Saturday, August 8, 2009

How to fix information overload from the Manager's Point of View. It's about Jeremy Bentham and Power.

Entrepreneurs and successful investors have no problem with information overload. The more blablabla out there, the easier it is to scan widely and choose judiciously. Can't get any better. Kids don't have a problem with information overload. They have evolved exquisite filtering devices. Signal v noise decisions to find "interesting-to-me" work at nano second speeds, in the background.

The real problem is for managers. It starts at the top. Barack Obama needs to get his message out. Ursuala Burns and every other CEO at a global needs to get everyone in the enterprise on one path. Since only the military has volunteers who are taught the importance of the mission, it's a big problem.

The Jeremy Bentham part from O'Reilly Radar:
In 1785 utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed architectural plans for the Panopticon, a prison Bentham described as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example." Its method was a circular grid of surveillance; the jailors housed in a central tower being provided a 360-degree view of the imprisoned. Prisoners would not be able to tell when a jailor was actually watching or not.

The premise ran that under the possibility of total surveillance (you could be being observed at any moment of the waking day) the prisoners would self-regulate their behavior to conform to prison norms. The perverse genius of the Panopticon was that even the jailor existed within this grid of surveillance; he could be viewed at any time (without knowing) by a still higher authority within the central tower - so the circle was complete, the surveillance - and thus conformance to authority - total.

In 1811 the King refused to authorize the sale of land for the purpose and Bentham was left frustrated in his vision to build the Panopticon. But the concept endured - not just as a literal architecture for controlling physical subjects (there are many Panopticons that now bear Bentham’s stamp) - but as a metaphor for understanding the function of power in modern times. French philosopher Michel Foucault dedicated a whole section of his book Discipline and Punish to the significance of the Panopticon.

His take was essentially this: The same mechanism at work in the Panopticon - making subjects totally visible to authority - leads to those subjects internalizing the norms of power. In Foucault’s words “…the major effect of the Panopticon; to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action; that the perfection of power should tend to render its actual exercise unnecessary” In short, under the possibility of total surveillance the inmate becomes self regulating.

The social technologies we see in use today are fundamentally panoptical - the architecture of participation is inherently an architecture of surveillance

If people think the boss is watching, they will do what they think they are supposed to do. It's why moms try to convince kids that they have eyes in the back of their heads. Doing what you are supposed to do is the operation definition of "corporate culture" or "organizational dna." There is no doubt that sometimes this culture or dna can be out of sync with what is required to win. But that's why CEO's and top management and generals get the big bucks.

Critical Role of Print
It allows managers and employees to look at the same thing at exactly the same time. It also means they can be put in a performance revue folder so everything is nice and clear. It's the power of the printed record card.

As they say in cog science, "Neurons that fire together, wire together."

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Business Model for the Christian Science Monitor. It's about versioned newspapers. I'll save the clickable print part for another time.

So I got my Friday afternoon digest email about news stuff from the

That took me to the snippet below about the Christian Science Monitor.
Circulation, Page Views Up at Christian Science Monitor:
August 6, 2009 Filed Under Business Bytes
Print circulation and Web traffic have grown at The Christian Science Monitor since its recent switch to “Web-first, plus print weekly but advertising remains sluggish and break-even a distant dream, Poynter’s Bill Mitchell reports.
Versioned digitally printed newspapers as teaching material:
My Weekly Reader on steroids.
CSM must have a very long tail of awesome stories. I've always been impressed by their international coverage and unique viewpoints. These days, I especially like their focus on what real people can do to overcome odds to improve their life.There might be a way to leverage this stream of stories to deliver into high schools to improve High School Kids learning how to learn by learning about the world around them.

Based on some announcements from Kodak this last week, it's going to be possible for a publisher to buy a 24 page tabloid newspaper in black and white at arbitrarily low run lengths (50 and up) about 20 cents each from a well equipped printer. That means 1000 copies for $200. This is still to be confirmed, but after a couple of tweets and blog posts, no one has yet said I've got this wrong.

Why not a system that allows teachers to choose the stories they want for their class next week, port the chosen stories into a printstream from XML and deliver newspapers to the school a couple of days after the request. This may sound hard for a newspaper publisher. But it's easy for the right printers. There are some now and lots more soon scattered all over the States.

Minimal Extra Expense for CSM
There is no further overhead on print production. Just call the right printer. There is only a minimal stress on the design staff - it's all about rules based typography and database publishiing. So the marginal cost to CSM is minimal.

"Show me the Money"
The revenue stream might be some budget diverted from the textbook line. Or even better, it could be delivered free-to-the-school and supported by New Yorker type advertising from non profit and government enterprises. If it's ok with the school, it could also include local businesses.

The really cool thing about the advertising is that it can be gathered at a super low cost by using twitter streams. The MinnPost is now testing on their website, but in my not so humble opinion, the real revenue comes from print.

Since the same 24 pages are sold over and over in different schools, that might mean Classifieds in versioned paper. Everyone knows that classifieds have always been the killer app for newspapers.

If this sounds promising, you might want to check out my posts at PBS/Media Shift. or keep a close eye on the upcoming GraphExpo in Chicago. Since CSM is in Boston, they might want to stop by at the Transpromo Show being held there next week. I'm pretty sure the Kodak folks would love to take a meeting to tell you all about it. If them try Oce or InfoPrint or HP. The printing biz is all about wide width ink jet printing. I know that may sound like blablaba, but check it out to see what it might mean for getting some margins flowing back in the door.

