmetric, controlling information as a business strategy won’t work.

The way I look at it, there are three elements of a user network. The OEM - original equipment manufacturer. The OPM - the original product manufacturer. The VAR - the value added reseller.

The internet is the original equipment that is the infrastructure for information distribution. It is built by commercial entities AND mostly by prosumers. News-on-paper is a locally delivered original product. Everybody who wants to make money in the information business is either an OPM or a VAR.

Google is an OPM by creating a web advertising platform. To make alot of money from advertising on the web means gigantic scale. No newspaper can use CPM of CPC to make serious money, because they can’t get to scale.

So that leaves OPM- local news, and news-on-paper, invent new stuff that people want to buy and VAR, curate the appropriate news for people who are interested at that time in those stories.

After many years of very expensive development, the Print industry is ready. This is the year that the output equipment is ready for prime time. The 800 lb gorilla is HP. The 100 lb fox is Oce. The dark horse is DaiNippon. Maybe Ricoh/Infoprint is ready to enter the ring. Kodak is coming along with Stream and they do have MicroZone, but I'm concerned that they are going to miss the starting bell. The prize is a global reinvented newspaper industry.

It's worth remembering that the first revolutionary product of print was not the book, it was the "newspaper." Books were invented thousands of years before Guttenberg. He just invented a better, cheaper, faster way of making books. The truly disruptive innovations were pamphlets, then human powered Print, then steam powered Print. Once Print decreased the time and increased the space of information delivery, the real world changed.

What will be done, has been done. There is nothing new under the sun. Just new ways to do the same old things. That's the point of the printernet, Ground > Cloud > Print. Anywhere.

FYI - textbooks for K-12 are next to go . . .