Excellent. Thank you. I assume everyone can hear the audio. Usually, it’s not difficult to hear and American in a room, so I’ll apologize for that. They of course gave me the time right after lunch where everyone is a little sleepy. So, we will try to have some fun. Thank you Olaf for the invitation and thank you all for your time and attention today and thank especially to my colleagues from laidback, who, some of you saw the session this morning, who have invited me to come and speak with you.
It’s a particular pleasure for me to be here and discuss with all of you, workflow. Because, most often when I do these presentations around the world, I’m usually trying to convince people that workflow and automation is a good thing. You are already two steps ahead of the mass majority of who my customers are. But, well get into this.
I’ll give you a brief introduction. I’m Toby Martin, Vice President of Development and Strategy with Extensis. Many people say, “Who is Extensis?” If you’ve worked with fonts, or digital assets for many years, I will tell you we are the people that make Suitcase Fusion, or the people that make Universal Type Server. We have become sort of the Hoover of font management. We are a brand, but the organization that I represent is extensive. Now, we have been in business for some 25 years, actually. October was just our 25th anniversary. We have about 110 employees worldwide. I mentioned the nine languages spoken and supported. I think we’ve got four or five of them in the room with Erland and Richard. Again, American being one. We have offices in Portland, Oregon, which is our headquarters, where I am from. So again, thank you for allowing me to come in and speak with you today.
We have offices across Oregon, Washington, New York, and then France, Germany, Australia, as well as our UK office. A few things about us is that we have more than 6000 organizations are using our software today. We are a software provider first and foremost. What is different is, most of what we have talked about, is workflow enabling through our software. The majority of the people that are using our software are print and publishing executives such as yourselves.
That’s the first place where we grew up, being fonts, print and publishing. As I say, 100,000 plus professionals worldwide. I’m sure a lot of the people that you work with or have worked with you, or many of you may have been font users or people who have used some of our products over the years. We have 20 patents worldwide that are filed across the different countries. The most important one that we’ll talk a little bit about today is called Font Sense. What that is, is a unique identifier for fonts.
I know most of you are thinking, “this is workflow and we’re talking about fonts, which is so very basic,” but we’ll talk about some of the reasons why workflow and automation around fonts are particularly important if you don’t want to be sued.
Before I go any further, who in here, anyone in here is a font foundry? Okay, that’s good. Because, we’re going to say some things about them that they may not like. Anyone in here familiar with font management like Suitcase Fusion, Universal Type Server? Okay. So, you are my audience. Fantastic.
Before I go along, because my marketing colleagues would have my skin, if I didn’t tell you a little bit about us. We have digital asset management for managing brands, logos, procured artwork, photography, things like that. I mentioned the font asset management side of the house, which is again, Fusion. Then, we have Fusion Four teams to synchronize and make sure that the fonts that you take or sending off to your pre-press are in fact the same ones that go with the documents that you’re sending. Then, we have image asset management, which is essentially photo compression software.
This actually started in the naming Geo, because it was used for satellites. So, this is software that we have built that used to beam satellite images. You would take Gigabyte images and stream them online. Some years ago, the conclusion I came to was, if we can look down, we should also be able to look up and do the same thing. We also have image asset management, so fonts, digital assets and images are what we do.
I have to put a slide up so we can brag about some of the people we work with. National Geographic, Conde Nast PubliciS, a lot of the organizations you’re all familiar with, which is good. But, what’s even better are our technology partnerships. So, as I mentioned, laidback, which is the organization who we’ll talk about here in a moment. The nice part about this gathering is that it’s a collaborative nature. So, there are many of you who are in the same areas, who are just wanting to share ideas, solve business problems, solve workflow issues. We’re very much in the same way. There are many people with digital asset management. There are many people with different workflow solutions. What we think is a unique piece, is what all of these pieces combined together brings forth.
Even one that I’ll specifically mention, Monotype. So, when I said, “Is anybody in the room foundries?” They’re obviously the largest foundry in the world. They’re a partner of ours. We used to be competitors. We used to just constantly hit each other and then I called them and I said, “We should work together, because people are buying. You all are buying fonts from Monotype, we should help them manage them, and we can do so in an automated fashion.” So, this is really what I’m most proud of as an organization. What we’re trying to do, really with Extensis, is really what Graphcom is trying to do. Bring together like-minded individuals to share ideas to solve common problems.
