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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query turbulence. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, July 7, 2014

It Is Not 'Disruption', It Is 'Turbulence'

Shigetomi's "flowing water crest" is a gem-like work created by abandoning the ego and assimilating it with the flow of water. The main shadow of the flow of the sudden time while echoing the song of Raku Holy Water is
probably because it has the memory of water

July 2014

Catchphrases come and go: Transformation, transactional to services, customer-centric, think outside of the box, change or die, innovate or die, release in beta. Each moniker seems to hold its uniqueness for about a week.

"Disruption" - is one such word.

Today, it's disruption tomorrow it's something else - observing the same thing over and over, calling it something new, expecting different results.   In an attempt to understand the temporarily incomprehensible connectivity between multiple events occurring in real-time, a snapshot is taken.

A static slice of activity predicts futures based on this single shot.

Like watching rapids flow through rocks and stone, some of us see the single rock, others, the collection of boulders, and still others, the river flowing into the sea.  Once a moment is captured on film, we all begin to see the same thing - albeit historically static.

These snapshots are easier to understand and help each other feel good, but aren't these frozen slices of time stifling enlightenment?

What we're really trying to get a feeling for an understanding of is "Turbulence", not disruption.  We suggest describing current, past, and future business, economic, political, and personal processes as "flows".  Inside these flows, there are obstacles that cause turbulence, like the stones in a river.

Turbulence is defined as a:

"...violent or unsteady movement of air or water, or of some other fluid..."

Turbulence has been difficult to understand and to this day, define.  Werner Heisenberg's (not the one from Breaking Bad, the other Heisenberg) studied this phenomenon and presented findings in his 1932 doctoral dissertation titled, "On the stability and turbulence of fluid flow."  Scientifically defining turbulence is a challenge; a force of nature not easily determined mathematically - this stymies most who study quantum physics.

Turbulence may best be defined by both science and art.  Indeed, Leonard da Vinci was described to regard nature "as weaving an infinite variety of elusive patterns on the basic warp and woof of mathematical perfection."  Maybe Leo understood.
"Turbulence provides a perfect example of why a problem is not solved simply by writing down a mathematical equation to describe it." 

Turbulence and Business.

The business ecosystems contain information 'flows' - we call them workflow -  flows contained within flows, contained within more flows,  adjacent to and part of an infinite number of eddies and motion. 

These flows mix, sully, stir and tumble together. ("How to Perform a Basic Workflow" - Here) and when observed, business process turbulence is observed around clogs and static impediments (like rocks in the river or printers and copiers in the process).  Turbulence occurs around one employee, an entire department, and unoptimized business policies.

So What?

Look at your business, branch, department, sector, team, or pod and consider how information moves. Typically, when documenting workflow, consultants use interviews to create a picture of how information moves through the organization by way of processes.

It could be a masterpiece.

Add motion to the two-dimensional representation and you can see the ebb and flows of your systems - Turbulence.

What's the Difference?

When we look at events as "of a time" happenings, we naturally become myopic and siloed becoming the state we observe.   Easier to see, our comfortable yet narrow vision and it's to look to the past for answers - worse, it becomes simpler to predict the future (a flowing and always in motion stream) based on this static view.

"Disruption" or a disruptive occurrence is a frozen point in space and time - we label and treat it as a simple, singular occurrence in a vacuum.   

This is not nature.  

The place where Innovation and Disruption converge - Turbulence.   It's a tough concept to envision.

But wait, there's more.   Imagine if you will a free-flowing representation of your information flows, complete with rapids, falls, as well as serene segments - expand that vision from two dimensions into three.

Now THAT's Turbulence.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The #SalesRevolutionRebellion Is a Farce

The fake "sales revolution" attacks symptoms, not the cause.

"Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."

Rebels and Revolutions - 

When individuals declare independence from tyranny, they put their lives, and the lives of their families on the line, risking everything for revolution, for future generations' independence.

For freedom.

Today, there's talk of a "Sales Revolution". Insurgents take to the nearest pulpit espousing "changing the way sales is done..." by being open, real, authentic, a trusted advisor, partnering to solve client problems - not a con-man.  Noble efforts.

For them, it's not nine to five; it's always too always, elevator pitches, value propositions, and increasing effort 10 fold.

There are literally THOUSANDS of sales coaches and trainers in the world today.

Here are a few of the folks I respect and follow. Some are calling for sales a "revolution".  A few pitch themselves as 'rebels', "Leading the Sales Revolution":

All are passionate and committed to their specialty contributing great content to the realm.

But -


I'm not recommending the current sales training and consulting efforts are not valid.  I'm just saying there is so much more that can be done to 'save the industry'.

Of Smoke and Ice -

"Speeds, Feeds, Quota's, Commissions, Solutions. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."

The sales revolution is an insidious movement because it is based on truth. Bad sales skills, low motivation, poor relationship building, aggressive attitudes, boring pitches, tedious corporate introductions, unoriginal talk-tracks, are real, yet each a  SYMPTOM of the sickness, not the cause -  - indeed, going to war against "bad selling practices" amounts to self-hate.

We're revolting against the wrong enemy.

The Real Monster -

"Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, HP, Lexmark. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."

The idea is simple, the mission tragic - manufacturers' selling models must be taken down, defeated.  While we fight among ourselves over who can save selling, the real archenemy plods forward, assimilating more and more into its ranks.

Break The Wheel


It's the OEMs who push equipment quotas down the channel, and not just copier OEMs - every manufacturer has the same, Materials Resource Planning (MRP) based systems.

The model utilizes the following:

  • MRP based quotas
  • "Fear Uncertainty and Doubt"
  • Purposely confusing and ever-shifting, commission plans
  • "Kill it and Grill it" mentality
  • Adversarial Selling construct 
  • "Where there is mystery, there is margin"
  • "67% of salespeople do not reach quota"
  • Features and benefits training
  • Solution Selling
  • Sales Techniques...
A real Revolution(with a capital R) doesn't attack the symptoms, it takes on the creators of the Wheel. The hierarchies are organically crumbling, digitally transforming - gravity is drawing the towers down, but they fight.

