Category Archives: Fujifilm

Social media is rewiring my brain

I’m becoming obsessive. I check my email on my iPhone as soon as I wake up. I catch up with friends on Facebook while sitting at red lights and I get an overwhelming sense of urgency to check my phone when I hear the familiar ping of an incoming text message. (I’m afraid to even mention the number of feeds and streams in my Hootsuite account.) I’ve noticed that these tendencies have gotten worse over the last few years and have made a joke about having developed some form of communications-related attention deficit disorder.

Imagine my surprise (read: vindication) when I read a post on Ragan’s PR Daily blog citing a number of pieces of research asserting that social media is indeed rewiring our brains. Here’s how:

We’re becoming dumber.
When your email is pinging and your Twitter stream is flowing, it’s easy to become distracted, and distracted workers are dumb. In fact, their brains are more numb than that of a pot smoker. A 2005 Hewlett-Packard study found that workers distracted by email and phone calls experience a temporary drop in IQ that is more than twice that seen in people who smoke marijuana.

We get bored more easily.
Emails, texts messages, and social media updates tickle the primal part of our brains that responds to threats and immediate opportunities, according to a 2010 New York Times article. “The stimulation provokes excitement—a dopamine squirt—that researchers say can be addictive,” wrote Matt Richtel for the
Times. “In its absence, people feel bored.”

We can’t focus or handle stress.
All that media you’re consuming daily—which is about three times as much as people consumed daily in 1960—is stressing you out, hurting your problem-solving abilities, inhibiting your creativity, and making you a slower thinker. (That’s according to this infographic from VizWorld, which compiles the information in a tidy fashion for distracted thinkers.)

But that’s not all. The same Times story from Richtel on the dopamine squirt we get from technology also said:

“Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress. And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist. In other words, this is also your brain off computers.”

Of course, thanks to smartphones and other mobile devices, our brains are never really “off” computers anymore.

We are less satisfied.
According to a
Harvard Business Review (HBR) story from this year, the online connection that provides dopamine doesn’t give us the calming oxytocin or serotonin we typically get when we interact with people in real life. That means, “On Twitter, you won’t feel satisfied the way you might if you chatted in person with 50 people at a conference,” says HBR’s David Rock.

We are becoming more partisan.
Social media channels—blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds—are making it easier for news consumers to find content that is slanted to their political beliefs, thus exposing them to less cross-cutting information. That’s not good for your dinner table conservations or the nation’s ability to make important decisions. A 2011 paper from researchers at Southern Illinois University determined:

“Selective exposure is generally seen as an important concern because a lack of diversity in political information and discussion hampers the ability of disagreeing citizens to engage in rational decision-making.”

The mainstream media—to some extent—provide something of a balance to partisan views, the report noted. (Although that is being undermined by cable news networks.)

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Guts, gumption & grit: You have what it takes?

Today, business owners are faced with a number of challenges and recent economic conditions have compounded some of those. In many cases, they’ve had to make hard decisions, change the way they think and change the way they do business. And that’s not necessarily easy to do and, oftentimes, it comes down to guts. Call it whatever you like…you have it?

In the popular western story, “True Grit,” 14-year-old Mattie Ross sets out on a quest to avenge her father’s death. Her arduous endeavor doesn’t appeal much to the most professional gunslingers. With unrelenting determination and doggedness (grit), she enlists the help of an aging, half-blind, half-drunk U.S. marshal. She believes he’s the man with true grit – a trait this intuitive (and gritty) girl believes is needed to navigate the perils of the untamed territory.

Whether facing the perils posed by rough terrain, hungry rattlesnakes, and desperate outlaws, or facing the challenges created by disappearing profits, global instability, and increasing competition, grit is the factor that embodies the indomitable character of the U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn and his unlikely sidekick. Grit, it turns out, is the key to success – the defining characteristic that overrides fear, doubt, and roadblocks.

So, if you are a leader trying to navigate this perilous, never-ending economic landscape to venture into the unknown – grit is what you need.

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

The Grit Factor

A leading research psychologist, Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., contends that people who accomplish great things often combine a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take. That appears to be the case with businesses today.

Over the past three decades, Dome Printing has become one of the largest privately held commercial printing companies in northern California. Tim Poole, who runs the century-old company along with his brothers, Andy and Bob, says that guts, gumption, and grit define his leadership style. This is evidenced by the company’s steadfast devotion to its mission to be a world-class print solutions provider, supplying the best customer experience, and using its competitive advantage.

“My leadership style has a call for all of these attributes timed, delivered, and executed in the right doses to insure balance in our organization,” Poole says. “Steadiness of character is measured by a leader’s commitment to applying values consistently. Trust is achieved by building respect, and respect is acquired by people knowing what you stand for. Without displaying grit, guts, and gumption, I guess that the opposite would apply – a spineless, selfish individual with a lack of the resourcefulness needed to make good decisions.”

