Author Archives: Gary Peterson
Kelly Abbott Joins the Crew
One of my favorite quotations is this one from Branch Rickey – “Luck is the residue of design.” Branch Rickey’s innovations in professional sports brought us Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente — the first African American and Hispanic players in Major League Baseball — the farm system, spring training, helmets, batting cages and pitching machines. Branch Rickey is also the first GM in professional sports to incorporate statistical measurements into his game-plan. The practice is so commonplace now it has its own name: sabermetrics .
I had just moved to San Diego and I wanted find a soccer team to play on. Gary was the goalkeeper for a team that just happened to need players and I joined. Within a few minutes of talking, Gary realized that I was
. Follow that string of luck from there to here, then to now, and what you have is the residue of good design and ultimately why I ended up becoming the Technology Director of gap Intelligence.
What I hope to bring to the company is an understanding that innovation happens as a result of discovery. While Gary and Chris represent the forefront of understanding what happens in our clients’ world, I am responsible for making that understanding accessible. In the time I’ve already spent here as a consultant, I’ve helped design and build the Data Center, the TCO tool, a handful of Web services, and the public Web site. As a new full-time tinkerer, I’m looking forward to learning from the great people that Gary and Chris have surrounded themselves with. With their own brand of sabermetrics
, I’m hoping I can put together a few innovations that take the world of competitive intelligence to a new level and along with that, the businesses of our fans.
Kelso = Biomechanical Engineering Major
Hardly known as a PC guru or good actor,
sure can sell a camera.
in a series of commercials that pin the married man in the middle of dozens of adoring female fans.
The girls ?borrow? Ashton?s CoolPix camera to take group photos and self portraits for him to adore when they SNEAK
it back into his pocket!!!
Though Kelso didn?t inspire me to buy a camera, he did make a big splash in sales.
Two Nikon cameras highlighted in the campaign broke this week, a first for Nikon in a very long time.
As ladies buy more and more cameras, the devices will become more lifestyle accessories than the megapixel, optical zooming apparatuses us nerds appreciate.
(Ashton was a Biomechanical Engineering Major at the University of Iowa. All of my remarks are out of jealousy because his wife starred in – the greatest movie of like…..EVER!!)
How Do They Get Past the TSA?
On more than one occasion I have read research studies that suggested that most Americans would rather forget their wallet than their cell phone. With that in mind, one of the biggest ?threats? to the printing industry is the use of cell phones in business and travel applications.
Continental Airlines has started a test program that allows travelers to ?carry? their boarding passes on their cell phones.
Travelers carry their IDs and display a digital UPC code on their cell phone screen that can be scanned.
Naturally, this single application could cease home printing of paper boarding passes that have collectively spilled rivers of ink and toner profits for printer companies.
The application could lead to the development of other ?on the go? applications that were previously made for paper.
Maps, travel instructions, calendars, reservations, and the actual exchange of documents from one phone to the other could save customers major costs in paper, ink, and the hassle of lugging all of those notes around.
Regardless, our use of paper will hardly decline despite these advancements in cell phone technology.
Paper is a heck of a good product ? it?s cheap, light, very transportable, can be reused (write on the back of a post it note) and doesn?t run out of batteries.
The Lame Got Exponentially Lamer
History has proven time and time again that if you want to destroy a fad, a sweeping trend, or runaway success, all you have to do is make a rap song about it.? There is nothing more pitiful than watching a non-rapper attempt to rap and nothing that enrages the inner soul more than listening to a non-rapper trying to rap.? The 1985 Chicago Bears were perhaps the greatest team in NFL history, throw in the “Super Bowl Shuffle” and you haven’t heard a thing from them since.? The last time the New York Mets won the World Series was right after the team produced “Get Metsmerized”.? One of the latest victims is the Large Hadron Collider, humanity’s most expensive and important science project that is
.? Blame it on this abomination:
If the Rapping Gods are listening, and I really, really hope they are this time, this latest horror show may save the printer industry.? Lyrics follow:
The following are the lyrics from the rap:
I bought a new printer for a bargin price
Printed out some pictures and they came out nice
Suddenly the warning light began to blink
Looked like my photo printer just ran out of ink
So I went to the store, money in hand
Looking for the cartridge of my printers brand
Found the one, but to my surprise
The colour cartridge cost more than I could buy
I found a member of staff
And said whats this?!
Your sign must be broke
Cos its too expensive
So doing his job, he double checked it
And confirmed the price of the ink cartridge
Calmly he says, as he turns
The price of your printer was as cheap as dirt
But when you need more ink thats when you pay
All the printer companies make their money this way!
