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Page history last edited by Michael J 12 years, 9 months ago

edited version

 

Thank you to Gavin Smith for organizing a lunch time meeting at On Demand of some folks who are not selling equipment and care deeply about the printing industry. Gavin posed some interesting questions and for me, it was worth the ride to Boston to see something in a new way.

 

What I saw was who was in the room. I'm pretty sure that everyone around the table was a baby boomer. Not unexpected, given that it was a group that was selected for their deep experience in the industry.

 

I am baby boomer. Born in 1946, I've always enjoyed being at the leading edge of the "pig in the python". I graduated college in 1967, was invovled for a little while in the civil rights and anti- Vietnam war movement. I came of age during the Summer of Love and "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll". I then "settled down" and ran a printing brokerage for the next thirty years. Raised a family, bought a house, saved some money. Then I tried to start a dot.com, (raised $1.5 million, spent $1.7 million, and didn't have the cash to get the $1mm contract that was on the table when it all crashed.)

 

Best of all, I've spent the last 6 years teaching and working with the next generation of creatives at a premier design school.

 

I've learned that they are different. I like to call them Generation Google. They started using the internet in 5th or 6th grade. Right behind them, are the kids who never knew a world without the internet. The leading edge is now about 30 - 35. They came to the Internet later in life, but just as Vietnam defined my generation, the presence of the Internet is defining theirs.

 

From what I can learn, their attitude to printing is very different from ours.

 

First, they love printed products. I can't tell you exactly why, but I know they do.

That's the good news.

 

Second, they are not impressed by the expertise needed to prepare a PDF file that prints. Or the difficulty of getting it out the door at the right price. They don't know or care how Google works, they just want to know that it does, all the time, every time. As soon as it doesn't they will happily move to whatever does.

 

The long discussions we have about quality, workflow, technology are irrelevent to Generation Google. They don't really know or care about the difference between digital and offset printing..except that offset printing takes much longer and is much more expensive and is usually hard to buy.

 

They expect to be able to do everything through a web browser. And to be able to produce whatever they want, when they want, where they want. The best of them are fearless in their youthful arrogance. (reminds me of us 40 years ago.) They believe they can learn anything they have to, in order to be able to get what they want.

 

Third, they expect things to work. Lulu.com is not amazing, merely another functionality. Youtube is not amazing, just part of the infrastructure. And as far as I can tell, MySpace is not cool anymore, but as of yesterday Face Book is the networking platform of choice. Buying photo books from Ofoto to send a gift to grandpa is not amazing, it's merely a sweet, appropriate way of capturing and sharing memories.

 

Until the tipping point, about two years ago, boomers who got it where called thought leaders or evangelists. But now that Generation Google is coming on the scene, we have to run to catch up.

 

I'm hoping that I can get some of my Generation Google friends to post here. And perhaps you might ask your Generation Google clients or kids to do the same. If we can get a vibrant conversation going, we might be able to understand the future better... by listening to the future growing in our midst.

 

So... to see if we can get it going...

I would like to ask Why is print so cool?

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