Saturday, May 9, 2009

DataPoint: Greg Walters Says ColorCube could be a big deal.

Fear The Cube or Don't Fear The Cube: In The End, It Won't Matter
From Death of The Copier:

"The Xerox ColorCube is not a contender, it is a game changer - and I haven't even seen a unit yet.

Let us not forget the end user really won't care what the technology is - like always, they will want to print or copy in color or B/W as easily and as simply as possible, at a reasonable cost."

DataPoint: Columbia Moving to Perseus (Printernet VAR) for Fulfillment

Columbia Moving to Perseus for Fulfillment
@Publishers Weekly
"A Columbia spokesperson said access to Perseus’ Constellation digital services was “the prize” in deciding to join Pereus. Through Constellation, Perseus provides clients with digital delivery of e-books as well as print on demand and short run digital printing services. The switch to Perseus will take place some time before the September adoption season starts"

Friday, May 8, 2009

Data+Blabla Point: Canon makes a nice sale . . .and the Quick Printer and/or MPS is the energy that powers the Printernet

Canon has taken a big hit with the Ricoh Ikon thing. But they are most definitely still in the game.

Here's the Canon part:
Minuteman Press of Cambridge Adds the Canon imagePRESS C6000 and C6000VP to Their Fleet of Commercial Print Technology
@ Reuters: "LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y.--(Business Wire)-- Canon Business Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of Canon U.S.A. and a leading provider of document imaging and office solutions, today announced that Minuteman Press of Cambridge, Massachusetts has installed the Canon imagePRESS C6000 and C6000VP digital presses to support the growing demand for short-run quality color output."
Here's the printernet part:
Minuteman Press in Cambridge.. centers its business on digitally based processes, partnerships and business models. A growing number of clients take advantage of Minuteman`s on-demand environment that connects their infrastructures with Minuteman`s, integrating digital workflows as well as e-procurement via the client's ERP system.

Here's the blablalbla part:

The printernet has three moving parts: The OEM (xerox, ricoh, heidelberg, etc.), the OPM/PSP (Sandy Alexander, Motheral Printing, etc.) and the VAR (printing sales people, independent and global MPS, etc.) Sometimes OPM and VAR are located in the same organizations (AlphaGraphics, Staples, other franchises and successful commercial printers.)

The printernet also has the UNF - the User Network Facilitator (Consolidated Graphics, Donnelly, the central office of the franchises, SaaS software) Sometimes there is a combination of OEM and UNF. For the globals, that's where the organic growth comes from. As soon as incentives are aligned, all the pieces come together and command-and-control management is no longer necessary.

My bet is that the franchises will turn out to be the energy that drives the whole thing for commercial print and that independent MPS will be the energy that drives the organization part. Exactly who does exactly what is dependent on local circumstances, DNA, and Darwinian evolution.

Take a second look at the description above of the Kwik Kopy in Cambridge and you should see what I'm trying to say.

DataPoint: Barnes & Noble.com sets up an audio download site

A very interesting day. Things seem to be moving along quite quickly.
Barnes & Noble.com Celebrates Audiobook MP3 Store Launch with Free Downloads :
@Book Business:
"Barnes & Noble.com (www.BN.com) has launched its Audiobook MP3 Store, featuring audiobook MP3s available for instant download and transfer to iPods, iPhones, MP3 players and other portable devices. The store offers downloads of more than 10,000 titles across all genres. The average price per download will range between $10 and $20."

Data+Blabla point: Listen to Jeff Bezos. It's about textbooks, not magazines . . .and versioned newpapers

FYI: Here's what response time looks like to win. The window for versioned newspapers is one year, starting now.
Customers may pre-order the device at http://amazon.com/kindleDX. It will begin shipping this summer.
Kindle DX Launches With Larger Display :
By Janet Spavlik : @Publishing Executive:
"Instead, Bezos emphasized the Kindle DX’s size as suitable for textbooks and other highly formatted books such as . . .

Bezos also announced partnerships with both textbook and newspaper publishers. Cengage Learning, Pearson and John Wiley & Sons—which together represent more than 60 percent of the U.S. higher education textbook market, according to Bezos—will begin offering textbooks through the Kindle Store beginning this summer.
. . .
The Kindle DX retails for $489. Customers may pre-order the device at http://amazon.com/kindleDX. It will begin shipping this summer.
Add versioned newspapers and customized Print, and the shouting is over and the train leaves the station.

If I Ran The Zoo (1977) Dr Seuss Softcover
If I ran the zoo, here's what I'd do if I were not Pearson, Willey or Cengage:
1. Look very closely at the Flat World business model. Invest in. Buy outright. Or copy. (You probably don't have enough time to copy.) Why? Read my column published February 25. Read for Free, Pay for Print
2. Consider making the deal with Apple if the big iPhone comes out.
3. Consider making the deal with Plastic Logic when their reader gets to the States.
4. Consider making a deal with Wikipedia + Google + Number 1 or Number 2.
5. Look very closely how to compete with printernet published newspapers and personalized collateral. IMNSHO, in my not so humble opinion, that's what's going to win.

More of what I'd do at yesterday's post.

Datapoint: Nice Move Peter Taylor, XRX (UK)

Xerox terminates ODC contract after supplier kickback protest
@ printweek.com
Simon Nias, PrintWeek, 08 May 2009

Xerox will terminate its preferred supplier contract with Kall Kwik and Prontaprint owner On Demand Comumunications (ODC) from 24 May in favour of dealing directly with the firm's franchisees, it has emerged."

Datapoint: Art Post says "Who's Afraid of the Xerox Color Cube?" . . .and the waste of human capital

To get his view from the ground, take the click . My view, from 30,000 feet, follows.
Print4Pay Hotel's "MFP Solutions Blog"
"I'm not sold yet if this will be a game changer, with print for pay pricing coming in at under .005 for black and .05 for color, I see further erosion of cost per page pricing in the mainstream office. I guess you would have to be a big user of a little bit of color to make this work for you. We'll see right!"
Will the ColorQube win? Maybe. But I can't forget the VHS v BetaMax story. BetaMax was the better box. It lost. SONY continues to make awesome products, but they continue having a tough time. Like Microsoft they have product DNA. Product DNA is slow to get the signal that the margin producing value is in the network, not the product.

In any case it's pretty clear that the margins are going to be squeezed, again. The challenge for all the globals and the independents is how to wrap the boxes and clicks into a new value that has minimal marginal cost and maximum marginal value.

In a value chain economy the way to embed value was by putting the logo on the box. Enough people gladly paid a premium for a Xerox box or a Canon box or xyz box. The value was created by advertising and marketing. In large organizations the value presented as "Nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM." But as the folks at IBM could probably tell you that advantage is eroding every day. Credibility and thus the trust that is worth the higher margins is now earned by what a company does every day.

