Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting Reamed

I was reading BusinessWeek online and found this article on the rebranding of Xerox; a little more reading led me to this article on the rebranding of FedExKinko's. Obviously, it must not be a super-great time to be in the copy machine business and both are trying to figure out how to hold on to customers.

Xerox rebranded in an attempt to refresh their brand in the minds of America and to get them to start thinking of Xerox as being technologically innovative rather than staid and established. The thing is--what has changed about black and white copiers in the past ten years? And has Xerox ever really made amazing color printers? According to BW, they have been cranking out new stuff: "two-thirds of Xerox's revenues in 2007 will come from products introduced in the last two years".

is dropping the Kinko's and changing their name to FedExOffice, which is funny, because everyone still calls it Kinko's. FedEx wants to cement in people's minds that they are not just about copies and shipping, they are about providing you with everything you need to "get things done."

It seems to me that neither one of these companies is really addressing the issue at hand.

I have worked in offices. Most of the time you don't need anything super fancy. But sometimes you need stuff that looks extra sharp to represent your office. You could go to a printing press, but they're super expensive and a lot of times what you need isn't big enough to require a large-scale press service. Your office admin can, of course, fiddle around with the office copier, but the results are almost always disappointing.

If you are a lone wolf (like me, the grad student), you also don't need a run of 5,000 prints. You just need some business cards or a mini portfolio on nice paper. "Go to Kinko's! . . . ahem . . . FedExOffice!" you say. Except everyone I know loathes and despises FedExKinko's. The service staff is often lazy, they frequently fumble your order, the prices can be outrageous, and the steps you have to take to get a few print outs from your flash drive can be ridiculously convoluted. I, personally, try to print everything I can on my HP. I don't care how many ink cartridges or reams of paper I have to buy. Anything has got to be better than going to Kinko's. Ahem. FedEx Office.

Ultimately, though, that is what people need: a decent way to get some nice-looking print materials to represent their office/themselves.

Most of the time, we can't do this on our own. I don't have a laminator, or a binder, and I have no clue how to calibrate a printer. The office admin shouldn't have to fumble with a piece of equipment the size of a small refrigerator and with the failure rate of a Yugo to print out a few tri-fold brochures or a flyer.


Well, I suppose FedExOffice could work on the real problem, which is not that people's imaginations are limited by the connotations of Kinko's, but rather that their desire is limited by shoddy service and difficult-to-manage ordering procedures.

Or Xerox could expand their thinking from merely building more big machines for offices to being a source for great mid-range printing for businesses . . . as an actual print-service provider.

Digital is great, but there is still something to be said for being able to hold something in your hand or seeing it realized in person.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Valentine's in Monterey

So very belated post, but, hey, I have been busy!

So for Valentine's weekend, Shane and I went down to Santa Cruz and Monterey . . . in a Winnebago!!! How effing cool is that?

It was rainy all weekend long, but we still had a great time. I am not going to get into too much detail, but here are a few pics:

Here we are IN the RV. That is the most genuine smile you could possibly see on my face.

Shane is doing his best tough guy impression at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Yes, Shane is wearing a pink "Be Mine" t-shirt on Valentine's Day. I figure he has 8 more years for it to be funny and ironic.

One of the many amazing photos I took in the Aquarium.

Don't I have the cutest boyfriend ever? I mean, who else could look so cute with a mouthful of granola?

We went all the way to Monterey only to find refuge in a Starbucks.

You can find a full chronicle of my shutterbug adventures on my Flickr page:

John's Awesome Flickr Page


So my friend, Mike, has this really cool clothing store called Indie Industries. The other day I was helping him with a little late night delivery and he totally tossed me these cool key . . . covers?

Anyway, I was instantly charmed.

Now I am left with the challenge of choosing which to get under my thumb on a daily basis.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trader Joe's Commercial

If Trader Joe's ever did decide to do television advertising, I think this would be perfect in tenor and tone. Truly brilliant post by Carl on YouTube.

Not that Trader Joe's needs advertising. It's like when I was given the assignment to work on In-N-Out. I went to one of their stores and had to wrestle an old Asian lady to the ground for a dirty, ketchup-smeared table. Some businesses are just that great. They don't need someone telling them to buy, people just want to go there.

On a side note, that Trader Joe's parking lot is in San Francisco! We go there all the time!

Mad Libs!

Don't get me wrong. I think Mad Men is beautifully cinematic, very well-written and acted, and just a great show I would love to follow, but I am kind of sick of hearing about it, and I think I will have to endure people assuming that is what my job is really like for . . . at least the next five or six years.

Is it wrong . . . ?

. . . that I think a policy like this would be kind of fun? I don't know why, but I feel more focused and sharp when I am dressed up a bit.

Return of the Dress Code

Then again, I appreciate that at my art school, I can dress a little more bohemian when the creative mood requires.

I think Daniel was right when he said it years ago: "John, you're like Elle Woods. Every day you wake up and look in your closet and decide what costume you want to wear that day."

Ah, God bless you, Elle. You are an inspiration to us all.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Student Run Grocery Store

Love it.

Check out the story.

An interesting idea. More than anything, I whole-heartedly approve of getting kids applying their skills toward something "real" and helping them realize they are empowered.