David Bailey, Jr., president of Lithographics, a 36-year-old Nashville printing company says that having guts and grit is a major reason why the company still is in business today. “Considering the way things have been for the last several years, if you are the leader of a business and don’t have a whole lot of guts and grit, you are probably not going to be in business much longer,” he says.

Poole says there definitely is a lack of the “grit factor” in today’s world. “We love the Reagan years. He was one of the first presidents in years that had the guts, gumption, and grit to make changes in the White House. I have admiration when I meet great leaders. They are easy to recognize. On the flip side, there seems to be more companies being led by people who lack strong character – guts, gumption, and grit. I have had the opportunity to visit failed companies, and it is usually obvious that the root cause of failure is lack of vision and not enough guts. It takes guts to do the right things.”

Bailey says that, unfortunately, it seems that some business leaders want to take the easy way out. “Sadly, the majority of businesses that I interact with are continuing to work on or manage how they are going to ‘look’ in order to survive and prosper in this new economy.”

Jill Wangler, marketing director at Fineline Printing Group, says some people like to take the path of least resistance. “A lot of people inherently don’t like confrontation – don’t like to be challenged. For certain roles in a business, there’s a fit for these folks. But for a manager or leader, I think a lack of these traits – guts, gumption, and grit – are detrimental to the organization as a whole for a lot of reasons.”

So, Do You Have Grit?

Not only is grit important, but Duckworth also contends that having grit – that perseverance and passion for long-term goals – can better predict success than traits such as IQ or conscientiousness. A few years ago, she set out to determine what qualities most accurately would predict outstanding achievement. She developed a test to measure grit, which she called the Grit Scale. This simple test requires you to rate yourself on 12 questions (it relies entirely on self-report). The test takes about three minutes to complete. Here are some sample questions from the Grit Scale:

1. I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge.

Very much like me

Mostly like me

Somewhat like me

Not much like me

Not like me at all

2. New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.

Very much like me

Mostly like me

Somewhat like me

Not much like me

Not like me at all

3. My interests change from year to year.

Very much like me

Mostly like me

Somewhat like me

Not much like me

Not like me at all

When Duckworth took the Grit Scale into the field, she found it to be remarkably predictive. At the University of Pennsylvania, research indicated that high grit ratings enabled students with relatively low college-board scores to nonetheless achieve high GPAs. Next, Duckworth administered the grit test to more than 1,200 freshman cadets as they entered West Point, embarking on a grueling summer training course known as Beast Barracks.

The military also has developed its own complex evaluation to judge incoming cadets and predict which ones would survive the demands of West Point. The test includes grades, a physical fitness evaluation, and a leadership test. But at the end of Beast Barracks, the more accurate analysis of which cadets persisted and which dropped out turned out to be Duckworth’s 12-item grit questionnaire.

Duckworth carried out a similar “success study” with kids who competed in spelling bees. Again, it turned out that grit – in this case, the ability to persist and passionately pursue your goal of winning the spelling bee by doing whatever it takes – was the best judge of success.

Nature or Nurture

Is grit an inborn ability, just like intelligence, or a talent? Or, can grit be cultivated? Many psychologists and philosophers contend that adversity is essential for character development.  Was young Mattie Ross, the heroine of “True Grit,” born with grit, or did she grow gritty due to adversity (the loss of her father)? Would Rooster Cogburn have had less grit if he still had both of his eyes?

Lithographic’s Bailey argues that qualities such as grit come from your core being. “I agree with the saying that, ‘adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals whether someone has it or not.’ I’m sure that everyone possesses some of these, but at different levels. If you don’t have much of it, it is very difficult for it to be nurtured or grown or developed.”

Fineline Printing Group’s Wangler believes in the power of both forces – nature and nurture. “I’m not saying they’re equal, but the ‘nurture’ influence can vary based on one’s upbringing and relationships. For employees, I think it’s important to challenge them appropriately and provide opportunities to build on their passion wherever I can. What’s especially important for young professionals is for them to know that making mistakes is okay.”

Perhaps the adverse economic climate has fueled the growth of grit in some individuals, and the challenges we face should be hailed as opportunities for evolution. Dome Printing’s Poole says his character strength is deeply rooted in his DNA, but that experiences also have shaped who he is. “The fear of failure causes me to constantly examine what is working and what changes need to occur to drive innovation and ward off complacency,” he says. “I have had and still do experience influences that help shape my character. The older I get, it seems that the rate of influence is accelerated, or the economy has forced me to examine everything much closer. I challenge my weaknesses and never give up.”