In a user network economy it's even harder. The critical point for a buyer is now the expectation of seamless improvement going forward. That's one of the secrets of Google, Apple and Amazon. And one of the problems of Microsoft.

Google makes continuous seamless improvements to all their products. For Google the difference between beta and ready to scale is a continuum, not a single point. Amazon has released three upgrades of the Kindle since it was first released last Christmas. Apple has released iTunes, iPod, nano iPod, iPhone 1, iPhone 2 and if rumors turn out to be true, soon we will see an iPhone that is really a tablet computer.

What stays the same is the network. The value of buying a box is the entry into a network.

Seamless improvement is made possible in a network. The expectation of constant seamless improvement is the value that customers will pay for. The new opportunity is that in a network the marginal cost of seamless improvement is very low. Low marginal costs make healthy margins possible.

The old rules were you are only as good as the last thing you did. The new rule is you are only as good as what you are going to do next.

Higher margins come from human capital. "Morale" is the metric.
Mr.Akira Ishida, Chairman of Screen in the company's mission statement has it just right.
"It is our desire to contribute to the development of society with a view to the coming era of ubiquitous connectivity."
"Contributing to the development of society" is a good reason to do your job.

Good reasons to do your job is called "morale" in the military, educational enterprises or globals. It is called "taking care of your people" in small business. It is called "passion" in micro business and every creative part of any business. In the our last election, it was called "Hope we can believe in." On Wall Street, it's called "confidence." But whatever you call it, it's the secret sauce that creates wealth in a networked society.

The irony is that the unanticipated consequences of reducing headcounts to lower costs is the destruction of the morale that enhances shareholder's value. Those that figure it out will win. Those that don't will lose.

EPI Companies just closed the doors after 40 years in business. Anderson Litho just closed. They were winning until they started to dismantle their human capital in the service of ROI and paying off debt. Check out the May 7th comments at the EPI Closes It Doors or Cenveo Closes Anderson Litho to get the signal from the ground. A thanks to PrintCEO for enabling these conversations.

My bet is that the same conversation is going on in most departments of most globals, colleges, high schools, newspapers, publishers and auto companies.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wow! Is this the game changer from Xerox?

While I have studied and have lots of experience in formal education systems and selling print on the ground, I can only see MPS from 30,000 feet. But, it sure sounds like Team Xerox got this right. . so far. As of 5:55 PM EDT, there were 25 hits on Google News.

The short story is that XRX is releasing a $20,000 MSR full function MFP that effectively prints color at the a very close to average price as black and white. The secret sauce is getting the solid ink to print at 85 ppm and a software program that only uses as much color ink as necessary. Since most business documents with a logo in color use 5% of page in color, it allows 63% savings on average per color page.

I'm waiting to see what Art Post says at Pay4Print Hotel's MFP Solutions to see what this means from the ground up point of view, but it sure looks like a very big deal from here.

Now comes the big question:
Will the feet on the ground turn great tech into great sales?


I've always believed that Xerox DNA is about the office. That's what makes the production printers a little harder. But this one seems dead on to what made Xerox, xerox.

blabla point: Versioned newspapers instead of K-12 textbooks

The grown ups in Washington are cutting education programs that can't prove they work. Textbooks don't work to nurture learning . . . tick, tick, tick
@Politics K-12:
More Education Programs Get the Axe in Obama's Budget Proposal:
Yesterday it was Even Start. Earlier this morning it was gifted education.

Now the White House has announced a few more education programs that it would like to see Congress scrap in the fiscal year 2010 budget.

The list includes: Civic Education, which received about $33 million in fiscal year 2009. That program pays for the We the People program, which, ironically, got a lot of kids I talked to in Indiana interested in volunteering for President Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

The budget also proposes getting rid of the $2 million Close-Up fellowships, which provide grants for students to visit Washington, and the $2 million Academies for History and Civics, which provide intensive workshops for teachers and students in those subjects.

Also on the hit list . . . ."

Data+Blabla Point: DaiNippon Screen in versioned newspapers and the AlphaGraphics printernet v.2.0

I deleted same title v.1.0. Turns out I got it wrong the first time. Thanks to anon for pointing me in the right direction.

During the days of high end color separations, my favorite trade shop was a DS Screen evangelist. Given that he was a true color maniac, I took his word as gospel.

Fast forward to 2009, the Screen Truejet was the first versioned newspaper box working installation at an AlphaGraphics. So I did a little research on what might turn out to be the under recognized 800 lb gorilla in the space.

The right conversation would be between Kodak and Screen. But given that's unlikely, I'm thinking an AlphaGraphics printernet is more plausible to get first mover advantage in versioned newspapers.

Alphagraphics has the needed States based DNA. They have professional management from small business people and are deeply embedded in local communities. The low hanging fruit for versioned newspapers are local newspapers and local school boards. Screen has the depth and skill to deliver the boxes. But can they respond in real time instead of corporate time?

The link to the appropriate business enterprise is http://www.screen.co.jp/index.html
You can check it out yourself, but here's the chart that caught my eye. Looks to me that they have lots of running room here in the States.


Consolidated net sales by regions fiscal year ended March 31, 2008

It sounds like the company may have just the right DNA.

The Message from the Chairman

Since our establishment in 1943, Dainippon Screen has broadened its operations in a variety of fields, advancing from printing and prepress-related equipment into electronics industries, with "development of thought" as our corporate principle, by which we always strive to create new business and products leveraging our core image processing technologies.

We are now developing and producing equipment that advances the digitalization of printing processes in the printing field and world-leading high-tech industrial equipment such as manufacturing equipment for semiconductors, FPDs (flat panel displays), and printed circuit boards in the electronics field. It is our desire to contribute to the development of society with a view to the coming era of ubiquitous connectivity.

Screen Group will continue to fulfill its social responsibilities as a corporate citizen and to strongly advance in the manufacture of products that are friendly to the environment. We at Screen will always continue to strive toward a better future with technologies in harmony with the times.

Kindle DX is not about newspapers. It's about college textbooks.

It's too expensive for mass adoption. It's going to be hard to figure out ads. They need to be Google type quiet ads. But the publishers think they have to be Banner ads. Probably be a niche market for the people who read, as opposed to scan, newspapers and magazines.

It's very, very cheap for textbooks. Students have to buy textbooks. There is lots of extra margin in textbooks that goes to supporting no longer necessary SAG. There are heaps of content that are at least as good as most textbooks. Note that the promo photo below shows pictures and graphs. The Kindle 2 was too small for pictures and graphs. You have to have pictures and graphs if you're going to do a textbook.