And if this doesn't sensible. Take a look at this post from Save the News:
Looking for a business model: After a blog hiatus since February, copy editor and journalism student Suzanne Yada comes back full force on her blog with two great posts. The first lists 14 blogs that she finds do a good job of writing about journalism business models. It’s a great list that includes many favorites of mine and some new ones that I’ll be sure to add to my RSS feeder. Her second post is about social media and how it must be integrated into journalism studies — not relegated to a separate class. She offers some wise tips to make this happen. I agree wholeheartedly with this. As I said in an earlier post, my hope is that someday soon we’ll stop calling it online journalism and just call it what it is: journalism.

Story of Wal-Mart is the history and future of America

Actually it's Google + WalMart that is the history and future of America. That's why I started a blog in 2006 called the Google Mart Economy. I haven't had time to get back to it for a while but the story is
The Google-Mart Economy
(def.) A business environment defined by (1) an expectation of total informational transparency and accessibility and (2) a requirement for flawless logistics and operations. Named for Google and Wal-Mart. (c)Josefowicz Associates, LLC

Meanwhile from today's Financial Times:
Story of Wal-Mart is the history and future of America:
"Wal-Mart, this book argues, is America in so far as its growth reflects the wider economic and political conditions prevailing in the country and the world at the end of the 20th century.

Technological innovations such as barcodes and satellite communications gave the retailer the tools it needed to construct a retail empire. The shift to a more laissez-faire regulatory and trade environment since the 1980s created the conditions to expand. The emergence of China as the world’s manufacturer provided more opportunities for growth and Wal-Mart’s buying power gave it the ability to exploit the emerging opportunities."

Go Xerox! Go Engineers! The secret is the binding.

Xerox launches new Docucolor 7002 and 8002 presses |
Tim Sheahan,, 07 August 2009

Xerox has launched a brace of digital colour presses, the 7002 and 8002, designed for printers producing direct marketing, photo and promotional applications.

The presses, which offer output speeds of 70ppm and 80ppm respectively, feature a new low-gloss toner that is claimed to help produce a smooth matte finish to prints.

Both machines can print onto stocks up to 300gsm in weight.
The secret sauce.
Flat sheets are printing. Bound sheets are product. Nobody wants printing. Everybody wants product. If product comes out the back end of the machine, it gives a lot more run to fight for margins.
The GBC ebinder eliminates manual operator intervention and can produce polyester bindings for applications up to 1,000 sheets.

The Horizon Colorworks Pro Document Finisher offers in-line folding, as well as corner and top stitching, face trimming and stacking.

Twitter, Black Swans. The Complexity of the web v The simplicity of Print

from todays Washington Post:
Michael Arrington
Friday, August 7, 2009; 12:15 AM

Twitter, Facebook and LiveJournal spent yesterday battling a DDOS attack that started around 6 am California time. Twitter and LiveJournal went down hard, Facebook stayed mostly online but was clearly under strain. CNET reports that a single individual's accounts on the services may have been the primary target.

Now, nearly 24 hours later, Facebook and LiveJournal appear to be performing normally. But Twitter is down completely and has been for the last few hours.

There lots of ways to describe it when unknowable random events occur. The most popular meme in some circles people say "Black Swan." In other places people say "Shit happens."

The more complex the system, the greater the likelihood of Black Swans. The smarter the system the faster the response.

Print, on the other hand, is a very simple system. No response necessary.

The only thing I know about Cenveo was what I read about Anderson Litho. It wasn't pretty.

Today Cenveo released their Q2 Results. You can read the press release at

Back in April this post by Cary Sherburne grew a thread with 38 comments. Worth the read.

The Anderson Lithograph Company was founded in 1951 by John Corbin Anderson. Its web site states: “In 1998, Anderson Lithograph became an integral part of what is now the 3rd largest graphics communication company in America, Cenveo, Inc. The addition of Cenveo’s vast portfolio of services, products and geographic locations help to establish Anderson Lithograph as a truly ‘resource efficient’ leader.” Sadly, a decade later, Cenveo has notified its customers that the plant will be closing in early June. The announcement was made by letter on April 15th.
Full disclosure: No position in Cenveo. Long CGX.

Clickable Print lives in the world of mobile phones. it's worth paying attention.

The snippets are from a story about the situation in the UK.
Future isn't Orange, says man tasked with T-Mobile UK turnaround
The Guardian:
"The other players in the British mobile phone sector reckon that five networks – O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and 3 – are at least one too many and that consolidation is desperately needed in what is Europe's least profitable market.
. . .
He still has his eyes on the iPhone and his team has been buying up devices in other European markets so it can offer them to customers thinking of defecting to O2, which has the phone under an exclusive deal in Britain.

There has been much talk of T-Mobile trying to do a deal with Apple to break O2's exclusivity, though Moat plays that down. But devices are just half the story.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is it just me, or does EK have a game changer in the Prosper XL?

The thread at PrintCEO started by Noel Ward called Kodak Raises the Bar Andy Tribute does a column on Kodak production ink jet. But there isn't the buzz I expected. So it might just be me drinking my own Kool-Aid. But until I can figure out what I'm missing I'm going to keep sipping away. The issue at hand is the Prosper XL

If the conversation hasn't gotten on your radar, here's where it is as of this morning.

  1. By Rick L on Aug 5, 2009 | Reply

    It should be noted that the cost/page doesn’t include the machine cost. That will likely weigh in heavily to what anyone is able to sell the printed product for.

  2. By Michael J on Aug 6, 2009 | Reply


    Fair enough, but..suppose someone with deeper pockets than a printer does the buy? My understanding is that was the deal that some UK newspaper publisher did with AlphaGraphics and Screen.