As long as we continue to harp on old-fashioned ideas, as long as we concentrate on "new", non-standard training topics, we keep the chaos going - and that's just fine with the zombie kings. The dusted-off,  selling retreads are like 'opiates for the masses' keeping the "little people" hypnotized in their insecurities.

Do you want to lead a true revolution?  Then revolt against:

  • Stodgy commission structures
  • Outdated quota schemes
  • Product-based, solution selling
  • OEM dogma
Are you a self-proclaimed leader of the revolution?  Then:

  • Produce videos telling the establishment to stop pushing old-fashioned ideas and programs.
  • Write articles outlining the challenges of terrible infrastructure and processes.
  • Establish standard, salary influencing, sales training certifications.
Embark the battle between independent selling professionals and corporate structures - it is time.

Unfortunately,  this two-dimensional skirmish is nothing compared to what's coming.  The next titan of turbulence holds enough power to wash away 50% of the sales universe.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Universal Constant: Are you the "Historic-Denier"

"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
- Winston Churchill

The Earth rotates, our Moon orbits, both circle the Sun, the solar system flows within the Galaxy and the Milky Way drifts through the Universe.

Nothing stands still.

Some observe "change" in patterns - our lifecycle, ocean tides, seasons, sunrises and sunsets - there is a basic rhythm and circular order. Though seasons repeat and the Sun always rises, each Summer is unique, every Sunset, one of a kind. Flow patterns have similar signs, yet every journey is singular.

Even though we live within the turbulence, recognizing the past in our future is challenging.  The establishment doesn't like change.

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

Business systems abide the same laws yet it's difficult to recognize the signs of change, turn of seasons.  Arguments are historically similar, the signs as prominent, examples clear, but buried in the status quo:

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation

"It’s time we wake up from the pipe-dream of the paperless office..." - Wired

"Tsk. Death of the Copier? Come on, the OEMs will be around forever and people need to make copies.  Who let this guy in?" - Some print/copier dude, Lyra, 2009.

We've all been here before - as a society and as the human race - today it's the internet, a century ago it was the telegraph. Today it's iPADs, yesterday it was chalk.


There have always been visionaries, there will always be Ludittes.  As further illustration, consider the following list discovered years ago via Fred Kemp, a professor in Texas, by way of Collins and Halverson and originally presented by Dave Thornburg and David Dwyer.  

They're describing resistance to change. I know you'll see parallels.


  • From a principal's publication in 1815: "Students today depend on paper too much. They don't know how to write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can't clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?"
  • From the journal of the National Association of Teachers, 1907: "Students today depend too much upon ink. They don't know how to use a pen knife to sharpen a pencil. Pen and ink will never replace the pencil."
  • From Rural American Teacher, 1928: "Students today depend upon store bought ink. They don't know how to make their own. When they run out of ink they will be unable to write words or ciphers until their next trip to the settlement. This is a sad commentary on modern education."
  • From FTA Gazette, 1941: "Students today depend on these expensive fountain pens. They can no longer write with a straight pen and nib. We parents must not allow them to wallow in such luxury to the detriment of learning how to cope in the real business world which is not so extravagant."
  • From Federal Teachers, 1950: "Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away. The American values of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Businesses and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries."
  • From a fourth-grade teacher in Apple Classroom of Tomorrow chronicles, 1987: "If students turn in papers they did on the computer, I require them to write them over in long hand because I don't believe they do the computer work on their own."
  • From a science fair judge in Apple Classroom of Tomorrow chronicles, 1988: "Computers give students an unfair advantage. Therefore, students who used computers to analyze data or create displays will be eliminated from the science fair."

Breathtaking, isn't it? "Deniers" from 1815 to 1988.

I remember business owners back in the 90's exclaiming, “Why would I ever need a computerized accounting system?” Three years later, most of those suppliers were gone.

Do you hear similar comments? Yes, everyday.

OEM sponsored ‘studies’ reporting how office print is rising or a blog projecting paper as the preferred knowledge transfer medium appear almost daily; more signs lamenting "pen-knives" and "store bought ink".

I hope you're not telling your employees or prospects, they don't know how to "write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves" or "Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country..."

Robots are replacing jobs like never before, and that's okay.

The business world is evolving away from paper - processes are quicker and more efficient when utilizing digital conveyance of information, and that's okay.

Technology will be the great equalizer, women will be paid the same as men, minimum wage may end up at $40.00/hr, but cashiers and order takers will be replaced with the aforementioned robots.  And that's okay.

Study history, recognize the signs, see the future, flow through the now.

Don't be the historic-denier.

Curious about your future?  Interested in technology as a catalyst?  Join us for a thrill-packed, riveting, web-event, "The Future of Everything", May 19, 2016.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Not enough people are making a difference in Managed Print Services. There is a Silver Lining.

ENX is celebrating the people making a difference across the document imaging industry.  Every two years, a few notables in the copier and printing industry receive kudos from their peers.

This year, I received a request from Scott Cullen, asking for input.

I've known Scott for a while - interviewed me, many years ago.  I was impressed, I still am, with his ability to draw out relevant information (like a good assessment) and present an easy to identify story(like a good proposal).  He is good people.

I've also known Susan Neimes for a long time.  She's managed to stay among the top of the media heap, through the turbulence.  Good form.

I am often asked for input on a variety of subject matter.  Here is Scott's request and my response:

Hi Greg,

I'm pretty sure I sent you an e-mail about this already, but just in case, here you go again. As someone who has been around the document imaging industry for awhile, I'd appreciate your input. I know you're busy preparing for ITEX (I'll see you there.), but hopefully you have a few minutes before or after to give this some thought.

The May issue of ENX is celebrating the people making a difference across the document imaging industry...

Here’s the criteria to help with your suggestions: The thought leaders and individuals from all corners of the industry (hardware, services, solutions, supplies, associations, analysts and consultants) whose knowledge and opinions their peers and others in the industry value. Some may be doing a terrific job of leading their organizations and building a business, or in some cases, multiple businesses. 

Others are front and center at industry events, participating in panels and seminars, and networking with other document imaging industry professionals. Some are active on social media or contributing content to industry publications.

You can recommend as many or as few as you would like.

Thanks in advance for your help...


