Monday, July 3, 2017

Its the Fourth and we have to show our colors.

Retired sixth grade teacher asked her former students on Facebook to attach an American flag to the walkway over a major highway between Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas. Look what happened.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Live Reporting Misses Alot

Reports on how, thanks to technology, journalism is being forced to change. Virtual Reality, showing 360 degree views tells the story. Really?

Having been a visual reporter all my life. I'm amazed, when I point out an observation to others around me, who respond saying how they never remember seeing it. My vision is focused on things that stand out.

So when I look at a VR story I'm scrolling around all 360 degrees, trying to see everything and end up missing the action. I don't get it. Virtual Reality is just a gimmick, something new and it won't fly.

Good visual reporting focuses on the action, tells a story and sames the viewer time not having to search around looking for it on their own.

This is progress?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Going Beyond Being An Entrepreneur

Falling into business, selling camera bags, straps, vests, etc. --- has led to wondering and exploring what makes a businessman different from an entrepreneur. Or why do we call some entrepreneurs "innovators."

I'm a reporter with first hand knowledge about starting a business. Can I call myself an entrepreneur? Or Innovator?

At the Fort Worth Star-Telegram I started writing about small businesses, I didn't
want to simply profile a successful business. I looked to see what aspect led to them standing out from the competition, Whether it was a roofing business needing to haul away trash that led to adding the service, or sister teaming up with her brother to be a team. That was good business.

As my business grew, It was branded as by a photographer for photographers, but once I solved the problem. Met the photographer's needs I longed to get back to reporting. It's more satisfying for me to find what stands out in a business and report on it. I was pulled into journalist and it is interesting seeing how entrepreneurs are pulled into business.

Reading the obituary about Subway sandwich founder Fred Deluca,  lost his battle with cancer. The obituary in the Wall Street Journal told how he saw submarine sandwich as an alternative to hamburgers, At seventeen years old he saw it as a way to earn money to pay for college and become a doctor. His role model was a local doctor, who helped finance his first shop. They discovered a need, Deluca became "sandwich magnate" who pioneered restaurant franchising. Innovator? Entrepreneur? More than just a good businessman.

What I wonder is how to "rank" entrepreneurs like Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, etc.?

They change the marketplace!
PBS's American Experience

Nothing wrong with just sticking to what you know and being a good entrepreneur. I focused on small businesses and looked for one aspect that made them successful and stand out from the crowd. TexPix Publishing is pulling together these profiles into an e-book to help other entrepreneurs.

This fall highlights achievements of some INNOVATORS. Starting on Monday. September 14th, American Experience presented a two part documentary on the life of Walt Disney. Here's a cartoonist in Kansas City that starts pitching movies. He could have illustrated advertising or published in print. He specialized in making movies. And failed.

American Experience tells how Disney failed in Kansas City and moved to Los Angeles because his older brother was living there and interning at a bank. The brother suggested he become a "Fuller brush salesman," he could have freelanced and got a job in the movie industry. But no he started his own business.

Disney was lucky, the timing was right. Talking pictures were taking over and his cartoon idea took advantage of visual and audio. An old proposal made to a business in New York City found him and contracted for a series of movie cartoons. It was a success and they didn't renew the contract, rather brought it in-house. Instead of folding, he set to work on creating the classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Later this month the release of the movie Steve Jobs opens in theaters. Jobs is like Disney. Never looked for a career working for another company. Partnering with an electronic genius, Steve Wozniak, they created personal computers. Wozniak writes in his autobiography, iWoz, how he thought it was a part-time job, a hobby.

Jobs was the only one who saw it more than a hobby, but an everyday tool. He was so driven and protective of his company that Apple board of directors forced him out in the Eighties. 

Disney succeeded with a series of films and moved to a bigger studio with the hope it would be it's own world, thinking according the American Experience that maybe employees could live there and work 24/7?!? He was only thinking of the end product.

His brother took over and ran the business and Walt Disney apparently dropped out. Like the MacIntosh the companies were both leading the market. 
You Tube trailer

Jobs left and tried to start NeXT and saw the software from Pixar, thinking it would help sell his new computers. Making a film might be good publicity. Toy Story works and promotes technology, and Jobs goal to bring it into all our lives.

From pioneering starts both Walt Disney and Steve Jobs kept exploring, coming up with ideas. For Disney it was Disneyland resorts and for Jobs it was the iPod.

They kept growing and following their vision.

How do you classify these entrepreneurs? 

They weren't good businessmen, fortunately others ended up fighting cash flow. They were good salesmen, they had dreams and stayed focus on getting it done. Done right. Their way, not filing a need, but creating a need. The way they envisioned it, not by a committee or by polling from a survey.

Henry Ford was also an innovator. Saw the automobile as a great tool that everyone should own. He succeeded with the Model-T and I feel he actually thought he was done. What more was needed? Competition drove him to change and keep making cars.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin are innovators, too, coming up with the best search engine, then linking it to ads. They have changed the way we communicate and share information.

But, were they as revolutionary as Walt Disney and Steve Jobs?

Friday, September 4, 2015

eBooks: the future or simply a fad?

Computers killed the typewriter, so the e-book would be death to printing on paper. It was fast, saved space, saved the environment and put publishing in the hands of the creators. Wonderful, I'm going from just editor to publisher. Or would it? Traditional publishers want to save print. They make more money and authors make less!
Game Day: Arlington Texas guide

Most people don't see the e-book as replacing the old fashion printed book. They don't realize how easy and efficient it is to have access 24-7. Many see ebooks as simply the Kindle reader! Or, for Apple users it is iTunes or nothing. They don't realize that they can get apps and read the book on their cell phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computer! That's whats so great about it is that while waiting in line you can read a book on their smart phone.

