Friday, December 10, 2004

King Google

BuzzMachine ] "King Google

Via TechCrunch, here’s a good PPT outlining the continued primacy of Google across its various products and lines of business:"

All about Google
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: google strategy)

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Manic Depression and Communication Ecology

Time is the independent variable.
Job one is to get a story for time.
A story for time gives the sense of power.
It is only a sense because you can't control the end of your time.

But you can control time while you are alive.
You can make more time.
You can take yourself out of time.
The trick is the balance between the two.

Time is a thought construct to describe when events happen.
If more events happen, it seems like time slows down.
If less events happen, it seems like time slows down.
To earn a living or just stay alive, you have to invest your time.

The manic slows time by making a lot of events happen.
The depressive slows time by making no events happen.
The healthier person doesn't think that much about time.
The do stuff, and time takes care of itself.

If you work in a mass market activity space, you sell blocks of 8 hours.
If you have power to control time on the job, you tend to be happy.
If you don't have power to control time on the job, you tend to be unhappy.
Having the power to control time tends to make people happy.

Some children grow up in a safe predictable family activity space.
Some children grow up in unsafe, unpredictable family activity space.
In either case, they innovate behavior to feel power and control of time.
Sometimes their innovation works for the rest of the lives.
Sometimes not so much.

If you work in a GoogleMart activity space, you sell little chunks of time.
You control when and how much time you are going to sell.
That leaves a lot more time to control for other things.
The downside is that there are alot more decisions to make about investing time.

Making decisions produces stress.
In an unpredictable world, the chances of doing the wrong thing is scary.
The more predictable the world, the less fear.
The less fear, the easier to do stuff with a minimum collateral damage.

So . . .
Has anyone ever done a study of manic depression focusing on their sense of time?
Has anyone ever done a study of manic depression focusing on their sense of power?
Has anyone ever done a study of manic depression focusing on their sense of fear?

Then . . .
To manage manic depression articulate their sense of long term time
To manage manic depression articulate their sense of real power.
To manage manic depression mitigate what is making them afraid.

Here's what Jimi Hendrix said about it:

The lyrics:
Manic depression is touching my soul
I know what I want but I just dont know
How to, go about gettin it
Feeling sweet feeling,
Drops from my fingers, fingers
Manic depression is catchin my soul

Woman so weary, the sweet cause in vain
You make love, you break love
Its all the same
When its, when its over, mama
Music, sweet music
I wish I could caress, caress, caress
Manic depression is a frustrating mess

Well, I think Ill go turn myself off,
And go on down
All the way down
Really aint no use in me hanging around
In your kinda scene

Music, sweet music
I wish I could caress, caress, caress
Manic depression is a frustrating mess

Here's another take 2008:

Notice the similarity to this one:

Information Overload, with no time to process

Googlezon in words

The advantage of words is that it's a faster way to transfer information. Rich media is fine for other stuff. But if you want to know "what's the story?" fast, words are much better. If you want to get the whole story, that requires mulling. Mulling takes time no matter what media you use. You can pitch the movie, or that breakthrough business idea, in an elevator. Making the movie or making a business is a different thing . . . dr druck

From wikipedia:
The plot consists of a series of real life events from 1989 to 2004, and going through a series of hypothetical events through 2014.

The first sentence of the running commentary echoes the opening words of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."[1]

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web.

In 1994, is launched. It is a store that sells everything, personalized for its users, that can even offer suggestions.

In 1998, Google is unleashed by two Stanford University students, promising a faster, more effective way to search.

In 1999, Blogger is founded. Google comes out with Google News, a service unique in that it requires no human intervention.

In 2002, Friendster is released.

In 2003, Google buys Blogger.

In 2004, the rise of Gmail gives competition to Microsoft's Hotmail. Microsoft's Newsbotster comes as a response to Google News. Picasa and A9 are also released this year. In August, Google goes public, acquires Keyhole (now Google Earth), a company that maps the world, and begins digitizing and indexing world libraries. Reason Magazine sends its subscribers satellite photos of their homes, with information tailored to them inside.

From this point EPIC passes into the realm of fiction.

In 2005, Microsoft buys Friendster in response to Google's action. Apple Computer comes out with WifiPod, which allows users to "send and receive messages on the go". Then, Google unveils the Google Grid, a universal platform offering an unlimited amount of space and bandwidth that can be used to store anything. It allows users to manage their information two ways: store it privately or publish it to the entire grid.

In 2007, Microsoft Newsbotster, a social news network, ranks and sorts news. It allows everyone to comment on what they see.

In 2008, Google and Amazon merge to form Googlezon. Google supplies Google Grid, Amazon supplies their personalized recommendations. Googlezon is a system that automatically searches all content sources and splices together stories to cater to the interests of each individual user.

When explaining how Googlezon profiles its users, the identification card of a man named Winston Smith appears on screen. Smith is the main character in George Orwell's classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which a dystopian society is ruled by a media-distorting government.[2] The photograph on the identification card depicts Robin Sloan.

In 2010, the news wars rage between Microsoft and Googlezon. These "News Wars of 2010" are notable in that they involve no actual news organizations.

In 2011, the slumbering Fourth Estate awakens to make its first and final stand. The New York Times sues Googlezon, "claiming the fact-stripping robots are a violation of copyright law", but the Supreme Court rules in favor of Googlezon.

In 2014, Googlezon unleashes EPIC, the Evolving Personalized Information Construct, which pays users to contribute any information they know into a central grid, allowing the system to automatically create news tailored to individuals, entirely without journalists. The word "EPIC" is an amalgam of three fundamental physical and mathematical constants; e (Euler's number), pi (π) and c (the speed of light in a vacuum). These are depicted in the shadow of the EPIC logo.

EPIC stores and categorizes not only news, but the demographics, political beliefs, and consumption habits of every user. At its best, EPIC is "a summary of the world — deeper, broader and more nuanced than anything ever available before ... but at its worst, and for too many, EPIC is merely a collection of trivia, much of it untrue." EPIC is so popular that it triggers the downfall of the New York Times, which goes offline and becomes "a print newsletter for the elite and the elderly."