Scott Cullen
Editorial Director


My answer is simple: no more usual suspects.

  1. Any thought leader would have nothing to do with manufacturing hardware, so that removes a grip of people.
  2. Real visionaries see OEM enforced quotas as oppressive, this negates others.
  3. Analysts/consultants pontificate based on rearview data and parrot spec sheets as analysis, nothing there either.
  4. Finally, an "MPS program" is no longer innovative and barely relevant.
Nothing from OEMs, the standard copier model participants, analysts, or program managers.  "We've always done it this way..."

There is, however, a collection of luminaries:

Mike Stramaglio - Ignore for a second, battling the monopoly, Mike is compelling channel players re-evaluate their entire accounting system and business model.

Kevin DeYoung - Kevin refused to play the OEM-shuffle-for-shelf-space game long ago and continues to expand the minds of his clients.

Jenna Stramaglio - The Family knows technology and Jenna is great at conveying bold messages.

Kevin Morris - Kevin Morris is running the best MPS model in the industry, he has no peers.

Jennifer Shutwell - For those ready to see, Jennifer, through her work with your MPSA and end users, has illuminated relevant facets of the MpS ecosystem.

Milton Bartley - Milton is an example of successfully pivoting from the status quo, copier model.

Andy Slawetskey - Media aggregator supreme, he gets the words out consistently and has toner in his blood.

Seven points of lights in a crowded, cluster of normalcy.


There you have it.  I may not be a 'difference maker' in 2017...but, I'm good not being on a list.

Click to email me. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Establishment is Burning: What the 2016 US Presidential Election says about the imaging industry.

  • CNN was wrong.
  • NBC was wrong.
  • ABC was wrong.
  • CBS was wrong.
  • NPR was wrong.
  • Obama was wrong.
  • Hillary was wrong.
  • Biden was wrong.
  • Hollywood was wrong.
  • Starbucks was wrong.
  • The Huffington Post was wrong.
  • The pollsters were wrong.
  • The insiders were wrong.
  • Twitter was wrong.
  • The Establishment was wrong.
  • The Status-quo is wrong.

Experts pontificated how Trump had no experience in government. They vilified Trump supporters calling them racist, homophobic, morons - ‘deplorables’. Anti-Trump minions repeated over and over how Hillary was empathetic to the cause of women - although she’s chief enabler to her sexual predator husband.

Hillary followers trumpeted her stance on income equality - as she spewed to the masses clad in a $12,000.00 leisure suit.

Willing media operatives focused on the trivial content of lost emails, instead of explaining any government email found on a private device could be grounds for prosecution.

Everyday Hillary supporters overlooked all the signs, imagining most Americans would too.

They were wrong.

Millions of people knew Trump was going to win. They didn’t ‘hope’, they ‘knew’. They knew the polls were inaccurate at best but more likely propaganda from a willing media. They felt the studies skewed, talking heads biased, and celebrities no more than meat-puppets.

This scenario is not isolated, it did not occur in a vacuum. Indeed, our little niche - imaging - is a parallel universe.

Reflect for a moment on those who espouse “print is not dead”.
Remember the slanted, corporate sponsored, studies.
Consider the overwhelming dedication by some, to the copier-models of yesteryear.

Can the establishment drive innovation? Can the status quo increase volumes? If we repeat over and over, more people want to print, does that mean volumes will increase? Will the old guard remain monolithically poised as Overlord?


Brexit, Trump, and the remote worker reflect symptoms of technological turbulence. In the second decade of the 21st century, all established structures are in jeopardy because technology is shifting the power structure from the establishment by unleashing and empowering individuals.

Old forms, like the GOP and the DNC, are giving way to the “inexperienced” visionaries. Archaic business models like brick and mortar retail, taxi, lodging and continuous manufacturing fight and ultimately surrender to Amazon, Uber, AirBNB and 3D printing.

Office print and those who try to perpetuate the OEM/Dealer/Customer model are doomed to walk the same path as Hillary.

It is the way of things…

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Annual Managed Print Services Conference - April 26th through 28th, 2009

Managed Print Services: Hitting Mainstream

Ok, here's the deal.

Managed Print Services is just about the hottest issue out there - with prospects and industry insiders.

And right now, MPS is still the frontier of cost reduction for both clients and providers - everything is being created today, in the here and now, without a "template".

Clients are not sure how MPS works. Providers are struggling with the concept, the services, how to best articulate the benefits and how to manage a Print Management Services program.

With this in mind, the first annual conference dedicated to Managed Print Services (MPS)will be held in in San Antonio, Texas on April 26th through 28th, 2009 and sponsored by the Photizo Group.

Now, for me, the Photizo Group is one of the very first groups, if not THE first group, dedicated to researching MPS and it's impact on the market. In addition to monitoring the market, the Photizo Group has defined the basic structure and phases of MPS -
  1. Control
  2. Optimize
  3. Enhance
These match my definition of the stages of MPS. I have incorporated these three stages into my talk-track. More importantly, I see evidence in the field that the above model is viable.

Having said that, I STRONGLY recommend everyone who is now in or thinking about getting into MPS attend.

- With the turbulence in our industry and with hardware dominating most vendor's and client's discussions, the most challenging task many face is differentiation. MPS is a differentiater - and the Photizo Group is out there on the leading edge -

The conference features three tracks.

"The first track is for those who are in the initial stages of an MPS engagement and who are trying to control or optimize the hardcopy (printers, MFP's, and copier) fleet.

The second track is for those who have implemented an MPS program, and who are now looking to drive business process optimization through advanced MPS services such as workflow consulting, document management optimization, and other activities to enhance the firms business processes.

The third track provides a focus on small and medium businesses and their specific MPS implementation issues."

There will be speakers, best practice presentations, case studies, market data, and many other sessions designed to provide attendees with actionable tips and techniques for the success of their MPS program.

You can register here.

Check these out:

For Those of Us In Managed Print Services - Wow!

A new look over at Managed Print Services Resource Center

Inaugural issue of MPS Insights Hits The Streets

New Report Delivers Definitive Analysis of the Managed Print Services Market

Click to email me.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The #LastCopierSold

Everything dies, baby that's a fact, but just because something doesn't last forever, doesn't mean it wasn't perfect.  Proclaimed back in 2011, the fading of managed print services continues.  Don't believe me?  