“If a company desires to have a business culture of grit, gumption, and guts, the rewards should be felt throughout the organization,” Poole says. “In leadership training, we teach individuals how to make decisions. I think we will add a segment on the value of understanding these defined characteristics as we build leaders in our organization.”

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Filed under Business development, Fujifilm, Inkjet, Uncategorized

Didn’t make it to Dusseldorf? See (some of) what you missed.

drupa 2012 officially wraps up today and was, by early accounts,  a successful show. According to show organizers, nearly 315,000 attendees (representing more than 130 countries) visited the show’s 19 exhibit halls.

As you know, Fujifilm had the largest booth in the company’s history and was certainly a sight to be seen. For those of you who weren’t able to make your way to Germany, here’s a brief look at the Fujifilm stand.

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Filed under Flexo, Fujifilm, Inkjet, J Press 720, Uncategorized

drupa sure does look different

This is my fourth drupa and, reflecting back to my first show in 2000, I’m impressed at how much things have changed with Fujifilm. In 2000, the Luxel Saber P-9600 green (YAG) platesetter was one of the booth highlights. Compare that to today, when one of the most impressive aspects of the booth is the amount of packaging-related products and solutions.

When you take into consideration the various products and samples on display, approximately 30% of the booth falls into the packaging category. It’s significant to note, especially when you consider that at drupa 2008, when Fujifilm featured the J Press 720, packaging wasn’t even in our product line-up.

The J Press F (provisional name with “F” standing for Folding Carton) is the first product attendees see when walking into Hall 8b, and it’s the entry into the Package Print Zone. Based on the J Press 720, the J Press F features FUJIFILM Dimatix SAMBA™ 1,200 x 1,200 dpi, single-pass inkjet print heads and also prints at a speed of 2,700 sheets per hour. The device utilizes newly developed water-based Fujifilm UV ink, has a maximum sheet size of 750 x 530mm (29.5” x 20.8”), and can accommodate stock up to 24 pt. board. The J Press F will be released in FY’13.

The FLENEX DLE system and Acuity LED 1600 are also in the Package Print Zone. The DLE (direct laser Imageengraving) system includes FUJIFILM Workflow XMF (that will connect to any workflow), the platesetter and rinse unit, which are displayed on the main aisle and attracting a lot of attention. DLE is a simple two-step process system: laser imaging and rinsing, especially compared to the conventional seven-step LAM (laser ablation mask) process. As a result, DLE reduces hours of platemaking labor as well as equipment (UV exposure frame, processor and dryer) and the end results are substantial cost savings and superior print quality. The FLENEX DLE was launched at drupa, and will be featured at Label Expo in Chicago this September.

There are two Acuity LED 1600 devices running live in the booth, with one in the Package Print Zone. ImageFeaturing print samples for packaging applications, the LED 1600 is a Fujifilm-driven technology. The key components of the device are the Fujifilm ink, the print heads and the LED curing system. Customers visiting the Acuity LED 1600, section of the Package Print Zone are impressed with the packaging application and it’s creating a lot of interest.

– Peter Vanderlaan

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Filed under Digital printing, Flexo, Fujifilm, J Press 720

Wanna go out sometime?

We recently launched Energy magazine (a quarterly publication for business owners and executives in the printing industry), for which I serve as Editor and Publisher. I’m proud of our latest issue and am enjoying the new role, as it allows me to venture back into my days as a journalist (I worked as a newspaper reporter and copy editor). It’s also giving me the opportunity to learn some things, both about the magazine publishing business and, more importantly, about reaching readers with information they need, want, and enjoy.

I had a recent conversation about the magazine with a fellow publisher and he shared an important lesson. Framed in such a simplistic way, it made tremendous sense and I’m sure is something that will continue to serve me.

Magazine publishing, it turns out, is a lot like dating.

To be “successful,” you’ve got to start with the basics. You’ve got to be where they are (in this scenario, readers and/or men). Okay…maybe that’s a bit too basic, but bear with me.

There also has to be attraction. I think you get what that means in the dating world, but in the magazine publishing world, we’re referring to design. The overall look and feel of the magazine is something readers should want to touch and open and peruse.

Next, there must be substance. A connection between the two and, ultimately, something that makes you want to know and learn more. Do we know the same people or run in the same circles? Does we have any hobbies in common? Do we like the same movies or music? For Energy, this means we need to include articles on topics readers are familiar with or enjoy or that contain information they need. Beyond commonalities, is there some element of fun? Does the article entertain me? Can he make me laugh?

It’s important to note that in both magazine publishing and in dating, a true connection generally isn’t established in an instant. It’s going to take awhile to fall in love. So, please have a look at our latest issue. I’d love to hear your feedback (email me at kristi@kmpr.com) on the articles and, of course, to go out again sometime soon.

Thanks for reading,

~ Kristi

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Filed under Energy, Fujifilm, Marketing