The narration ends with the statement: "Perhaps there was another way."

Sunday, December 5, 2004

If I Were a Printer . . . Part 2

If I were a Printer, I would raise my prices.
Actually I would raise my List prices and then discount as appropriate.
It's Google-Mart rules. "You pays your money and takes your choice."

Consider the airlines.
Before a plane leaves, the selling price is X.
Once the plane takes off there is no selling price. The value disappears.
The closer it gets to taking off, the lower the selling price.
If you can schedule a seat way ahead, the price is X-2A.
If you can bundle a lot of seats and buy them at the same time, the price is X-4A.

The rich traveler wants to fly first class. He doesn't really look at price.
The business traveler wants the trip now. He doesn't want the inconvenience of planning ahead. He pays X.
The tourist would rather invest his time and save money. He pays X- A. If he invests time searching the web, he pays X-2A.
The tour operator makes his money buying wholesale. He pays X-4A.

In every case, the airline wins.
That's why they have a computer that calculates how many seats to leave available for business travelers, tourists and tour operators.

Once Print is a commodity there is no room to raise prices.The good news is that it's finally possible to charge for the real values we deliver. Time to delivery. Project management.

Everybody wants time. They will happily trade money for time.
Everybody needs project management. It gives them more time to do the other 1000 things they have to do. They will trade money for time.

So . . .I would set list prices for a Y day delivery. First class.
Then list prices for Y+5 day delivery. Tourist class.
Then list prices for Y+? delivery. Stand by.
Then I would give discounts to people who are willing to trade time for money. Then I would give discounts to people who bundle work. Then I would give discounts to some new customers . . . maybe and only as appropriate.

Then I would use those discounts to build communities of clients.
As in "You qualify for the 15% discount, because ...blah. blah. blah"
Then I would go to my regular customers and tell them we were raising prices by 20% but they get a 20% discount for being good customers.
Then I would give customers Frequent Printing Points...that they could trade for cheap stuff that I could buy for peanuts. Or I would buy Frequent Flyer Points wholesale, and give them to my customers as a benefit of giving me work. Then I would encourage all my customers to use credit cards, then I would double the Miles they get from the credit card companies.

Meanwhile, I would get my plant manager to tell me exactly what press time is available and exactly when, for two months out.
He will push back and say " But I don't know what I have coming in."
I would say "When is this job going to hit the press."
He would say, " I don't know, because blah.blah.blah..."
I would say, "Find out."
He would say, "I can't"
I would say "hmmmmmm..."
Then I would find a new plant manager.

After I hired the new plant manager, I would say " What slots do we have available for the next two months?"
He would say "a,b,c ... blah,blah,blah."
Then I would tell my sales manager to sell a and b and c.
He would say "Huh?"
I would say "the price for a-tmw. is X-4A. And the price for b-next week is X-3A, and the price for c-next month is X-4A or whatever works." The deal is that if the buyer reserves and then screws up, they pay a cancellation fee.
Then I would say, "Make sure those time slots are filled."
Then I would comp the sales manager based on filled press time.

If his team fills press time according to the rules, he wins. If not, then not so much.
Too much open press time?
I would say "Hmmmmmmm"
Then I would ask "Why?"
Then I would hear "blah,blah,blah" from everyone in the shop.
Then I would go to everyone in the shop and ask "Why?"
I would say "Hmmmmmm."

You can fill in the rest.

I would stop wasting time on return on investment, ROI.
I would focus on return on time, ROT. Thanks Dr Joe.

If I couldn't build, educate or find a "plant manager" and a "sales manager" that could do the job, I would consider either selling to one of the big guys and let them worry about it or take my marbles and go home. I could find better ways to invest my time.

More about Selling, instead of giving away Project Management, at another time. That will probably be If I were a Printer Part 3 or 4.

If I were a Printer Part 1

Friday, December 3, 2004

Print/Web Articulates Space/Time

The Fundamental Theorem of Communication Ecology
If Print = Matter and Web = Information + Search = Energy, then Matter/Energy articulates Space/Time.
Einstein had it right after all! Thank you, CN.
Here's what I'm trying to get at:
Code allows consumers to track source of poultry back to original farm
-- Packaging Digest, 12/2/2008 9:55:00 AM

Just BARE brand organic chickens are said to be vegetable-fed and raised cage-free by independent, local family farmers. But what’s more unique is the combination of Just BARE's transparent package with a system that enables consumers to trace which family farm their specific package of chicken originated.

Just BARE's transparent, recyclable plastic tray and its clear film lid are said to give consumers a nearly 360-degree view of the chicken inside, replacing the traditional, less environmentally friendly foam tray used by some chicken manufacturers.

The most interesting part of the Just BARE packaging, however, is the Family Farm Code, which is located next to the manufacturer's freshness date code on each chicken package. By entering the 3-digit code on, consumers can learn the location of the family farm where their Just BARE chicken was raised.

Just BARE chicken follows Animal Welfare Guidelines established by the National Chicken Council (NCC) in conjunction with industry experts and top poultry scientists from leading universities. Just BARE flocks are free to roam in modern, climate-controlled barns. The chickens are able to eat and drink whenever they want and interact as they would in the outdoors. They are provided the right amount of light and darkness to reflect natural conditions, and protected from external environmental hazards.

"All of our chickens are well-cared for by family farmers throughout Minnesota who are passionate about what they do," says Julie Berling, marketing director for Just BARE. "For many of our farmers, raising chickens is a way of life -- some have been doing it for more than three generations."

Source: Just BARE Chicken

found here

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Print is like a hammer

The New York Times
November 30, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor
How to Publish Without Perishing
THE gloom that has fallen over the book publishing industry is different from the mood in, say, home building. At least people know we’ll always need houses.