Ask your customers/prospects and you'll hear the truth. Whispers from the Abyss:

  • "We've really cut back on the number of printers and copiers we use."
  • "We don't print as much."
  • "We once had a copier on every floor and printers at each desk.  We don't anymore."
I could go on - hell, if you're in the field and honest, YOU can add to the above list.

So here it is - what follows is a list of industry influencers and players with reflections and status according to DOTC.

The year is 2017; just about 10 years after managed print services arrived on scene. Much has changed.

The Last Battlestar - The Industry

The final battle has been played out - in the blink of an eye, we're looking at a new world, fresh opportunities, starting from scratch.

The 'fading X' is shuffling business into the channel, Lexmark assimilated, Ricoh jettisoning crew members while HP becomes half the company she once was.

The dealer channel continues to shutter and meld - like mother blue, the number of dealers is half what they use to be.

"There Must Be Some Kind of Way Out of Here"

Gods - we had plenty.

In the old days, our industry supported a plethora of expensive educators matriculating the ways of the copier sale.  Burying the buy-out, back loading usage, and avoiding escalation/auto-renewal discussion. We counted empty boxes as inventory and slid copiers into warehouses next door.

Oh yeah, that happened.

Visionaries have come and gone leaving the old guard frustrated, tired and full of disbelief - how could so many ignore so much?

But we go on.

A new generation of office equipment professionals keep entering the fray.  Fresh graduates from around the world are easily recruited with medium size salaries, double-digit commission rates and cars.

Bright-eyed and bushy tailed, some of these new recruits don't realize they'll be selling copiers until the third day of company orientation; so thick is our marketing-babel.

Be that is it may - the new generation is one of Hope.

Our industry is going through the final stage of evolution, shedding old ideas and superstitions.  This 'last-jump' is going to be a doozie - it will be sudden, catastrophic and unclear.  The ship is old, she's made her last jump ending a million light years away.

The best part? You are Galactica, we are Galactica. It matters not that the industry dives into the Sun. You make the difference, you carry on when the OEMs and dealers collide.  You move forward as volumes drop.

You can start over.

The Last Star Fighter - Xerox
Old fashioned and artificial, the X is just that - fading.  She tried to spread beyond the frontier, but surrendered to her fate: a copier company does not an information technology (IT) company, make.

Tough lesson.

Global Imaging, a Xerox company, continues to collect logo's.

It will not make a difference.  The GunStar is fighting her last battle without the benefit of "Death blossom".  Expect a smaller footprint from X.

The Last Enterprise - HP
The Enterprise never dies.

So it is with HP(Mother Blue).

Her metamorphosis is timeless, eternal.  Of course each new skin is just that - shinny on the outside, same uniforms on the inside.

Lens flare, red shirts, chain of command and the Prime Directive - HP personified.

The assimilation of Samsung enhances and intensifies Starfleet's resolve and sets the table for an HP decade.  New devices, utilizing ink instead of toner, serviced directly with Instant-Ink and MPS vans is the model of the future.  The printer calls for service, supplies and even orders its replacement.

No copier sales people. No Dealers. No third-party toner.

The Last Jedi - Copier Salespeople
Talk about timeless, the copier sales person ruled the galaxy, supporting countless families for decades.

But the Jedi were emasculated, scattered and forgotten - relegated to legend and myth.

Today's Jedi are taught the ways of the past - 30 day cycles, revenue based compensation, separate A4 and A3, bury equipment into the service agreement, flip the MIF,  and paper will always be relevant.

There is Hope, but it isn't in the print Galaxy.  Sales skills are both learned and transferable - today you're selling copiers to churches, next month you could be selling HVAC systems.

Today, you're presenting managed print services, next month you're talking cost reduction through Energy Control Services.

The Last Samurai - Dealers
The road to MpS nirvana, which ended up being nothing more than perdition, is littered with burned out managed print services sales people, specialists, managers and directors.

Even today, the adulterated definition permeates: how can you claim a managed print services focus yet refer to MpS as "the little machines" and separate A3 from A4?   Get off your dinosaur.

Both the bane and savior of the industry, the "independent", indirect channel has been shrinking for decades.  IKON collected the best of the best in the '90s only to be swallowed by Ricoh.

In 2007, Xerox, through Global, started buying up local dealers - they haven't stopped here in 2017.

The dealer-on-dealer consumption rate seems to increase with each month.  But the day will come, soon, when we have two or three major dealers across the country - all things must end - just like Tower Records and Incacomp.

The Last Gunslinger - MpS Salespeople
Once, when the world of Wizards and Glass was young, there were many Gunslingers.  Idealistic and full of hope, these Visionaries honed magical skills - dispatching MpS agreements from the heart.

Profitable and vast, Mid-World was wide open - printers ran amok.

The Gunslingers rode in assessing and installing - reducing prints, clicks, images, cost, devices and headache.

The time was glorious.

Today, MpS reps are a dime a dozen - a cross between copier and toner sales person, the typical sales person is just that: a typical sales person.  No Acumen, Depth or Vision, today's drones...drone on about his MpS program, customer retention rate, and company growth.  They bloviate about "30% cost reduction", "automatic toner-fulfillment", "60 month contracts" and "Service SLA's", fooled into believing these points are relevant.

Gone are the discussions about business problems, how managed print services is a program that connects IT and office automation; how MpS is business process optimization.

It's too easy to sell on price and normal to pitch 'cost savings' over convenience - the posers are always red-handed.

Roland is the Last and Ka is a wheel - everything ends at the beginning.

The Last Word
The copier niche has a few good years left as consolidation, less need for print and HP converge.  I've said it before and will continue to preach:  There is no better place to acquire sales skills so learn all you can.  The industry is full of bullshit - there is no such thing as top-down loyalty so don't expect any - believe in yourself, not your current employer.  Learn all you can - not just product knowledge but observe how your manager behaves, what motivates your regional/district manager.  Regard every step ownership makes; with employees, customers and your partners.

It is difficult to look into the fire, while your in the flames, but the most valuable lessons are learned through indirect observation, not specific teachings. "You learn more from a three minute record, than you ever learn in school."  Soak everything in, but with a grain of salt.

