One of our goals this year is to let the voices of those in the print industry be heard. We have plans to do this in a number of ways. We’re calling it Exclusive Engagement. We were fortunate on Jan. 4 to get into an impromptu conversation with Michael Josefowicz (pictured) on Twitter. Like most Twitter talks, others jumped into the discussion, which was great. However, we’re going to focus on Michael’s responses and the interaction he had with Jim Raffel and Shelby Sapusek of ColorMetrix. The conversation lasted about an hour. Some tweets were combined and edited for grammar/language.
Michael Josefowicz bio
Profession: Retired printer with lots of time for blabla.
Interests: Printing and education. Also, he’s a pretty big deal on Twitter.
Twitter handle: @toughloveforx
Claim to fame: Ability to volley in Twitter Tennis
Twitter Tennis with Michael Josefowicz (Jan. 4, 2012)
Michael Josefowicz (MJ), Shelby Sapusek (SS) and Jim Raffel (JR)
The first volley…
MJ: Color control is not about pleasing customers. It’s about making good margins. … A predictable, manageable revenue stream. No drama.
SS: So recognize our niche and build upon what we know we can do.
MJ: No new ideas, just better implementations. Future is here, just not evenly distributed. Look at your customer list. Focus on who loves you. Get more like that. Not rocket science. And you better be just the right amount of good for your niche. Talk about custom manufacturing.
On process control and automation…
MJ: The dirty little secret is that if your process is not totally under control, you … will be spinning wheels.
SS: Ah yes. Processes. (Jim) Raffel and I have been looking at plans and processes including automation pretty hard for this year.
MJ: Automation is good if you can afford it. But a precise craftsman-like approach is often good enough.
MJ: Ok. But I hate paving cow paths … And thinking automation will save you.
JR: Yes, but automation and process control are where precision and accuracy come from.
MJ: Automation is good if you can afford it. But a precise, craftsman-like approach is often good (enough). I say automation embedded in a sloppy work flow doesn’t pay. Just worser (sic), faster. Lots of drama.
SS: Ok, if you don’t like the word “automation,” how about delegation? We have to trust others to accomplish tasks.
MJ: Don’t get me wrong. I love automation. But like any powerful tool, (it) can cause huge damage if misapplied.
SS: I’m not saying every process can be automated. But recognize ones that can (be) to free up resources for others that can’t.
MJ: I’m saying that every process that can be automated will eventually be automated. I don’t think we disagree. So then (the) printer has to do the hard work of process control, instead of blabla about marketing, etc.
SS: And if the printer has that process control down, can they then blabla about marketing?
MJ: If and only if. That’s the problem. First things first. Ideas, (in my opinion), are worth about 2 cents. Precise craftspeople are where margins come from.
On giving it away for free…
MJ: Everyone expects proofs for free, but are willing to pay for samples. But that’s tricky.
SS: Now that I think about it: Here’s a sample of what we can do. Here’s a proof of what we did for you. Different, yes?
MJ: Not a sample of what we can do for you. Here’s a sample of what your job will look like. Different thing.
SS: Ah. And that’s the tricky part.
MJ: Yep. Unless your sample really is what the job is gonna be, you are in the soup. Yikes!
SS: But I don’t wanna be in the soup! It’s all … soupy!
MJ: Margins don’t come from soup. They come from baking cakes. Precise, under total control.
SS: Baking? Now you’re talking my language! I bake up a storm! You should try my cookies. But I get it: Precision counts.
MJ: Yep. Baking needs precise process control. Ain’t like making soup. Printers who make soup sometimes stumble upon a winner or big hit. But who wants the drama? Puh-leeze.
SS: That may be true but I don’t want to be hit or miss. Also, not a drama queen.
On restaurants as business models…
MJ: The best process(es) are the most easily automated. It’s like the new kind of cooking.
SS: You still need one chef though. And a bunch of line cooks supporting him/her. (Just gave away my college job.)
MJ: Yep. A professional kitchen is a perfect model for almost any business or school in my never so humbler opinion.
SS: So that’s why my dad always encouraged my restaurant jobs! *slaps head*
MJ: See you should always listen to your dad and mom. It took me years to figure that out.
SS: Restaurants do everything like other businesses but in a faster-paced environment. Have to be efficient or fail.
A one-line gem on the printing industry…
MJ: Sinking demand for the old infrastructure. Huge demand for emerging infrastructure. It’s the business model changing that is the real trigger.
Another one-liner on processes and flexibility…
MJ: My take is the critical thing about a plan is to be able to turn on a dime.
On social media…
MJ: It’s about using the web to assemble the tribe. Then sell them stuff and experiences and money.
And finally, one of the participant’s favorite lines…
MJ: I figure any woman who made it through the print business can make it anywhere.