And now comes the news, as book sales plummet amid the onslaught of digital media, that authors, publishers and Google have reached a historic agreement to allow the scanning and digitizing of something very much like All the World’s Books. So here is the long dreamed-of universal library, its contents available (more or less) to every computer screen anywhere. Are you happy now? Maybe not, if your business has been the marketing, distributing or archiving of books.

One could imagine the book, venerable as it is, just vanishing into the ether. It melts into all the other information species searchable through Google’s most democratic of engines: the Web pages, the blogs, the organs of printed and broadcast news, the general chatter. (Thanks for everything, Gutenberg, and now goodbye.)

But I don’t see it that way. I think, on the contrary, we’ve reached a shining moment for this ancient technology. Publishers may or may not figure out how to make money again (it was never a good way to get rich), but their product has a chance for new life: as a physical object, and as an idea, and as a set of literary forms.

As a technology, the book is like a hammer. That is to say, it is perfect: a tool ideally suited to its task. Hammers can be tweaked and varied but will never go obsolete. Even when builders pound nails by the thousand with pneumatic nail guns, every household needs a hammer. Likewise, the bicycle is alive and well. It was invented in a world without automobiles, and for speed and range it was quickly surpassed by motorcycles and all kinds of powered scooters. But there is nothing quaint about bicycles. They outsell cars.

Of course, plenty of other stuff is destined for obsolescence. For more than a century the phonograph record was almost the only practical means of reproducing sound — and thus the basis of a multibillion-dollar industry. Now it’s just an oddity. Hardly anyone in the music business is sanguine about the prospects for CDs, either.

Now, at this point one expects to hear a certain type of sentimental plea for the old-fashioned book — how you like the feel of the thing resting in your hand, the smell of the pages, the faint cracking of the spine when you open a new book — and one may envision an aesthete who bakes his own bread and also professes to prefer the sound of vinyl. That’s not my argument. I do love the heft of a book in my hand, but I spend most of my waking hours looking at — which mainly means reading from — a computer screen. I’m just saying that the book is technology that works.

Phonograph records and CDs and telegraphs and film cameras were all about storing and delivering bits — information, in its manifold variety — and if we’ve learned anything, we’ve learned that bits are fungible. Bit-storing technologies have been arbitrary, or constrained by available materials, and thus easy to replace when the next thing comes along. Words, too, can be converted into bits, but there’s something peculiar, something particularly direct, about the path from the page to the brain.

It is significant that one says book lover and music lover and art lover but not record lover or CD lover or, conversely, text lover.

There’s reading and then there’s reading. There is the gleaning or browsing or cherry-picking of information, and then there is the deep immersion in constructed textual worlds: novels and biographies and the various forms of narrative nonfiction — genres that could not be born until someone invented the codex, the book as we know it, pages inscribed on both sides and bound together. These are the books that possess one and the books one wants to possess.

For some kinds of books, the writing is on the wall. Encyclopedias are finished. All encyclopedias combined, including the redoubtable Britannica, have already been surpassed by the exercise in groupthink known as Wikipedia. Basic dictionaries no longer belong on paper; the greatest, the Oxford English Dictionary, has nimbly remade itself in cyberspace, where it has doubled in size and grown more timely and usable than ever. And those hefty objects called “telephone books”? As antiquated as typewriters. The book has had a long life as the world’s pre-eminent device for the storage and retrieval of knowledge, but that may be ending, where the physical object is concerned.

Which brings us to the settlement agreement, pending court approval, in the class action suit Authors Guild v. Google. The suit was filed in September 2005 when Google embarked on an audacious program of copying onto its servers every book it could get its hands on. This was a lot of books, because the Internet giant struck deals with the libraries of the University of Michigan, Harvard, Stanford and many others. On its face this looked like a brazen assault on copyright, but Google argued that it should be protected as a new kind of “fair use” and went on scanning during two and a half years of secret negotiations (I was involved on the authors’ side).

By now the company has digitized at least seven million titles. Many are old enough to be in the public domain — no issue there — and many are new enough to be available in bookstores, but the vast majority, four million to five million, are books that had fallen into a kind of limbo: protected by copyright but out of print. Their publishers had given up on them. They existed at libraries and used booksellers but otherwise had left the playing field.

As a way through the impasse, the authors persuaded Google to do more than just scan the books for purposes of searching, but go further, by bringing them back to commercial life. Under the agreement these millions of out-of-print books return from limbo. Any money made from advertising or licensing fees will go partly to Google and mostly to the rights-holders. The agreement is nonexclusive: If competitors to Google want to get into the business, they can.

This means a new beginning — a vast trove of books restored to the marketplace. It also means that much of the book world is being upended before our eyes: the business of publishing, selling and distributing books; the role of libraries and bookstores; all uses of books for research, consultation, information storage; everything, in fact, but the plain act of reading a book from start to finish.

In bookstores, the trend for a decade or more has been toward shorter shelf life. Books have had to sell fast or move aside. Now even modest titles have been granted a gift of unlimited longevity.

What should an old-fashioned book publisher do with this gift? Forget about cost-cutting and the mass market. Don’t aim for instant blockbuster successes. You won’t win on quick distribution, and you won’t win on price. Cyberspace has that covered.