Now laidback. Marcus did a session earlier. Pair. These are the people that you can again go and will continue the dialogue after the session, here, because we have 30 minutes and there’s a lot to talk about. But, we’re out in the solutions area, the discovery zone, to continue discussing, but laidback is really another automation engine. The difference is, how we have bolted it together. Some, just over a year ago, we came together to conclude that many of the things that publishers were doing, and especially int he states, was very manual, very process driven and very simplistic. What we needed to do was tie automation together with that.
Marcus made a good comment this morning. “Anything that you’re doing, is a workflow.” Getting up here, and hitting a button on a power point. That is changing something from one state to the other. Laidback has an excellent practice in that. We’re pretty good at digital asset management, so we wanted to come together. Their headquarters in Nor-Shipping, eh, so-so. To me, it’s Nor-cupping, but not so. They have a product cargo many of you are familiar with. Twenty countries, partners, and resellers and is yet another automation engine, but again we’ll talk about some differences, because this is where it becomes particularly relevant for print media.
So, how would you like to start with starting a baseline? Print media. Okay, is it neanderthal. It started there. They have pretty much one font. The difference today, is the average designer in your print shop has approximately 4000 fonts on their devices. Now, 4000 fonts sounds like a lot or it may sound like a little, but the point with that is, the proliferation of fonts is increasing the liabilities that we all have to manage. Font foundries, again, since no one’s in the room, I will tell you, as they sell you less fonts, they audit you more. So, this is the dirty little secret of font foundries. Just like many software vendors.
Today, as I say the only thing different is readership and circulation or, as the great american philosopher Kanye West talks about … ah, good friends with he President. Sometimes they get emotional over fonts. These are the kinds of things that font procurement and font management has moved almost to become mainstream. We all can take it for granted. In fact, when I interviewed with Extensis some years ago, I sat down with our CEO, and he says, “We do fonts.” And I kind of, “Times New Roman?” I kind of chuckle a little. He says, “Look around you at all the typography.” Look at all the billboards. All the printed materials. All of the content that you all are creating. This is a huge, huge area to manage, because improperly managed or poorly managed, leads to huge problems.
Now, fonts are also kind of uniquely regarded. Designers who, I should ask, no one in the room is probably a designer, are the worst. They will go get something from, it really doesn’t matter, BitStream. They’ll go take it off of a USB stick, they’ll borrow it from someone else. When they do that, what they’re doing is causing chaos that again, is bringing about a liability. You also have to concern yourself, and this chart is from my online font server. That was a live statistic last night, about what percentages of my customer fonts have old type fonts. You can’t simply just go out and steal the new one, convert those fonts. When you license a font, you’re licensing the right to use it. But, you’re not actually purchasing that font. So, many times what’s happening in pre-press, when something gets to the end for production, oh, it needs a little adjustment. Maybe I’ll go in and adjust the vector and change it a little bit. You’re violating end-user licensing agreements from that font foundry.
So, what we want to talk about is making sure that you don’t have to do that by ensuring that the correct font is following the process. People that make fonts think that it’s the most important thing in the world. I make software. I don’t want people to pirate my software. It is the same thing. Fonts are oftentimes treated as just a utility. It should be part of the operating system, or just something free. But, it’s licensed, and you’re every bit as liable for that as with something like from Adobe or AutoCAD or any of the other print and production applications that are out there.
So, let me scare you for a minute. They’re not new. There’s a few examples here, and I’ve pulled up some that are more common. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. $1.5 million of a judgment against them for misuse of a font. NBC Universal, were talking a couple million dollars. My personal favorite, My Little Pony. Actually, it’s probably my least-
Favorite, My Little Pony. Actually, it’s probably my least favorite but it’s the most relevant example for why you need to build automation for how fonts come into your environment and leave your environment.
My Little Pony which is owned by Hasbro received a letter some years ago. I forget the name of the exact foundry, but it was a $300 font. And they said, “We noticed you’re using it illegally. We want you to true up. Please by the font correctly.” Their attorney thinking, “We’re Hasbro. You don’t need to tell us what to do.” Filed it in the round file, got rid of it. They continued to use it. A summary judgment was found against them for $50,000 per page and per instance use of that font.
