Sunday, November 16, 2008

If I were a printer . . . Pt 1

If I were a printer, here's what I'd do.
If I were a printer, I would set up a school.
Lots of money, no measurable deliverable.
If things go wrong, it's the customer's fault.
"Give me more money and I'll get it right next time."
"Give me the right customers and I'll get it right
. . .oh and I could use some money."

Meanwhile, Kids need to learn how to think.
That's education.

Meanwhile, Kids need to learn how to do.
That's apprenticeships.

Like days of yore, kids will work for nothing to be apprentices.
They compete for the opportunity to work for nothing.
Sometimes, they even pay for working for nothing!
In "higher ed", they call this "graduate education."

Sometimes, they have to be paid.
But always for a lot less than the value they produce.
They will work, 60 hours a week.
And say, "thank you."
They will love what they are doing.
And say, "thank you."
They will come up with the "next big thing."
And say, "thank you."
In high finance and law, they call it "associates."
In medicine, they call it "interning"
In commercial art, they call it "interning.'
In everything else, it's usually called "new hire."

In days of yore, it was called "apprentice."

But whatever you call it, the deal is
"Teach me how to do what I want to do
and I will give you a couple of years of my time, for cheap.
Then move on. Or get on a track to be a "partner."
Or start their own business and raise their families.
That's what Ben Franklin did.
That's what Gutenberg's apprentice did.
That's what the founders of American newspapers did.

Meanwhile, K- PhD is an awesome business.
First, it's mostly a protected market.
That's how they get to raise the price every year.
Second, Everyone "knows" that "education" is a "must have".
Always good to be selling a "must have."
Third, hardworking parents and politicians willingly pay almost any size bill.
If they can't afford it, they will borrow to buy it.
If they can't borrow it, the kids will borrow to buy it.

Meanwhile, nobody knows if it works.
It's like the old days of advertising.
Remember, "If you could only figure out which 50% is useless. . ."
But that was then, this is now.

Meanwhile, printers are looking for business models.
Every business is in the same business.
The business of making money.
But, what you deliver is not always how you make money.
The Ivy League: non profit hedge funds who deliver education.
GM: a bank that makes cars (Thanks, Joe)
HP and Xerox: toner and inkjet companies that make hardware.
K-12: Baby sitting and filtering out the good ones that delivers "education."

So . . .if I were a printer, here's what I would do.
Become an education and community development company that makes Print.

Darn! There really are no new ideas. The future really is here, and really is not evenly distributed. Thank you to Erik from Canada for pointing me here. I hope they are getting some of the ed money floating around.

The Version Dad, The Printer Loved

Same story, different places.

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