Pressing On: And ‘Pressing the Flesh’

It doesn’t hurt to know people. In business, as in politics, it is sometimes who(m) you know that matters more than what—or how much—you know. In a “windy” city like Chicago, seething with figurative hot air year ’round, even dead constituents’ votes count in local elections, aldermen may tell you half-jokingly. It is one of those Chicago-way moments, known as clout, a synonym for the same kind of pull or influence that powerful people wield in Jersey or Philly. Power-abusers often get caught, as in the recent case of Rod Blagojevich, the latest of Illinois’ guilty governors.In the 1950s through ’70s, when the original Mayor Daley ran Chicago’s Democratic “Machine,” he had tons of clout, much of which was handed down to his politician sons: Rich, the recently retired mayor, and Bill, who took the place as White House Chief of Staff from Rahm Emanuel, the city’s new boss. Conventioneers, take note that political clout is what soon may bring a casino to downtown Chi-town. And conspiracy theorists will love this: A slew of GRAPH EXPO 2008 attendees couldn’t receive FOX News on their Chicago hotel TV sets a month before the last presidential election. I’m bipartisan, but it is curious that GOP-oriented FOX mysteriously was blacked out while Democrat-leaning CNN was clearly tuned in with no “interference.”

 

What’s print got to do with it?

What do clout and unethical practices have to do with putting ink or toner on paper? Despite margin pressures, do some shop owners’ excessive paper mark-ups come as a surprise to the majority of estimators and print sales reps? Frequently, a manufacturing VP will buy paper from whoever gets him the best seats for Cubs or White Sox games. But that’s life, err business in the big city. If it’s controversy you want, this issue of Printing News has some. For a global perspective on the “green” sustainability movement, UK editor Laurel Brunner delves into—and scrutinizes—the latest PrintCity cross-industry report, which she says tends to be a bit offset-centric. (See “Carbon Conundrums” on page 10.) For many of your customers, it’s not who they know or even what they print but what they print it on—and it may not necessarily be paper per se. In this paperless e-issue, longtime paper guru Trish Wales looks at the exotic substrates available to today’s printers (page 8). There’s also an Executive Q&A with Joseph Raccuia, CEO of Finch Paper (page 12.) Readers also will want to check out our 2011 Digital Press and Production Copiers Directory, which begins on page 14.

I’d like to go on record that, on a much smaller scale, I am not cloutless and admit to being the beneficiary of some pull over the years—or, at the very least, nepotism. For instance, when I needed a job to help offset college bills, my Dad consulted with his eldest sister, whose son-in-law was in charge of all the delicatessen counters at a major Chicago-area grocery chain. He ensured that my resume found its way to the top of the stack. (I got the job.)

Whom do you know? What relationships can you leverage? Are you using your clout? Summer is half gone, so pick up the phone, take a major prospect to lunch, play 18 holes of golf, or do whatever else it takes. Let’s shake on that—or bump fists, or whatever it is people do to seal deals these days. GRAPH EXPO is two months away and the fourth quarter will be here before we know it. Don’t procrastinate and say it’s too early to start planning for 2012. It’s not.

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