On the actual physical package where our sons or daughters were buying My Little Ponies, $50,000. Every web page, $50,000. So while they’re not necessarily in print and publishing, they are in the business of taking information and publishing it out to their end customers. So it’s a little bit of an, I won’t say a ludicrous example, but it’s a relevant example because something as cheap as $300 misuse illegally led to that point. So when you’re talking millions and millions of dollars, it’s a challenge.
We’re all here to talk about how to make money, how to manage assets, what we’re doing, how we think things are changing, and you are dealing in a world that’s shifting gradually but also very quickly. It’s kind of ironic to bring in a software guy to talk to publishing people about publishing. So I’ll tell you something you all know. Your endpoint devices in your media have changed quickly. What you have to do, is ensure that you’re keeping pace with that. So when you adapt your practices, you can either adapt them manually by bringing in more people. You can build more processes. We’ve talked about Six Sigma, ITIL. You can manage your processes that way. Or you can use something like an orchestration engine to manage those.
Because it’s not as if the means of publishing, the time you have to market or the customer needs and demands are decreasing. All of those things are increasing, which means you have to be able to respond faster. The only way you can do that is with automation, and obviously, efficiency.
The font challenges as I said, license costs, these are all the things that essentially should become a day to day management, but it’s usually an afterthought. I always find it interesting when we talk to publishers and I was in London with my colleague last week, and there was a case where it was incorrect font. Just a couple of characters wide. It re-flowed the pages, pagination, context and indexing were all off. They ruined an entire print run because it was an incorrect version of the same font with the same name. Just someone had edited a character a few glyphs.
Things like this aren’t only about loss and being sued, but it’s also about ensuring the integrity of the endpoint product. Some of the partners that we mentioned earlier like Esquel, what they do, Vium with their K4 product, is all about ensuring the integrity that what was built by the production teams is actually what is going to come out at the end of that process.
Now, the problems are myriad here. Do we have the wrong fonts? We have the wrong versions? I’m I loading fonts one machine at a time? How do I track my licensing? Did I buy a site license? Did I buy it for 50 people and use it for 55? At that point again, you’re opening it up. So what I want to do today is challenge us all to start thinking about automated intelligence as the new AI. Artificial Intelligence which much skepticism, in some cases appropriate so, forces people to change their business to adjust to the model of the AI that you’re bringing in.
What I’d like us to start considering, and obviously again, with a workflow summit and things like that is automation should become the new intelligence. Artificial is as it says, artificial. It’s a change. Automation intelligence is just simply taking what you have today, putting a place of process by which you can improve that and then continue to refine it. Artificial Intelligence is also something I can’t go out and just simply retrain an algorithm on. That’s a very complex thing. Convoluted neural networks and all sorts of fun things there, very difficult to deal with. A switch or a slight change in your automation in a workflow is a very simple thing to do. It is a discrete change and it is something that you can continue to grow with over time. So it is not a grand all at one time we want to do this. It’s really more of building it out the process and continuing to learn in a more manageable and a more meaningful fashion.
And it’s of course less threatening to the people. The interesting part about a lot of this is … My degree is actually in psychology. Yeah. So later Feel free to tell me your dreams and we’ll talk about issues. But what’s particularly important about automation in a workflow is the people element. By automating and improving what people are doing today, that 80% of the job that’s more difficult, you allow them to grow and emerge in train themselves. Some people will be fearful of this, of being made redundant. That’s not the concern. The point is to take your human capital which is the most expensive that you have and utilize it more effectively. So again, automated that still requires people. Artificial Intelligence eventually like Skynet, may or may not.
What I want to talk about today is a process continuum that I’ve written over the years about kind of beginning the journey toward this. So hopefully, I’ve scared you a little bit about fonts. You have to get those under control. It’s a lot of money. Individual fonts are not a lot of money, but liability could be.
Now let’s talk about how you can sort of begin that process, because it is an intimidating process to begin. If you start, and I’ve been part of many of these projects, and I’m sure many of you who have consultants have done the same. Where you show up in a room and you say, “We’re going to automate everything in your business.” And everyone’s, “All right.” So it’s an over promise and it’s under deliver. There is no way you can do that. So what we want to do is start the process and work people through. So the first step I always refer to is just fully manual.