    The idea that a printer has to be in the financing business may start to fade away. For a global publishing company 3 or 4 million dollars is a rounding error. They spend much more than that on an event or marketing.

    If the going forward potential margin stream is there, why wouldn’t they do it. And if not them, why not some of the VC money that is circling the globe looking for a place to invest.

  3. By Michael J on Aug 6, 2009 | Reply

    Just another possibility:
    Suppose Kodak took advantage of social media to do most of their marketing. That might free up btwn 10 and 15 million dollars. Then they install the black white machines at their best PSPs. They enter the capital as a sale.

    The going foward revenue stream for them is a piece of the action of what I think could be a huge market. If I’m wrong, Kodak has minimum risk. If I’m right the incentives are nicely aligned. Kodak makes it’s money from the customer who votes with their dollars. Not the printer who doesn’t have many dollars with which to vote.

    It would also create a positive feedback loop. The best indication of whether a product needs to bet better are the number of end users who want to use. Not the number of printers who want to buy it.

Added for this blog
The idea of placing machines a getting a piece of the forward revenue stream should work for any global in the digital production marketplace. Oce, Xerox, HP, Ricoh, Canon etc etc. In fact, if I remember correctly there is a version of this that HP tried out in Australia.

It creates a new basis of trust between a PSP and their vendors by getting the vendor to share the risk and reap the benefits of success. If the machine will create so many profits, why wouldn't Kodak get skin in the game? If they are not willing to risk their money, why should anyone else?

Maybe Kodak is blind to the opportunities for black ink 24 page clickable newspapers sold at profit for less than 20cents an issue. If they were printernet published that gives the speed, scale and felixibility that everyone needs. If they included smart QR codes, that gives the customer informatics for which many people with deep pockets will gladly pay.

Keep in mind that even a stopped clock is correct at least twice a day.

Full disclosure: Long on EK, XRX, Oce, Ricoh.
I would include HP, but I hate the computer box business. Margins too low. Competition too fierce. The fact that they are the "largest IT company" is, in my not so humble opinion, a bug, not a feature. If they were to spin off the Print piece, I would be happy to make a bet. If Ricoh would spin off InfoPrint, even better for my IRA.

Why I'm long on CGX. It's about Printernet Publishing and User Network Business Models.

This morning the headline on the CGX Q2 earnings was titled
Consolidated graphics reports 21% revenue decline

I'm still long on CGX
because I think the next big thing is Clickable Print that is Printernet Published. The upcoming National Geographic personalized covers is being produced on the CGX fleet of Indigos. Also I really like when the CEO says " Our companies" instead of "our company". From whatever I can see from here, they have the right business model for a user network economy.

At any rate, you can read the press release pasted below via

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Unless otherwise noted, the below is a press release from the issuing company

HOUSTON, TX. -- Consolidated Graphics, Inc. today announced financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2009.

Revenue for the June quarter was $225.9 million, down 21% compared to the same quarter last year. The revenue decline was primarily due to a year-over-year same-store revenue decline, and lower election-related business. Operating income declined to $.9 million in the June quarter compared to $20.0 million last year due to the lower revenues and a more difficult operating environment. Operating margins declined from 7.0% in the June 2008 quarter to .4% in the current quarter. Net loss for the June quarter was $.3 million or $.03 diluted loss per share. Net income for the June 2008 quarter was $9.6 million, or $.84 diluted earnings per share.

Despite the decline in results, the Company had strong free cash flow of $29.8 million for the June quarter compared to $29.5 million for the same quarter last year. Adjusted EBITDA for the June quarter was $20.1 million compared to $37.6 million a year ago. Additionally, total debt declined $29.1 million during the quarter to $285.1 million at the end of June.

Joe R. Davis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Graphics, commented, "The weak economy continued to reduce demand for print and pressure our profit margins during the June quarter. Our companies are working hard to maintain revenues and effectively manage costs during these tough times."

Mr. Davis continued, "On a positive note, these difficult times have created opportunities for Consolidated Graphics. Our cost structure and financial strength are a competitive advantage and will allow us to attract new customers and sales personnel and continue to acquire good printing companies."

On July 30, 2009, the Company entered into an amendment to its revolving bank credit agreement. The amendment increases the interest rate on borrowings and allows for additional financial covenant flexibility. Following the amendment, based on the Company's current leverage ratio, as defined, and current market interest rates, borrowings under the revolving credit agreement carry a variable interest rate of less than 3%. Both the commitment amount of $335 million and the maturity date of October 6, 2011 remain unchanged.

For the quarter ended September 30, 2009, the Company expects to generate revenues of between $225 - $240 million and at least break-even adjusted net income.

A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures, Adjusted EBITDA, Free Cash Flow and Adjusted Net Income is included in the attached tables and in the Current Report on Form 8-K filed today, as well as the basis for management's use of the non-GAAP financial measures.

Full disclosure: Long on CGX.

Xerox: Unlock the value at PARC. It's about MPS, SmartPhones and QR codes.

Hopefully I've got this all wrong. Let's say PrintTicket is already being used in the field. But if I'm not wrong, then I'm seeing a pattern that started with PostScript continues through the no delivery date of Erasable Paper. I hope I'm wrong. But if I'm right . . .

I can't quite figure it out.

My best guess is that the legacy business process is get the tech into a patentable form then lock it up in IP and sell the IP. A better process might be to deploy a full featured prototype as soon as you can. Watch how it's used in the market place. Refine it. Find the evangelists. Let them help it naturally scale.

