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.