Last month saw the long awaited release of Morning Flight Gold. After three years of beta testing, we had good reason to expect strong sales, due to a significant amount of pent-up demand. What we didn't expect was an almost equal number of orders for the Gold's twin, the digital-only Pixelblitz. Our crystal ball, in this instance at least, had shown itself less than crystal.
In the comments below, I'll share some of my conclusions. Future FlyBys will offer recommendations on how offset shops can profit from this surge toward all things digital.
Our Product of the Month is Pixelblitz, not surprising since it looks like we missed the mark in identifying where half of our customers are.
Unitac International Inc.
Riding the Digital Tsunami
When the Product Managers at Ford or GM get it wrong, dealers' car lots everywhere fill up with cars people don't want. Our user manuals and CDs are produced on demand, in-house, so when we get it wrong, the only damage is some bruised egos.
We got it wrong when we underestimated the interest in Pixelblitz. One factor can safely be ruled out: I can't imagine the typical print shop owner getting up one morning and deciding to sell all his offset presses and go exclusively digital. Owners of established shops will continue to be candidates for the all-in-one, offset plus digital Gold.
What I think is happening is that most newly formed shops start out digital and look at offset as a "maybe someday" answer for long runs. The problem is those long runs are getting shorter by the year, courtesy of digital. That in turn allows startups to stay digital where the only tool they'll ever need is Pixelblitz.
In the end, the biggest factor tipping the scales is probably old-fashioned inertia. Most established shops already have an estimating and print MIS in place. For the perpetually licensed, no-fees Morning Flight to get a foot in the door, that door will have to be swung open not by the prospect of a better solution, but by the skyrocketing maintenance fees charged by our competitors.
Why am I telling you this? We saw change coming but got blindsided just the same. For the typical small offset shop owner, the question today is not whether to branch out into digital, or when. To quote a pre-schooler's advice on the old Art Linkletter show: "When an avalanche is in slow motion, you'd better not be." The question unanswered is how much to invest, the price you're willing to pay for the ticket in.
In the coming months, we'll ask the digital experts on the Morning Flight Forum for their views on how to enter the waters and ride the digital wave without breaking the bank.
Product of the Month
The plan was for Pixelblitz to serve as a digital-only version of the Silver Edition. That's how the product was released. Eight months later we changed our mind and turned the program into a digital version of the Gold. Here is the download link for the demo:
In case you missed the story in last month's FlyBy, everyone who had previously ordered the old Pixelblitz got the expanded new version - at no charge. Look at the bonus features that came with it:
1. Order Entry and Job Tickets
2. My Way Pricing
3. Job Tracking and Invoicing
Make no mistake, that was a whopper of a deal.
Video of the Month
Screencasts are a great way to learn how to use Morning Flight.
Click here for a short tour of the new Pixelblitz Edition.