Go back to an old-fashioned idea: that a book, printed in ink on durable paper, acid-free for longevity, is a thing of beauty. Make it as well as you can. People want to cherish it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Print Lives Outside Time Part 3

It all depends on what you want to do.
Compare and contrast? I'll go with print.
Other stuff? It all depends on what you want to do.
It you are a journalist trying to put together a story, awesome!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Setting up a Pub Center

What is a Pub Center here.
Setting up a Pub Center is a work in progress. December 1, 2008.

added Dec 2:
This is a view from 15,000 feet. In this post I'm trying to set a common framework that could apply whether a "Publishing Center" lives in a school, a printing company or a community. The ideas are based on classroom experience in design schools, but the hope is that the principles that work in the classroom can be transfered to make project based team learning happen in many contexts. Using the word, Publishing Center, is just a shorthand to capture research, writing, designing and publishing.
thank you, SK

added Dec 3
I found this at Education Week: Human Capital a Key Worry for Reformers. Since human capital, also called social capital, is a key worry for every organization, it's worth a read.
But as the pressure to improve schools continues to mount—and reform efforts fall short—a growing number of school district leaders, funders, education thinkers, and policymakers are zeroing in on developing “human capital” as the key strategy to improve student learning.
Replacing "schools" with business yields:
But as the pressure to improve business continues to mount—and reform efforts fall short—a growing number of business leaders, shareholders, business thinkers are zeroing in on developing “human capital” as the key strategy to improve performance. the link
Added December 3
This is a story that points to a Publishing Center model in the Global space : Input - Transformation - Output. If and when they add hard copy output to the mix, it's done.
MUMBAI, India--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX; today announced that it is partnering with the CMS Group to setup a new company by carving out the IT Infrastructure Management and Outsourced Business Services divisions (comprising Card Solutions, Transaction Printing Solutions and ATM Cash Management) of CMS Computers Ltd. The link

The Process Requirements of a Publishing Center.
Minimum functional requirements:
Note: personnel requirements are flexible as one person might be able to perform muoltiple functions.

Needs trusted connections into the local activity space. Since the Publishing Center is focused on using Print to create measurable improvements in behavior, it is necessary to have a professional to negotiate access and buy in to real world situations. This will become more clear in the description of the process.

Experienced in understanding and implementing the various strategies to frame information and manage conversations in ways that will work for each student and each team. Experience in printing technology or commercial art preferable, but not required.

Typography Professional who can teach:
Experienced both as a professional typographer and the ability to present material and exercises on line to enable learning of basic typographic principles.

Project Management Professional who can teach:
Experienced in setting goals, managing on line conversations, negotiating the inevitable conflicts that come with team building and keeping the teams on track and removing obstacles to progress in a timely way.

Students are organized in teams of 3 minimum and 5 maximum. The exact number in each team is determined by the logistics as determined by the teaching team. Each student team must have at least one member who has a good conversational knowledge of a standard layout program such as Quark or InDesign. If there is also a member that has a good conversational knowledge of web or video creation techniques that is a plus, but not a requirement.

Optimal Functionalities might include:
Professional Print Technician: Needs access to a commercial print shop. The purpose is to bring a printing technology presence to the center. If the printing technician is present Print solutions would be designed to maximize efficiencies on the accessible print equipment. To be clear, the print technician would not assume training responsibilities on the equipment. Depending on logistics, a "shadow the pro" internship might be instituted.

Entrepreneur Business Professional: Since one of the success criteria of the Print solution is a definable path to scale, an experienced entrepreneur would act as a online consultant to the Publishing Center teams.

Time and process requirements for minimum functionalities:
Teacher: at minimum once a week face time meeting with all the teams. or Depending on the logistics on the ground. Monitor and intervene with team progress on line. Approximately 6 hours per week. 1 hour every day for 6 days.

Typographer: Approximately 8 hours online per week. Seven hours can be asynchronous , as posting assignments and critiquing work does not have to happen in real time. One hour each week is necessary for open discussion through chat or video chat through Skype.

Project Manager: Approximately 7 hours online per week asynchronous. This needs to be one hour per day every day. The purpose is to manage on line conversations through Basecamp.
One hour each week is synchronous with the teacher and the typographer. Using video conference call through Skype.

Technical requirements:
Internet access. Cloud based project management through Basecamp and video enabled conference calls through Skype. Students must have access to InDesign or Quark. InDesign is much preferred. All students must work on the same page composition software. It is not necessary that each student has a copy. Only that students have at least 10 hours per week access to complete their typography assignments.

How to manage and fund a Pub Center to come . . .

The problem with training. . . . Sales or otherwise.

If you prefer the multimedia version, click here.

Training assumes basic education has already happened.
Basic education means learning to think with logic.
In the presence of basic education, training can happen.
In the absence of basic education, it's mostly a waste of time.

With a lot of practice logical thinking gets close to natural thinking.
Busy people need to respond now.
Respond now means natural thinking.
It's always better to "Stop and think" to give logic a chance.

"Thinking (with logic) is hard."
Listening (with respect) is even harder.
The best way to learn both is to practice, practice, practice.
The easiest place to practice is with your wife or husband or boy friend or girl friend.

Practice predicting what is going to happen the next day.
After some time, practice predicting next week, then next month.
Longer than than logical thinking is ok.
The better strategy is plan for the worst, hope for the best.

An argument is not bad.
An argument is good.
An argument does not mean fighting.
An argument means thinking with logic.

Wikipedia says:

In logic, an argument is a set of one or more declarative sentences (or "propositions") known as the premises along with another declarative sentence (or "proposition") known as the conclusion. A deductive argument asserts that the truth of the conclusion is a logical consequence of the premises; an inductive argument asserts that the truth of the conclusion is supported by the premises.

Each premise and the conclusion are only either true or false, not ambiguous. The sentences composing an argument are referred to as being either true or false, not as being valid or invalid; arguments are referred to as being valid or invalid, not as being true or false. Each premise and the conclusion must be capable of being true or false and nothing else: they are truthbearers.

Since each statement must be true or false, that means you have to listen to the world.

Listen to people.
Listen to mathematical data.
Listen to books.
Listening to a face to face conversation is hardest of all.

A face to face conversation is the richest of media.
Words, motions, smells, tastes, ever changing context.
Separating noise from signal to know what the speaker means by the words they say.
The best strategy is listening with respect.

Filtering rich media can yield lots of useful information.
Useful information can help decide if a sentence in an argument is true or false.
If the logic works, you can make a pretty good guess about reality.
You are starting to think like a doctor.

But the world is messy, not logical.
Sometimes logical thought is the best way to predict the future.
Sometimes natural thought is the best way to predict the future.
Sometimes neither works very well.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Lesson 2 Think

In case it was a little hard to get the lecture, the lecture notes are here

The point is that you have to think about how to give your customer
freedom from stress, from information overload, from all the silly things that get in the way. ROI is just the cover that lets your customer get what they need.

