Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wyoming in 3D

Terri and I just got back from a wonderful road trip through Nebraska to Wyoming and back. We took several stereoscopic 3D pictures along the way. As usual, each image is posted as an red/cyan anaglyph and a stereo pair.

Buffalo Bill's Scout's Rest Ranch in North Platte, Nebraska
Terri enjoying the morning at Scout's Rest Ranch

Grand Teton through the trees

Horses grazing in front of the Grand Tetons
Old Faithful at Yellowstone was right on time!
These buffalo were roaming right next to the highway in Grand Teton National Park.
This buffalo in Yellowstone was careful to stay in his lane!
We drove our 350Z so we could enjoy the fresh mountain air.

We had a great time and are looking forward to our next road trip.

Where are you planning to vacation this summer?

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Forty Two

Near the end of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams describes how a race of hyperintelligent pandimensional beings decided to build the greatest computer in the history of the universe to solve the question of Life, the Universe and Everything. They named their supercomputer Deep Thought, and despite its enormous processing power, it required seven and a half million years to determine the answer.

Generations later, on the Great and Hopefully Enlightening Day, the Day of the Answer, Deep Thought surprised the scientists, philosophers and religious leaders by revealing that the answer to the question of Life, the Universe and Everything was Forty Two.

If you want a useful answer, chose your questions carefully!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Different Peter Principle

Image by Holly Hayes at Art History Images
In 1969, Dr. Laurence J, Peter and Raymond Hull published The Peter Principle in which they observed that competent people in an organization tend to get promoted until they reach a position that is above their skill level. When they rise to the level of their incompetence, they are no longer promoted and remain in that position. The logical result is that most people are incompetent in the position they hold.

The argument is compelling and may be accurate in some instances, but I have not observed it often in my experience over the last 30 years. Perhaps The Peter Principle no longer applies in today’s highly competitive global economy. With flatter organizations, fewer people are promoted and companies are careful about who they promote. And incompetence isn’t tolerated for long. Those who don’t succeed quickly are moved into a different position or out of the organization.

I want to propose a different Peter Principle based upon a much older book. In the Gospels, there were many people who encountered Jesus and followed him with blind devotion from that point forward. But Peter was different. One of the first followers, he did not follow blindly. In almost every story, Peter was the one saying the wrong thing, asking the wrong questions.

In many ways, Peter’s character was a perfect literary device for the Gospel writers. When Peter made an inappropriate statement or asked a difficult question, it was the perfect setup for Jesus to respond with something profound and mysterious.  But the end of the story makes me believe that Peter’s questions had a more important purpose.  In the end, it is Peter that Jesus puts in charge of leading the church.

My Peter Principle is “If you want to lead, you have to ask the difficult questions.”  It is through questioning and struggling for understanding that we gain the insight required to lead our organizations into the future.

What questions do you ponder?

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Beautiful card from Charta Design.
I have written before that creativity is often as simple as blending two older ideas together to create a new one. We seem to be right at the center of one of those types of creative episodes at Convertible Solutions.

As I have also mentioned in earlier posts, my company Convertible Solutions pre-converts paper for use in digital presses. Through a combination of cohesives, scoring and die cutting we make a variety of press sheets that can be used to create complex direct mail pieces, Panoramic books and double thick postcards.

Last fall, when we rolled out our 12 point Double Thick Impact Card stock for making 24 point postcards, we targeted direct mail and marketing applications. The paper we selected was nice, but economical, and is visually stunning when coated with a high gloss UV coating. It will drive up your direct mail response rates, but you probably wouldn’t sent out a wedding invitation on it.

Earlier this year, I began working on a different project with a group of young women who greatly appreciate art and design and are constantly on the hunt for pretty, inspirational things to share on their blog. They are particularly passionate about paper and printing and even named their site PaperMusePress.

This project and similar ones have heightened our awareness of the look and feel of traditional letterpress printing and focused our attention on creating that kind of elegance in the visual and tactile impact of our digitally printed products. We rediscovered a beautiful old paper stock that has been a favorite of high end printers for decades.

Mohawk Superfine Eggshell is the perfect surface for beautiful stationery and cards that invoke the richness of the letterpress era. The 120lb cover weight yields a respectable 17 point flat or folded cards. That's a nice thickness, but what if we used our Double Thick Impact Card process to create a 34 point card? That would be really impressive.  What if we put our cohesives on both sides of a center insert and stacked it between the other two creating a triple thick or quadruple thick card?

We haven’t formally announced a stationery-quality double/triple thick card product, but the test samples we have shown to selected clients have created quite a stir. It feels like there will be an impact on the market far greater than simply adding two or more 17 point sheets of paper together.

The product should be announced soon, but if you can’t wait to see a sample, let me know. I will make sure you get one.