Saturday, April 25, 2015

Safe Words are for Sissies.


"Indigo...Indigo...INDIGO!" - she finally yelled before I remembered what the hell she meant. When I finally did, I stopped what I was doing and checked her.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, but, you made a mess."

"It was my intention."

"Well, now we need a broom."

"I'm sure we can find one." - time hung, upside-down, suspended.

One glance between her knees and it was obvious - we were going to need a bigger tool.

At least 80% of the toner bottle had spurted all over.

Turning to the six or so voyeurs, I said, "I'm glad this happened, now we can show you how easy our toner is to vacuum up..."

So continued the greatest copier training session in history - IKON rep, PBM and a willing audience of nurses and accounting clerks. One for the book...*

Fifty Minutes Before -

This was our first time together in front of others and just before starting, she jokingly mentioned, "We should have a safe word. Something that tells the other person to switch hands or hold off."

"Okay, let's make it 'indigo'." was my glib, off-handed response. I forgot all about it, until her climatic outburst jerked me from my fugue.

Safe Word - "a word serving as a prearranged and unambiguous signal to end an activity..."
The Past 24 Months

The last two years lack in "mps" excitement, passion and risk. No new ideas or technology from our manufacturers - ink in a bag is still ink. Aged programs remain in place - can we make mps even more confusing? Everybody has a cousin in the Mps business - no really. And the idea of paper to digital drips with denial.

No risk, no edges, no transformations, no need for safe words.

Perhaps shifting your business out of copiers and into display panels or integrating medical devices into your value proposition is the way. But how painful is that?

Establishing a safe-word recognizes boundaries. Some say the real way to know you're alive is to feel a bit of pain - get painful. Go there. Rub up against it.

This isn't a 'stretch goal' this is a cliff. Instead of 'adjacent markets', get into hoverboards, for example. That session would be painfully deserved of a safe-word, right?

Forget that terribly written, over popular, shallow, slow-motion-rape tome, "50 Shades of Spray" and consider a managed print services safe word - heck, make it a business safe word - it doesn't need to be mps only. Either way, light the candles, warm up the wax and get a safe-word.

Imagine the most painful change possible. Feel it. Label it. Then get as close as you can to it.

One thing: remain dubious of WHATEVER your OEM brings to the table. They seduce and dominate for more shelf-space - now more than every, devices are shackles.

One More thing: Seek advice from those OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY. Innovation has run its course in the world of toner, ink and paper. There is nothing left. Industry pundits telling you how to optimize your service department, 'align' your incongruent backroom operations or change your value proposition are part of the problem and the past because,

You already know, what you need to know.
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