I have recollections of listening to conversations of my father, grandfather, and assorted “uncles,” reminiscing about the good ol’ days. Well, it seems my siblings (there’s six of us) and I have reached that stage – but in a different forum.
Baby brother Phil (all of 46 years old) started a conversation about the Helms Man the other night. For those of you who 1.) Didn’t grow up in So Cal, or 2.) Too young to remember (Helms went away in 1969), the Helms man was the guy who delivered bread and assorted pastries to your door. Yes, to your door! I’m sure you found similar companies throughout major metropolitan areas across the U.S. prior to major supermarket chains and discount stores changing the landscape.
Phil shared photos he had discovered, and we good natured (No blood, no foul) kidded each other for sibling transgressions as the conversation wrapped around grandparents and other fond memories. When we couldn’t remember certain specifics, Norm (brother by marriage) and Phil provided background information. Oh, did I mention that this entire conversation occurred online? And that all of us are scattered throughout Southern California and Texas?
I’m sure we would have had a lot better time face-to-face. The power of conversation is the ability to read tone of voice and body language. This value of communication is too often over looked as we try to find ways to make our lives more “efficient.” Yet, the power of technology has changed our way of life – for good and bad. I think for the better. Although I’m sure the folks who were employed by the Helms Bakery would disagree that change was a good thing.
I will be the first to admit that I did not watch the State Of The Union speech on the 24th. I wasn’t up to hearing a bunch of posturing – and as an equal opportunist – it’s the same approach I’ve used for the gaggle of Republicans and their debates.
In reading the commentary and a variety of press releases this morning (PIA’s being one), this Administration (along with many in Fantasyland Along The Potomac) are not willing to make the serious changes necessary to help position this country for our children. So, if I was running for Big Dog (never in a hundred years), here are some of the issues on the Polanco Platform:
1.) Give heed to the Simpson/Bowles Commission. They got it right; 2.) Modify the tax structure by a.) increasing capital gains by 5%, but reduce that increase for companies/indiviudals which utilize their assets for producing services and products – they’re the backbone of commerce and in turn will create wealth for the investors; and b.) Everyone pays taxes – regardless of income level. We create a floor so that no one ends up with $0 tax liability. If you’re not paying into the system, you can’t get anything out of it. How’s that for democracy? 3.) This next one will probably go down like the proverbial dead fish in the punch bowl. Entitlements MUST be reduced and controlled. That goes for social security, Medicare, and government pensions – including the military. I assure you that wouldn’t get me any votes from the Old F’s (that’s me now days) and the military.
OK, I now have that off my chest. Just don’t ask me about gay marriages, right-to-life, privacy, immigration, gun control, or any other “social” issues. I’ll probably ruin any chance of running for president. LOLROF
InfoTrend’s Jeff Hays had a few comments about relavency in the publishing and marketing industry. It’s worth checking out and considering what “long-term” affects these changes could have on print producers.
And You Too Apple? As of this morning, Apple has joined the fray in the world of digitizing textbooks. For the publishing industry, does this hasten the demise of the printed page, or is it just another company (is Apple “another” company?) trying to position itself for a piece of the pie? Regardless, there is no ignoring this player who has historically been very much a part of the education community. More importantly is that the world of print is being affected by sources who were once considered suppliers (Apple, Adobe, etc.) and are now both partners and competitors.
For those of us who make a living in the world of commercial printing and say, “but I don’t print books,” don’t forget that the quicker people get used to using digital tablets for communication, that the day-to-day uses of print become threatened. And for many in our industry, that will create business opportunities. Content may be king, but those who can format content sit at the right hand of the king.
I purchased an iPad2 over the Holidays. Mea culpa. Why did I do it? Supposedly it was to better understand the competition — and make my mobile communication easier. Or that’s what I told myself.
Getting set up was a bit tricky, but that’s what tekkie sons are for. James had recently purchased his iPad and helped his old man get setup and introduced to a variety of applications — and games — of course.
Although I’ve carried a laptop for years and a smart phone for the past two, this device takes it to a new level. NO, it doesn’t replace the smart phone, but once I get the right apps setup it will replace the laptop. More importantly I am starting to see why it’s a game changer for the publishing industry. And in turn it will affect many of the ways print will be used in the future.
I challenge you to make the investment (it’s not small) because it’s important for us in the world of print to understand the different ways people use to visually communicate. If we are going to succeed in our business, we need to understand this technology rather than condemn it. It’s the old adage — “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.” And while you’re thinking about that line, check out this recent WSJ article on Eastman Kodak.
OK, it’s now time to check out how my Angry Birds are doing.
I’ve been on vacation the past few weeks and enjoying family and the Holidays. Now that that’s it’s time to get back in the saddle, I’m looking at 2012 through fresh eyes. Although ’11 was pretty bleak for many, there were many lessons learned, and here are some of my thoughts as we begin a new year.
We can not continue to wait for things to get better – or clearer. Although most folks in the industry have realized that the economy will slowly trend upward, many are waiting for the waters of communication technology to become less muddy. It ain’t going to happen. By the time we think we see where it’s going – it will change. Thus, we can’t afford to sit on the banks of the stream – we have to jump in and swim.
We need to re-invest in our selves and our personnel. When was the last time you went to a non-industry seminar/workshop? How well versed are you with the new ways of communicating? Do your employees have the skills to re-invent themselves – and if they don’t – where are you going to find new ones?
When was the last time you talked to your banker? Yes, that’s probably not top on your list – but there’s a good possibility he thinks you’re a dead printer walking rather than a business owner looking to the future. Sit down and let him/her know that you’re in it for the long haul – whichever way it takes you.
Why did many of those “well-established” companies go away or change hands. Here’s my simplistic answer. They made a decision to serve a specific market and committed their assets to that business. In the 20th century, that made perfect sense, but with today’s ebb and flow of technology and communication channels, the successful company will need to think less about print technology and more about serving communication channels.