This post, by Vic Barkin, originally appeared on The Digital Nirvana on 9/13/10.
It was a dark and stormy night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. No. It was a bright and windy afternoon in the City of Big Shoulders. I had just landed at O’Hare and was waiting for my hotel shuttle.
The fifty-ish business woman to my left had no secrets. She was engrossed in a discussion on her i-Berrydroidpod oblivious to the world around her and with whom she was sharing her conversation, namely me.
Now I’m not a habitual eavesdropper, but this was so blatant I couldn’t help but absorb her end of the dialogue. I’m sure you’ve all been there.
She started out with instructions to her subordinate– edits pertaining to some document: “Move this paragraph here; add the sub-head for Obstetrics there; start a new chapter on page 87; be sure and link the footnotes” & so on. By now it was obvious this had something to do with the medical profession and was some type of publication, to what purpose I could not discern. Then came the kicker—“I guess we should get a thousand printed”, she said matter-of-factly.
At that moment, my old printer instincts kicked in and my ears perked up. Although I muffled the impulse to be a good-printing samaritan and come to her rescue, calculations started rolling through my brain bucket. Let’s see, this publication whatever its purpose is most likely a minimum of one-hundred pages; times one-thousand copies is one-hundred thousand digital 8 ½ x 11 clicks at the very least. A decent job for any short-run facility.
Did she have a use for that many, or was it simply a Pavlovian response to cost-per-piece-effectiveness training she received in an earlier life?