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Industry Insight

BoSacks Speaks Out: SAPPI & SIPA

Last week was quite amazing for me, and it revolved around only four letters of our alphabet. Those letters are S, P, I. and A.

By Bob Sacks
Published: May 31, 2012

Last week was quite amazing for me, and it revolved around only four letters of our alphabet. Those letters are S, P, I. and A.

In correct order last Monday, I was in Washington DC to speak at the SIPA conference. (Specialized Information Publishers Association). SIPA is an international trade association that focuses on the interests and profitability of publishers of subscription newsletters. This was a new group for me, and I found it fascinating not only to talk to them, but to mix and mingle with this group of publishers.

After SIPA I was off to a two day “Think Tank” meeting with Sappi. In my book Sappi Fine Paper is an excellent producer and supplier of coated fine paper and pulp. For you older guys like me you will remember that Sappi started as the S. D. Warren Company in 1854.

This think tank, which I feel very privileged to have been invited to become a member a few years ago, is a collection of various major "players" in the field of communication. They include a major ink supplier, a major digital press manufacturer, a major advertising agency, a major retailer, a major publisher, a major printer, and you get the idea. It is a room of most of the satellites of the information distribution industry sharing thoughts, concepts and trying to establish what the key issues are as we proceed into the near and far future of our businesses. By the way, think tank is not what Sappi calls it; that is my summation of what we do as a group. They call it a customer panel. My hat is off to forward thinking Sappi for putting together such an outstanding collection of intelligent industry philosophers and genuine doers. I felt the air sizzling with positive and progressive energy by people who love what they do and obviously do it very, very well.

There was an additional Sappi meeting this week, which combined our visionary/process forward thinking group with another Sappi customer panel focusing on sustainability issues. These two panels combined in a half day blending of the minds to discuss the current thoughts and processes that the sustainability panel has been working on for quite some time. It is/was a very impressive day of insights and shared reasoning. The thinking process was exciting and I do wish the entire industry could have been in the room via a web cast as we discussed the goals of reasonable carbon neutral publishing.

I am telling you all this because I wanted to share with you the exhilarating process of having the opportunity to get perspectives from multiple vantage points. This is beyond helpful in understanding where we are and where we are going.

I have always recommended for the sake of your careers, you should go as often as is reasonable and possible to mingle at workshops, seminars and industry conferences. The benefit to your current job, your next job and your career is priceless.


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