Since most students only look at a textbook a day or two before the exam, why pay $250 when the resale value is so low?
Amazon unveils the Kindle DX, its latest e-book reader -
from Fortune Magazine May. 6, 2009

Amazon hopes to convert readers of magazines and newspapers to its newest e-book reader, the Kindle DX."

amazon_kindle_dx.03.jpg

Data Point: Murdoch says worst is over

To the swift go the spoils. It's a ground war. Not an air war.
News Corp profit slides, Murdoch says worst is over
@Reuters:
"'It is increasingly clear that the worst is over,' he said, echoing executives at other media conglomerates such as Walt Disney Co and Viacom Inc. 'There are emerging signs in some of our businesses that the days of precipitous decline are done,' Murdoch said."

Blabla Point: The Real Value of the Net and how to wrap it around the box

The real value is access to experts. Wrap real time on demand access to experts and the box increases it's value, with no additional manufacturing costs.

Think iTunes. Except they wrapped access to music around an MP3 player and made the whole experience easy and thus fun. Everybody just wants to have fun.

Think about how many experts you are losing by reducing, instead of repurposing head counts.

Data Point: One voice on Oce Versioned Newspaper Print Quality

from Print CEO - Printing Industry News Blog -
HP Open House at O’Neil Data Systems:
"By Lou Berceli on May 7, 2009

From the dozens of very challenging press sheets I saw from the Oce JetStream 2200 in 2008,(which included some traditional color calibration print evaluation test forms) on both coated and uncoated stock, I know that the Oce JetStream inkjet full color process print quality is clearly SUPERIOR to most of the best offset print quality that has traditionally used 175 or 200 line screening. The smooth tonal gradations and color saturation I saw with JetStream 2200 printed samples reminded me of the highest end 10 and 20 micron Stochastic FM Screening offset litho which I have printed and won several national print awards for. This level of Inkjet print quality at 400 feet per minute is revolutionary."
Added 5/7/09 5:23 PM EDT
To read different viewpoints, you have to check out the discussion at PrintCEO Blog.
Andrew Tribute from the UK, Andy McCourt from Australia, Noel Ward from the States. It's all star cast.

Data + Blabla Point: XRX and the Hatch Center. Nice.

Wouldn't it be cool if the Hatch Center could be used for proof of concept projects to fix Rochester's High School with Print? Give those product and application experts a chance to really show their stuff with innovative products that expands XRX's lead in the education space. Once OPM/PSPs see how the experts do it, they will naturally learn to do it.

They will buy boxes because of access to the network experts. Easy access to network experts never loses it's value. The network gives the value to the boxes. That's the organic growth story.

Think iTunes.
from Press Release
XRX Xerox Corporation: Xerox Expands World's Largest Showcase of Digital Printing Technology:
"ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 06, 2009 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- XRX has added 4,000 square feet to the world's largest showcase of digital printing technology to make room for additional equipment and ultimately help print providers identify and capture new revenue opportunities.

The flagship Xerox is the latest addition to the more than 100,000-square-foot Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation in Rochester, N.Y. The center gives visitors access to Xerox's entire portfolio of equipment and solutions, and product and application experts are on hand to help them understand and maximize the capabilities of the machines."

Data Point: Dr Joe Webb Sees Light at the End of the Tunnel

Dr Joe Webb does the heavy lifting of focusing on the best data points for the printing industry as a whole. On May 5, he posted this at WhatTheyThink Economics & Research Center
When Will Things Get Better? Perhaps Soon, According to Our Indicators
By Dr. Joe Webb on May 5, 2009

Back in January, I outlined the reasons for selecting our “recovery indicators.” They include four indicators from the Institute for Supply Management (oldtimers will remember them as the National Association of Purchasing Managers), the NASDAQ index, and proprietor's income from the Bureau of Economic Analysis' reports of personal income and GDP."
Here's the chart. For the analysis, click here.




If my instinct is right, and Dr Joe's research is right, and today's blablab at Bloomberg is right, will the globals have enough feet on the ground when it turns? I'm not worried about small business, they can turn on a dime. But which globals can focus fast enough? In the general economy it's going to be Walmart, Tesco, Costco, Staples, Google, Amazon, Apple. In the print sector, I don't yet see it. My bet is the franchises, most notably AlphaGraphics, Consolidated Graphics and independent MPS. Also many others in the 95% of on the ground independent OPM/PSPs.

That's why growth is going to come from the bottom and the globals will be playing catch up to catch up. The biggest problem is that they fired or furloughed instead of repurposed the potential feet on the ground.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
That's the slogan that every kindergarten student is now learning. The globals stopped at reduce (the headcount) and still think that "recycle" is the meme du jour. Recycle is last year. This year is reduce and reuse.

Imagine if instead of "furloughs" the manufacturing unit had been asked to work in cost reduction teams for two weeks. Set up a wiki with a place for anonymous suggestions from the ground about ways to improve efficiency. No need for "lean six sigma black belts". Just ask the people doing the work how to do the work better and more efficiently. It worked pretty well for Toyota.

Better and more efficiently could have been framed as "We have to reduce our SAG by 50%. The closer we get, the less people we will have to furlough." Then take what was learned in this two week experiment, scale it to every division in every global blabla structure.

Solving the "sales" problem.
If individual Board Members spent a week mentoring an open, no holds barred conversation with the best salespeople on the street, they could cut the advertising budget by 75% and learn something about viral marketing.

Take advantage of the temporary hiatus in being too busy being busy to STOP and THINK and LISTEN.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Data point: Oops! The college textbook business model is really toast, this time it's no fooling around. Amazon is in the game with both feet.

Just imagine what happens if Apple releases the big iPhone (tablet/ touch screen computer).
Liveblogging: Amazon introduces $489 large-screen Kindle
@USATODAY.com:
"Textbooks are another good application for a wide-screen Kindle. Amazon has partnerships with the three leading textbook publishers -- Pearson, Cengage Learning and Wiley. The new Kindle will allow students to carry smaller backpacks, Bezos says. The cost of these textbooks is unknown, but Bezos says these will likely be priced lower than physical copies.

Five universities will test the Kindle DX this fall: Arizona State, Case Western, Princeton, Reed College, and the University of Virginia."
It figures it would be Pearson and Wiley. As far as I can figure out they have the best DNA in the space. What are the other textbook publishers going to do? My bet is that they will either follow the Flat World Knowledge business model or get into a price war with Pearson, Cengage and Wiley. In any case it's not pretty.

More interesting is what is Barnes and Noble going to do. This is a frontal attack on the used textbook business. Nibbles have been taken by web based alternatives to the college bookstore, but this is now serious business.

And the college textbook distributors?

The textbook printers will be fine. There lots of other stuff to print. They've already figured out how to produce just in time textbooks. A couple of thousand on an offset web press. A couple of hundred on one of the wide format web fed inkjets or the web driven Xerox laser box.