But there is nothing to think about until you've practiced listening.
See lesson 1. and 1.5

The multimedia verision

Listen to your mamma . . . and everyone else.

With respect.

And then think about how to get your customer some freedom.

Practice, practice, practice. Practice listening to your wife or husband or girl friend or boy friend. If you can do that listening to a customer is easy. Now, listening to your boss or your co-workers, that's a little harder.

If I Ran The Council Part 2

To be clear, I have no direct experience of Print for Councils in the UK. Everything I think I know is from searching the net and conversations. So take the following for what it's worth.

If I ran the council I would look at not-now.
It's hard because I live in now.
People want now.
People judge now.

But my job is to care for a community.
Communities grow or die.
Growing and dying are in the past and the future.
I can look at the past, but how to predict the future?

I can't.
The best I can do is to prepare for the worst.
And hope for the best.
And be ready for what's just next, after now.

Google-Mart says "Do with less".
"Cut costs now, use less now-money."
I say "My job is the future."
"Where will I get future-money?"

Money is only a signal.
It comes and goes.
Social capital stays.
Social capital is the best defense against the future.

Safe people.
Healthy people.
Educated people.
That's social capital.

Google-Mart says "Do with less".
I ask "Do WHAT with less?"
How to create more social capital with less now-money?
As the man said "There's the rub."

Google-Mart is freeing functionalities from organizations.
Capture those functionalities and recombine them.
Eliminate or outsource some functionalities.
Invest time and focus on growing the new combinations.

Identify the value creating kernel functionality.
For education the kernel is learning to think with logic.
Everything else supports that or is a waste of time and now-money.
The kernel can be a printed document with a pencil or highlighter.

Compare and contrast.
Scan, highlight, mull, read, eliminate - make new connections.
Embed the Print in a conversation.
Which conversation?

It depends.
The richest conversation is the public conversation.
Thinking logically about common problems is hard.
Solving hard problems creates the most future-money.

The wisdom of the crowd is ok much of the time.
The wisdom of a logically thinking crowd works better.
How to get from here to there?
Since I can only guess at the future, where is there?

If I ran the council I would STOP.
Look carefully for the kernels of value.
Make sure the recombinations work now.
Look carefully if they are creating social capital, now.

Now-money lives in information space.
Now-people live in the real world.
Invest more now-time and less now-money
Get more future-time and more future-money.

That's the real rules of the Google-Mart Economy.
It's also the rules of a world that is using it's resources too fast.
And creating more stuff that is poisoning the resource base.
It's about sustainability.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

If Ran the Council . . .Version 1

To be clear, I have no direct experience of printing or Counsels in the UK. Everything I think I know is from searching the net and conversations. So take the following for what it's worth.

If I ran the Council, here's what I'd do.
If the alternative is a WalMart style Printer, I would make the rules.
If they won't play by those rules, someone else will.
If no one will play by those rules, I would do it myself.

It's all about time and proximate incentives.
The Council has a long time horizon.
The mission is to grow an educated and healthy community.
The incentive is to get reelected.

A traditional business has a short time horizon.
The mission is to take capital and create money capital.
The incentive is the bonus and the promotion.
A social mission is a distraction to a business.

If Power is satisfied with progress,
Managers get rewarded.
Business managers get a bonus/promotion or don't get fired.
Public managers get peace & quiet/promotion or don't get fired.

In the Google Mart economy, the winners create more with less.
As for business so for government.
A traditional strategy focuses on cutting costs.
A Google-Mart strategy focuses on creating new value.

A traditional response is to outsource a functionality.
A Google-Mart response is to locate the kernel of value
And outsource everything else.
Once the value has been identified - prototype, test, scale.

What is the kernel of value in Print?
It's not in advertising.
It is in increasing the speed of learning.
The book, the newsletter, the poster.

Typography and diagrams demand logical thought.
Reading through them forces the reader to discriminate.
The internet is still interactive television.
It talks to the conversational mind.

Print sits quietly on paper.
It engages the logical mind.
So few people learn to think logically because it is not natural.
The best tool for logical thought is Print and a Pencil.

So it was in the first enlightenment.
So it is in the present enlightenment.
Print enables compare and contrast.
Compare and contrast is the operational definition of think.

Commercial printing firms live in Google-Mart.
The business models are disintegrating.
The functionalities grouped in evolved business organizations are separating.
As they separate print becomes cheaper.

The opportunity.
Yesterday, the power of print was focused by the highest bidder.
Today, the power of print can be focused by local communities.
Today it is money capital + social capital = sustainable enterprise.

Recently there has been a discussion on the web and in the real world about a B Corporation.
You can explore the experience and ideas at their website.
From their site:
We envision a new sector of the economy which harnesses the power of private enterprise to create public benefit. This sector is comprised of a new type of corporation the B Corporation which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

As members of this emerging sector and as entrepreneurs and investors in B Corporations, We hold these truths to be self-evident:

- That we must be the change we seek in the world.
- That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
- That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
- To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another
and thus responsible for each other and future generations.
There are a number of other similar business models being discussed and implemented, but the basic idea is the same: to focus the power of business to build educated, healthy communities.

Google-Mart in the Communication Ecology

The Google-Mart Economy:
(def.) A business environment defined by (1) an expectation of total informational transparency and accessibility and (2) a requirement for flawless logistics and operations. Named for Google and Wal-Mart. ...(c)Josefowicz Associates, LLC

Google is an activity spacetime.
It lives in information spacetime.
It has a cognitive space.
It has a physical space.
It is growing.

WalMart is an activity spacetime.
It lives in information spacetime.
It has a cognitive space
It has a physical space.
It is growing.

The center of Google is the Googleplex.
There are server farms all over the world.
The center of WalMart is Bentonville.
There are stores all over the world.