Most important: create a separate business unit, with new appropriate business process. Read Clay Christensen to see what I'm trying to say. My favorite separate business unit would be PARC University that sells certificates. Oops! I meant to say grants degrees.

Imagine the effect of using Xerox technology to support Xerox MPS if what is described below works. Given the scientists at PARC's track record, I would bet that it does. Given that I already have made a significant-to-me bet on XRX, I need someone at the C Level to pay attention.

At any rate, yesterday I was wondering in twitter land and found this:
Making mobile printing easier with QR (quick response) codes: [What are QR codes?]
Which took me to the PARC blog, where I found:
The Video:

The Words
Making mobile printing easier with QR codes - PARC blog
Currently, about 20 U.S. airports enable passengers to check in through a “mobile boarding pass”. These airports use special scanners to read the 2D barcodes displayed by diverse mobile manufacturers’ hardware.

We realized a similar technique could be used to “acquaint” a mobile phone and a printer, so that someone could easily print something from their phone wherever they are and whenever it’s needed (e.g., instructions, maps, notes, product information to leave behind for a prospective client).

To print from your phone, you first have to make the phone and printer “talk” to each other — which isn’t always easy. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to re-register my Bluetooth- or wifi-enabled mouse with my laptop; the irony is that they’re sitting right next to each other!

But using the scanner (MJ: on the smart phone) on a multi-function printer (or MFD) simplifies the process of acquainting the printer with your phone. All you have to do is:

  • display (a QR code with some print instructions embedded in it);
  • place (the phone on the MFD scanner); and
  • press (the big green button on the printer to scan it).

In addition, the code can contain cryptographic information so the phone can send an encrypted document over untrusted networks. The printer uses the cryptographic information embedded in the QR code to decrypt the document once it arrives from the network.

Security: Cloud Computing: Who do you trust?

A colleague sent me the link to a post about security and Cloud computing. The issue at hand is how can you trust your data to the Cloud.

Some snippets and my comments below.
Schneier on Security: Cloud Computing:
"But, hype aside, cloud computing is nothing new . . . Any IT outsourcing -- network infrastructure, security monitoring, remote hosting -- is a form of cloud computing."
But what about security? Isn't it more dangerous to have your email on Hotmail's servers, your spreadsheets on Google's, your personal conversations on Facebook's, and your company's sales prospects on's? Well, yes and no.
Yes and No. There are significant differences between Hotmail, Facebook and Salesforce. As for sales prospects being valuable information. Sorry that doesn't pass the laugh test for me in a world Google Search, twitter, etc. etc.
IT security is about trust. You have to trust your CPU manufacturer, your hardware, operating system and software vendors -- and your ISP. Any one of these can undermine your security: crash your systems, corrupt data, allow an attacker to get access to systems. We've spent decades dealing with worms and rootkits that target software vulnerabilities. We've worried about infected chips. But in the end, we have no choice but to blindly trust the security of the IT providers we use.
Lost me with "blindly trust." It's much too risky either in the enterprise or outside the enterprise.
Saas moves the trust boundary out one step further -- you now have to also trust your software service vendors -- but it doesn't fundamentally change anything. It's just another vendor we need to trust.

Instead of vendor it might be more useful to think of it as a functionality that lives in it's own world of resources that makes it's decisions on this basis of benefits and risks to itself. If you've ever tried to get an internal IT department to focus on the business goals of an enterprise you probably know what I mean. The error is to think that money can buy you trust. It can't.

There is one critical difference. When a computer is within your network, you can protect it with other security systems such as firewalls and IDSs.

Given the security breaches in many organizations, my responses is yes and no. Viruses mutate every day. Once a computer system is the focus of interest, it's a never ending struggle. They mutate, you do a response. You build a stronger wall. They build a more effective attack. Such is life.

You can build a resilient system that works even if those vendors you have to trust may not be as trustworthy as you like. With any outsourcing model, whether it be cloud computing or something else, you can't. You have to trust your outsourcer completely. You not only have to trust the outsourcer's security, but its reliability, its availability, and its business continuity.

I'm not sure about "the resilient systems that . " But "trust your outsourcer completely" is spot on. It also means you have to trust your IT department completely.

You don't want your critical data to be on some cloud computer that abruptly disappears because its owner goes bankrupt . You don't want the company you're using to be sold to your direct competitor. You don't want the company to cut corners, without warning, because times are tight. Or raise its prices and then refuse to let you have your data back. These things can happen with software vendors, but the results aren't as drastic.
100% yes. That's why I think the safest choice is Amazon/ Google/Salesforce or IBM. If they screw up security they are out of business. The brand damage would be enormous. Since they all have a very good track record of being successful growing businesses the chances of them continuing in that direction is pretty good.

The issue is a clear evaluation of the risks. Only then is it possible to have a useful discussion about the benefits.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Google gets one step closer to personal TV for the news. Local outlets need #clickableprint to earn some margins.

Now on YouTube - Local News -
"YouTube, which already boasts of being “the biggest news platform in the world,” has created a News Near You feature that senses a user’s location and serves up a list of relevant videos. In time, it could essentially engineer a local newscast on the fly. It is already distributing hometown video from dozens of sources, and it wants to add thousands more.

YouTube says it is helping TV stations and its other partners by creating a new — but so far not fiscally significant — source of revenue.

But news media companies may have reasons to be wary. Few TV stations have figured out how replicate profits on the Internet. YouTube can easily act as another competitor."
The reason that newspapers have figured out how to replicate profits on the Internet is that it's not going to happen. Real estate on the internet is limitless, so the price of real estate goes down. Real estate on paper is limited. That's why local advertisers will pay for ads in Print.
Clickable print means everyone can get customer informatics. All good for Print.