If I Ran The Zoo (1977) Dr Seuss Softcover
If I ran the zoo, here's what I'd do:
Text book Publishers:
1. Stop denying what's happening. CD's+web access+ printed textbooks at $250 a pop is gone.
2. If you can, do Flat World Knowledge. Give away the textbooks, make the money on print and other stuff. Maybe do a deal with Yahoo or Google to compete with Amazon. Or do a deal with Amazon. No one can compete with free. Not even Pearson.
3. Keep your eye on K - 12 that's the next to go.
4. Get in touch with Apple. It's going to be Apple v Amazon v Google.

Textbook Distributors:
1. Keep getting while the getting is good, but it's time to get serious about that new business model.
2. Consider being the network manager for versioned textbooks, newspapers, and supplementals. With your logistics DNA it should be a natural.

Barnes and Noble:
1. Maniacal focus on networked POD solutions delivered on campus through the stores.

Being the college print node on the printernet is a nice place to be. Plus it will increase traffic so you can sell more non book stuff.

2. Consider making a deal with one of the versioned newspaper printers.

Full color multi page newspaper product at the right price at the right time will live off the downloaded textbooks on the big Kindle. Then get in touch with the local newspapers. They have the editing and writing skill to pull together the web content. Sidestep the textbook publishers completely. Then support the full color newspapers with crib sheets (study guides.) I assume they are already selling pretty well.

And if you really want to get everyone excited, sell ads in the versioned newspaper/textbooks. Then you can give it away for free. It's very hard to compete with free.

Data + Blabla Point: Can Commercial Printing Save Dailies? and Money keeps prowling around

The answer is no. Newspapers have to save themselves. But commercial printers can start making money as soon as the blabla stops and the newspaper Board of Directors stop being busy being busy and focus on the task at hand.

Money is on the prowl.
DFW Capital came in last July. see snippet below. They see that "The End of Print" is merely the blablabla du jour. Sounds like grown ups to me.

Meanwhile the institutional investors (hedge funds in portfolio manager clothing) think Xerox makes office equipment and Kodak is a consumer goods company. And the "analysts" are mostly too busy being busy to focus on very much in the first place. Sorry Wall Street, after the last 6 months I find it very hard to take seriously anything you might have to say.

Watching the money, on the other hand, is very, very interesting. I can't wait until money sees the opportunity to replace K -12 textbooks with versioned newspapers. Clearly there is going to be lots of excess capacity for all those offset web presses.
Can Commercial Printing Save Dailies? -
5/6/2009 6:11:00 AM - Graphic Arts Online:
Web offset printers are making big bets that they can save newspapers and profit. Add AFL Web to the list of web offset printing firms, including Southwest Offset and Transcontinental Printing, aggressively moving into newspaper production.
. . .
(AFL is a )35-year-old family-owned firm already printing five daily newspapers from its two plants–totaling 265,000-sq.ft.–including The Financial Times, Women's Wear Daily and Metro's New York and Philadelphia editions. And more papers are in the pipeline. In January, the 350-employe ecompany added two Muller Martini inserting systems.
. . .
Some of the funding for the new equipment came from DFW Capital Partners, Teaneck, NJ, which acquired a controlling interest in AFL last July.

Data point: Oce JetStream 2200 running in NJ.

Found at the comments at PrintCEO. Go Print!
  1. By Lou Berceli on May 6, 2009 | Reply

    . . . Oce’s JetStream 2200 that has two full color inkjet web press installations at the Direct Group in NJ. . . . I have seen about 30 full color print samples from the Oce JetStream and was very impressed to see such high quality that would easily match and rival the very best 200 line or Stochastic FM Screened 4 color offset litho print quality.

    I am sure that these and other inkjet web press pioneers will show us all that Print continues to evolve and is far from dead. Guttenberg would be proud!

Versioned newspapers to replace textbooks?

DataPoint: Printers Move to YouTube.

Found this at Patrick Henry's new blog at The Printing Office. hosted at PrintCEO. I've been on this little soapbox for about a month , so it was great to find Patrick's post. I'm still hoping for the Dr Joe Webb/Frank Romano show on YouTube. I'm seeing "Siskel and Ebert" for Print.
By Patrick Henry on May 5th, 2009

Printers of all sizes are making creative use of YouTube for marketing, customer relations, and just plain fun. Warren Werbit’s rant-heard-round-the-world is a viral classic. But others are making their presence known in their own ways, and the results can be a treat to watch.

Kevin Keane, president and CEO of IAPHC, sent us links to videos posted by his members. This one, from Brodock Press of Utica, NY, captures the entire print manufacturing workflow in a little over two minutes:

To see the video, you have to follow the link.

Blabla point: New York Times: it's not the eonomy blabla. It's bad management.

Children blame someone else. Grown ups fix the problem and move on. President Obama said "It's time to put away childish things."

Compare and contrast. Is it number one? Or is it number two?
Number one:
Globe accord doesn't solve NY Times' troubles -
@MarketWatch:
"For the Times Co., the labor peace represents one less headache on its crowded agenda. The Times has been lambasted for its Globe acquisition for many years. Critics criticized the Times management for failing to anticipate the troubles in the New England economy and for buying a newspaper at a time when consumers were moving to a digital world and away from traditional, ink-stained publications."

Number two:
The Newspaper That Fired It's Readers
As a result, many important newspapers – in Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston – are in the hands of owners ill-equipped to manage them. Another round of potato-passing, this one finally at the bottom of the market, may improve matters somewhat.?
If your answer is number one, the problem is the economy and the "End of Print." If your answer is number two, the problem is a Board of Directors that were too busy being busy to do the job they were paid to do.

It's only natural to blame someone else when things mess up. But that's kid stuff.

Datapoint: The Consolidated Graphics Printernet

Following a link from the discussion at PrintCeo about the HP Open House in LA, I got to this:




Founded in 1906, CDS Publications specializes in bound publications, including books, catalogs, magazines, brochures and instructional literature. Our web and sheetfed presses economically accommodate any quantity and our comprehensive bindery offers a variety of finishing options. We have been ISO certified for 20 years.

Go Consolidated Graphics!

Maybe while the global Board of Directors focus on the stock price and the best way to present the financials, you will become the AlcelorMittal Steel of Print. Donnelly is too slow and Quebecor World will take a little while to get back in the game. Given Cenveo's recent decisions on Anderson, I don't think they have the right DNA.

Full Disclosure:
I added CGX to the IRA. I'm betting they are a winner over the long term.
Go Print!

Datapoints galore: But too many to post. Follow the link to see them yourself.

Check out this morning's Wall Street Breakfast Must Knows at Seeking Alpha.com. The way I connect them, I'm seeing a pattern of Print facing a capacity problem. But not too much capacity, too little capacity. But that's just my point of view.

