Recap of Dscoop6 from Dscoop Blogger Nate Davis

Thursday, February 17

HP Innovation Stations 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Dscoop6 has officially started. All the conference signage is in place and print industry professionals from all over the globe have moved through the registration lines and in and out of this morning’s Deep-Dive Seminars.

The ambience of HP Innovation Stations amazed me. As I walked through the checkered flag-lined hall leading to the event, I felt a sense of excitement, as if I were finishing a race. As I approached the entrance, the atmosphere swelled with voices of print industry professionals, Dscoop staff members and HP experts conversing and sharing ideas and networking in a casual environment.

Multiple Innovation Stations were arranged at opposite ends of the room and featured such services as Workflow, Direct Mail, Label and Packaging, SmartPlanner, SmartStream Designer and more. Each station was staffed with HP professionals surrounded by a captivated crowd of attendees. Dscoop staff members Lindsay Mitchell and Amy Biedenharn gave attendees a walkthrough of the new Dscoop website.

Opening General Session 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

When the doors opened to the Opening General Session, attendees instantly filled the halls of the massive Sun Ballroom, eager to hear updates, personal views and strategies from Larry Vaughn, Ideal Printers; Eric Hawkinson, Dscoop; Jan Riecher, HP; and Stan Slap, slap, who didn’t disappoint.

Vaughn opened the session with a brief introduction and history of Dscoop. He recognized the Dscoop Board of Directors individually and discussed several Dscoop international ventures. With a comedic, laid back tone set, Vaughn introduced Hawkinson.

Hawkinson introduced the new Dscoop website and shared that attendance grew 35 percent from last year. He was then joined by Riecher and the two introduced the Fast Forward Power Pack, a new suite of tools that will aid Dscoop members in reaching and growing their customer base.

“HP is excited to work closely with Dscoop this year to launch new types of tools that members are asking for as they see different types of opportunities emerge in the marketplace,” said Riecher in closing.

In a speech filled with comedy, tragedy, strategy and worldly advice, Slap captivated the audience of more than 2,000 Dscoop6 attendees. He spoke of the best ways to brand your company and the passion that all business owners and managers should exude. In closing he left the audience with this: “Don’t say something until you stand for something. Be human first and a manager second.”

Mine: A Concept to Completion Case Study 4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

After listening to the Opening General Session speakers mesmerize the audience, I headed over to hear Susan Popler-Roy, Time Inc., and Val DiGiacinto, The Ace Group, present their session

Produced in 2009, Mine, sponsored by Lexus, was a 100 percent personalized magazine that used variable data printing along with data mining. It was the first of its kind and since its inception, had acquired more than 31,000 print subscribers.

Using data mining through their online subscription process, Popler-Roy explained how Time Inc. was able to not only able to personalize the content in Mine magazine but also personalize the advertisements throughout. DiGiacinto explained the printing process and how The Ace Group had to overcome some challenging obstacles to print such a personalized publication.

As the session came to a close, Poplar-Roy and DiGiacinto granted the audience time for some questions and answers. One big question was why this process wasn’t implemented on a more premium level—for instance, with Time magazine. Susan explained the entire process just isn’t affordable or fast enough to sustain that level. DiGiacinto was very optimistic saying that he believes the technology is headed in the right direction and that this process can be implemented in other premium publications in the future.

Friday, February 18

General Session 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Friday’s General Session began with Mark Sarpa, Dscoop6 conference committee chairman, presenting the Jack Glacken Award to Eric Hawkinson, Dscoop executive director, and Leta Wood, HP liaison. The Jack Glacken Award is presented to individuals who have made a difference in the digital print industry, and both were cited as key to the successful growth of the organization.

Vyomesh Joshi (VJ), executive vice president of the Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) at HP, followed Sarpa. He discussed industry statistics and the four key market trends that business owners are witnessing: content explosion, mobility and the web, service business model and digitalization, the switch from analog to digital.

VJ then invited Dscoop members from the photo, grand format, publishing, commercial, and label and packaging segments to discuss how HP has elevated their business in today’s market and what specifically each guest would like to see HP improve upon. VJ’s guests were: David Bennett, Bennett Graphics; Ed Wiegand, Sancoa; Dwayne Black, Shutterfly; Ric Davis, Consolidated Graphics; and Joe Garcia, New Era Portfolio.

“HP just needs to continue what they’re doing and focus on innovation and speed,” Black said. “Everyone here wants to create an emotional experience with our customers and HP just needs to continue to improve its products to make this possible.”

Next, keynote Speaker Brian Tracy, chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, filled the crowded Sun Ballroom with inspiration, words of wisdom and strategies that company owners and employees can employ upon return to their business. His encouraging words were well received as noted by the standing ovation he was given.

Partnering for Profit with PSDA 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Barb Pellows, InfoTrends, began this session with a brief introduction of the Print Distribution Services Association (PSDA) panelists: John Loftis, Innovative Business Products; Scott Lawton, Winbrook Associates; Rob Trube, Superior Business Solutions; and Tim Dust, F.P. Horak. Each panelist was given an opportunity to give an overview of their company and how PSDA can benefit Dscoop members and the digital print industry.

