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Googled: A Book Review

Google is arguably one of the most fascinating companies of our times. Founded in 1998, the typical Silicon Valley “two guys in a garage,” the company quickly skyrocketed to prominence as the preferred search engine for many as well as a premier advertising platform. In his book, Ken Auletta does an outstanding job of documenting the company’s history and accomplishments to date.


Building an Innovation Platform (Premium Content)

This article discusses how Apple’s iPad has created a scalable technology platform for growth where the end customer becomes loyal and continues to invest in new applications. It also strikes a comparison to Mail Print’s Web services platform, which has created new ways of doing business and a growth platform for new offerings, applications, and services.


Océ's New Strategy for the Future (Premium Content)

Océ is already the leader in continuous feed inkjet presses. If things are working so well, it seems unlikely they would make a drastic change. At the recent Canon Expo though, they made an announcement that Andy Tribute claims will dramatically shift their strategy.


Sharp Decrease in Layoffs Due to Bankruptcy Reflect Industry Improvement (Premium Content)

Even something that sounds bad, like the number of printing industry layoffs due to bankruptcy, can be good if they're declining. Dr. Joe explains the sharp decline in the last four quarters and why it's very good news.


Conventional Print at the GASC Shows: What Was, Isn’t, and Will Be

The Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) events were due to reach an inflection point, and it seems clear that at Graph Expo 2010, they reached one from which there will be no turning back. The break in the connection between showing heavy printing equipment and selling it made Graph Expo 2010 a watershed event. No longer do press manufacturers makers need elaborate displays of machinery at the GASC shows in order to achieve the marketing impact they desire.


Personalized Packaging Brings Sweet Success (Premium Content)

Irongate Digital of Derby, U.K. has used its Web-to-print and digital color printing expertise to develop personalized chocolate boxes to catapult its clients’ candy sales. Irongate leveraged its existing technologies to enhance the value of print for its customers. WhatTheyThink.com caught up with them and assembled some recommendations for print service providers that are hoping to expand their Web-to-print offerings into packaging applications.


The Three-Letter Problem! (Premium Content)

Why are so many companies in the print industry choosing three-initial names that prove completely indistinguishable from the next three-initial name. Whether it’s ABC or XYZ, Andy Tribute tries to sort out the confusion.


Reading Past the Employment Headline: Someone's Got to Do It (Premium Content)

Sometimes you actually have to read past the first paragraph to find out what's going on, and looking at the tables of statistical reports with the real data leads to conclusions that are quite different than the headlines. Dr. Joe does the statistical equivalent of going into the kitchen to see how clean it is before believing a restaurant's reviews. You may have heard that there were elections last week, and that they might have been important. Keep it all in perspective, and don't get ahead of things. There's political chaos ahead that may only increase the uncertainty.


What are the required and available tools for Print + eMedia (Premium Content)

In the ninth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of what tools you need for your new workflows. It will cover the options you have for Design and Workflow tools to help you determine what will work most effectively for you.


Sales Strategies: Sell Print and More by Connecting the Dots (Premium Content)

How do you wring more out of the sponge? How do you provide your clients with greater benefit? How do you match your services to your clients needs? Mike Philie of the NAPL has some advice on how to “hear” what your customer is really asking for.


Pulling the Trigger: Marketing Service Providers Are Stepping Up to the Challenge (Premium Content)

To send timely messages, marketers must have a clear understanding of the customer’s situation so they can generate the best event-based marketing activity. This is where something called trigger-based marketing comes into play. Trigger-based marketing works on the premise that you communicate with your customers at the precise time when they have a high propensity to purchase. This article provides information on two companies (RT Associates and Associates International) that are stepping up to the challenge of trigger-based marketing.


September U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.4%; Six Consecutive Months of Growth Versus 2009 (Premium Content)

September 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.58 billion, up $248 million (+3.4%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +2.2%. “This continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for six months, a welcome change for commercial printers,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.


