Friday, January 27, 2012

January Observations: Looking Ahead and Enjoying Coming Full Circle in the Research/Analyst World

also published in The Hard Copy Observer, January 2012

Observations: Looking Ahead and Enjoying Coming Full Circle in the Research/Analyst World

[January 25, 2012] I totally endorse indulging in extensive reflection during December and up through the ringing in of the new year, but with a new January getting well past its half-way point, it is no doubt a good time to stop the looking back, at least excessively, and start actively looking forward. And like with the art of listening, I believe there is the passive version as well as the active variety. I like making at least a few personal and professional resolutions for the new calendar year and anticipating what might actually qualify as truly “new” in our lives and surroundings coming up in the twelve months to follow.

With that said, this column will include an inevitable look back, as I integrate my own personal history with that of the industry over the past few years and the exciting announcement earlier this month of Lyra Research becoming part of the Photizo Group (click here). In addition, I feel that I have to share my personal legacy of some of the high points leading up to this announcement, beginning with my move from the corporate side (25 years with HP) and joining the research/analyst world with my initial Observations column for Lyra in December 2005. It is hard to believe, but with this column, I am starting my seventh calendar year of monthly Observations. I have already wallowed in the memories of most of those columns, but this month’s news brings a clear-cut reason to think back a little more.

After that initial column in the traditional “Hard Copy Observer” format (and also available online via my blog), I had a number of well-wishers among friends and family. But the one unexpected e-mail, or at least the first, came from a gentleman I would eventually get to know much better, by the name of Edward Crowley. I still have that e-mail archived and accessible, and (at the small risk of embarrassing him), here’s what he wrote: “Jim, I enjoyed your article in Hard Copy Observer. Are you consulting now? Best Regards, Ed Crowley.”

At the time, Ed was a few months away from officially founding the Photizo Group, and I responded that yes, I was doing a little consulting, but through further e-mails and phone calls, it was clear to me that he was a driven visionary with ambitions for doing some new, big things in our industry and was a person I easily connected with. As my apprenticeship with the Observer continued, we kept in touch, and I was pleased that I could do some contract work in the area of writing and analysis for Photizo, beginning in 2007, following the firm’s official launch in 2006. I also featured some of Ed’s wisdom in two of my Observations columns in 2007, in musings on Corporate Printing (Managed Print Services or MPS was just emerging as the “universal” term it has become). (see Observations: Corporate Printing, Served and Managed, and Observations: The Changing Role of the Printed Page). With a foot in both Photizo and Lyra camps, I helped make introductions in 2008 that led to a Lyra/Photizo alliance that officially kicked off with Ed’s appearance as an MPS keynoter at the Lyra Symposium in January 2009, which I proudly blogged about (***see illustration). Since then Lyra and Photizo have continued a conference-speaker exchange, and members of each team are frequent sights as attendees at the other company’s conferences.

Ed Crowley addresses the Lyra Imaging symposium in January, 2009

It would be reaching for me to compare my journey, including these last six years, with my chronological contemporaries, who number among the tech industry’s greatest ever. But as I reflect on my 2011 reading list, which included the Walter Isaacson-penned Steve Jobs biography that I have mentioned in previous Observations, Paul Allen’s autobiography Idea Man, and even Mark Cuban’s ebook, How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It , I am thrilled by their history. And my times with HP, and more recently with Photizo and Lyra, have left me also with a great sense of history and perspective in our part of the tech business.

It seems that this bringing together of the legacy and foundation from Lyra Research and the vision and innovation of Photizo Group, now combined under one figurative roof, is something I am very fortunate to have been witness to and part of. My journeyman-ship with the Observer led to being named Senior Editor last year, and now in that role, I move to the combined firm, with the prospects of an exciting ride continuing. As a professor of marketing in one of my lives and in my business career in another, I have frequently reminded those around me about the “power of partnering,” whether through formal tie-ups like mergers and acquisitions, minority investments, or simply forging strategic alliances with complementary organizations. And once again, I am living that advice.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back in Rancho Mirage - Lyra Imaging Symposium 2012

As the "official blogger" of the Lyra Imaging Symposium for a number of years now (though not all 15!), I will be at it again, but this year, over at the Imaging Insider blog. We'll post a daily summary there, but offer more "real time" bite-size pieces on Twitter.

While you can keep track of my Symposium tweets in the right-hand column here, suggest a more effective way is to track the hashtag #Lyra12 on a conventional Twitter app or the web site itself (