Google gathers information to track what you see.
WalMart gathers information to track what you buy.
Google uses the information to design new products.
WalMart uses the information to design new stores.

Google works in real time.
WalMart works in real time.
Google plans for the future.
WalMart plans for the future.

Google has complex strings into the world's information space.
WalMart has complex strings into the world's physical space.
Google is an information company with a physical foundation.
WalMart is a physical company with an information foundation.

Google delivers bytes.
WalMart delivers bits.
Google does not create the bytes they deliver.
WalMart does not create the bits they deliver. (that's Ikea)

They are both logistics companies.
Logistical strings are the muscles and bones of human societies.
Logistics is about time and space.
Google and WalMart are also money machines.

Thick and complex strings increase the articulation of activity spaces.
Activity spaces compete for resources.
The winners grow.
The losers die.

Time and space are the independent variables.
Everything else is signal and noise.
Googlezon grows in the world's information space.
GoogleMart grows in the world's activity space.

Printers should stop trying to be Google or WalMart.
They should nurture strands into new activity spaces.
They might be real communities or communities of clients.
And . . . stop stressing about the "economy" which is only a word, anyway.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Money Signals Exchanges . . . Or not.

Is it this?

or is it this?

It depends how you look at it.
With different lenses you see different things.
You think what you think because you see what you see.
You see what you see depending on the lens and the focus.

Humans have a collection of lenses.
They grow from the narratives in their information space.
Some narratives are logical.
Some narratives are natural.

Sometimes logical narratives help predict the future.
Sometimes natural narratives help predict the future.
But only natural narratives are for now.
Humans only live in now.

Humans expect a future and remember a past.
Money is a signal for both.
Money makes visible the wisdom of the crowd about the future.
Money gives clues about what was happening then and is happening now.

Money is information.
Money signals time invested in the past.
Money signals potential power.
Life is about power.

Money turns into power when it enters physical space.
Money is a catalyst that crystallizes strings into activity spaces.
Humans move through activity spaces.
Real life happens in activity spaces.

Meanwhile money can make more money.
Money moves through information space.
People make bets on the future and win or lose money.
Banks give now-money in exchange for future-money.

Governments can create money.
In the US, the Treasury buys U.S.A. government bonds.
The bonds signal future-money.
Buying and selling doesn't change the overall amount of money.

But when the Treasury buys it trades new now-money for future-money.
In the old days, they printed new now-money.
These days now-money lives as information in databases.
That information then moves into activity spaces.

Money can change the world when it enters activity spaces.
Once in the activity space it energizes movements in physical space.
Money can grow unnaturally when it stays in information space.
There used to be $66 trillion of money in the CDS market.

Information space has almost no friction.
Money can move with few impediments.
Money that grows only in information space looks like a signal.
But often money signals are drowned in noise.

Mostly people need now-money.
To manage the risks of the future people need future-money.
For people the future is no more than 70 years.
For tribes, families and formal organizations it can be much longer.

In a recent post over at WTT, Dr Joe Webb said,

As I have been speaking to various printing groups over the past few months, I have asked how many of the attendees adjust their previous financial statements for inflation when they work on budgets and plans for the next year. Trends using unadjusted or “current dollars” can be misleading. After all, it's purchasing power of the dollars that matters, not the dollars themselves. These are the latest multipliers to use for analysis of past years.

I have been recommending that it would be judicious to assume an inflation rate of 6% for 2009 planning purposes.

Business Development in the Language of Communication Ecology

In the world of business there are three actors.
In the world of the video the actors are called john, ho, and pimp
In the world of Print the actors are called buyer, the plant and sales.
In both worlds they are connected by a web of communication exchanges.

Business development happens in webs.
A person in the web needs to do A. They need a new X to do it.
The available X's are too slow/expensive/risky/complicated.
Identify A, then find an X that is faster/cheaper/safer/simpler.

Don't waste time with a new X that does B.
The buyer doesn't want to do B.
They already have lots to do.
They want to do A, only faster or cheaper or safer or simpler.

The hard part is defining A.
It needs close observation, hypothesis construction, testing, a bit of luck.
It needs an empathic understanding of the buyer.
That's the value creating job of sales. It's about intelligence gathering.

The plant is the steward of a facing in web.
The in facing web includes all the people involved in making stuff.
If the web of communications is strong and resilient,
The plant can make stuff fast and easy.

Sales is the steward of a facing out web.
Sales can be a person and/or a website and/or CSR's.
Sales creates and maintains the connections to buyers.
Sales makes it fast and easy to buy stuff.

The buyer brings the money to the firm.
Buyers are connected to the firm by threads of trust.
The threads grow as the result of exchanges.
The more successful exchanges, the stronger the thread.

Every customer contact is an exchange.
The customer gives time and/or information, gets information.
The customer gives money, gets job produced.
Every exchange either strengthens or weakens a thread.

If the exchanges are satisfying, more exchanges ensue.
The more exchanges, the stronger the thread between customer and the firm.
The stronger the threads, the faster they grow into strings.
The more strings, the faster it grows into a connective web.

Facing out webs connect customer to the plant.
Facing in webs connect people to machinery to people.
Facing out webs are called the brand.
Facing in webs are called the culture of the organization.

Business development happens in the webs in and outside of firms.
A person in the web needs to do A. They need a new X to do it.
The available X's are too slow and/or expensive and/or risky and/or complicated.

Job 1: Identify A.
Job 2: Find an X that is faster and/or cheaper and/or safer and/or simpler.
The more X's you find, the more new business you'll have.

In a recent conversation, the manager of a large offset firm told me, they had a small, but profitable business in doing newsletters for community groups. Turns out that designing and doing the layout made it slow and complicated for those groups. We talked about the possibility of the printing company getting together some professional designers to collaborate with the community groups for pro bono, to help those groups produce better newsletters.

