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Charlie Corr of Mimeo on his perspective on new technology

Published on May 21, 2012

Cary Sherburne:  Hi. I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink and I'm here with my good friend Charlie Corr, who is Chief Strategy Officer at Mimeo.  Actually, I just gave you that title.

Charlie Corr:  You gave me that title; thank you.

Cary Sherburne:  Tell the boss.  But you're involved with setting the strategy for -- the strategic direction, the product strategy and marketing.

Charlie Corr:  Yes.  That's right.

Cary Sherburne:  That's great.  So and that's – and Mimeo of course is primarily an online company.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah.  One hundred percent online.  Everything we get is digital and everything we get is through the Internet.

Cary Sherburne:  And so, you know, many of us have spent an inordinate amount of time trumping around Dusseldorf in the past several weeks feels like, looking at all kinds of great new technology.  And actually it was kind of an exciting show because it was, you know, there was a lot going on.

Charlie Corr:  Yes.

Cary Sherburne:  But what's your perspective, I mean on that and what a printer, as you are now, should thinking about when they're looking into making this kind of an investment.  And what should a manufacturer be thinking about when they're bringing the products to market?

Charlie Corr:  Be thinking about.  Yeah, and I think you can get so drawn up in the latest equipment or the latest approach or the latest technology and when you're an insider that stuff can get you – as you said, like this excitement. And we know we spend a lot of time of it and we're passionate about it, but I do think you have to keep in context the customers are not as excited about it. Customers are mainly ambivalent about it.  You pick the right technology; meet my needs; and do it effectively.  Right?  And do it most cost effectively.  Do it in the most – the least painful way for me.

Cary Sherburne:  And when you say customers –

Charlie Corr:  Or the most efficient way.

Cary Sherburne:  Your customers as a printer.

Charlie Corr:  My customers.  Right,  right. And take pain, take cost out of the supply chain.  Make it easier to communicate.  Make it more cost effective to communicate.  In print, view, right, however is the most effective way and I think we can lose sight of that.  That print, in and of itself, really is a commodity and we do kind of understand there are all these formats.  We kind of know them, right?  The technology changes –

Cary Sherburne:  Well we more than kind of know them.  We know them.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah, we know them.  It's been around for a long time and I do think one of the things we're seeing is an acknowledgement that certain people know how to move paper really well.  Well I can substitute a technology and they still know how to move paper really well.

Cary Sherburne:  And that's kind of interesting when you think about what like what Landa is doing – nanographics with the offset press manufacturers.  They know how to move paper really well.  Komori knows how to move paper.

Charlie Corr:  Yes.

Cary Sherburne:  Heidelberg knows how to move paper.

Charlie Corr:  Yeah.  Yep.  They're very efficient at it.  And you start to see these hybrids – especially with inkjet, right – where you can put inkjet systems on an existing offset press and then you see these other approaches.  And I think that makes perfect sense ultimate you want to incorporate what you have and know and you can leverage and take advantage of new technologies but the new technologies have to meet the requirements of the customer.  And it's price, it's helping them in their supply chain, right, it's helping them communicate effectively.  So you can easily – you can often lose sight of what they're trying to do as opposed to how neat we think our tools are to do it.

Cary Sherburne:  You know it's kind of interesting and I'm going to pick on IBM a little bit here but I'm going to draw an analogy here – but if you go back to the early '80s when the proposal came to the corporate management committee to do the IBM PC, the proposal ended up being almost an anathema to the IBM strategy because they couldn't use IBM disks; they couldn't use memory.  Everything – they couldn't use service and support.  It was all too expensive.  It would never had been competitive.  And they were able to actually overcome that as a corporation and say, okay, we're going to partner...

Charlie Corr:  Yeah.

Cary Sherburne:  ...in the channel, we're going to do all of this and they came to market...

Charlie Corr:  Right.

Cary Sherburne:  ...and the rest is history.  Well now you see that happening, for example, Heidelberg – everything was Heidelberg and now...

Charlie Corr:  Right. Now it's--

Cary Sherburne:  ...you know now they're saying we're partnering with Landa, we're partnering with Ricoh, we're doing this, we're doing do.  So it is really kind of an interesting transition that's happening, but maybe it's not happening fast enough.

Charlie Corr:  It may not be and I think it's something new for us, right?  And in a redefined economic environment where you have fewer resources just because of the whole macroeconomic issues around print, you almost have to move in those directions, right?

Cary Sherburne:  Right.

Charlie Corr:  Because you're not going to have the type of margins that print once enjoyed.  Probably ever again.

Cary Sherburne:  Ever again.

Charlie Corr:  Right?  So it's a new reality and I'm struck by that new reality in the partnership levering what's good, incorporating new technology, always the notion of what does the customer want?  They want more efficient communication.

Cary Sherburne:  Right.

Charlie Corr:  It's appropriate for them.

Cary Sherburne:  The end customer.  Exactly.

Charlie Corr:  At the right cost, right?  That's what they want.  They're not as enamored about technology in and of itself – only what it can deliver to them.  Kind of like Intel inside, right?  

Cary Sherburne:  Right.

Charlie Corr:  They don't really care in -

Cary Sherburne:  Well that's interesting and very thought provoking, so hopefully we'll get some comments on this video.

Charlie Corr:  Yes, yes, I hope so.  

Cary Sherburne:  And people can find out more about you guys by visiting mimeo.com 

Charlie Corr:  Com.  Yes.

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Discussion

By Henry Freedman on May 21, 2012

One way to look at the discussion re Landa is that Heidelberg and the other press manufacturers have always used other peoples inks
so Landa is another ink option. The twist here is they (press manufacturers) need to modify the press if they wish to use Landa ink. The new Heidleberg/Landa press may not allow customer to switch inks as they can with Heidelberg offset presses as well as the others. This is a huge change for customers of such expensive press equipment.

 

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