Data+Blabla Point: The hidden value kernels at Kodak

The problem is that early 2010 may be too late in the game for Stream to make a big difference. The low hanging early adopters may be picked. The margins are going to be lower and the cost of sales much higher.
Kodak records revenue drop, but Stream press on track for launch in early 2010
Tim Sheahan, printweek.com, 05 May 2009

Kodak's Graphics Communications Group (GCG) has performed the best of all the company's divisions in the group's first-quarter results for 2009, despite drops in sales across the board.
. . .
The company as a whole recorded a $360m (£238m) loss from continuing operations. Sales for the quarter totalled $1.477bn – a 29% drop from a year ago.
. . .
the GCG division reported sales of $603m, down 26% from the same quarter last year. The figure included a 6% impact from unfavourable foreign exchange.
. . .
Elsewhere, the Consumer Digital Imaging Group recorded sales of $369m fared worse, with a 33% decline, while the Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment Group reported a 31% fall with sales of $503m.

If I Ran The Zoo (1977) Dr Seuss Softcover
If I ran the zoo, here's what I'd do:
1. Maniacally focus on getting Stream heads installed on offset web presses.
2. Separate P&L's for Print and the other stuff. Get them ready for a spin off?
3. Leverage Creo's presence in offset workflow to speed adoption of MicroZone.
4. Don't fire anyone, except maybe for Board Members that are too busy, being busy to do the jobs they are being paid to do.
5. Get someone to figure out a speedy path to monetize the 30,000,000 users at Kodak Gallery/Ofoto.
6. Cut the advertising budget by 75%. Of the 25% left, give half of it to your PR people. Incent them and measure them to manage viral marketing.

Given the fact that the last time I looked, the Market Cap was less than a billion, I'm thinking the Board Members might want to stop being busy being busy and focus on the task at hand.

Blabla Point: Sneak Preview of This Week's Column

This week's column at PBS.Mediashift will be about the newspaper printernet emerging on the Iberian Peninsula. The title of my first column was Print is the Next Big Thing. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. I believe it.

Given the recent performance of my IRA, I may have stumbled on something relatively true for a relatively short time frame.

Blabla Point: Print is not broken. Advertising is broken.

The internet changed advertising. Advertising agencies have to figure out new ways to make money. It is hard. But don't conflate advertising with Print. Print is fine. The further away it is from the crash in advertising, the faster it will thrive. Newspapers who rely on advertising for only 50% of the revenue stream will morph more easily than those who don't.

The marriage between Print and advertising started around the turn of the century. It's been a great run. But now it's time for an amicable separation.

If Transpromo morphs into Transinfo the playing field will be much clarified. Everybody hates promo. Everybody loves info. The point is that information about the user is the monetizable value. Print connected to the web is the best way to get info about masses of users in the physical world. Contrary to the meme du jour, masses of people live in the physical world, not the blabla world of cyber blablabla.

Here's today's blablablabla from the UK:
'Traditional magazine model is broken', ad giant claims
06 May 2009printweek.com

Magazine publishers and their print suppliers were confronted with some 'uncomfortable truths' about the future for print media at this week's FIPP World Magazine Congress in London.

Maurice Levy, chairman and chief executive at global advertising giant Publicis Groupe, described the financial crisis as 'a cruel and brutal accelerator and amplifier of long-term trends'."

Not to be outdone, here's the blablabla from today's Ad Age in New York:
LONDON (AdAge.com)--Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Simon Clift and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy gave a stark warning to an international gathering of magazine publishing executives today, urging the industry to innovate and to be more creative.
The job of a printer is to Print and respond quickly to print new stuff. The job of creative marketers is to innovate. (Mine magazine was driven by a marketer. Not TIme.Inc. Not American Express Publishing. Not the Ace Group. Instead of telling the industry "to innovate," Mr. Clift should get his team to focus on the innovate part.

If everyone just does their job, usually things work out fine. (see masthead of this blog.)

Datapoint: Winners starting to emerge

Now that the full force of the wave is starting to ebb, the remaining players are emerging.
Simon Nias, printweek.com, 06 May 2009
NatMags extends contract for eight magazines with Wyndeham

Wyndeham Press Group has signed a two-year contract extension with the National Magazine Company (NatMags) for eight of its titles.

The deal, which was signed last month, includes monthly titles Esquire, Harpers, House Beautiful, Coast and Men's Health, as well as bi-monthlies You and Your Wedding and Cosmo Bride, and weekly celebrity magazine Reveal."

Versioned Newspapers: Oce v HP v Screen . . . and maybe Kodak, Xerox and InfoPrint

I got an email last night that pointed out that at HP's event in Los Angeles,
O'Neil Data Systems, printed out personalized copies of today's Investor's Business Daily for the event.
Also a good post by Andrew Tribute over at PrintCeo.

Versioned newspapers have a window of about one year. First movers will have the market share. It's no longer about "if" or even "when." Once the game hits the ground, the question is where and who.

Consider Apple Computer and postscript.
Many, many years in the talking. Then in one year, desktop publishing appeared. Another couple of years, typesetters morphed. After another couple of years, color separation houses morphed.

Fast forward to today. Newspapers have been losing circulation since the 1970's. In 1993 the Mosaic browser opened the network to regular people and the world wide web morphed into the Internet. Starting in 2000, newspaper organizations took on huge debt. Then in 2008 it all came crashing down. Many trillions of dollars of "wealth" disappeared in a couple of months.

Newspapers are subject to the same Darwinian rules as everything else. Random mutations, competitive selection. The mutations have been appearing under the radar for years and are now ready to scale.

It really is time for the next big thing, because when everything else fails, even big organizations try something new.

Keep a close eye on the Amazon announcement this afternoon.
My bet is that it's going to include some deal with the New York Times and college textbook publishers. The real question is going to be the price. If the textbook folks can price their books at around $25 on the Kindle, it should work. If they can't figure out a business model that lets them price competitively, they will not be serious players in a couple of years. Replaced by the Flat World Knowledge business model.

Can K - 12 be far behind?

Sooner or later some of our globals will notice the failure in public education in the States. They will take seriously what the grown-ups in Washington are saying about reforming education. They will see how versioned newspapers can replace textbooks. It's not because textbooks are too expensive. But because textbooks are too slow and have the wrong customer. The customer is the student, not the teacher or the purchasing agent.

Meanwhile money seems to have noticed newspapers
Did anyone else notice what happened to McClatchey MNI and Gannet GCI stock prices yesterday? I added them to my IRA on April 15. At the time MNI was .5508 and GCI was 3.65. At the close yesterday, GCI was 4.93 and MNI was .75. So as of this morning, the IRA is about 33% to the good on those two.