My bet is that if this is managed correctly, there is no reason to believe that there are not more community, non profit and business service people that need help in writing, producing and distributing newsletters. Given that the first group is already in the printer's web, if it works, word of mouth might well take care of the rest.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Consultative Sales/Project Management

If your customer lives in a ball of confusion:

This is what your customer needs:
Change the tag line and replace iShares with your company logo. Give your customer time and some peace.

Information Overload To the Eye of the Beholder

Motion Graphics
It's beautiful and frustrating. It's real time. Lots of signal. Lots of noise.

Still Graphics
It's satisfying. It's outside of time. Less signal, but less noise.
(It could be beautiful, but I'm not a typographer.)

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done there is nothing new under the sun.

The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

Less is more.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Prediction is hard, especially of the future.
Yogi Berra and Niels Bohr

Same story, different place.

The Original

Another version 2003

If I were a rich man.

Same story, different places.
Same articulation, different space/times.

The Charlie Chaplin Version

The Hindi Version

The French Version

Placido Domingo sings the New York Version

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

What is a Publishing Center

How to set up, manage and fund a Publishing Center.. here
A Publishing Center is a word to group different functionalities.
Including research, writing, designing, publishing.
It's purpose is to provide a laboratory with a path to scale.
The participants learn to work in project teams and the power of Print.

A Pub Center is a way to extend Project Based Team Teaching.
A Pub Center is a way for Printing companies to develop new products, retrain their staff, change their corporate culture and explore new business models.

A Pub Center is an activity space.
A web site, a classroom, a print shop are activity spaces.
Activity spaces produce new information and/or new stuff.
When the new information is edited and output, it is called publishing.

Editing is the process of tangling strings to create new information
Tangling strings for a new activity space creates value in that space.
The new value is created by editing and designing for real people.
The physical manifestation can be the Screen or Print.

The Screen lives in information space and creates space.
Print lives in physical space and creates time.
Print can be a newsletter, a newspaper, a poster.
Digital print allows micro audiences in articulated activity spaces.

For individuals it is Screen or Print.
For virtual communities it is Screen or Print.
For families it is Print.
For real communities it is Print.

A Publishing Center can live in various physical spaces.
It can live in a school.
It can live in a hospital.
It can live in a PrintShop.

To establish a Publishing Center the key skill is editing.
Then you need project management.
Then you need design.
Then you need production intelligence.

For Print you need a Printer.
For fast and easy you need a professional printer.
It just has to be good enough.
The value added is thinking, selecting and sharing.

Is it this?

Or is it this?

One or both or something completely different.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Hearts and Minds contd.

This doesn't have that much to do with selling, but
So this week, while you are making your sales calls or managing your team, don't forget that Croot and thousands of great salespeople are out there selling a product that will keep our nation and our families safe. Let's say a prayer that Croot and his company meet their sales quote soon and return home safely to the biggest sales awards ceremony this company has ever seen. Oh . . . and Croot . . tell your buddies we are forever grateful for your sacifice. We will never forget them. - p.39

Now back to the "thoughts".

In sales we've been using the war metaphor for a long time. I was always sort of uncomfortable with "targeting the market," "being in the trenches" and "destroying the competition." It just didn't fit what I saw as the most effective selling. Thanks to the article I realized that the problem is not the war metaphor, it's the conventional meanings I put into "waging war." Major Croot's description from hard won experience changes everything.
"I expected a hard-nosed conversation about objectives, overcoming the enemy, never giving up and fighting to the end. Instead, I heard words like caring, listening, loving, helping showing and giving." p 35
Now that sounds alot like the selling process that I've seen work.

Another thought. It sounds like the Major doing the daily work on the ground, might "get it" better then the suits in Washington. In the context of this article, suits can be seen as Top Management. That might have some parallels in the world of the print business.

And now the minor quibble. Brian says that "It is difficult to force anybody into anything." I would say that it is for all practical purposes impossible. If you are not selling what your customer wants or needs, it's not going to happen. If your product is not what they want, find a customer who does or redesign the product. In the 21st century there is no third alternative.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Micro Marketing and Sales Process

Wave Mail Micro Marketing works because it is based on common sense. It is not widely used today because the technology and variable data printing is only now going mainstream. It's not hard, but it requires a continuing focus. Any sales person understands that continuing focus is the hardest thing to do.

One under appreciated property of print, is that it makes focusing much easier. Consider the efficiency of making a shopping list. By writing it down, you don't have to spend mental energy remembering. Less energy on remembering, means more energy to focus on "what to do next."
The enemy of focus is not "not enough time." The real problem are the distractions that make it hard to remember what to do next. Since a salesperson lives in a rushed world of doing the next thing, you need help to remember what that next thing is.

First, look at the process from 30,000 feet. Try to forget about the trees and look at the forest. It's only common sense.

What has to get done:
1. Find Suspects.
2. Move Suspects into the Prospect bin.
3. Move Prospects into the Customer bin.
4. Move Customers into the Client bin.
5. Nourish a Book of Business based on a Community of Clients.

Here's what I mean:
1. Suspects could be anyone that you can reach and who need a better, faster, cheaper, less risky way to communicate in print. It could be new businesses within 2 miles of your plant. It could be a specific industry like pharms or publishing or non profits or designers. You get to choose.

2. A prospect is someone who has asked for an estimate. Think of all the estimates that never turn into jobs. Then consider that these are people who know your company enough to call you at the print event. Then consider how much marketing and cold calling is needed to get the opportunity to ask you to estimate. Prospects are the raw material that you can turn into revenue.

3. A customer is someone who has given you a job. Now you have a database of people who have experienced your company. They have trusted your firm to help them with a high risk (to them) transaction. Hopefully the transactions was mutually valuable. Obviously, no amount of blah, blah or marketing is going to repair the damage down by a bad experience. But, if you are still in business, most of the jobs you've done have probably been ok.

4. A client is someone who has given you a couple of jobs over some defined time period.
This is self explanatory.

5. A book of business is a community of clients for whom you are the trusted go-to person when they need to make a printing decision.
More about this later.