Consider clickable print as a Table of Contents for Personal TV.

“Xippa says these guys get it! Lets look at all the expenses including copiers when we make hard decisions regarding classroom funding cuts”.

Here's the money sentence at the story about who are the "guys that get it" at the Atmore Advance in California.

Byrd added that he pays about $600 per month for the lease agreements for three copiers, which is nearly $8,000 per year. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if he has to cut down to one copier for the entire faculty.
I wonder how many teachers they could save if they could tap the textbook money. Plus the copier folks don't have to take the hit because clickable print to do a better job than textbooks needs MFPs and copiers, intelligently deployed.

The only ones that really get hurt are the textbooks folks. But they've had great margins for a long time. It's time for them to share.

Full disclosure : No interest in Xippa.

Barclaycard+Fishlabs+ Bartle Bogle Hegarty need to know about clickable print.

Barclaycard App Becomes Top Free, Branded iPhone Game Ever
- Advertising Age
"LONDON ( -- Not many branded iPhone games have broken through, but a new one from U.K.-based Barclaycard has quickly become the most popular free, branded game in the history of the iTunes App Store.

'Waterslide Extreme' has recorded 4 million downloads from the iTunes App Store since its launch in mid-July, according to data provided by Hamburg-based Fishlabs, the game's developer.

The game is based on a popular TV spot by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, in which an office worker strips down to his Speedo and gets on a water slide for a high-octane commute home. On the way, he uses his Barclaycard at various points to pay for groceries or train tickets.

Games are interactive TV. Print is the other mass media. Clickable print = Print + TinyPurls + smart QR = personal TV+ clickstreams that turn into customer analytics.

The customer epxerience is personal TV. The output is customer analytics. The input is design intelligence. Everything in between is a commodity. And that's the good news. Efficient commodity production has sustainable, predictable margins.

Next stop on this train is free-to-the-user clickable newspapers to replace textbooks for bottom of the pyramid high school kids who are presently non consumers of education.

"Obscene profits" in micro transactions. It's not about Google. It's about HFTP s and Goldman Sachs. What might it mean for Print.

This appeared in the morning email from Seeking Alpha. Snippets follow. You can get the whole story at Seeking Alpha.
. . the profits are obscene: $21 billion spread out amongst the 100 or so firms who engage in this (Goldman Sachs (GS) is the undisputed king controlling an estimated 21% of all High Frequency Trading).

In this way, the trading program makes ½ a penny (one ¼ for buying from the broker and another ¼ for selling to the institution) AND makes the institutional trader pay a penny more on the shares.
Did you know that
this kind of nonsense now comprises 70% OF ALL MARKET TRANSACTIONS.
A lesson for Print
What if I'm correct about free-to-the-user printed books for everyone by 2011?

Short story is that Print Books will be supported by enabling commerce. Longer story is that book content will become a media, instead of product. They will be an awesome media becuase doing contextually accurate ads in a book is just right. Once the harvestable clickstreams appear by the use of TinyPurls and Smart QR, the customer informatics is the deliverable.

In my not so humble opinion, Google and Amazon are already pretty far along with the content, and technology. The missing piece for now is printing/delivering print books at internet speed and scale, with a minimum carbon footprint. The best way to get a clickstream is clickable print. The only way to get to low carbon footprint at internet speed/scale is the printernet.

A gezillion exchanges at 2 cents an exchange = 2% of a gezillion = "obscene profits." I figure that printers could use some "obscene" profits right about now.

Next stop on this train is free clickable newspapers to replace textbooks in bottom of the pyramid high schools and in the market on education non consumption.

Twitter streams in #clickableprint. My two cents: It's the next big thing.

Clickable Print = Print + TinyPurls + Smart QR. It's about connecting Print and personal TV.

Twitter is still being figured out. Some snippets from iShift follow
Twitter Spirituality,
"Upstart social media phenomenon Twitter has been generating plenty of conversation on its impacts and meaning—practical, technological, and even spiritual.

Media consultant Steven Vedro, for example, just posted a new essay on his blog called "Twitter, Ambient Awareness, and Spiritual Practice." Former IONS staff member Stephen Dinan recently posted "The Spiritual Importance of Twitter" on his blog (check out the cautionary response of "mattbert" a few comments below it).

Other perspectives on how Twitter is reflecting and impacting both public-collective and individual consciousness include the following:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wow. EK closed at 4.04. That puts them back in the green for me.

Back in February, when I started putting together a print centric IRA, Kodak was 4.02. In the ensuing months, it stayed in the red. At the end of trading today, it's back in the green.

It might be just a moving up market. But maybe someone else sees what I saw last Saturday. Meanwhile, at the close of business today everybody is in the green.

Go Print!

Full disclosure. Long on Kodak.

What happens if by 2012 everybody can get printed books for free.

It could be $X.00 for a book with no advertising. $X.00 -$ Y.00 for books with no advertising. If the advertising were in the form of a column on recto page of Smart QR, what reader wouldn't choose free? If the Smart QR and TinyPurls deliver clickstreams for customer informatics, which marketer wouldn't pay for it.

If this sounds nuts, consider
the recent Amazon patent and the fact that the person who wrote that patent jumped to Google. Then consider that Amazon is now in the Print on Demand book business with both feet. To me, the idea that Amazon wants to get into the printing business with the present business model, sounds nuts.