You've gotta love Print.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

C'mon Xerox. There has to be a better solution

@democratandchronicle.com
Xerox to furlough 300 workers for two to six weeks
"Three hundred Xerox Corp. manufacturing employees who work at the company’s Webster campus will have to take furloughs this summer, some as long as six weeks."
Fellas, given the level of executive comp and commuting budgets - $11MM+$125M - and the fact that SAG goes up instead of down, is this really the best you can come up with? What's the effect on morale? Or stewardship of the human capital is that is the real secret sauce? I just can't see how you are enhancing this shareholder's value.

Maybe we'll hear the secret plan or the "exciting new vision for the next five and ten years" that I assume is the subject of the focused, vigorous discussions in the Boardroom that is behind this decision on May 29th.

How about no hire, no fire as an alternative.

Datapoint: SOS Print hasn't heard about the economy blablabla or the End of Print

SOS Print sets VarioPrint record
from ProPrint:
"SOS Print and Media Group is claiming to be the first printer in Australia to register 100 million impressions on its Oce VarioPrint 6250 duplex digital printer.

Based in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria, the company has installed a second 6250 after being impressed with the work-rate of its first machine, which has been clocking in at around 136,000 impressions per day, including weekends and public holidays."

Datapoint: Ricoh, nice but...consider the opportunity for the Printernet in Education

It's good to do good. But it's better by doing well by doing good. Fixing bottom of the pyramid high school education would be very, very good. If you happen to be a Print OEM or an OPM/PSP or an MPS it also can mean doing well.
from Chief Learning Officer magazine -:
"Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. — May 5
Due to high demand and great results, Ricoh Americas Corp. doubled its previous donation of 100 revolving IT skills e-learning seats to the CompTIA Educational Foundation’s Creating Futures program. The donation allows Creating Futures to provide additional employment-focused computer training free to transitioning U.S. veterans, individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth, minorities and displaced workers with the opportunity to gain employable skills and achieve rewarding careers in the IT industry.

“Since launching our new promotions campaign this year, our requests for training have increased by more than 1,000 percent. The need is out there, and it’s big. Generous donations like Ricoh’s help us meet that need, and we challenge even more companies to step up to the plate,” said John Venator, president and CEO, CompTIA Educational Foundation."

Ricoh + IBM Keep coming and coming

The InfoPrint enterprise printernet?
@ QuickPrinting.com Article:
Ricoh Intros SOA-Enabled MFP at IBS's Imapact 2009 Conference:
"Ricoh Americas Corporation. . . today introduced its new Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) technology that will enable users to leverage IBM’s WebSphere software in conjunction with Ricoh multifunction products (MFP) . . . This new SOA solution will be shown for the first time at IBM’s Impact 2009 conference in Las Vegas, May 3-8 at booth #S14.. . .

Mark Minshull, vice president and chief technologist, Ricoh Americas Corporation. “Ricoh and IBM said, we are providing a solution that easily plugs into an existing SOA environment and complements current Web-driven business infrastructures.”

HP vs Oce vs Screen for versioned newspapers?

Just got this from the folks at HP. I told you this window is going to close within the year. If only HP would separate the print piece from the computer piece and Screen could get listed in the States, I could place my bets. Until then the IRA will just have to wait.

Excerpts from the PR release follow:
HP Showcases World’s First High-speed, 30-inch Digital Color Press
PALO ALTO, Calif., May 5, 2009 – HP today announced . . . On show at an open house event at Los Angeles-based O’Neil Data Systems – site of the first HP Inkjet Web Press beta installation – . . .Bolstering HP’s efforts to target the $3 billion digital print market opportunity for publishing in 2010, as well as the $13 billion market opportunity for direct mail, transactional and transpromotional printing in 2010
Newspapers, newspapers, versioned standards based newspapers to replace textbooks in K-12
. . . Compatibility with a wide range of media types and weights, including uncoated offset stock, newsprint, and treated and coated papers
. . . . HP also announced the addition of Courier Corporation to the HP Inkjet Web Press pilot program.
. . . O’Neil Data Systems began commercial production with its HP Inkjet Web Press. The company is now producing health plan benefit materials and transactional documents on the press, as well as “The O’Neil Database,” a financial reference publication owned by William O’Neil & Co.

North Chelmsford, Mass.-based Courier Corporation has entered into an agreement to participate in the development and implementation of HP Inkjet Web Press solutions as a pilot program participant. With more than 175 million books produced last year, Courier is the nation’s third-largest book manufacturer.
K-12 Text "book manufacture"? If college print textbooks go down and K-12 textbooks follow in short order, what's next?
France-based firm CPI is expected to install its first HP Inkjet Web Press this September.

With these two installations, the HP Inkjet Web Press becomes a key digital solution for high-volume production at firms that collectively produce approximately 800 million books annually.

Houston-based Consolidated Graphics (www.cgx.com) has entered into an agreement to join the HP Inkjet Web Press pilot program and will be installing a press this summer . . . will join the more than 50 HP Indigo presses, HP Designjet printers and HP SmartStream print servers the company operates at facilities nationwide and at its newest location in Europe
The Consolidated Graphics Printernet v the Donnelly Printernet?
Several HP solutions partners are including: CMC, EMT, Hunkeler, MBO/EHRET, Muller Martini, Pitney Bowes, Timsons and Ultimate Technographics.

Additional information about the productivity and quality advantages offered by the HP Inkjet Web Press are the focus of two new white papers. The white papers, as well as additional details from the open house event at O’Neil Data Systems, are available at http://www.hp.com/go/IHPSopenhouse.

Why is Dr Seuss on my blog home page?

Dr. Seuss meets Charles Darwin:
@Robert Fulford:
"This being the 150th anniversary of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, as well as the 200th anniversary of the great man's birth, Boyd has written On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction (Harvard University Press), a searching, free-wheeling book that sets forth a Darwinian view of narrative's place in human history. And Dr. Seuss's Horton fills all of 60 pages, getting equal billing with Homer's Odyssey, the other title chosen to demonstrate Boyd's theories. One section of the book is titled, 'From Zeus to Seuss.'
. . .
Natural selection, motiveless and unconscious as it is, nevertheless follows certain patterns. Again and again it randomly sets in motion possible solutions to problems of survival, fails, then starts again, re-using whatever elements have proven valuable. In time, it can create richer solutions to richer problems.
. . .
Far from draining life's sense of purpose, he argues, Darwinism demonstrates the richness inherent in the human enterprise. Studying our origins makes our possibilities even grander than we could otherwise imagine and - as this remarkable year demonstrates - never ceases to open fresh intellectual territory."

Thinking Point: Staples Should sell Printernet published Textbooks?

I've been following a discussion at Print CEO .