When we gonna realize stupidity sells
Stop giving up your money to the ink cartels
Wake up everybody cos we’ve all been sold
Printer ink is more precious than gold
If you owned an ink guzzling car
A tank full of ink wouldn’t get you very far
Just one gallon of this printer food
Would cost more than a big barrel of crude
Cost you much more than a pound of gold
So when we gonna realise we’ve all been sold
*******, *****, ** and **** **
Are the real kingpins of the big ink set
But to save
The money you pay
Print economy mode every page
And to get more ink without breaking the bank
Dont go to the store for the brand name swank
Get a refill cartridge buy it online
Get good ink and save money and time
Economic mind through credit crunch time
Quality design with a price downsize!
(song mercifully ends)
You can’t rap. Please stop, for all of us.? Stop.
gap intelligence Throws a BRIC
The buzz surrounding today?s China is impossible to avoid and has been the daily focus of countless journals and publications for the last 10 years. However, the sheer magnitude of what is happening in China cannot be conveyed in words. What we are witnessing today is of the same historical significance as the development of the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and the building of the Great Pyramids. A pilgrimage of tens of millions of Chinese, who have descended from rural towns and villages to find opportunities in China?s bursting metropolis, is so enormous in scale, that sociologists have called it the greatest migration (human or animal) in history. The growth and development of China is so big and so fast that it has choked global supplies of resources. Ask any architect about the global shortage of steel and the skyrocketing price of concrete and all will say one word: ?China?.
One of my favorite proverbs is “May you live in interesting times.”, which the Chinese consider a curse and has been of some historical debate in regards to accuracy. ?Historians suggest that the actual curse is, “May you live in an interesting age.”, linking a second Chinese saying that “it is better to be a dog in peaceful times than a man in a chaotic period”. ?As late as last June, I never thought that gap intelligence would somehow remotely be involved in China, but as the last few months have proven – we are living in interesting times.
While the United States is still the hotbed of consumption, manufacturers have looked to other global markets to fuel the next decades of growth. ?Four countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China have been tagged the hotbeds of growth in the new?millennium?and the collective group is commonly referred to as BRIC. ?While the focus is clearly on BRIC, detailed information about?the countries themselves is very hard to come by.
How is retail shopping managed?
How do products flow from manufacturer to customers?
Who controls pricing?
And, perhaps most importantly: ?Where do people shop?
The thirst for information about BRIC and the absolute void of data regarding the countries has pressured many of our clients to turn to gap intelligence to collect, report, and analyze data from these regions. ?Actually, our clients didn’t turn to us for information, they pushed us off the plank to go get it – and we have.
For the last six months, gap intelligence has been building a foundation for data collection and reporting in Brazil, Russia, India, and China. ?The obstacles and hurdles that we have cleared so far have been?enormous and our work is far from complete. ?However, I am happy to announce that gap intelligence now has people combing retail outlets in China and India and we are now distributing prototype reports for printer hardware, supplies, and digital cameras that cover all four BRIC countries. ?The pictures dotting this blog post were shot by our Chinese collection team at retailers Suning, Gome, and Yolo. ?
gap intelligence in China? ?
We are indeed living in an interesting age (oh, and call Tom if you want to see the reports).
?The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn?t exist.? – Baudelaire
About a year ago, the locals say, was the first time anyone had witnessed it. Hundreds gathered and squinted at a web cast presentation of an inkjet printer that would turn the world upside down. A little inkjet that could print 60 pages-per-minute, three times faster than anything anybody had ever seen. The video showed an inkjet that could print a photo in two seconds and churn out posters at a rate of one foot per second. Like footage of the infamous Bigfoot walking through the river valley, witnesses of a little printer as fast as a Ferrari. An online viewer frantically typed in her chat window “Is this for REAL?!?!?” Panic engulfed the crowd and as quickly as it came – Bigfoot disappeared.
After the initial sighting, Bigfoot came to be known as , an inkjet technology developer tucked away in Australia. For years, founder Kia Silverbrook had quietly horded printing patents that everyone thought collected dust in his closet. During the 90′s the industry thought of Silverbrook as a clever inventor who hoped to sell his patents al la’ carte to any curious manufacturer. Nobody had a clue what Silverbrook was really up to.
Silverbrook had more than a couple of printing patents. Over the years he amassed over 1,400 of them and hired over 300 engineers to perfect his revolutionary new printing system. That system would later be called Memjet, the industry’s first commercially viable page-wide-array printing technology. Unlike typical inkjets, where an inch-wide print head sprays ink while being pushed back and forth across a page, the Memjet print head spanned the entire page. With such a wide array, the Memjet print head can spray ink simultaneously on either end of the page, eliminating the time it took for a smaller print head to be pushed back and forth.
