Thursday, July 12, 2012

Covering the Copier & MFP Industry One Click at a Time

I thought this would be a great interview for everyone.  Scott Cullen has followed the copier industry since 1986 and has interviewed the who's who of industry professionals through out the years. He's a stand up guy and I've always enjoyed reading his articles. I thought it was time that someone would turn the tables an interview Scott. With out further ado, my interview with Scott Cullen.

When was your first Office Equipment Industry article and what was it about?

In 1986, an article on BIS CAP (Now Info Trends) conference I covered in Boston on small business for Office Systems magazine.

How the heck did a rock n roller like yourself get connected with the Office Equipment Industry?

I had just lost my dream job the previous November where I was writing for a cable TV magazine in Connecticut. The magazine was sold to a competitor and they shut us down. I spent most of November and early December helping a friend in his landscaping business and in January worked as a freelance proofreader for a book publisher. Around that time I saw an ad in the paper from Office Systems magazine looking for an associate editor. I applied, got called for an interview and within in a week was offered the job. Turns out that was the only job I ever had in my life that I didn't get through some sort of networking. I did get a great reference from Peter Funt (Son of Candid Camera's Allen Funt) who was the publisher of the cable TV magazine.

You've been to a lot of dealers events over the years, what two events stands out more than the others?

First is a Canon dealer meeting in Scottdale, Arizona in the eighties. It was my second dealer meeting and even though I was still learning my way around the industry, it was a great time. That's the only dealer meeting where I go to go horseback riding.

The second had to be a NOMDA dealer meeting Las Vegas in the mid nineties. What made that great was the camaraderie I had with my colleagues in the press when there were many more publications covering the industry as well as many PR people for the various manufacturers who to this day remain my friends. What made this one memorable was we all went to dinner at Hugo's Cellar in the Four Queens and then to a show with 60s pop star Johnny Tillotson ("Poetry in Motion"). It was an amazing evening, and yes, a fair amount of alcohol was involved.

What was the worst dealer event you ever covered?

I wouldn't describe these as the worst but the last couple of BTA conferences (the big ones they used to have) before they pulled the plug on those events because of the declining attendance and declining participation from manufacturers. I was depressing to attend what everyone realized was a dying event. I only wish I knew back when it was thriving what I know now about the industry because I would have gotten a lot more out of those events from a professional perspective. From a social perspective they were amazing.

Out of all the people in the Office Equipment Industry you've interviewed throughout the years, who is your favorite and why?

I've had a lot of great interviews over the years and just as many disappointing ones, meaning folks who just aren't very good in that situation. On the manufacturer side the best subjects of late have been Ed McLaughlin when he was President of Sharp; Phil Boatman of Lexmark, Jim D'Emidio of Muratec, and Rick Taylor of KonicaMinolta. On the analyst side I always enhoy speaking to Lou Slawetsky of Industry Analysts and Jon Bees, now at IDC. I have a laundry list of dealers I love to interview but four who stand out are Larry Weiss even though he likes me to call Saturday mornings around 7 a.m., Frank Grasso, Franf Gaspari and Andrew Ritschel.

The reason all of these folks stand out is because they're accessible and there's no BS; they all tend to tell it like it is.

Besides writing for the Office Equipment Industry do you write for any other industries?

I edit and write for a PC magazine called PC Solutions that publishes twice a year and is geared to novice and intermediate PC users; Mercer Business magazine, the local Chamber of Commerce publication; Independent Dealer magazine (, a publication for office products dealers; and I write for OFDA (Office Furniture Dealer Association) publication about issues pertaining to office furniture dealers.

When was the first online publication of The Week in in Imaging and from concept to publication how long did it take?

The hard launch was in December 2010 although I was dabbling with various incarnations of it for 10 months, trying to figure out the appropriate content, look and feel. I'm still working on all of that although content wise I'm fairly happy with it. It's a challenge to come up with fresh content on a weekly basis, but I'm doing it.

If you were able to look into the future, what MFP manufacturers would you bet the ranch that they'll still be in the imaging business in 10 years?

Without a doubt Canon, Ricoh, Konica Minolta and Xerox aren't going anywhere. Of course I'd be thrilled if everyone else was still around in 10 years too. It would get pretty boring writing about the same four companies.

Do you think at sometime in the future we will see MFP manufacturers emerge from China?

That might make things interesting, but they’d have to have pretty damn good products and programs to get mindshare in the dealer channel. Right now I’d say it’s a long shot. 

Is this the first time you've been interviewed and how did I do for a newbie?

I've been interviewed about my hobby, concert promotion, a few times before as well as about the industry from folks a=outside of it, and I can honestly say, you're not the worst. But seriously you did well. I appreciate the opportunity.

What are your aspirations for The Week in Imaging?

I’d love to see it continue to grow in readership and prominence in the industry and expand by introducing other publications. It’s not easy writing and editing for this and all the other publications I write for, and then trying to sell sponsorships for The Week in Imaging. I’m not a salesman. I’m much better at buying stuff. Anyway, I have to make this work. I’m not sure what I would do if this went away. I love writing about this industry, I enjoy the people in it and truly enjoy making those connections, and just being part of it. This gives me that opportunity.

Please make sure that you tune into Scott Cullens "The Week in Imaging", he has some great content and is a great promoter of the Imaging Industry.
-=Good Selling=-

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