The title of the opening post is FedEx Office Outsources to VistaPrint - Deja Vu All Over Again: This morning the following comment appeared.
Staples is trying out Kinko’s like stores already, been testing it for over a year. I saw my first one in Boston near Newbury St."
Given that Staples already has an elegant sell into K -12 maybe customized supplementals and versioned newspapers go into the supply category. Or maybe Kinko's is looking for a new thing to sell to college students. Or maybe B&N is looking for a new thing to sell to replace used textbooks and should call Staples or Fedex.

The last piece is getting a newspaper's attention to align the content with educational centers, and everyone will have a new thing to sell.

Datapoint: Amazon and Textbooks

Amazon to Launch Kindle for Textbooks -
@WSJ.com:
"Amazon has worked out a deal with several textbook publishers to make their materials available for the device, Mr. Gonick added. The new device will also feature a more fully functional Web browser, he said. The Kindle's current model, which debuted in February, includes a Web browser that is classified as 'experimental.'

Five other universities are involved in the Kindle project, according to people briefed on the matter. They are Pace, Princeton, Reed, Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State.A larger-screen Kindle would enable textbook publishers to better display the charts and graphs that aren't particularly well suited to the current device, which has a screen that measures just six inches diagonally. But digitizing academic books could also hurt the thriving market for used textbooks on college campuses.

MPS: The missing piece in the sales process?

Independents, you might want to do this next time you're up against a global. That Xerox thing in Buffalo might have had a different ending.

I followed the links from this comment at TCI
Xippa Says:

Great work TCI. While I don’t agree with everything you say, this is a well written article and it’s no surprise it’s gotten such a great response.

If you have the time, you might check out the new service offerings at Xippa. The world is definitely changing.

and I got to this chart.

Datapoint: Sandy Alexander is so cool

Super Color Digital and Sandy Alexander Form Strategic Alliance
from WhatTheyThink:
"CLIFTON, NJ and IRVINE, CA -- Super Color Digital and Sandy Alexander have announced a strategic alliance creating a breakthrough in the graphics communications industry. Super Color Digital is the largest grand format graphics solutions provider in the United States."

Thinking Point: If the CPS900 Platinum is connected to the cloud . . .

If the students at RMIT were given the project to create educational materials for the students at RMIT, it will go a long way to an education printernet.
RMIT students welcome Oce CPS900 into the classroom -
from Print21:
"The new printer was donated by Oce this month as an extension of the two organisations’ working relationship, which spans years.

Robert Black, director of RMIT’s International Centre of Graphic Technology, said that all students in the School of Design would use the new Oce CPS900 Platinum for different levels of training.

“Practical experience on the actual equipment that they are likely to encounter in the marketplace is essential for their all-round development as graphics professionals of the future,” he said."

Datapoints from Australia

Just in case you don't subscribe to Print 21 here's what I got in my email this morning.

Paper tigers band together
Australia’s five leading paper-based organisations band together as Sustainable Print Alliance.
View full article »
Print remains in the red: Hagop’s commentary
No relief in sight for printing businesses around Australia, according to March 2009 Printing Industry Trends Survey Report.
View full article »
Moore gets down to business in Western Australia
Moore Business Systems scores contract to manage forms for Western Australia Health.
View full article »
Onslaught over Optus online: Letters, 6 May 2009
Angry readers call on Optus to re-think its move away from paper bills while Glen Climo gets praise for his work at Bluestar.
View full article »
No pack drill … what they’re saying in the barracks
Heard something you would like to share but cannot put your name to it? Here is your chance. No names, no pack drill.
View full article »
Don Quixote fan makes waves at Pride In Print
Format’s fan-turned-invitation places the Wellington company in the running for a Pride In Print Award.
View full article »
RMIT students welcome Oce CPS900 into the classroom
OcĂ©’s CPS900 platinum digital colour printer has had no trouble making friends at school since arriving at RMIT School of Design.
View full article »
Call for feedback on financial crisis workshops
Printing Industries is seeking industry feedback on the effects to business of the financial global crisis to assist in research that will help shape its national workshop program in June.
View full article »
GMG launches free online ISO trials
Printers can check colour quality for themselves with GMG’s new online ISO management trials.
View full article »
Kodak flexs its print with Flexcel NX System
Revamped Kodak Flexcel NX System offers greater print flexibility.
View full article »
Pushing the envelope online: Print 21 magazine article
Letterboxes look set to become even emptier as major companies continue move their essential mail onto the internet – so does that spell the end for the transpromo print market before it even gets going? Mitchell Jordan finds out what the future holds for those involved in this nascent marketing practice.
View full article »

Datapoint: Dynamic Marketing Systems installs a printernet at the bottom of the bank pyramid

You can work for Bank of America and Citigroup. Or do single source contracts for the Defense Department. But it's much safer to implement the printernet at the bottom of the pyramid.
Central Jersey Federal Credit Union Adopts Dynamic Marketing Systems' Micro Merchant for Design and Production of Marketing Collateral. -
@Free Online Library:
"DMS currently serves 10 corporate clients and 10 community banks and credit unions with 58 branch locations. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.dymasys.com. For more information on Micro Merchant, visit www.micromerchant.com."
Below is the taken from the DMS website. It's really a diagram of the printernet: Ground > Cloud > Print > User. Everything between Ground and User is behind the curtain. The same diagram will work for any vertical, formal organization or mSB (microSmallBusiness.)

It will change the world when someone applies it K - 12 education AND sees that User = Student - NOT teacher or principal or school board or mayor or purchasing department.
Maybe it will be called "Dynamic Educational Systems."

Newspapers added to the IRA

This is one of the reasons I added GNI to the IRA. Design thinking should get there faster, rather than slower.
Innovation: Big Changes at Detroit Newspapers in Print and Online -
from the wiki The Next Newsroom Project: "Gannett is working with IDEO across it's whole company, not just Detroit. They've really embraced the IDEO process."
As for MNI, I heard they are great outfit. As of yesterday, no doubt a nice day for money, the IRA is 22% to the good on GNI and 10.75% on MNI.

Besides, on Wednesday Amazon is having a press conference with some big wigs from the NYTimes. Then the blablabla is going to be "newspapers are coming back" and blabla digital blalbla internet, and Money might decide that it isn't the end of print or newspapers.

Ya gotta love printers. . . If globals did it as well, life at the top of the pryamid would be a lot easier

@Print Solutions Magazine - May 2009:
Top 100 Trade Printers:

". . . this year's top 100 trade printers sold about the same amount of printing as the top 100 did last year--about $3.05 billion compared to $3.06 billion in FY07. . . . the average company size stayed the same (about $30.7 million), but managed to do 23 percent more work with about half the staff!"

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oops! What exactly are the college textbook publishers going to do. Printers? Printernet publishing and versioned newspapers

Thanks to BR for the point.