Many people today are doing this. So let’s say I want to go procure a new font and I have to go out and buy it and then I have to speak with someone in licensing and then I have to take the license. Read the license agreement, because I’m sure everyone in here reads font [inaudible 00:18:06] all day long. That is a suicide inducing task, which I sometimes do.
But these are all individualized things where you have to go out and do that. Today, that’s being done in your environment. Whether you’re aware of it or not, whether it’s done through the correct means or not. Is it someone grabbing it from bitstream or again, just downloading. Purchasing it on their personal credit card, which is a very common thing. Designers print layout, I just need to get this font. I don’t care if it’s 75 Euros, just give me the font. I would be licensing it for myself, not for the corporate use. So that’s another thing to be concerned with.
What the first thing you have to do in this transition is look at what your existing processes are today and begin to start realizing, we’re going to have to shift a few things. So I say low sophistication because it relies on me. If it’s Friday have five and I want to go home. Am I going to follow the right process? Probably not. I’m on my way home to go get a beer with some friends. I’ll just do it this way. The nice thing about automation and workflow is it does not allow that. So what you need to do is get away from the individualized pieces of workflow and start to build out those processes. It’s almost like building the old run books that we used to have in data centers. But now it’s done toward the front end.
Manual some beginning steps. This is just a quick screenshot of a very simple workflow. If it comes in here, send an email, make sure that this is okay. Is this, is X greater than Y? If Y is no, do the following action. So these are the sort of if then statements that you have to start to think about to build out what your organization of workflows are. So this is primarily template driven. Now, I know that there’s lots of people around that have different workflow and people such as myself, even outside of our partnership with Laid Back, we have workflow in our applications because we’re making changes to assets. We’re making changes to things within our systems.
The difference here is you start to get some of the integration and some of the build through with other systems. So people who are administrators that you say, “We’re going to automate a part of your job.” That’s worrisome. This says, “We want to integrate what you’re doing with this other system.” So again, on fonts, I want to tie it together with your procurement or supply chain or ERP system. That’s a very simple thing, but that’s a very powerful thing. Because it ensures that what information I have about a digital asset or a font or a procured artwork is able to be managed with the financial implications of that. So that’s an important thing and the best thing I was talking about is if this, then that.
It’s a very elemental thing. Again, many of you are far beyond that point. But many times when I talk to executives in the states and many other places, they’re like, “I can’t tell you what we do, because it’s different every time.” Well, each of those exceptions are again, the opening to problems and solutions. Every time I hear a no or a problem, to me that’s an opportunity to fix the situation.
Low sophistication, limited repeatability, which means maybe I’ll remember to rename something. Maybe I’ll remember to send an email to somebody else and let them know what happened. But the reliability of me as a human actor is minimal. So again, going to automated intelligence, the repeatability of that is 100% every time. So it’s far smarter than I am, which is not difficult.
Introductory of automation. So process with limits. Again, I took a few slides out of this because ordinarily I have to explain to people, what is the difference between a process.
… this because ordinarily I have to explain to people, what is the difference between a process and a workflow and automation and state. You all know these things, again thank you for saving me a little breath on that one, but this is the automation piece where it’s going to begin to work interdependently within applications. So when something happens in Point A, I want you to notify this, but I want you to do something else in Device B, or in System C. This is where APIs come in. So this morning, keynote talking about APIs, I love that. I should get a t-shirt that says give me two API calls, because with two API calls, we can do virtually anything. So this is really where you start to see the reliance and the integration of open vendors such as ourselves.
As I said earlier when we began, the notion of all of you sharing ideas to solve common problems, that’s what software vendors have to do now, so that’s where all of us have to open up and build those APIs. So what I would say to you is, to continue this journey, at this point if you have systems that are locked down, vendors who are not sharing information, that don’t have database dictionaries, you should seriously consider the longterm future of those vendors.
We talk about one throat to choke. If I don’t let you take information out of that application, you should choke me. This is the point where APIs and SDKs become crucial to integrate those things. Now, many other applications will have their own automation within, the difference is how well they talk to each other. Again it’s an environment like we talked about. Partnerships such as yourselves, sharing information, passing the ideas around, that’s the most important thing to continue the journey.