Article in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, 4 Sept 2015, reports on a sharp drop in e-book sales for major publishers like: Hachette, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster.

They want to sell the book for about the same price as their old fashion printed books. Turns out Amazon sold Kindle books for a loss to get the price under $10. Now it doesn't and big publishers average price is now $10.81. 

The Journal quotes a publishing house exec saying, "there's no question that publisher's net receipts have gone down." 

Codex Groups market research notes an average price of $4.95 for e-books in 2015.

Shooting themselves in the foot?

My guide to events at the ATT Stadium and Global Life Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, sells for just 99¢...and some tell me I should raise the price? A useful reference to save visitors time and money, always with you when you come to an event. Doesn't need a WiFi connection, useful, practical and inexpensive?

But sales have been poor.

People don't know they can download Kindle reader onto their smart phone and tablet. Apple users don't know they can use Kindle on their iphone or ipad.

So much for being the trend of the future.

E-books are efficient and should be inexpensive. It is great to see a book and be able to start reading in a matter of minutes, 24-7. Just down load it and start reading. Read it on one device and continue reading from another! It doesn't take up any space, like the old printed book. You can easily make notes and highlight passages. It's the future, right?

Major publishers are fighting it, they are raising the price and hoping lower sales will mean fewer e-books. Its a toy a fad and people like reading words on the printed page? 
e-Guide is always with you.

WSJ says "pricing e-books is a Goldilocks problem for book giants: For years they wooried that consumer prices were too low, and now they are seeing the disadvantage of bumped-up prices."

With little difference in price, consumers by the physical book. Simply because it seems like a better value. They can resell it and lend it to friends. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Launching, rather, REFOCUSING

Hello, this is Jim and I'm not afraid to go with the flow.

Change and refocus my skills to help share information. Journalism pulled me to write and take pictures for the local weekly in Greeley, Colorado, back in the Sixties when I was still in high school. I helped at the local college radio station and covered stories for the Northern Colorado University student newspaper while still in high school.

Journalism was my career choice and everyone told me to go to the University of Missouri. I went four years, not realizing how the journalism school only took juniors and seniors. Requiring you to take a variety of classes, no more than 12 hours in any one field. SO I COULD COVER ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING!

I thought it was a waste of space to write about how the subject looked when a photograph showed it. Words and pictures told the whole story. With offset printing and four-color presses this was cutting edge. (FYI, this is before desktop publishing. TV was just going from film to video and had huge cameras hooked to video recorders, Ugh!)

There were riots happening in the cities, that's where the action was and I wanted to help open peoples eyes to what was happening. I got hired at the San Francisco Examiner, a union paper where reporters were forbidden to take photos and newsphotographers were allowed to write stories. I wanted to show how photography told the truth, captured the moment, showed what was happening. We all knew Vietnam was lost, America needed to focus on urban life. That's how I saw it. Newspapers would help solve the problem.

Realizing that newspapers had to make the deadline, I felt my spare time needed to be concentrating on one subject. In San Francisco they had just kicked out Native American who had taken over the federal prison on Alcatraz Island. The local Native Americans were active in preserving their heritage and having grown-up in Colorado I wanted to help. Volunteered to work for the community newspaper, got a photo essay published in the French ZOOM magazine and covered today's Indians for a National Geographic book. 

Looking back I missed reporting on the start of the environmental movement and Silicon Valley. How could I miss these stories?

Getting hired at the Philadelphia Inquirer, I thought I was at the heart of the story with America celebrating 200 years of existence. The bicentennial was a big story. (Unfortunately the newspaper was also union and I couldn't write articles.)

Instead, I saw how my boss Gary Haynes was thinking of making a camera bag for the staff. He was frugal and the store bought camera bags fell apart too fast. I had a fishing bag that help up, and decided to step in and prevent him from issuing be some equipment I didn't need. The timing was perfect, new camera gear meant photographers were carrying more gear, there was a Presidential race in 1975 and a mob of photographers followed the candidates shooting color and black & white film to sell to publications around the world.

The newspaper went out on strike and I decided to serve the need. Having only worked for newspapers and magazines I didn't know anything about selling or bookkeeping. A learning experience, but this made me curious about what works best. 

The business grew and I was able to sell the business to a another company that served the needs of professional photographers. Time to get back to journalism, do what I love to do. But the photographer always had to get photos to go along with the reporters story. I wanted to come up with story ideas. I needed to be a writer again. But I had branded my self as a photographer who made a camera bag for professional photographers. 

It has taken years trying to use the business experience I gained founding a business to find a niche as a journalist. I like my network of colleagues, fellow photographers, and started writing articles about the professional photography market. Wrote about computers too. Covered something called the Internet and concluded it would be a useful source of information for journalists to use to write their stories for print publications.

I embrace the new digital, indie publishing. I had the most fun working one summer for the Aspen Times weekly and then for the Fort Worth Basin Oil & Gas magazine where they let me go out and find the photo. I enjoyed writing Business Strategy stories for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, just because I like the challenge to find the story. No assignments, just go out and discover something to share with readers. 

That is what TexPix Publishing is trying to do. Come up with our own ideas.

Game Day Arlington Texas can a handy reference on cellphone, tablets or laptops. Just 99 cents on Kindle. No time wasted trying to surf the web or finding a WiFi connection.  Kindle can be accessed on all devices, iPhone, Android or Windows.