My bet is that it's going to be Flat World Knowledge or a copy cat
Plus
The New Kindle
. . . the New York Times which is said to be partnering with Amazon on the larger Kindle.
OR
Large-Screen Kindle Won’t Mean Squat if Apple Tablet Arrives

giant_iphone_640
Or
A Reader the Kindle Should Fear: Plastic Logic

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/photos/uncategorized/2009/02/11/plasticlogic2_2.jpg
Or
some other e reader that hasn't yet surfaced.


If I Ran The Zoo (1977) Dr Seuss Softcover
If I ran the zoo, here's what I'd do:
1. Don't hire. Don't fire.
2. Figure out a new commercial model for college textbooks.
3. Do a proof of concept much sooner rather than much later.
4. Run the numbers on the leanest SAG that supports that model.
5. Consider networking with one of the on demand book or versioned newspaper print manufacturers.
6. Focus on the supplemental pieces in print.
7. Keep your fingers crossed.
8. Remember that K-12 textbooks are next.

Another Reason College Textbooks are Hosed

If the rumors are correct, Amazon is in the game. see snippet below. Amazon large size Kindle + FlatWorld Knowledge and the all inevitable copy cats. Hearst has already announced that they are coming to market with a large format ebook reader. And students in Germany are already using Ebook readers instead of textbooks.

Barnes and Noble is going to have react. Used textbooks is too much of the bottom line. So espresso machines in every college bookstore?

Next on the agenda is K-12 textbooks.
But in K -12, Print is a must have, not a nice to have. So . . Espresso machines in every school district's CRD? or Versioned newspapers that are printernet published?

Given the size of the education space, my bet is both.
The Big-Screen Kindle: It's About Textbooks, Not Saving the Newspapers -
@ReadWriteWeb: "According to a number of well-substantiated rumors, Amazon is set to debut a new, large-screen version of its Kindle eBook reader on Wednesday morning during a press conference at Pace University in New York City. A lot of the current discussion around this announcement has focused on how a new Kindle might or might not be able to save the ailing newspaper industry, but in many respects, it seems more likely that Amazon is simply planning to turn the Kindle into a better platform for electronic textbooks.
Textbooks

In some respects, though, the new Kindle (which will, after all, see its debut at a college) is probably geared more towards the textbook market than the newspaper business. For textbook publishers, electronic (and DRMed) editions aren't so much about convenience for students, but about cutting out the used-book market, where a lot of students get their books and where the publisher gets absolutely nothing. In 2005, the market for used textbooks in the U.S. was valued at about $1.6 billion, about a third of the total market for educational and professional books."

Data Point: Grown-ups play hardball . . . Pt.2

The battle of the titans is between national governments and globals.
Obama to roll out international tax proposals
@ Reuters:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to roll out a set of proposals on international tax policies on Monday, in an announcement with potential implications for U.S. multinational firms.

The White House said Obama will be joined by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for the 11:05 a.m. EDT (1505 GMT) event.

Obama's budget outline released in February made reference to proposals to change the tax treatment of U.S. firms with overseas operations and measures to crack down on international tax evasion."

Thinking Point: The risk of doing business with a global

Just one of the reasons it's better at the bottom of the pyramid.
Repo Man: Chrysler Owes Media $58 Million
from MediaPost Publications 05/04/2009:
"In light of Chrysler's recent bankruptcy filing, its agency, Omnicom Group's BBDO Detroit, is listed as the second-largest creditor. According to the filing, Chrysler owes BBDO $58.1 million.

But reports suggest that most of any monies owed should be paid to local TV stations -- or, to a lesser extent, national broadcast or cable TV networks. Earlier this year, Chrysler moved much of its TV budgets from national networks to local TV stations."

Oops! Canon Q1 profit down 88 percent

No, it's not the economy blablablabla. It's the Board of Directors and the CEO. That's why the CEO gets the big bucks and the Board of Directors are the Board of Directors.
Canon Q1 profit down 88 percent | Reuters: "TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Canon reported an 88 percent fall in quarterly profit, hit by slumping demand for copiers and printers, but it raised its annual outlook on cost cuts and a weakening yen."

Sole Source Contract is nice work if you can get it

But going forward, this is not sustainable. Grown ups don't like sole source stuff.
INTENT TO AWARD SOLE SOURCE CONTRACT TO XEROX CORPORATION FOR LEASE OF COPIERS.:

"NOTICE TEXT: Department of the Army Army Contracting Agency, North Region ACA, Aberdeen Proving Ground The U.S. Army RDECOM Contracting Center, Aberdeen Installation Contracting Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD intends to negotiate solely (as prescribed in FAR 6.302-1) with Xerox Corporation, 1303 Ridgeview Drive, Lewisville, TX 75057. The contractor shall provide the fourth year of a 60-month lease of 17 copiers. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for this requirement is 532420 and the size standard is $25M. This notice of intent is not a request for competitive proposals or a solicitation of offers. The point of contact for this action is Irene Heitzer, Contracting Officer, email: irene.heitzer@us.army.mil."

Datapoint: XRX SAG going in the wrong direction

10-Q: XEROX CORP -
@MarketWatch
April 30, 2009
"SAG as a percent of revenue was 28.2 percent."

Q4 Conference Call

Selling, administrative and general expenses were 25.2% of revenue, up about a point from the fourth quarter of 2007

If I Ran The Zoo (1977) Dr Seuss Softcover
If I ran the zoo, here's what I'd do:
1, No hire no fire.
2. Turn PARC into a degree granting graduate institute. Charge for degrees.
3. Keep a maniacal focus on MPS using the XPS approach.
4. Revisit executive comp. Put SAG % was one of the metrics. The goal is 16%.
5. Align the Xerox Foundation with fixing high school education with Print products.
6. Move to restructure to groups 150, lead by groups of 30 lead by groups of 5. One person to report to Global. Align comp for each group of 150. Do separate P&Ls at each level.

Thinking Point : Xerox unveils Xerox Print Services - CIOL Products

Xerox Print Services should be able to morph into the mSB section of the printernet. I love the business about "their own branded capability" and a user network business model as in "customers pay only for the software and services used." XRX says it will be in the United States in the third quarter. If they can execute this could be a big deal.
Xerox unveils Xerox Print Services -
CIOL Products: "Xerox Print Services give partners the flexibility to build their own branded capability while taking advantage of the training, services, supplies, software and technology support provided worldwide through Xerox.

For example, partners will undergo a comprehensive accreditation course covering areas key to a managed print services deployment, such as assessment, design, implementation and management. Partners will receive detailed reports on equipment and network usage patterns and have access to third-party supplies and break-fix support for competitive equipment at favorable terms negotiated by Xerox."