The last one is fully automated. This is where sort of things happen. Someone does something in one system, it notifies me, sends me an email, lets someone else know, tells finance, lets legal know, things just happen. High reliability. High, high return on investment, because at that point you’ve removed your human actors from the process.
Information flow and process adherence. People are like water. We will go to the path of least resistance. Again, Friday, I want to leave, I’m not going to do it. This removes that as a core tenant of human actors. High degree of sophistication because you can continue to refine this. Some people can go from Stage Two directly to Stage Four, depending on the maturity of the processes that you have in place and your practices. Depending on the systems you have in place. You may be one of the lucky ones that can skip a step or two. The vast majority though, have to take a methodical and a process oriented approach to get there, because these are not small steps.
So this is really the vendor platforms and frameworks, as I mentioned APIs. This is where people such as ourselves and many of the other vendors that are out there. These are people that we’ve known for years. [Davin 00:25:10], Chile, these are all the people who say, people in your seats say, can you make this system talk to this system to do this? And as long as we’re open with other and have that ability, the answer is almost always, absolutely, how would you like us to do it, and what would you like to do next? Because when you finish with this, again different from artificial intelligence, is you can keep adjusting the knobs and levers, continually making those improvements in discreet and small fashions.
So this is a screenshot again of a little more complex workflow, but some areas that I wanted to leave you with to consider. Ad sales and proofing. To try and control what sales people do, I’m not going to say is easy, but the reversion back to the client, this is what it should like, are your proofs okay, taking a look at that information, that’s a simple one, that’s a very costly one. That mistake in flowing a job or something along those lines could be tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Euros, many Kroner’s worth of damage, so that’s something to be aware of.
Digital assets and file formats. So as you all publish in new media, online, we all know the social media have their own different formats, you have to make sure that you’re converting and being exact and precise. It has to be 1024 by 624 in this format, no graphics, automating the conversion for all the different formats is another area sort of ripe with the opportunity.
Artwork and graphics. Have you licensed it correctly? Have you purchased it from Getty? Images are no different than fonts, if anything just more visible. But if you’re buying images, if you send out photographers, things like that to procure that, images that are being given to you by your clients, that need to have watermarking, that again is an open invitation to violate contracts and expose yourselves to risk. So things like artwork and graphics are highly important. Fonts, I probably hit you a little bit over the head with that, but the reason is, something as inconsequential as fonts has huge opportunity for improvement in your business. You can true up fonts, so you can go back and discuss with your vendors. I purchased fifty, but I only used five last year, I’d like to pay less maintenance. Or you can combine them from different print houses you have, different imprints. You can share them across the organizations. So there’s a lot of optimization to be gained from working the process better, but being able to also go back and report on those.
Then pre-press and printing, physical and virtual, that’s exactly why we’re all here to talk about that anyway. You all know your business better, but I will say this is an area that we’ve certainly specialized in, lo these many years we’ve been in business 25 plus.
I’ll leave you with a few reasons why automation is the better way forward. As I said, artificial intelligence makes you change. This is automation which is based on your business model. Artificial intelligence is available, automation is you. The nice thing about this is you can also share ideas without necessarily exchanging trade secrets. So, I have a thorough belief that automation is a piece to level the relative playing field, but also to help everyone increase. So not only level it by diminishing, but level it by increasing. So when next time there’s a graph.com event, someone has a great workflow, we can stand up and talk about this workflow that changed their business, as some of the case studies have already done and we can continue that dialogue as we again share ideas and lift each other up.
Time spent training AI is great. Automation doesn’t take holidays, won’t call in, rarely complains, if so, kick the server, asking for raises or leaving early on Fridays, like I said, shame on me, and it will certainly make your business better, cheaper and solve a lot of the issues you have. Don’t think of it only as fonts, don’t think of it only as digital assets, that’s a great place to start, but then let it spread throughout the business. Many of the automation engines today, especially laid back, will allow you to expand that into different sides of the business so it’s not only press and production, it could go into sales, it could go into marketing, finance. So the places where you can take these engines, is again why you have to be very clear in your decision and move forward with the proper product.
So that’s a little bit about me. Easiest way to get that, again I have some colleagues that are out in the discovery zone, …, got Marcus, …, Richard, we’ll be around today. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today. Please again consider automation as the next artificial intelligence.