What you should do:
1. Divide your present customer list into prospects, customers and clients.
2. Figure out the most efficient ways to move everyone from a lower bin to a higher bin.
3. Look at the indicators EVERY day to figure out what is giving you the highest ROT. (Return on Time is an idea I first heard at a Dr. Joe Webb presentation). Be ready to change tactics on a dime. If a tactic isn't working try another one. But don't change the strategy - do something every day to move them from a lower bin to a higher one.

What are the hard parts?
1. You have to sell stuff that people want to buy.
If you are selling the ability to communicate better, faster, cheaper with a minimum risk, every person or entrepreneur or business needs that. Whether you can make them understand and be ready to buy what you are selling is another big question.

2. Who has the time?
Sending and answering emails and phone calls, getting the specs right, going to useless meetings (either internal or external) and then chasing jobs that are in the plant does not leave alot of time left. That's why this is not about investing more time. It's about investing LESS time in activities that have low ROT.

3. How can I get real time information?
If you have an active customer facing web site, it's pretty easy. If not, there are lots of workarounds.

4. Why should I bother?
Situations change so unexpectedly that even a client from your book of business can disappear. People get fired or move to a new job. Companies can get bought and your contact network loses the power to buy. So, you have to keep the pipeline filled.

No doubt, it's all easier said then done. But then so is everything. A few really blessed professionals do it naturally. The rest of us have to practice and need a little help. The good news is that it's not that hard to do, if you know what you are supposed to be doing.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Micro Marketing Wave Mail Sales Program Part 1

Suspects to Prospects
A suspect could be anyone.
A prospect is someone who has asked for an estimate.
A customer is someone who has given you a job.
A client is someone who has given you a couple of jobs over some defined time period.
A book of business is a community of clients for whom you are the trusted go-to person when they need to make a printing decision.

First some assumptions. If you agree with what I'm seeing as the problem, continue to read the solution.

1. Every firm and sales person needs a sustainable flow of new prospects.

2. Since salespeople are paid by commissions on jobs they bring in, they don't make the time to identify suspects or prospects.

3. Printing is not sold. It is bought. "Do you have something to estimate?" never results in anyone saying "What a good idea. I should print something."

4.The trick is for the sales person to be "top of mind" when the printing event is about to happen.

5. The paradox is that repeated sales calls - either in person, email or printed pieces - are often irritating to suspects/prospects. Instead of building a brand, they can undermine it.

6. The best "data mining" comes from active listening in a conversation, either on the phone or in person.

The Solution: Micro Marketing Wave Mail/Call Campaign
Each potential suspect gets three pieces of mail and a phone call. No action after three times, off the list.

Pre Step one: Salesperson decides how many follow up phone calls they can make in a week. Usually it's about 1 or 2 hours once or twice a week.

Pre Step two: Choose a list of suspects.
This could be an inactive customer list, or a list of all new business formations within 5 miles of the plant, or a particular industry or job title.

Step One: On Monday of week 1, mail piece number one to 48 suspects.
The trick is to not mail to anyone to whom the salesperson will not have time to make a follow- up phone call. (Rule of thumb - one hour = 12 calls. Need time off for coffee to take notes and think about the conversations. 48 assumes 4 hours per week.)

Step Two: Call every person who received a mailing piece.
The first call is something like,
"Hi I am X from abc printing. I sent you a postcard and just wanted to confirm it got to X. If you don't mind I am going to send you a mailing piece once a week for the next couple of weeks to let you know some things that our company might be able to help you with."

If the answer is "no thank you" good. Cross them off the list. Don't send any more postcards.

If the answer is ok or fine, make good on your promise and keep sending. Every once in a long while, you'll get lucky and the response will be something like "I'm so glad you got in touch. I have a project coming up in a couple of weeks that I could use some help with."

Step three: Send out 48 pieces total of mailing piece no 2. Note : Replace the "no thank you's" with new suspects. But keep the quantity at 48 to stay within the four hour call commitment.

Step four: Go back to step one and repeat.

For those getting their second mailing the conversation might be opened with " Hi abc (you probably learned the gatekeeper's name in the first call), just wanted to make sure X got my postcard. If it goes some place naturally, follow it. If not, "thank you" and off the phone.

To the first time mailee's the conversation is that same as before:
"Hi I am X from abc printing. I sent you a postcard and just wanted to confirm it got to X. If you don't mind I am going to send you a mailing piece once a week for the next couple of weeks to let you know some things that our company might be able to help you with."

Then repeat 1,2,3 as necessary.

Making it work:
Someone in authority has to look at and sign the call sheets every week. Everything else are production and design details. If you have a VDP tool like Xmpie, it's that much easier.

Why it works:
Because creating a `sustainable flow of sales is a definable process. Once defined it can be measured. Once measured it can be managed. read more here

Sunday, August 15, 2004

How to Sell a Commodity cont.

This comes from A Beautiful Experience . It's a blog that is maintained by a marketing firm in Canada.

A couple of days ago I blogged about how to decommdify in a commodity industry (commercial printing). The post was picked up by "The Print CEO Blog" here and it started a healthy discussion. One of the comments was from Michael J, and he drove home a great point - great service and taking care of the small details is a definite must to decommodify:

From 30 years of selling printing, these are my rules of thumb.

1. Answer the phone (quickly, professionally)
2. Give customers what they ask for (quickly, professionally.)
3. Don’t try to baffle them with bs, if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance.

The critical issue is to save time and minimize risk.

How long does it take for a customer to get an intelligent, accurate response to a phone call or an email?

If it’s more than one phone call or 30 minutes for an email, it’s too long.
(I’ll call you back means within the hour.)

How long does it take to get an estimate in the customer’s hand?
If it’s more than 24 hours, it’s too long. If it’s 4 hours that’s about right.

If a customer needs a paper sample, how long?
If it’s more than the next morning, it’s too late.

How long does it take for the customer to get production information?
If it’s more than 5 minutes it’s too long.

That’s the experience at Amazon and the best printing companies.

Well done!