Thinking Creatively: It’s Time to Revisit the Basics of “Conversation”

In a world where text messages outnumber mobile phone calls...and social network usage eclipses email…and customer service has turned into self service… the nature of conversation is being revolutionized. Specifically, this means “the commercial conversation”.


That Book of Business You’ve Acquired: Could It Be Missing Some Pages?

How do you know that business you just bought is going to keep earning what you’ve been promised? What questions should you be asking, what contingency plans should you be building, and what hang-ups should you be looking out for? The partners at New Direction Partners have some answers for us.


Memjet: Bringing disruptive change to packaging and labeling? (Premium Content)

Memjet may be a new name to many of our readers.  The company was founded in 2002 and designs and manufactures low-cost high quality inkjet printheads, print controllers and inks designed for use in printers for packaging and mailing applications.  Although OEMs have only had product components for 60 days, Memjet has been busy—five shows in the last six months in North America and Europe.  Read more about this potentially disruptive technology.


Q3 2010 Real GDP on Quarter/Quarter and Year/Year Basis (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe looks at the advance report for GDP in 2010's third quarter and explains what it means, what it doesn't, and why it might be worth ignoring.


Former HP Executive Bill McGlynn Talks About New Role at Memjet (Premium Content)

Bill McGlynn was well-known to many of our readers during his 25 years with HP, where he helped accelerate the company’s printing business from $150 million to $24 billion in annual sales, including his role in the Indigo acquisition which led HP’s entry into the commercial printing space.  Now McGlynn is building Memjet’s Home & Office Business as its President.  Read more…


The Paper Chase (Premium Content)

Planning for paper is one of the most important factors when running a print shop. Getting a read on the current state of the printing industry though, can feel like firing at a moving target. John Braceland tries to simplify your paper planning process and point your team in the right direction.


Pulling the Trigger: Bringing the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time (Premium Content)

While marketers are doing a better job at getting the right message to the right person, it is becoming increasingly important to send that message at the right time. Sending timely messages requires marketers to have a clear understanding of the customer’s situation so they can generate the best event-based marketing activity. This article discusses the concept of trigger-based marketing and also provides some examples of common triggers.


EFI CEO Bullish About Future of Industry, Company (Premium Content)

EFI released positive quarterly earnings last week with 28% revenue growth. CEO Guy Gecht indicated that EFI’s transformation is complete. EFI has gone from a single family of products (Fiery) to a broad portfolio of products, including VUTEk, Rastek, and Jetrion inkjet printers as well as APPS. They’ve aimed their efforts at key growth areas of the print industry: short run digital printing for documents, signage, packaging and software that automates business processes, with multiple channel strategies. WhatTheyThink spoke with Gecht following the earnings call to learn more.


King Printing - The Birthplace of Digital Book Printing? (Premium Content)

Digital book printing is one of the hottest areas in the print industry today. Andy Tribute went to visit King Printing – a medium sized printer of modest origins - that may have been the first to provide digitally printed books. He discovered a ridiculously innovative family–run shop that has kept itself on the edge of new print technologies.


Building the Infrastructure… Managing both the content and the process (Premium Content)

In the eighth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of what you need to build a good infrastructure for your new workflows. It will cover Content Management as well as other options you have to determine what will work most effectively for you.


Capacity Utilization: (Virtually) Meaningless (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe has quite the capacity to cause an argument about most anything economic, especially capacity utilization. Perhaps the state of employment in our industry is showing an unexpected shift from the big printing enclaves to new areas of growth. This unusual finding deserves some further scrutiny. Magazines get a boost from the auto industry, which was a clunker until recently. The sideways movement of the economy is obvious again, but Dr. Joe was flying high on WiFi and gives it the thumbs up.


The new world of print buying (Premium Content)

For the majority of us lay people print buying seems like a trick for the anointed few who can piece together a much larger puzzle of production parts. Frank Romano looks at the new world of the print buyer, how it has changed, how they do their jobs, and where congregate to share their secrets.