Their message as a whole was that PSDA goes beyond selling and gaining customers for Dscoop members. It’s about developing a trusting relationship with their future print partners and breaking into niche markets. Dscoop members partnering with PSDA members would have access to a more diverse client base, expanded sales channels, growth opportunities, a larger industry footprint, and solid customer relationships.

“PSDA has many tools that we offer our membership, including expanded markets and a sourcing hotline and matching service that grants the ability to create compatible relationships,” said Matt Sanderson, PSDA executive vice president.

The Inspiring World of Wide Format 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The Inspiring World of Wide Format featured speakers Marcus Timson, FESPA, and J.R. Kraft, BuildASign.com. Timson introduced the session sighting grand format marketplace statistics and growth through the recession. He spoke about changing technology within the industry and how to use these new advances to appeal to niche audiences through personalization, the creation of incredible environments, and powerful and passionate printing.

Kraft followed Timson and shared the unique start of his business. BuildASign.com started as four guys, including Timson, building websites for local business. When designing a website for a local printer, he wondered why there wasn’t a user friendly website that can offer people the personalization Timson mentioned. Today, the majority of BuildASign.com’s customer base is self sufficient. Only around 30 percent of their clients need customer service involvement.

Kraft continued to discuss his business model, the growth of his business and his marketing strategies, and answered multiple questions at the end. I got the pleasure of speaking with Mike Bucher, HP, after the close of the session. Bucher said that Kraft was a very dynamic and interesting speaker, and he was most impressed with how Kraft transformed a website company into a grand format signage company.

40 Years of Indigo (Past, Present and Future) 3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

40 Years of Indigo was a great session to attend for a first timer at the conference, like myself. Ohad Axelrod and Matthew Lightstone, HP, did a great job of walking the audience from the start of Indigo technology to today’s digital print market. The spoke about the early years of Indigo, the revolution of digital print technology, ongoing innovation and growth, and an overview of what the future holds for the print industry.

Starting with the history of Indigo, they introduced Benny Landa, who created Indigo technology and is often referred to as the father of digital offset color printing. The two speakers then discussed the acquisition of Indigo by HP, the fast and accelerated growth of the digital printing industry, industry trends, and opportunities for growth through HP and Dscoop. Bob Moore, DPI, one of the first Indigo owners in the U.S., discussed his experience in switching from analog to digital printing. Axelrod and Lightstone packed the information in a quiz show type format, keeping the audience involved during the entire presentation.

“New opportunities are out there and they are driving growth,” Lightstone said. “If you’re doing the same thing as yesterday, your business is not going to grow. You need to grab opportunities.” 

Saturday, February 19

The State of the Printing Industry 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general nanager of HP Indigo Digital Press Division, presented information on industry changes, trends, achievements, challenges, and the statistics showing the growth of the digital print industry.

Bar-Shany’s main focus was on the globalization of digital print. He said there is an estimated 17.3 percent increase in digital print in China and 3.5 percent increase in India. China is the second largest market and shows no signs of slowing down. He also discussed how Brazil, South Korea and Israel have installed more than 100 HP Indigo presses throughout their countries.

Simon McCauley of Tiny Prints Inc. said the information Bar-Shany presented was eye-opening, and it interesting to see how much traction digital print has been gaining versus how much ground analog print has been losing.

“You have to be flexible in today’s market,” McCauley said. “As you can tell by Alon’s presentation, the market is moving at an incredibly fast rate and you can see who the big players and innovators are. Alon speaks with a lot of energy and passion when it comes to this industry.”

Map of Print 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

None of the sessions I attended were more interactive than Map of Print. Paul Gardener spoke with enthusiasm and constantly involved the audience in the discussion. His overall message was: “If you don’t want to become a commodity, you have to unutilize the relationships you build.”

When I entered the room, I immediately noticed the chairs had been removed and replaced with flat, large square puzzle pieces. Eventually these pieces would be put together by the audience as a larger version of the map Gardener had hanging on a dry erase board in the front of the room.

Gardener gave a brief overview of the map, which looked like a colorful tree with many extending branches, and told the audience to start piecing together the disassembled map on the floor. Simultaneously, he walked around the map asking questions and inviting members of audience to discuss items that were missing or should be included. Some of the topics included finance, sources, alternatives, constraints, substrates and more.

Many attendees told stories about their business and how innovation in the print industry has changed their business strategies and models. Gardener would immediately add their category to the map.

“Our world is all about getting your audience to visualize your message even when they don’t realize they’re visualizing your message,” Gardener said. “This is known as transvisual.”

Solutions Showcase

With a total of 95 Partners, the Solutions Showcase was well trafficked. Attendees had various opportunities to walk around the Showcase, network and take home samples of exhibitors’ products. Many HP printers called the Solutions Showcase home for three days, including the HP Indigo 7200, 7500, 5500, 3550 and ws6000. Some Platinum and Gold Partners even hosted education session at their booth, showing the capabilities of their products and equipment. Two of the Dscoop6 educational sessions, “Tips and Tricks on the HP Indigo 5500” and “Tips and Tricks on the HP Indigo 7500” presented by Klaus Fischer of HP, took place in the Solutions Showcase as well.

The Showcase was filled with more than just equipment, though. Some exhibitors were dedicated to software or marketing and social media solutions. Substrate Partners displayed the capabilities of their stocks on HP equipment. In a communal effort, the Solutions Showcase helped Dscoop members find solutions to any challenges they are facing.

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