Free-to-the-user print, means lots and lots of clicks for everyone. That's why my IRA is a collection of printing and newspaper public companies. Publishers? not so much.

Go Print!

Why twitter streams in clickable print is a big deal

In this morning's stroll through twitter, I found this:
BrightMagnet The Rapid Growth Of Twitter With The Stats To Prove It (via @mitchjoel

Which took me to the following:
The . . . information (below) is from a news item in Marketing Charts titled, Twitter Posts Meteoric 1,382% YoY Growth. The news item was based on a Blog posting from Nielsen Wire titled, Twitter's Tweet Smell Of Success.

  • 1,382% year-over-year growth in February 2009.
  • Total unique visitors grew from 475,000 in February 2008 to seven million last month.
  • Twitter is the fastest growing member community site for the month of February.
  • Zimbio (240%) and Facebook (228%) were the second and third-fastest growing online communities.
  • Twitter is not just for kids: In February 2009, adults ages 35-49 had the largest representation on Twitter - almost 3 million unique visitors from this age group (almost 42% of the entire audience).
  • 62% of the audience access Twitter from work only, while only 35% access it only from home - watch out for those, "Twitter is killing our productivity at work" articles to start flowing out of the mass media any day now.
  • It's all about mobile: In January 2009, 735,000 unique visitors accessed Twitter via their mobile device.
  • The average unique visitor went to Twitter 14 times during the month.
  • They spent an average of 7 minutes on the site.
  • In Q4 2008, 812,000 unique users sent or received Twitter text messages (via AT&T or Verizon cell phones).
  • The average tweet per person for the quarter was nearly 240.
Then I threw this into the twitter stream:

#ClickablePrint = Dead tree #Print + TinyPurls + Smart #QR = "Print to Personal TV." Print and TV are the two push media. 1 + 1 = ???

Is it the Cloud or is it Bubble Communication?

There are financial bubbles. There is bubble thinking. There are thought bubbles. Messages are said to be sticky. Maybe it isn't getting on someone's radar or target marketing. Maybe it's getting inside someone's bubble. If your hands are covered with soapy water, they are sticky.

Watch the video till the end to see what I'm trying to say.

Andy Tribute on Heidelberg's LinoPrint and DriveLine. And why I love enigneers.

The thing I like about Andy Tribute is that he writes like a journalist but seems to think like an engineer. Plus he is a visiting Professor at University of the Arts London.

Some snippets of today's commentary follow. The full read is at WhatTheyThink:
. . . First customer installations of a pilot series of DriveLine printing systems for four-color printing were taken into operation in June 2009.. . .

Other inkjet web fed label presses such as the EFI Jetrion 4000 and the Sun Chemical Solarjet only print a narrow web up to 6.5 inches in width. The market leader in digital label printing is HP Indigo and their latest press is the HP Indigo WS6000. This in four-color mode prints at a speed of 30 meters/min with a print width of 12.48 inches. The other key player in this market is Xeikon with the Xeikon 3300 press that prints at 19.2 meters/min.
So my take away is:
Heidelberg 13.38 ins @ 60meters/min
HP 12.48 ins @ 30meters/min
EFI 6.5 inches @ ?
Xeikon ? @19.2 meters / min

Engineers like to talk about productivity. It's just common sense.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Amazon goes into Printing with Both Feet. What will Google do? And who is getting the clicks at Booksurge?

Kindle DX is for college textbooks. Print on demand is also for college. When is someone going to get into K -12. Is that what Google might do?
Big Print Deal for BookSurge -
8/3/2009 8:14:00 AM
- Graphic Arts Online:
"’s BookSurge on-demand printing unit won a deal with the University of Michigan to produce thousands of books, many no longer in copyright—including rare and one-of-a-kind, BookSurge, University of Michigan titles. The program will make 400,000 titles in more than 200 languages available; prices range from $10 to about $45."

YIkes! Barron's does a story about an "office equipment maker." Barron's says "Ricoh May Rise 30 Percent as Acquisition Pay Off."

The acquisitions in question are InfoPrint and Ikon. Now if someone can get IBM and Ricoh, Japan to focus on the clickable newspapers instead of textbooks, I and my IRA will be happier still.
Ricoh May Rise 30 Percent as Acquisition Pay Off, Barron’s Says -
"By Mina Kawai
Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Ricoh Co., Japan’s second-largest maker of office equipment, may rise 30 percent or more over the next year as the global economy improves and recent acquisitions boost profit, Barron’s reported, citing Yoshikazu Higurashi, an analyst at Deutsche Securities Inc. in Tokyo.

The 2007 purchase of InfoPrint Solutions, International Business Machine Corp.’s printing-systems unit, provides Ricoh with a foothold in the high-volume document market, “one of the fastest-growing segments” for office equipment, the weekly newspaper said in its Aug. 3 issue, citing Kunihiko Kanno, an analyst at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.

The company’s 2008 acquisition of Ikon Office Solutions, a distributor of copiers and printers for its bigger competitor Canon Inc., may lure some customers to Ricoh products, Barron’s said."
Actually I think they are a little behind the curve on the Canon thing. From what I think I read 70% of Canon boxes have already been replaced by Ricoh boxes.

Full disclosure: Long on Ricoh.

2D Bar Codes a Hit With Techies and Advertisers—Will They Catch On?

Sometimes the exceptionalism blinders in America and Europe are such a pain . .
2D Bar Codes a Hit With Techies and Advertisers—Will They Catch On?:
"QR codes are used in mobile-savvy regions of the world for advertising, ticketing and even nutrition information on food; how will the codes be received in the U.S.?"
As smartphone continue to grow in growing robust 3G networks in the States, QR codes will grow. It's working in South East Asia. Exactly why wouldn't it work here?

