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How Digital Technology Is Killing Innovation

(October 2011) posted on Tue Nov 08, 2011

Times of change can be roads to revenue or ruin. Coudray describes how you can evaluate your situation and aim for growth.

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By Mark A. Coudray

I love technology, always have. But we’re fast approaching the point where even techno geeks can’t keep up with the awesome display before us. There was a time when I couldn’t wait to see what was new. Over the last decade or so, the speed at which technology has accelerated has changed my perspective.

By way of background, I’ve just spent the last nine months re-evaluating everything I know about where we’ve been and where we’re going. This all came about with the decision to close my own print operation at the end of January, 2011, after 38 years. It was a very difficult decision, and I anguished over it for months. I didn’t close it because of the economy; there were other factors I won’t go into.
I came to some serious revelations while in the process of selling off equipment and disposing of almost 40 years worth of collected works. If you ever get a chance to go through a lifetime’s worth of work in a short period of time, the impact can be stunning. I’ve only done it once before, when my father passed away and I had to go through everything. It is a very weird feeling to see a life flash in front of you by going through what’s left behind.

Very few of us ever come face-to-face with our own lives in this manner. As I was going through my personal archives of saved print samples, journals, lab notebooks, and the like, I was initially excited. This is mostly because I was pulling out memories of great adventures from along the way. There were photos of when my wife and I visited Michel Caza in Cergy Pentoise in 1984 for the first time. There were the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Golden Squeegee Awards from the very first competition in 1980, along with the award-winning shirts. And much more.

It was amazing. There were pictures of a very young Andy Anderson, Don Newman, and Mark Coudray looking over samples in the Stretch Devices booth in 1986. As the chronology of work and time progressed, I could see something happening. I was watching innovation unfold in front of me. I was looking back at the history of digital imaging, color science, and halftone technology being played out before my very eyes.


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