Lessons from a Visionary: An Interview with Mike Panaggio (Premium Content)

A visionary leader anticipates challenges and growth opportunities before they happen, positioning people to produce extraordinary business results. Real visions can lift organizations into the higher realm of new possibilities. In some ways, true visionaries spread the seeds of their visions so that those possibilities might take root in their organizations. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview DME Founder Mike Panaggio. This article outlines Mike’s predictions about the future of the communications industry.


Charlie Ying 1946 - 2010

The print industry lost a legend last month. Charlie Ying, and his company Atex, revolutionized prepress and changed the industry forever. Andy Tribute offers these memories of one of the great innovators of our industry.


The Turning Point: Graph Expo as Watershed for Digital Production

As Graph Expo made abundantly clear, there’s no longer any segment of the industry that can’t be addressed by digital solutions that will work as least as well as conventional lithography, at least in shorter runs. The industry’s embrace of digital production is now complete, and all that’s left to debate is how long it will take the pockets of resistance to get on board or go away.


Change in Commercial Printing Segments 1997-2008 (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe updates his look at the recent trends in printing industry employment and the last five months of increased sales are playing out.


Marketing and Innovation: A Lesson from Peter Drucker (Premium Content)

Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, stated that the business enterprise has only two basic functions—marketing and innovation. This article discusses how print service providers can leverage Drucker’s advice to improve their businesses. It also provides real-world examples from DME, Sandy Alexander, and the University of Iowa.


Value-Based Pricing: A New Business Transformation Model (Premium Content)

The commoditization of our product is a risk we face every day. This essay by Joseph Truncale of the NAPL highlights the difference between just selling print and making the shift to being a strategic partner who can deliver unique value to his customers.


Looking Back at Graph Expo 2010

There have been mixed reviews about Graph Expo. A slow start on Sunday. Not much offset. Andy Tribute, as always, was right in the thick of things. In this article he wraps up his thoughts on the event, and looks forward to Graph Expo 2011.


Do You Live in the Future?

Looking for a good read? Check out this review of I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work and Brain are Being Creatively Disrupted, by Nick Bilton. Bilton calls it “a unique reading experience,” and it is. Each chapter begins with a QR Code! (And this from a “Gray Lady” reporter.) It even includes some history about how print was one of the original disruptive technologies. Read on!


I'm a printer…can I do this, or do I need a degree in programming? (Premium Content)

In the seventh article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of what new skills are required and obstacles likely to be encountered for printers to bring cross-media services into their businesses. It focuses on how to grow the talent, or where to find the talent, that is required to be successful.


Three Numbers, 30-60-100, Foreshadow What's Ahead (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe explains what the numbers 30, 60, and 100 have to do with 2020 and our industry. Somehow, it all adds up. The unemployment report shows an “L” shaped recession, even though we are now in an extended recovery. See what 30, 60, and 100 have in store for us.


August U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.3% (Premium Content)

August 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.3 billion, up $235 million (+3.3%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +2.2.


Too Many Trade Shows?

The last couple of years have been difficult for both printers and suppliers to our industry. While there are positive signs that indicate a path to recovery, and many companies are investing to better position themselves for a brighter future, many suppliers to the industry believe that we have too many trade shows and too many of them are too siloed for today’s diverse environment. Hear what they—and GASC—have to say.


The Attendee Perspective: Why They Were at Graph Expo

Over the past several years, trade show attendance has declined due to economic downturns. Organizations are trying to do more with fewer people, which makes it all the more difficult to get away from the office to attend an event. Much of the product information that we used to get from trade shows is now available at your fingertips via the Internet. Barb Pellow took the opportunity to ask a number of people why they were at Graph Expo 2010 and to determine their specific areas of interest. The message was that attendees came to learn, listen, and network.


As Graph Expo Goes Digital, Where Exactly Is It Taking Us?