Remember, all the motivation and talk about how leadership is there to "help you be successful" is manipulation.  

The talk track shifts to motivation as soon as you see it as an attempt to manipulate you into being a "company person".  Which isn't terrible, the machine requires cogs.

But you're in sales, you can do anything.

In the end, this doesn't mean your journey is over - the Journey never, ever ends - The Last MpS is another stone in the the river of life.


Enjoy the ride.

"Everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in Atlantic City"

Friday, September 23, 2016

You Should Be Selling ITAM with Copiers, Printers and MpS

Gartner - "IT asset management (ITAM) provides an accurate account of technology asset lifecycle costs and risks to maximize the business value of technology strategy, architecture, funding, contractual and sourcing decisions.”

There is so much turbulence in the industry today, it's tough to figure out what to do.
  1. Margins continue to drop
  2. The OEMs are locked in a War for the remaining 'clicks and you're in the line of fire
  3. Customers are demanding more than "scan once, print many'
We know you're going to survive.  What can you do to thrive?  How about selling asset lifecycle management?

There is a great way to remain relevant in the eyes of your customers and sell more services without the hassle of establishing third-party partnerships, investing in a NOC, or falling into a huge time-suck.
  • No need to retrain your sales staff.
  • No heavy investment in software packages that require an MBA to operate and understand.
  • Keep your existing toolset
There are plenty of tools out here to support an ITIL model, you just need to commit to the philosophy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New to #Copier Sales? What’s Going on In Your New Industry?

You’re hearing a great deal about “disruption” in the copier niche — but it’s actually turbulence, not disruption. A cursory look back through our history reveals that manufacturers digesting competitors and dealers coagulating together is the normal state of affairs. Whether Ricoh/Lanier, Ikon, Ricoh/Ikon, Canon/Océ, Global, Xerox/Global, HP/Samsung, Staples/DEX, Flex, Pulse, POA, Gorden Flesch, Marco or dozens more, acquisitions and mergers occur what seems almost daily. The rate has accelerated but the process has been the same. Like galactic space, the expansion and contraction is eternal.

Today, every dealer is looking for a way to deal with a declining industry by offering new services, or through merger or acquisition, and when it comes to attracting outside funding or merger candidates, the window is closing.

And that’s OK; it is the way of things.

Here are some ideas for a newbie to copier sales:

“Ignorance is bliss”

I’m not recommending you shove your head in the sand and ignore the reality that is the copier industry circa 2019 — we are ALL experiencing external pressures on our everyday lives. Focusing on what we can influence, like cold calls and presentations, has always been the best approach. Go about your routines and keep an ear to the ground. Establish a network of contacts inside and outside the industry and always be improving your personal business acumen. If you are working for a family-owned dealership but are not in the family, keep your options open.

“Business as usual”

Staff reductions and reduced real-estate footprints are frequent. Smaller dealers are being gobbled up by bigger organizations every day. Still, the standard press release after a merger or acquisition relates something along the lines of, “We look forward to offering our clients exceptional service during this transition,” which is a true statement. But looking back in time, it’s easy to find examples of mergers and acquisitions initially removing redundant functions, then ultimately reducing costs through staff write-downs; it is a consistent formula.

Concentrate on your 30-day cycle — that’s the best thing to do. Keep the sales coming in, and maintain your personal standing. But don’t stop there. Build out your LinkedIn presence and be more than just a lurker.

Contribute on social media without being a sycophant, and crystalize your personal brand, not your current employer.

“Will I have a job 12 months from now?”

In copier sales there is a magical milestone: to see if you can make it through the first 12 months of your copier sales career. So make it through. Sell stuff while learning your business processes and client digital transformation experiences. Work with your...

Read the rest, here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The 2014 Executive Connection Summit - "They Let the DeathOfTheCopierGuy In?"

The Executive Summit has been in existence for three years, this is my first one.  For context, I've attended and spoken at every domestic Photizo MPS conference, I attended and spoken at a few ITEX get-togethers and a BTA meeting - I 've attended more shows than I can remember.

I've known of MWAi and the group for years, meeting Mike Stramaglio at a Lyra back in ....2009 or 08, I forget. Mike and I have broken bread and on occasion, we've even solved many of the world's problems over whiskey, Cabernet, or some other variation of libation.  Mike is a consummate gentleman, a shrewd businessman and a not so in the closet, technological, bleeding-edger - he is my kind of industry player.

I'm a bit of nervousness I attend.  Mike has built this show in response to what he saw as a void on our industry.  He saw a space between today and tomorrow.  Indeed, between yesterday and tomorrow.  He felt our industry was not embracing technology, that we were staying in that past, not reaching our potential and quite possibly headed for extinction.

 He started Technology United.

So, here I am...Dave Ramos, Scott Cullen, Jackie, a gaggle of guys from the channel, two martinis down, one blog out(at 30,000 feet no less) and one in process.

What Do I Expect?

I expect to hear how each speaker is going to change the market.
I expect to see and hear how Technology United is helping the channel move from transactional to services
Why is this conference different from any other?
Who didn't attend and why?
What do people think is going to happen in the future?

Here is the speaker list for today:


Everything from massive turbulence and opportunity, connected MFPs, the Internet of things and new revenue streams are on tap.

Let the knowledge transfer begin...

Click to email me. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

New to Copier Sales – Use Local Events to Share Your Expertise

The COVID impact is creating turbulence and waves of change moving through all facets of life. One of these waves is flowing through the ocean of business meetings and face to face appointments. You, as a new copier rep, can catch a wave to more success. We used to call them “networking groups.” 

Local Chambers of Commerce and small business groups would put together an after-hours event, inviting local businesses to connect with each other and prospects. They met once a month and ended up being full of real estate agents and insurance salespeople handing out business cards and trading stories over drinks. 

It seems almost old school, but I think these types of get-togethers are more important now than pre-COVID. But there is a difference and I’m suggesting you take...

Read the rest, here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shades of Greg: 2015 "Top100 Summit" & The Death of Managed print Services

"Live a life less ordinary
Live a life extraordinary with me
Live a life less sedentary
Live a life evolutionary with me..."

