Tomorrow morning a press release will announce that ColorMetrix and SpotOn! Press have agreed to work together on a project to provide enhanced interoperability between our two products. There will be lots of flowery prose and 50 cent words in the release so I will spare you the sales talk here. Tonight I will write the story of how two “competitors” agreed to work together to provide an enhanced value proposition to our customers.
A little more than one year ago I began talking with my friend Bruce Bayne about how his SpotOn! Press software and our ProofPass.com color verification and process control system, while competitive products on some levels, really solved two different parts of the color verification and process control puzzle. It was a great conversation and right away I knew I was dealing with a kindred spirit.
At the time Bruce was busy dealing with the release of his version 1.0. I was busy ramping up work on one of our largest customization projects. We continued to have conversations as our paths crossed. Sometimes months would go by between calls or emails but the lines of communication remained open. As Print ’09 approached it was clear that to survive in this marketplace I would need to once again re-invent ColorMetrix and forge new strategic business relationships as some tried and true partners from the past went different directions, including directly competing with me.
At Print ’09 Bruce and I along with a couple members of his team sat down for a cocktail supper high above Chicago at ROOF, the year-round rooftop lounge on the 27th floor of the theWit hotel. In hindsight a lofty venue was the perfect place to launch almost three months of work hammering out the details of getting two technology products produced by two small businesses working together.
Over my 23 year career in the printing industry I have worked with the good, the bad and the ugly. At a couple of key crossroads I have been lucky enough to have mentors who nudged me in a slightly different direction than I would have gone on my own. (There is a reason I have an MBA and not a Masters in Computer Science.) I have worked with smart people, people of integrity, personable people, fun people, serious people, you name them I have worked with or for them. This interoperability agreement really works for one reason; Bruce Bayne and Jim Raffel trust each other and get along.
We entered into this agreement because it is real, authentic and sustainable. Tomorrow morning our joint press release will tell the story of two separate companies that will work together to sell each other’s products. Sunday we will debut the interoperability of the two products at the PIA Color Management Conference in Phoenix. I am not positive what the future holds but I know it’s a lot brighter working side by side with Bruce Bayne and SpotOn! Press than going it alone.