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.