These thoughts are my personal critique of an industry, not an individual.

Weeks ago, over one hundred leading MpS providers congealed in Park City, Utah to discuss the future of MpS.  It was a great educational and entertaining event - recommended.

This event was one of the best I've attended in years - only the MWAi show from last year, stands above.  West put together a great agenda and was able to recruit a diverse set of industry luminaries.

Here's a quick list of observations from The Top 100 - "MpS is Changing" conference:
  • The venue: Superb.
  • Event organization: Stellar.
  • Promotion: Unparalleled.
  • Presenters: Both gargantuan and irrelevant.
  • Content: Both significant and forgettable.
  • Off-line conversations: The best in over a decade.
For a detailed tracking of the event, talks, and feedback, see Ken's, Art's, West's, and Andy's most accurate reports.

The video, recorded, edited, and presented on-site, nearly live, is one of the best promotional pieces in the niche.  It was organic and fun. See it here.

Enough of us patting each other on the back, like we’re all buds. Here's a two word summary of the show:

"Points Missed."  

It has been said our niche moves at the speed of an HP Series II - I don't agree with that 100% of the time, but after this conference, I'm having second thoughts.

I've stewed on this for what seems years - why do so many still believe in the old models?  Why don't they see what others see?

In a juxtaposition with the best content I've witnessed,  the audience comments were befuddling.  I sat there, shaking my head, not at the presenters(mostly) but frustrated over the 1970 mentality of the audience. Still!

Here it is.  A list of call-outs from my perspective:

"Automatic Toner Fulfillment": 2007 called...

"If you sell hammers, everything looks like a nail" so, if you sell re-man toner, all the world is an empty printer, right?


Getting toner to the right desk at the right time is something we've cut our teeth on, back in 2007. Staples delivers more toner to more desks, on time, "automatically" than anybody else and they use people. Automation for automation's sake is not visionary.

The fact that we are looking at ATF as a new advantage, in 2015, is trite - Clients expect every MpS program can 'get toner to the user' as a mundane function.

There is no such thing as "MNS": Really. 

This irks me on a personal basis.  Nobody in real IT refers to anything as managed network services; it is simply managed services. Whenever we say "MNS", we look like wanna-be, IT knuckleheads. If you're IT contacts don't flinch or roll their eyes every time you say "MNS" they are being polite.

Stop it.

Epson Bags of Ink: Not disruption, turbulence.

This is the BIG miss of the show.

When the Epson dude referred to his ink bags as "disruptive", I think most in the room assumed it was we doing the disrupting.

Immediately, calls of, "how can I make money the old fashion way, when I sell the machine and lifetime ink all upfront?"

The answer is, "you can't make money the old-fashioned way..."

But here's the miss: we won't be using ink-bags to disrupt, this disrupts Managed print Services.

It's the other way around: bags-o-ink AND "Instant Ink"(DOTC, 2011) will move the channel closer to irrelevancy.  Not because wet-toner is better than dry-toner - the iceberg here is "Lifetime Supply".  Buy a printer and never purchase toner or ink again.  All the costs, revenue, and profit are upfront.  An offering, so simple a monkey could sell it.

The 'lifetime' model will remove MpS from the lexicon because there is no need for a relationship.

Those MPS consultants and OEM programs that stress toner as "the most important component" of MpS have led us down the primrose path.

This one issue, redefined as "MpS" is slipping from the dealer channel into the hands of surviving mother-ships.

"Toner" is not a relationship and the biggest reason OEMs say they need an independent dealer channel is to maintain the relationship.  Well. The relationship is getting thinner every month.

Think about it, the 'lifetime ink' business model eliminates:

  • Meter reads  - no billing
  • Monthly billings - see above
  • Deliveries - UPS
  • Phone orders - machines phone home
  • Service calls - these things don't break
  • Quarterly reviews - why?
  • Contracts
  • Independent Dealers
  • Etc.
If I were getting into managed print services today, I would become an Epson reseller and push those guys to start releasing model after model, ASAP, before HP kicks their super-duper, closed loop MpS machine into gear.

I mentioned this during the Q&A, and nobody understood what I was saying.



Watch Epson.  Watch HP MPS.

In The End: It's Not Me, It's You

I've seen great things in our niche.  I've seen companies make the leap, shun the old ways, and thrive.

I've also seen organizations espouse the future, make cosmetic changes and fail - the road back to 1991 is littered with used-up MPS Directors.  Settling into the old ways of selling copiers, hiring sales managers from yesterday's enterprise, 'trapping customers', paying salespeople a pittance yet expecting them to be professionals, and forcing equipment quotas on their customers - is the easy thing to do.

These types fade away or get swallowed by a bigger dealer.

I've been ringing the bell for years - "MPS is the gateway to something bigger than toner and copiers...".  I evangelized the new ways only to see big equipment manufacturers hijack and kill innovation, searching for more shelf space and stickier schemes.

It is the way of things.

But it doesn't need to be your way.  Many have made the shift, pivoting off the copier and into fertile markets.  It isn't easy to break free the ordinary ways, but it's got to be done.

Conferences that break the mold, separate the future from the past are few and far between - this Top 100 is one of the less ordinary get-togethers.  If you were there, you are one of the less ordinary people and nowadays, the Life Less Ordinary is the life evolutionary...

Let's go.

Click to email me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Why Do We Idolize The Worst Sales Characters, Ever

I've done it, you've seen it.

Heck, you've probably viewed a clip or two during one of your Monday morning sales meetings intended.

I get it.

These Hollywood caricatures display the gumption of legends - cold calling, motivating speeches, wild excesses of the selling life. Success. Power. Influence. Acceptance.

But there's more to the story, isn't there? The movies tell the entire story, but we don't replay those bad bits do we? No manager is going to show Bud's perp-walk in Wall Street. Nobody is getting motivated watching the federal cops pull into the J.T. Marlin parking lot complete with busses and tow trucks(Boiler Room).

And sure as shooting, no one remembers the ending of Glengarry Glen Ross, when Shelly Levene steals those leads.

Consider the following examples:

"Greed is Good"

Major Wall Street player earns millions through purchasing and breaking up family owned companies supported with insider information. Protagonist seduces young upstart anding ends up in prison.
- Wall Street

"Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers."