It's like sitting in 1997 and asking how the Internet will be received in Asia.

Did Ursula Burns talk Education to Barack Obama over lunch while Martin Reiser was writing letters to Nancy Pelosi?

Compare and contrast:
from Politico:
W.H. makes CEOs pay for lunch - Eamon Javers
"Four of the most powerful business leaders in America arrived at the White House one day last month for lunch with President Barack Obama, sitting down in his private dining room just steps from the Oval Office.
. . .
Around the table with Barack Obama that afternoon were Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox Corporation; Muhtar Kent, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company; AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson; and Honeywell International CEO Dave Cote.

From Bloomberg
Boeing, Xerox Join 185 Groups Objecting to House Health Plan
July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co., Xerox Corp. and Caterpillar Inc. are among 185 companies and business groups objecting to health-care legislation in the U.S. House that they say would hurt their ability to cover employees..

. .The letter to the House leaders is to be sent today, said Martin Reiser, chairman of the National Coalition on Benefits, a Washington group that gathered the signatures. Reiser is also a manager of government policy for Norwalk, Connecticut-based Xerox.

The legislation may require companies to offer different coverage for workers depending on their location and limit changes to retiree benefits, the business coalition said in a letter being sent to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

I started Tough Love for Xerox in January 2009 because I saw a letter about Xerox policy in regard to retired pension holders. Below is a snippet:

December 6, 2008

Matthew R. Maher Jr.

Dear President elect Obama and Vice President elect Biden,

We voted and campaigned for you and congratulate you both. We are confident you have America’s middle class at heart. Your polices will determine our future voting, however we fear you have made a mistake selecting Anne Mulchey, CEO of Xerox, to your economic team.

My wife and I along with 30,000 other middle class employees retired from Xerox with over 30 years of dedicated service were promised retirement benefits when we retired. Ann Mulchey CEO of Xerox has completely eliminated funding for promised health care benefits for all 30,000 retired employees and 50,000 future retirees. . . .

Read the full letter at This Doesn't Sound Right

In January, I blogged,
Somebody needs to fix it. The whole pension issue is going to blow up in the press probably sooner rather than later. To be clear, I have no idea if it's true or not. Just posted what I found. Is the money saved really worth the potential brand damage as we move into an Obama defined world?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why I love blogs and Yammer in addition to twitter. And the opportunity for someone to add MPS to Google Apps.

Early this morning I posted about enterprise twitter to fix email. At 10:11 AM I got the following comment:
Chris Yeh said... The main Enterprise Twitter product is Yammer. Other folks like Socialtext have built Twitter-like functionality into appliances. August 2, 2009 10:11 AM
So then I googled Yammer and learned once again there are no new ideas, just different implementations. From Yammer's website, I took this;
Used by Employees at More Than 40,000 Businesses Worldwide:
client logos
A quick look at the About page got me this:

The basic Yammer service is free. Companies can pay to claim and administer their networks. Yammer was founded by former executives and early employees of PayPal, eGroups, eBay, and Tribe. It is backed by venture capital firms Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures.

The team is composed of serious experienced people and it looks like money is in the game. Here's the video:

But, like almost everyone in tech, the missed the power of print.
It's a longer story for a different post. But the short story is:
1. Every enterprise email is opened in the context of power, not as information.
2. The goal of people in power is to make sure everyone heard what they had to say.
3. The problem with email is that it doesn't have constraints so people tend to protect themselves with lots of words.

The Use Case for Print + enterprise twitter.
The supervisor tweets. Once a week the twitter stream is printed out and distributed to each employee. Since everyone is mostly too busy, being busy to read a twitter stream, it is the distributed Print which eliminates "I didn't see that" or "You never told me." or "Gosh. Information Overload is blablabla."

140 characters with a tinyurl is clear message. Clicking on the tinyurl says you saw it. Handing out a dated print version says "I expect you to know about this."

That's the way it would work in a high school class or most enterprises.

People make enterprise sales. Tech is for everyone else.
Yammer or Google Wave or Google Apps has API's to manage the print fleet, that means resellers on the ground who sell copiers. Copier salespeople, as we all know, are the most ferocious hunters in the marketplace. The independents who have moved to MPS are the best farmers in the marketplace.

Google is already doing "transpromo". I wonder who is getting the clicks. C'mon Google lets take down textbooks with clickable newspapers.

Google's Ad-Sales Reporting Is the Real Newspaper Killer
"I got a handsome newsletter from Google (GOOG) a few weeks ago.

It was a four-page 80-pound-paper stock mailing, printed just for me, in a crisp envelope, entitled Adwords Newsletter. It was to tell me about my recent ad campaign with Google. A report worthy of the old Price Waterhouse, it was as useful an explanation of Google advertising as could be devised in four pages. Typographically, it was very good.

Mind you, I had spent a less than $10 with Google. I had been hooked by a $50 Google trial offer that had been part of a promotional package sent out to users of Hostgator, my web hosting company.

The page had a summary of the Google advertising I had done, and a repeat of the most effective ad.

The custom report also had keywords that worked to lure my 11 clicks, total impressions (over 70,000) and a 0.03% click-through-rate. On the back, it had explanations of how to figure ROI. I compare it to newspapers, who often just expect small retail merchants to understand lingo like CPM. The lead sentence was:

You probably already review the number of clicks and impressions your ads receive, but are you tracking your ROI too?"
read more at Seeking Alpha:

Enterprise Twitter? Must be happening somewhere. Just not on my radar yet. Twitter streams in clickable print? Still scanning the radar.

