Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shave, Shower and Link In!

Razor and Brush Stand by Improbable Roach

Social media activity on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are an extremely effective way to build market awareness and sales leads. But they only work if you stay engaged every day.

Whichever social network you choose, reading and posting needs to become as much a part of your daily routine as showering or brushing your teeth.

If you skip showering for a week because you are too busy, you probably won't smell very good.  Haphazard social media marketing stinks too.



You might also be interested in:

Be Interesting and Interested on LinkedIn

The Blogosphere and Twitterverse

Your First Impression

Retweet or Retire



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, September 20, 2012

Survival of the Most Creative

Products from R and R Imaging. Creative and Thriving!

One of the perks of my job is showing new specialty substrates to printers and photo labs. In most cases, these products allow the printer to offer their customers a new and improved product. Some people immediately see an application for the paper, but I frequently hear "this is a beautiful product, but I don't see how we would use it."

While pondering this objection, I stumbled upon three interesting articles:


The first article presents the results of recent scientific research by Cornell, Penn and the University of North Carolina that supports the conclusion that people have a bias against creativity. The article observes that anything truly creative has to depart from the status quo and that departure makes people uncomfortable.  In my experience, that discomfort is sometimes a genuine fear of change.

The second article tracks trends in the printing industry that will lead to an industry dominated by a few large successful profit leaders and a large number of flailing small companies. The profit leaders will enjoy higher margins because they offer services that are more relevant to their customers.

Not only do the profit leaders operate more viable businesses they appear to be more relevant in the market and to their customers.  They display better adaptiveness in terms of their ability to change with the market and the environment.  They have built into their DNA an ability to endure hardships, perform at consistently high levels, and keep on going.
Wayne Lynn
While Lynn's article did not use the word "creative" to describe the successful profit leaders, I believe that appearing "more relevant" and displaying "better adaptiveness" requires creativity. The leaders of these organizations will need to be the first to see and understand new opportunities and have the courage to experiment with new products and processes.

The final article serves as an example of survival of the most creative. R and R Images is a major customer of Convertible Solutions and has historically embraced new technology, processes and products long before the rest of the printing industry. The fact that they need to add two Indigo 7600 presses to handle their growing volume is proof that innovation and creativity work.

Convertible's sister companies, Inter-State Studio and Publishing and Black River Imaging have also added several more HP Indigo 7500 and 7600 presses this year in preparation for an extremely busy photo gifting season. We work very hard to continually generate and explore creative ideas and launch new products.

How do you feel about the changes in the printing industry?  Do you feel that "Survival of the Most Creative" applies?

R and R Images in Phoenix, Arizona


You might also be interested in:

Your Creativity is Scary!

Your Business Model is Broken

The IDE3A Process

A Tale of Two Offsets


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.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Every Image Possible

Focus on the Face?
Or focus on the blade?

Look at any image captured by a traditional camera.  What you are seeing is a two dimensional representation of the scene captured from one angle. What if your camera could capture every possible image from the scene?  How would that change photography? At SIGGRAPH last month, Kurt Akeley, CTO of Lytro, explained how this happens in his company's light field camera system.

This image from Lytro shows the path of the light field.
The light field is a mathematical function that describes the amount of light faring in every direction through every point in space. Light travels in rays and the primary measurement of a ray of light is radiance. The Lytro camera captures radiance values in a scene in a way that allows the computation of the entire light field in front of the lens. This allows the user to adjust the point of focus and other image parameters after the image is captured.

This diagram from the Lytro web site shows the inside of the camera.
Lytro achieves the light field capture by using an 8x optical zoom lens to focus the scene on a micro-lens array adhered to a standard digital image sensor. The micro lenses allow each area of the sensor to capture the image from one view with a total capture of 11 million rays. From these rays, a two dimensional or three dimensional representation can be computed for any view and these can be recalculated based upon input from the viewer.

Lytro calls the images from their system "Living Pictures" because the viewer can adjust the point of focus on their own computer.  Their camera system was released in February of this year and the Living Picutres must be viewed in special Lytro software for your PC or Mac or in a special Lytro plugin on a website.

The ability to change the focal point of an image after it is captured has profound implications on the very definition of photography. Is the photographer the person who captures the image, or the person who determines the focus parameters after capture?

You might also be interested in:

Cellphone Array Camera

It's About Time

Photography in 3D


The images at the top were captured with a Lytro Light Field camera at Comicon 2012.  To see more images in this gallery visit https://pictures.lytro.com/echeng/stories/54291#.


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, September 6, 2012

Twitter Guilt

When I first discovered Twitter, I was in awe of the way I could learn from reading the articles curated by the people I chose to follow. After carefully selecting a group of people I could count on to post links to interesting and relevant material, I linked my Twitter feed to Flipboard on my iPad and conscientiously read every article.

It was not enough to passively absorb this information. I also retweeted favorite articles from my feed and Tweeted new links to articles I found though my RSS feed and Google Alerts. Not long after blogging about how to Tweet to Expertise last October, I discovered a problem with the process.  As I gained more followers and followed many back, my feed gradually grew too lengthy to follow closely.

Initially, I allocated more time to following Twitter, but that time also filled up. Eventually, I gave up and focused my reading on the blogs in my RSS feed. I continued to generate Tweets and respond to mentions, but otherwise ignored my Twitter feed.

Creating Tweets, but not reading anyone else's, gave me a strong case of Twitter Guilt. It seemed hypocritical.  Even though I often Tweeted content from the blogs I follow most, I never saw or retweeted any of my friend's posts. I also discovered that the variety of my reading had dropped because many of the people I follow are better at curating content than creating their own.

The best cure for a case of Twitter Guilt is a Twitter List!  I have created a short list of people that I will follow closely.  These friends and sages are the people that share information that is interesting to me.  I will add and subtract from the list from time to time, but I will keep the list short enough that I can actually follow it and read the links in the time I have available.

Who is on your favorite Twitter List?


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.