Real Estate agents complain about the leads, smart-dressed, hit-man comes in from HQ to deliver a high pressure, all or nothing, speech intended to get sales back on track. Salesman descends into chaos and steals leads.
- Glen Gerry Glenn Ross

"...act as if..."

Sharp dressed, smooth talking broker initiates new employees into the world of shady deals and illegal trading. Cold calling taken to a new low, one scene depicts a broker lying to a prospect, along with a cheering team of cohorts, and bamboozling a victim out of thousands. The movie ends with federal agents storming HQ complete with tow trucks to recover the fleet of ill-gotten automobiles.
- Boiler Room

These stories end in flames, yet sales 'mentors' still run around telling newbies to, "Sell me this pen."
Why do all sales people know "Coffee is for Closers"? Why do we cheer when Vin Diesel lies his way into a sale? Yeah, sure, we'd love to deliver that Alec Baldwin speech, or kill it on the phone like Leonardo DiCaprio. We project ourselves into those situations - understanding the dramatic and sexy scenarios - who wouldn't?


I'll tell you why. Motivating you to sell more, no matter how, is good for the OEMs and ownership. Sure, it feels good to you, right? That feeling is false and manipulative. I get it, we need to sell to feed our families and survive - that's the way the game is set up - and watching a fictitious "selling animals" provides a fleeting moment of entertainment and hours of motivation. But it is propaganda. It isn't real. If it is for you, chances are, it will end badly.

Showing rundown videos of yesterday's demons is just another symptom of the slow to change selling ecosystem. I'm not sure what we should utilize in place of these video's but there must be something; there must be thousands of quick, 30 second video's of new sales consultants spewing nuggets of re-treads.

Change, real change through turbulence, must occur at ALL LEVELS of the ecosystem, not just in the trenches. Selling will become more relevant, consultative and fulfilling after the pillars of the status quo resign to the future and ceasing to show criminals and thieves as selling examples is just the beginning.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Three Alternatives to ‘Clicks’

 It’s been almost a year since I’ve written about copiers here at The Imaging Channel. During that time I’ve been in the field, in the IT realm, watching office print disintegrate from the end user side of things. It isn’t 1999 out there; companies are not buying big, 11x17 copiers as they once did and end users are not printing emails or recipes by the thousands anymore. On the good side, end users don’t hate printers or copiers as much. Unfortunately, that’s because end users hardly, if ever, think about print. To them, toner on paper is approaching irrelevancy.

Can anyone deny that this niche is in the midst of historically turbulent times? We’re witness to the transformation of an industry embedded in the fabric of modern living. Every person in the business world recognizes the copier and printer as foundational tools of the trade. Our industry is all over the world, but that world is changing, transforming daily away from the mundane, away from slow processes and away from paper.

We see the results of this movement in the way our OEMs are fracturing: Xerox is splitting, HP has split, and Lexmark is disintegrating. The Big Three of American office automation are shattering into stars.

This turbulence affects the independent channel as well. Merges, acquisitions and the entry of investment groups tell the tale of a smaller, less-populated landscape. Indeed, as the manufacturers fight for their lives, how can the independent reseller manage? Should you jump into the fray, slapping a “For Sale” sign on the front door? Should you shutter the place and simply get out?

I’ve noticed a peculiar thing:

Read the rest, here.

Click to email me.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Never Go Out of Style: Managed print Services Inside a VAR

"You come and pick me up, no headlights
A long drive,
Could end in burning flames or paradise..." - T. Swift 
Mps Practice Managers, sales people, BDMs, specialists, consultants, experts, evangelists, directors, principals, planning managers and vice-presidents - I got a question for you:

If you had the chance to build an MPS practice, today, from scratch, inside a VAR,  how would you do it?

Where would you start?  Building a team? Compensation plans?  Assessment tools and DCA's?

What's your visionary statement?  Would you put together another, two dimensional, old-skool, top-down, business plan?  Really?

What about legacy accounting systems, dispatch, vendor relationships, existing BDM mentality, corporate philosophy/culture,  probes, NOC, SLA's, BDR, MS and customer transformation off paper?  Can you lead or will past mistakes haunt like the phantoms of Macbeth?

Inside this turbulence,  I'm sure some ask,

"Why in the world would you ever come back to a dying niche to build anything?"

"I should just tell you to leave 'cause I
Know exactly where it leads but I
Watch us go 'round and 'round each time..."

Life moves fast, doesn't it?  One day you're in the mountains of Southern California, the next you and all your things are heading north to a place called Oconomowoc.  It is true, after a month of exploration(interviews), I've ventured north to work with a VAR, helping promote, evangelize and provide managed print services for our clients.  Welcome to my worldgalaxy, Universe.

There is a degree of 'deja-vu' - except for the weather, geography, timing, history, and personal landscape - I've been here before.  But there are just enough differentiators to keep this voyage on the good side of insanity.


Flashback, October, 2011 -

Over the past 4 years, I've helped people build or improve managed print services practices.  I've co-written, end-user print policies, where once there were none.  I've guided providers towards selling more MPS and MS.  I've helped end users(healthcare, water districts, etc.) manage OEM copier reps, software vendors and service providers while reducing prints, costs and number of devices.

In each engagement, I've played on their team, embedded into all facets of their business - from interviewing CEOs to writing proposals - I've lived on both sides of the table.  Hands on.  Customer facing.
"Cause you got that James Dean daydream look in your eye
And I got that red lip classic thing that you like..."
November, 2014 -

One day, late last year, a colleague and buddy asked me to help him put together a managed print services practice manager job description for his client - an IT VAR in Wisconsin.

While explaining the best qualities, I stopped and said,

"...this is great, but there isn't anybody who would fit all these requirements.  Tell me more about this opportunity..."

Discussions led to interviews, to face to face trips followed by an offer letter.  Like Ulysses and the Trojan Wars, one more Odyssey awaits.  I've taken a position directed to create a sustainable DocMan/MPS practice.
"And when we go crashing down, we come back every time
'Cause we never go out of style
We never go out of style..."
What Now?