Twitter is much better than enterprise email. I assume, but don't know, that Google Wave has a twitter like feature. That means Google Apps should scale faster rather than slower.

The things about twitter are
1. You don't have to CC to everyone to make sure they are "in the loop" which eliminates the stress of who is supposed to know about "X."

2. There is no inmplied expectation of a response, with all the needless stress that creates.

3.It creates, stores and searches the metrics to hold everyone accountable. The assumption is that if it is there, everyone is responsible for knowing about it. None of this "You never told me! blablabla.

The secret sauce is the 140 character constraint.
If you have something serious to say in 140 characters, you think before you click. It cuts down dramatically on communication pollution. Less communication pollution means a more sustainable communication ecology. It's just another way of saying, "Cut out the bs."

From Wired.Com. 2007.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the web is positively enamored with Twitter.

Over the past few months, a flood of clones has appeared, imitating and repurposing the "micro-blogging" concept popularized by the San Francisco-based social networking start-up. People generally use Twitter to post short status updates telling their friends via SMS what they're doing right this minute ("Reading").

A page on the Twitter Fan wiki, a community site run by Twitter users, lists at least a dozen copycats, most of them overseas. Chinese blogger "Thw" has compiled a list of a dozen more.

Some of the imitators, like Germany's Wamadu and Japan's Mogu2, have copied the Twitter model outright, even cloning the look and feel of Twitter's website. One of the most aggressive clones is Frazr, a site with both French and German-speaking user communities. Frazr is a full-featured clone, complete with custom Firefox and WinAmp plug-ins for posting messages.

Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Jeff Bezos walk into a bar. and good news for Print.

What a week! Some bonehead lawyer stampedes my people to do what they could do not what they should do. And nobody thought to call me! Now I have to deal with this bs instead of focusing on KindleX and reinventing college textbooks.

Tell me about it. Years of meetings and meetings with the music publishers. The writing was on the wall and all they knew how to do was call the lawyers and sue kids. What is their problem? There are so many better ways to make money then charging for words.

I'm so glad we're not in the selling words business. Getting down in the mud with IP protectors is such a time sink. We took a run at last year. What a mess!

Can't wait to go live with Android for the phone screen, Chrome OS for the computer and if the printers can calm down, we'll have the paper piece in place. The engineers are putting the final touches on delivering those non IP books in college libraries. And the printers have their big show in Chicago in October. I'm hearing all kinds of interesting stuff about marginal costs per page and delivery times.

Jeff: I know what you mean. My folks are working overtime on scaling the contextual advertising machine for books. The faster we get to that, the faster we can get books for free-to-the-user.

Eric: Yup. That's been working for us on the web. I can't see why it wouldn't work in Print. Jeff, I 'm sorry we had to steal the guy who did the patent application for you. But you know what they say about love/war.

Jeff: No problem. Besides I know more about books and words in print then you do. Plus my recommendation engine at the site can get into the market faster than you. It should be an interesting game.

Steve: So how long do you think it's going to take to get to Ap Store for content? Those newspaper people are so stressed. And the printers? Yikes. Their are still lots of them thinking the sky is falling. There's a lot of people out there who need this to happen sooner, rather than later.

Jeff: It should be pretty soon. But the publishers are driving me nuts. I can't wait until I get to critical mass of writers/ journalists/academics. The folks at Flat World Knowledge seem to have it close to right for college textbooks. But, I still haven't seen a K -12 textbook model I can trust.

Eric and Steve: Good luck!
As they finish up the buyer from WalMart drops by.

Ms WalMart buyer: Hi guys. I'm still waiting to test testing the revenue per square foot for books on demand and hyper local versioned clickable newspapers.
A crowd starts gathering. Starbucks, Costco, Staples are in the lead, followed close behind by school board members, followed close behind by public health officials and local community start ups.

All: Me too!
Commotion ensues.

Yes. It is true that America is a litigious culture.
On the other hand, Amazon has little choice when selling IP protected words. IP is only defensible by the skill of various lawyers and the depth of available pockets

My bet this whole kerfuffle started with lawyers in the first place. The decision to resolve it at Amazon was probably made by lawyers and IT people. Jeff probably didn't find out about it until after the fact. When he did, he immediately said it was "stupid and thoughtless."

"Stupid and thoughtless" is the ever present danger to every CEO in the world. Consider the recent flap in Boston with Gates and the cop.

Maybe Bezos will invite the kid to a local Starbucks, give him a lifetime pass to buy books at Amazon. The drama might pass and Amazon could turn a lemon into lemonade.

Meanwhile, the ensuing blablabla can only help printers, so bad for Jeff Bezos may be good for Print.

Amazon in court over Orwell Kindle deletions
"A Michigan high school student has demanded recompense for Amazon's sudden snatch-back of his copy of George Orwell's 1984.

The US District Court suit said: 'With an uncanny knack for irony, Amazon recently remotely deleted any traces of certain electronic copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from customers' Kindles and iPhones, thereby sending these books down Orwell's so-called 'memory hole.'

The student, Justin Gawronski, said his notes on the electronic copy of 1984 were now useless as they referred to different sections in other copies of the book.

Real books
His lawsuit drew comparisons with 'real' books, saying: 'Amazon has no more right to delete e-books from consumers' Kindles and iPhones than it does to retrieve from its customers' homes paper books it sells and ships to consumers.'

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has already apologised for the move, calling it 'stupid and thoughtless.'"