A Memjet printer can print as fast as one can push paper underneath it. Memjet boasted that 60 pages per minute was just the beginning and with improvements, the system could hit speeds of 180, 360, or even up to 64,000 pages per minute. The speeds that Silverbrook claimed could only be matched by million dollar industrial presses. The world had indeed been turned upside down.
The Memjet revolution did not end there. The company had no plans of entering the business on its own, but would rather license its technology to the highest bidders. Through Memjet, countless manufacturers, who previously could only dream of entering the lucrative inkjet business, could now buy a ticket to the dance. The thought of dozens of new competitors who could all offer 60 page per minute printers kept HP, Canon, and Epson wide awake in their beds.
Memjet also promised to revolutionize the business end of the printing industry. The company suggested that it would collaborate with a global network of ink re-fillers, who could re-supply empty ink cartridges at a fraction of the cost. While Kodak boasted a 50% savings through its printers, Memjet hinted that its business model would save consumers closer to 80%. The company envisioned a ?Netflix? style of supplies ordering as consumers would simply return their empties through the mail and have them automatically replaced.
Moreover, the revolution was coming fast. Memjet promised licensee agreements by the end of 2007 and the first printers would be ready for the public by early 2008. The industry braced itself for a huge impact.
More so than speed, Memjet?s cloudy vision of its ink supplies business may have slowed the company?s progress. It?s no secret that printer makers earn their money on ink and there is no greater pilferer of those profits than re-fillers. By relying on re-fillers, Memjet?s licensees run risk of losing control of quality, return rates, and pricing. Memjet has asked the fox to guard the chicken coop and the chickens happen to be the most vital element of the business.
In a recent article (one of the four), Memjet all but admitted that the consumer market may be out of reach. The company claimed that it has now focused on the wide format sector, where its one-foot per second speeds would have major implications in the market. Professional print shops, who have invested millions in hardware to make posters, banners, and flyers, could easily be unseated by a new shop and a $5,000 Memjet business inkjet. Memjet’s hyper print speeds could also overturn the commercial print market, where presses waste millions of sheets of paper on “test” prints to perfectly set color. A potential high-speed Memjet press could accomplish the same task at the loss of a handful of sheets of paper. Memjet may have realized that its real opportunity is in not in the retail printer aisle, but the corner print shop and commercial warehouse.
The locals will tell tall tales of what they saw that fateful day in March 2007 and spin yarns about a quiet inventor who would hand the riches to the thieves.
We don’t know what they are up to. No articles to read, no rumors to spread, just that grainy video to analyze over and over again. No one knows what Silverbrook and his 300 engineers are coming up with right now. People have forgotten that Memjet is approaching new customers and is solidifying a business model around its ink supplies business.
We don’t know. Bigfoot may take another stroll.
Apple to Rule the World
article predicts that by 2012 digital music will account for 40% of all music sold.
Welcome to the “mind the gap” blog
As hard as I try, I am not a blogger. Blogging to me is no different than dancing. Some people trip and step on toes, others are Britney Spears. I trip and fall.
There is also no denying that everyone blogs, whether it be message board rants on Facebook or an extremely personal online diary, almost all of us broadcast ourselves online. I can?t dance, but I?ll give it try.
There are three inspirations behind the ?mind the gap? blog that I would like to mention and may shed light on what you might see here.
1) Kelly Abbott is the MC Hammer of blogging. His passion for blogging drove him to create the ?blogging on steroids? site . enables you to ?lifecast?, or project your life in a chronological time-line that can be shared, tagged, and referenced with other lives. 2) My favorite corporate blog is HP?s . Unlike every other corporate blog, which is typically a press release and advertisement, HP?s Analyst Relations team posts extremely honest and behind the scenes topics. The blog doesn?t always paint them or the company in the best light and asks tough questions about ethics and industry standards.
3) , who pioneered the idea of values led corporations and making even the creation of ice cream a personal endeavor.
You?ll also read about the people of gap intelligence, from Ravi our prot?g? programming guru to Sarina, our MVP of 2007. You may even hear more ideas about the social impacts of the internet and the digital world from our friend Kelly here (pictured).
The blog will also boast gap intelligence?s social endeavors and charitable causes. We have worked with non-profits such as and and raised money for dozens of other causes.
Finally, mind the gap will be a timeline of the trials and tribulations of a young company getting bigger.
I?ll try to be as forthright as possible and post complaints about the rising costs of health insurance, unscrupulous businesses, and rant about the cast of characters that shape this great company. The blog is here to entertain the staff of gap intelligence as much as the outside reader.
Actually, this will probably be far more entertaining for us.