A myriad experiences have collected between now and the last time I was in an office.  From Southern California to Davidson, NC, Washington D.C. to South Beach, Sydney to Belgrade - this collective knowledge converts into wisdom directing me along the path to nirvana.

But you and I know the challenges, don't we?
  • Will ownership be 100% onboard?
  • Will the company culture adapt to a services based argument?
  • Will the BDMs embrace or reject MPS?
  • Can I put together a team of vendors who support me and my clients move off paper?
  • On and on and on...
It is my belief that MPS embraces ALL facets of managing information and CAN lead organizations into a services based, recurring revenue business model.  I also believe organizations which the universal movement off paper, while managing existing print environments, are the real 'trusted advisors'.
"And when we go crashing down, we come back every time
'Cause we never go out of style
We shall see.  I'm in for the long term, the challenges and success.  Here's to never going out of style...
You got that long hair, slicked back, white t-shirt
And I got that good girl faith and a tight little skirt (tight little skirt)
And when we go crashing down, we come back every time

'Cause we never go out of style
We never go out of style..."

"Why does he love her so much?  I mean what is it about her?"
"I don't know. I don't think I've ever known.  I think sometimes you get it right the first time, and then it defines your life, it becomes who you are." - Hank Moody

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Who Helps You Reduce Costs? Copier sales people, managed IT folks, or Advisors?

Who will give you a leg up?

"You will never print another document ever again.”

I know you still have printers and copiers. But I know you’re not printing or copying like you had three years ago. If you’ve made business process optimization an initiative, then you know what I mean. I’ve also found that companies with no ‘green’ or digitization plan, have naturally reduced print. Some telling me, ‘we just don’t print anymore’. I also know players like Xerox, Ricoh, and Lexmark are experiencing great consolidation, and paper plants have shuttered across country. Indeed, from the WSJ, 1/2018-

"One of Xerox’s problems is that it has been broken into two pieces. A year ago, Conduent Inc. (NYSE: CNDT) was spun out. It describes itself as a “business process services” company, which makes it more of a consultancy than a seller of hardware. Xerox retained the hardware business, which sells products that may have been useful to businesses a decade ago but are no longer.”

Customers around the world, are organically reducing devices, copies and prints needed to conduct business- this has been going on for years. For companies like Xerox and Ricoh, whose primary revenue stream is generated with each sheet of marked paper, this is a formidable challenge. And like every shrinking industry before it, the copier niche is not going quietly into the night. For those of you left looking for a copier, it might the best time to work your provider for better pricing - just wait until the 25th of the month - everyone is scrambling and competing for a slice of a shrinking pie.

In the face of this turbulence, photocopier manufacturers and independent dealers are responding in one of three ways -

1. Selling themselves as a "document consultant” and trusted advisor, promising to help you manage your decreased reliance on print.
2. Selling to a larger dealer or manufacturer in an effort to cash out and retire.
3. Shifting away from copiers and printers to markets like IT services, water or energy management.

As you explore new ways to eliminate cost, you may fall within one of these stages:

1. You’ve implemented cost reduction program successfully and want to expand
2. You’ve implemented a failed program
3. You have no visibility into total costs

In each case, starting a study, correcting a misaligned program or continuing to reduce costs, you have three sources of partners:

1. IT providers(including your internal IT)- primarily supporting IT infrastructure
2. Copier/Print supplier & MpS Providers - hardware and software vendor within the copier/printer industry either through direct or indirect channels
3. Professional IT advisors - organizations who derive revenue through sharing subject matter expertise and managing change

No matter who you choose to partner, you should consider three important aspects of each:

* Agenda vs. intent
* Knowledge vs. Wisdom
* Neutrality vs. Bias

Let’s take a look at each:

IT Provider -

Agenda: To support organizational technology infrastructure
Intent: To transform with as little negative impact to end user environment

Knowledge: Deep ‘specification’ knowledge.
Wisdom: Experience and a varied history of supporting IT infrastructure in different types of organizations may give rise to wisdom or business acumen, but this is rare.

Neutrality: Not very. Comfortable with manufacturers they have a history with; CISCO, IBM, DELL and HP, etc.
Bias: To what’s been proven in the past or passes a proof-of-concept.

Copier/Printer supplier -

Agenda: to move opportunities to a close and their intent is to sell more devices/clicks.
Intent: Transform with as little negative impact to end user environment.

Knowledge: Deep ‘specification/machine’ knowledge. May posses basic scanning and onboard application knowledge.
Wisdom: Very little business acumen. Fresh sales professionals lack experience in varied customer, business models. Seasoned profess

Neutrality: Claimed yet impossible, therefore a lie.
Bias: Toward a solution that include's hardware sold.

Professional Advisor -

Agenda: Help client achieve business goals.
Intent: Establish an ongoing relationship.

Knowledge: Business acumen and technical prowess beyond the scope of the project.
Wisdom: Experience over time with many environments and business models.

Neutrality: Completely neutral and open to continuous evaluation of new solutions.
Bias: Toward a solution that supports the client business goals.

Conclusion -

Economic pressures on providers of equipment is severe. Machines are becoming more self-sufficient and easier to manage remotely, business requirements are changing from paper flow to digital flow. Even if your printing less than 500 images a week, you are a prime prospect for the remaining copier vendors - your company is guaranteed to be on some copier rep’s cold call list. There is no shortage of cost reducing value propositions, white papers and marketing material.

Continuously reducing costs associated with output is an internal function - asking teams of folks motivated to sell more devices to help you reduce the number of devices is counter intuitive - a provider with show rooms full of equipment pitching themselves as an “agnostic, trusted advisor” is disingenuous.

So who do you turn to? There are a thousand copier dealerships, hundreds of MSP’s and maybe a dozen proven, reliable and seasoned advisors. Of course, if you can find a good advisor, with an open calendar, I recommend engaging - but the odds are forever in the copier companies favor - it is simply math.

Here’s a quick recommendation:

If you currently support 1-20 devices, copier dealer and MSP
If you currently support 50-100 devices, MSP with Advisor
If you currently support over 100 devices, exclusively work with an Advisor who manages an optimized portfolio of suppliers and software providers.

Contact Me

Greg Walters, Incorporated