We’ll be happy to stand corrected if our count is wrong, but, after prowling the show floor of Graph Expo 2010 in search of lithographic printing equipment, we came up with only four fully assembled offset presses. Where did the heavy iron go? That’s not all that makes this year’s event seem a bit eerie when contrasted with the Graph Expo and Print shows of years past.


Graph Expo 2010: Back to the Future

Bo Jackson (yes, THAT Bo Jackson) was a keynote speaker. Offset presses seemed completely absent. Throngs of passionate spectators showed up at a time when some experts say the industry is perched for the second half of the double dip. Richard Romano reports on a Graph Expo that, so far, is full of pleasant surprises.


Technology's Role in Print Partnerships: Mimeo-FSI Alliance

These days software companies are building products that they know will get used in larger “mashup” solutions. The trend in software has moved towards simpler, interchangeable apps with fewer features but better functionality. The recent Mimeo-FSI partnership highlights a great example of an existing company getting dragged into the present to make the adjustments necessary to be competitive.


ISM Manufacturing Index - Selected Components Since December 2007 (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe explains the latest Institute for Supply Management manufacturing report in terms of its key components of new orders, prices paid, employment, and imports. The manufacturing side of the economy is still growing, but it looks like it's slowing down, and inflation is starting to creep into the system.


Peter Williams Discusses Ricoh’s European Business (Premium Content)

In this interview with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, Ricoh Europe Executive Vice President Peter Williams talks about the company’s IPEX experience, European distribution strategies, and the progress being made with integration of IKON and InfoPrint Solutions into the customer experience. Read the full interview.


HP's Inkjet Presses Succeed in Book Printing (Premium Content)

The most successful print supplier into the book printing market has been HP with their T300 press. Andy Tribute looks at the success of HP in this market. He also visits the first installation of the new HP T200 "entry-level" continuous feed color press at O'Neil Data Systems where it will operate alongside the O'Neil's T300 press.


Chris Lyons at Kodak: The importance of an application focus (Premium Content)

Chris Lyons, Kodak’s Global Market Segment Director, talks about his role at Kodak, what to expect from Kodak at Graph Expo, and his goals and challenges in this new role. Read the full article.


Graph Expo: Seek the Solutions that Deliver Change

Graph Expo 2010 (October 3-6 at McCormick Place South in Chicago, IL) represents an opportunity for print service providers to re-evaluate and re-assess their businesses. While this year’s event will certainly feature exciting equipment upgrades, enhancements, and new digital and traditional devices, savvy service providers will focus on solutions. This article provides an overview of just a few of the announcements that are designed to help service providers reduce their costs or grow their businesses.


Need a new way to make money?  Think Business Models

You'll find the phrase "business model" mentioned in magazine articles, obsessed over by venture capitalists and overheard in thousands of conference rooms daily. Yet, it is a concept that is often ill-defined, misunderstood, or completely ignored. Research shows that a good business model is the best predictor of a company's success. This resource and link-filled article is your guide to definitions, tools, examples and out-of-the-box, business model ideas.


How Valuation Answers the Question, "What Is Your Printing Company Worth?"

What is your printing company worth? Emotionally speaking, everything. But, owners contemplating the sale of their companies have to answer this tough question in an objective and a financially realistic way. Here are three common approaches to business valuation.


Xerox - A New Business Again (Premium Content)

Consultants in the print industry keep talking about the need for print companies to reinvent themselves. Andy Tribute takes a look at how Xerox has come back from the brink of bankruptcy to reposition themselves, and remain a power in the industry.


Dr. Joe at Graph Expo (Premium Content)

The educational aspects of the show floor at Graph Expo are an under-utilized opportunity that companies can use to better educate their staff. The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research certainly has taken its time in informing us when the recession ended and might soon be telling us the recovery is over. Dr. Joe explains it all, and even offers a review of Warren Werbitt's latest opus.


File Formats and Standards: Important keys to success (Premium Content)

In the sixth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of file formats and standards, two crucial components in cross-media production workflows. It will focus on what the important ones are, and how to keep up with them.


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