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Jeff Jacobson on his recent move to Xerox

Published on June 12, 2012

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at What They Think and I'm here with Jeff Jacobson, who is the president of Global Graphic Communications at Xerox.  Welcome.

Jeff Jacobson:  Thank you Cary.  It's a long title.

Cary Sherburne:  It's a long title and we've been through a few logos together.

Jeff Jacobson:  That's right.  That's right.

Cary Sherburne:  But you've had a few years in this industry and I just—first I was just kind of curious about the transition.  Why did you want to move to Xerox and what are you seeing now that you've gotten there?

Jeff Jacobson:  You know Cary it is very interesting.  As you said, I've been in this industry a long time, 25 years and as I think you know, I love this industry.  I love everything about it.  I love the people.  I love the technology, but as I said the other day at the press conference, the people in this industry are the industry and although people think I've had a few logos as you've said I was actually with the same company for 20 years.  It was Polychrome and Kodak Polychrome and then Kodak and then I left in 2007 and went to Presstek and I love Presstech, great company and I received this call just out of the blue directly from Xerox in December and I was amazed at the speed with which they moved.  I told the story the other day that within six days it was basically done.

Cary Sherburne:  Which is really amazing because that doesn't usually happen at your level.

Jeff Jacobson:  And what came across was the commitment Xerox wants for this industry and it's interesting, even in these first few days of Drupa I've heard people say you know we always thought Xerox was going more in the services route and now it's evident they really want to put a stake in the ground here and that's why I came here.  We're here to put a stake in the ground.  I joined this industry when I was 27 years-old and I always had great comfort in what I call the bellwethers of this industry when I joined and quite frankly I don't think there are any companies there today that are the bellwethers of this industry and I would love nothing more than for Xerox to be that because I want to see young people coming into this industry and it disturbs me when our own people in this industry say I would not want my kids coming into this industry.  I want to see that happen.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, that's kind of a sad statement and the industry needs to attract a different kind of employee than we needed ten years ago and so those are the kind of jobs you want your kids to have.

Jeff Jacobson:  Correct, yeah, they don't need old people like me.  They need young people.

Cary Sherburne:  Or old people like us.  And so if you were to give advice to printers out there that are hopefully watching this video what would be the top two or three things that you would say that they need to be thinking about?

Jeff Jacobson:  Well it's interesting.  Somebody asked me before and I told the same story about wanting young people to come in and they said would you want your children to come into this industry and I said yes, I would, but I said the one thing I wouldn't call it is the printing industry.  I'd call it the communications industry because that's what this is all about.  It's about managing data 

Cary Sherburne:  And that's graphic communications, yeah.

Jeff Jacobson:  Absolutely, it's about managing data and how we do that.  In some cases it's going to be print on paper and in some cases it's print on other substrates.  In some cases it's just moving data and moving communications.  So it's not print and I'll be the first to admit younger people are much better equipped to do that than I am.

Cary Sherburne:  This is a really exciting time obviously because the technology is transitioning and the share of market in terms of equipment sales particularly that we're not quite talking about page volume yet, but in terms of actual units sold digitally it's far outstripped conventional offset units today.

Jeff Jacobson:  No question and I feel badly because it's really those companies that are the ones struggling the most.  How do sell new pieces of offset equipment in this economy where there is so much excess capacity?  So those companies and printers that want to stay vibrant they're going to have to go digital.  Whether it's 40 trillion, 50 trillion, whatever number of pages you want to say it is digital printing is still such an insignificant portion of that and that has to move and we need the excess capacity in this industry to be minimized, but more importantly in terms of the digitization of graphic communications we all need to do a better job of that data management.

Cary Sherburne:  Well and the other thing is there is still a very good role for a hybrid manufacturing platform and I was really delighted to see Xerox talking about that more.  Freedom to Print I think you're calling it.  Where supporting you know and you've supported multiple vendors, but really beginning in a big way to support multiple vendor shops with a unified workflow because that really needs to happen.

Jeff Jacobson:  Absolutely.  Well you know for us it's always been this way.  In my career it's about making our customers' job easier even if there is a competitor involved because our job is to say how do we make our customer's life easier.  That's what we live for.  That's what we live for.

 

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