Will Adobe Be the New Seybold? Momentum in Print Scheduled for January 2006
Press release from the issuing company
October 19, 2005 -- (WhatTheyThink.com exclusive - By Cary Sherburne) -- On the heels of Seybold’s abandonment of its conference programs—once the most influential trade show and conference in the printing and publishing industry—Adobe has stepped in with a new initiative designed to bring together print professionals from around the country to discuss best practices in shop management, technology use and product wish lists. They'll also be able to give feedback directly to the vendors—including Adobe and its partners—as well as discuss emerging trends, ask the experts about common print workflow problems and get tutorials on the latest technology.
Called Momentum in Print, the event will be held at the San Francisco Marriott January 22 through 24, 2006. Frank Romano, well-known industry pundit and Professor Emeritus at RIT, has been hard at work organizing the program. WhatTheyThink spoke with Frank to get the inside scoop.
WTT: Frank, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. Do you see Momentum in Print becoming the new Seybold?
FR: I don’t think it can be the new Seybold, because it is an Adobe event—that is, organized by one supplier. But Adobe is certainly one of the major suppliers to the industry. In preparing this event, they created an advisory group, of which I am the chair, and this group has helped immensely in developing the program and helping to define the content for each of the seminars.
WTT: Who are the other members of the advisory board?
FR: Joe Novak, Williamson Printing Company; David Zwang, Zwang & Company; Dave Minnick, Consolidated Graphics Group; Harvey Levenson, Cal Poly; Rick Littrell, MagiComm; Tim Wood, Allegra Network, and a few others. It is a wonderful cross section of academia, trade associations, consultants and real live users. Most of them have participated regularly in the planning phone calls. They helped to write the abstracts for the seminars and to define what each session should cover.
WTT: Which Adobe partners are participating?
FR: So far, we have quite a few, including Xerox, Heidelberg, Océ, Printable Technologies, callas software, Robocatalog, Kodak, Helios and Rococo. We also have two association sponsors: DDAP and PIA/GATF.
WTT: What’s the status of program development? January is right around the corner.
FR: We now have a working draft of the seminar and tutorial program. The conference will consist of tutorials, seminars, panels and keynote sessions. The tutorials will run on Sunday, January 22nd, and they will be longer and more in depth. Seminars will be conducted throughout the next two days, and will be shorter length but more focused. In fact, we call them focus sessions. There will be over 30 tutorials and focus sessions, so it will be quite an extensive program.
There will also be keynotes delivered by Adobe and others. We are currently searching for a major keynoter and hope to announce that soon. Some of the content is still in development, and we are actively looking for speakers to round out the program.
WTT: I know that Adobe has held various types of user conferences. Is this related to those at all?
FR: No. This is a completely new event specifically designed for the printing industry, but it will also include all of the constituents that work with printers. There are sessions that talk about cross media, but the objective is to bring printers together to talk about workflow and the subjects that are important to them in getting their work done.
WTT: What will a printer get from this that they won’t get from other conferences that might be available?
FR: You really can’t compare Momentum in Print to other conferences. Other conferences are usually very specific in terms of their subject matter, like webcasts and seminars on how to use JDF and PDF, and applying workflow to your business. This is more of a Renaissance Fair that gets into those issues that are important to printers today, in depth. So it will also include subjects like proofing, the business side of VDP, options for Web to print—just about everything you can imagine that is important to a printer. It will be great content to help them focus their business on where the opportunities are.
WTT: Does this signal a change in strategy at Adobe?
FR: In the past, Adobe has treated print as sort of a subcategory. There is a definite sea change at Adobe over the last year or so, with their desire to grow the print ecosystem. This goes beyond the desire to sell more product, and its more focused on helping people do a better job and helping to grow the industry. Of course, it can help them as a vendor in the long run, but it is a much more macro view. Adobe believes that if printers are successful, Adobe will be successful as well.
WTT: What are you expecting in terms of attendance? Do you see this as a regional conference?
FR: We are looking for over 500 printers to attend from all over the country. The San Francisco Marriott, located near Moscone Center where Seybold was traditionally held, has a gigantic exhibition and conference area. I like it because it is more compact. I like the fact that it is at a hotel and everything is easy to get to. We will have over 50 speakers and moderators there as well, for a total of over 700 in attendance, including partners.
WTT: So while we have you, what are your thoughts about Seybold?
FR: What is really funny is that yesterday I received the mailing piece from Seybold for their New York event. They cancelled it right after Print 05, but it seems that the mailing went out anyway. This has to be a collector’s item!
It is sad when you think about the ultimate fate of Seybold. It was such an important event. I learned more at Seybold events than any other event I can think of. I think the reason that it died is that it didn’t have a personality anymore. Jonathan Seybold was the glue that kept it all together. After Jonathan wasn’t involved anymore, the conference was managed by a small group of people who didn’t quite understand the industry. Jonathan had his finger on the pulse of the industry, and the subject matter and content reflected that.
The Adobe advisory group has been very cohesive and has done a very good job of identifying critical issues. Normally, though, committees don’t work that well. In reality, in the U.S. right now, you don’t have any major event where people come together to talk about common interests. Maybe On Demand will play that role, but so far it hasn’t. No one magazine or trade association can do it, because others—their competitiors—won’t support it. Graph Expo would be a possibility, but they do not run a conference—it is a group of seminar sessions without general or keynote sessions.
WTT: So do you see the Adobe event, then, filling that void?
FR: The Adobe event could fill that void. In certain areas, they don’t have competitors. With PostScript you have the dominant glue that brings the entire industry together. Think about Photoshop—where is the competitor to Photoshop? In effect, they are probably the most important supplier to the printing industry, and up to now they had not done a lot with the printing industry in terms of formal education. This is their first attempt to bring it all together.
The things that brought everyone together at Seybold were the issues of the day—typesetting, fonts, desktop publishing, the Internet. Maybe today the problem is that we don’t have any issues anymore. It is all about incremental improvement now. So the question is, how can I, with incremental improvement, make things better. So that is what Adobe is doing with this conference.
WTT: Is there a cost associated with the conference?
FR: Yes. It is a nominal cost just to offset some of the expenses. I have no doubt that this is not a money making event for Adobe when you consider all the costs that go onto it, including food, the facilities and everything else. And all of us on the advisory committee are volunteers. We are doing this because it is Adobe, and we all have a vested interest because of the involvement of Adobe products in whatever we do. Here’s the price structure:
Early bird discount (before December 1, 2005): $395.00
Registration after December 1, 2005: $495.00
Adobe Solutions Network Premium members: $295.00
Registration should be available online soon, if it isn’t already, at www.adobe.momentuminprint.com/
WTT: Anything else you would like to add before we close?
FR: I think this is a great idea, and I am glad Adobe is doing it. A lot of credit has to go to Robin Tobin and her team. She is one of those unsung heroes at Adobe. She is the Senior Manager, Print Industry Marketing and coordinates all the graphic arts initiatives for Adobe.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.