Wanted: Idea for Project 10 to the 100th
I couldn?t help but notice that the technology portions of the Mind the Gap blog have been sunny on Google and Apple and fair to partly cloudy on Microsoft.?This is not?deliberate, but more a reflection of today?s industry.? Headline making innovations are not coming from Microsoft – well, at least not positive ones.? Microsoft, for example, has really taken a beating on Vista, its latest and very highly anticipated operating system that I have avoided like the plague.? Vista has been so panned (unjustified in most cases) that the company is now showing screen samples of Windows 7.0 and hints that the new OS will be available for developers by late 2009.? The screen shots are very enticing and may keep disgruntled Vista users from going to Apple.?
For the record I have tried Windows Vista, which was included in a notebook computer that I purchased before a trip to Japan.? During the twelve hour flight to Tokyo my Vista driven notebook gave me the Blue Screen of Death six times.? Upon safe harbor in the United States I returned said Vista notebook crasher and bought a computer installed with Windows XP.? Noting my horrific experience with Windows Vista, the thought of storing my company?s data on Office 2007 has made me lose sleep.? Marketing experts say that my experience with Vista has ?tarnished? or ?de-valued? Microsoft?s brand name with me.? Apparently this has happened quite a bit, because Microsoft launched a massive headline stealing advertising campaign with Jerry Seinfeld ? which lasted two installments.
Now going back to Google, the company has made massive headlines with two recent innovations.?
First they sent the browser world afire with the release of Chrome, the company?s first internet browser and topic of a .
? The second was yesterday?s unveiling of Android, Google?s first smart phone operating system and engine behind T-Mobile?s new G1 mobile phone.? There is nothing that I can add about Android that has not already been (where I read about Android), but I can say that the platform sheds light on what will be the future:?
1)?People now expect their?phones to have the same power and functionality as their computers and will use the phone more frequently than said computer (peripheral companies beware).
2)?Open source systems
, such as Android, Firefox, and Chrome, which tap into the creative minds of millions of eager programmers is the future of platforms (Microsoft beware).? Noting that over 100 million iPhone applications have been downloaded by just a few million iPhone users is clear evidence that the public is hungry for widgets, apps, and geeky programs that tell us how fast our phone is dropping.?
That leads me back to Google.?
Sergey Brin, one of Google?s founders, attended yesterday?s launch of Android and mentioned that he programmed an app for the G1 that takes advantage of the phone?s accelerometer.? Sergey wrote a program that times the round trip flight of the G1 when you throw it in the air.?
Why?? Because he is a geek.?
I like Google because of its geekiness and the innovation that it generates by embracing Geekdom.? I am also a fan because the company keeps a warm focus on public goodwill, which leads me to .?
To celebrate its 10th Anniversary (10 years ? $175B market value) Google has launched its Project 10 to the 100th, a contest that will sponsor ideas that have the deepest impact on the greatest number of people.? The rules and regulations are pretty simple:?
Reach: How many people would this idea affect?
Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?
Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?
Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?
Longevity: How long will the idea’s impact last?
Community:?How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?
Opportunity:?How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
Energy:?How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
?How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
Health:?How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
Education:?How can we help more people get more access to better education?
Shelter:?How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
Everything else:?Sometimes the best ideas don’t fit into any category at all.
gap intelligence would like to sponsor the creation of an idea that we can take to Project 10 to the 100th.? Kelly, our primary altruistic idea generator, is eating crepes in France, so send us a note if you have a concept in mind.
In the meantime, we are collectively scratching our heads.?
Chilliwack and the Diva Dolly
It?s a bit late, but for the sake of documenting it, gap intelligence went to the horse races at the Del Mar Race Track a few weeks ago. The entire company and a gaggle of friends, some 30 people in all, spent the afternoon in southern California sun yelling at horses running in a circle.
I for one love the track. The atmosphere, the tiny little jockeys, and magnificent horses provide hours of thrilling entertainment. The horses? names themselves make for some eventful conversation, such as these gems that won the day we attended.
Athenry, for example, is an Irish Gaeilge word that means ?Ford of the King?. Athenry is a small town in Ireland just east of Galway City and is subject of the infamous song ?The Fields of Athenry?. Athenry the horse is from Ireland and the Irish are known for two things: leprechauns and winning turf races. Unfortunately, I didn?t bet on Athenry.
I also admire horse racing because everyone can become an expert on the ponies in about 5 minutes.
My personal technique is to ignore the odds, odds makers, and track experts and go by a completely made up system. First I look at the jockey and if he weighs over 118 pounds, he is out of contention.
Next, I check to see if the horse has raced within the last 6 weeks, if not the horse is probably lazy and it?s out of contention. Finally, I look and see how the horse placed in its previous race and if it?s in the top 3 ? there is my bet. For the record, never take my advice on horse betting because I didn?t win a single race.
The best tip I can give for horse racing success is to follow gap intelligence?s newest employee, Nicole, around the track.
Nicole was kind enough to throw away her only winning ticket, which netted some lucky scavenger a cool $20.