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Cary Sherburne on Graph Expo Press Conferences

Published on October 9, 2012

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks about press conferences at Graph Expo 2012 and vendors involving their customers and doing things differently.

Eric Vessels: Hi, I’m Eric Vessels with WhatTheyThink and I’m here with Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor of WhatTheyThink.

Cary Sherburne: I’m on the wrong side of the…

Eric Vessels: Reverse role. And we’re dressed the same.

Cary Sherburne: And we’re dressed the same. We got the message.

Eric Vessels: Got the memo. So we’re here at Graph Expo 2012 and I know – first day – and I know one of the things that you do is run around like crazy to press conferences.

Cary Sherburne: Oh, yes.

Eric Vessels: So I was wondering if you could give us kind of a flavor for some of the early press conferences that you’ve been to, what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing and what some of the companies are announcing at Graph.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, you know I think more importantly than what they’re announcing – because people can read that on WhatTheyThink – from a media perspective, from a journalist’s perspective, I had made a comment after drupa 2012 on WhatTheyThink challenging the suppliers to the industry to be a little more creative in their press conferences. Because I’ll tell you, after drupa we were like three times death by PowerPoint. And it just gets repetitive and you don’t really get a lot out of it. And so the press conferences that I attended on Sunday – I think there were four of them all together - they stepped up. I was really, really pleased.

Eric Vessels: So you issued a challenge.

Cary Sherburne: I issued a challenge that said, “Come on you guys, do something different. Let’s get customers in.” You know, we want to hear from your customers. I don’t want to sit here and watch PowerPoints with model number after model number of printing machine rolling by. That isn’t gonna help me too much.

Eric Vessels: That’s in the packet.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, it’s in the packet. I can read. I can actually read. So we started out with Heidelberg. They started out with a quote from a customer. Then they did a video from a customer. They talked a little bit about what to expect in their booth and then the rest of it was a customer talking about why he was acquiring that particular product. So you get a chance to actually talk to them and ask questions and so on. EFI, well EFI had a coffin up front which I was like, “What? What is this?” And the whole theme was sort of about reinventing print. And the coffin actually had – they worked with Frank Romano to put images of things in print that are dying like Yellow Pages and things like that on the outside. And on the inside they had all the new stuff they could pull out and say, “Oh, here’s an example of a new application.” But the interesting thing about the coffin was it is actually an application. There’s a company in the Netherlands that made a business out of printing customized coffins.

Eric Vessels: Like actual ones that you use?

Cary Sherburne: Coffins on demand.

Eric Vessels: Ones that are used for that purpose?

Cary Sherburne: Absolutely.

Eric Vessels: And not trade show press conferences. Wow.

Cary Sherburne: Absolutely. And so that was kind of an interesting new application, inkjet. Obviously a flatbed inkjet.

Eric Vessels: So what were some of the things inside the coffin?

Cary Sherburne: Things like, you know, photo books and different kinds of point-of-sale materials and things like that. And most of it was inkjet obviously.

Eric Vessels: And the molded plastic things.

Cary Sherburne: Molded plastics, yes.

Eric Vessels: They gave out water bottles that were…

Cary Sherburne: Oh, the flat water bottles that are great that you can carry in your carry on and then fill up once you get through security.

Eric Vessels: And they empty flat.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, so that’s very cool. So, you know, that was really exciting. And then InFocus was a little different because they did a whole nondisclosure thing with the press that sort of laid out what their strategy is for the next several months. And I think that the industry will be very interested to see that roll out. Obviously I can’t go into a lot of detail. But they also talked about their acquisition by Danaher and the difference that’s made in their company and that was really huge because – and I’ve heard this from other Danaher companies as well is the whole – they are just masters at lean manufacturing and lean operations going beyond manufacturing. So even in this little small software company part of ESCO they’ve had a huge benefit from the acquisition. So those kinds of things rather than just going through 100 PowerPoints and whatever was great. And then finally with HP. HP had two customers. They had the first beta customer for the Indigo 10000 and they had a company from Brazil who is actually, among other things, printing the Financial Times on demand in Brazil on a T350 inkjet and they also do a lot of trans thermal work. So again, a lot of customer focus and I think this is really important both for the media and also for the visitors to the show who get to actually talk to the customers.

Eric Vessels: That’s ultimately what’s important. And EFI was one of the ones that I got to with you as well and we didn’t mention it yet but they actually gave awards to customers.

Cary Sherburne: The Oscars, yeah. And I think three out of the four or four out of the five were actually there and they presented them in person.

Eric Vessels: Yeah and that was a really nice touch. So they’re listening.

Cary Sherburne: Yes, they’re listening. Thank you very much vendors.

Eric Vessels: Alright. Well thanks for giving us an impression on the first day press conferences here at the show at Graph Expo and we’ll look for more insights from you and others.

Cary Sherburne: Thank you.

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