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Good morning.

Last minute write to be honest. Just a few days in Ukraine filming with Jan - changed my expected routines, but here we are, and I hope you like this mornings read.
Otherwise you can at least enjoy your coffee, your croissant, and for most people a day with family and not too much work!
Morten B. Reitoft

BUSINESS

I have been in Ukraine this week, visiting Cloudprinter, and that was quite an experience for a couple of reasons. Cloudprinter is a Dutch company, but today 45+ people are working from the Lviv-based headquarter. The company consists mainly of young people, and for those who don't know cloudprinter, the company provides various APIs to connect brands/buyers and printers globally. This article is not so much about the company and what they do, but something related to a post I saw from a Danish politician. He was complaining about successful startups founded in Denmark now moved abroad, and it made me think. Why do companies decide to move from one country to another? One thing is taxes, rules, and regulations; another thing is access to venture capital, and for some, maybe even access to qualified labor. The question is also about being close to your market, which I, from time to time, consider for INKISH. Would it be easier to operate if we were a US-based company, or Japanese, or German? Have you ever considered operating your business from another country?

TECHNOLOGY

Many years ago, I participated in a user conference in Copenhagen about a Norwegian-developed software called Scala. The company still exists, which is pretty impressive. However, this story is not about the software but about my train ride back home. I was sitting on the train after a day with loads of information and inspiration. Across my seat, another person from the event was sitting, and we were starting to talk. A few weeks before the event, Apple launched the first iPhone, and the guy I spoke to happened to work for Nokia. I, of course, asked him about the iPhone, and he was very confident that nobody wanted a phone without buttons. I remember I wasn't convinced, but at that time, I wasn't convinced about the iPhone either. That changed! The reason why I tell you this story is simple. The technology we appreciate today can soon be replaced with other technologies. Even companies the size of Apple must constantly develop new technology, designs, and services, to keep their customers engaged.  When I look at some of the great companies in the printing industry, I, of course, look at both true innovators and disruptors, but also too conservative companies, where I honestly find it almost impossible to believe they will exist in the next 100 years.  An example is the companies in the offset segment, which continues to develop great offset machines. Still, when you observe the speed, the quality, and the flexibility of the inkjet engines, I can't help think about how technology faster than you can even believe can remove an entire segment in the industry. Will it happen any soon? Well, I think that the offset vendors developing inkjet or closely collaborating with partners that do will be the winners - and those who don't - well... judge for yourself! Maybe some of the companies we today see as big will be the next Nokias!

MUSIC

I never really liked the '80s from a musical perspective - and that is though it influenced me a lot. Bands like A-HA, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre, and more inspired me then. As mentioned before, I have played piano since I was five and started playing and programming synthesizers when I was thirteen - as one of the pioneers in Denmark. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered The Midnight. The band consists of Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle, and I didn't know LA Danish-based musician Tim McEwan. The music is, to some extend, really '80s inspired, but with an up-to-date edge. When I realized Tim McEwan's father is Tom McEwan, I couldn't help smile. Tom McEwan is a famous host at various children's programs back in the '80s and happened to be host on a TV program where I participated when I was 15-16. I had a huge drumset and loads of synthesizers in my basement, and Tom McEwan and I played together for some time - really fun, and even more, since I didn't expect this co-incident to be the case when I started writing this piece!

But listen to Jason, who also features the great American singer Nikki Flores

BOOKS

I have just started Reading a book quite macabre. Unfortunately, I am quite confident this isn't available in English, but I want to share this with you anyway. The title - directly translated from Danish is "The Last Step" and is about the last death sentences in Denmark in the past 500 years. Of course, the topic is unpleasant, but it's a well-written book, and when the author guides the reader through the details of how societies punish, it's quite amazing to read. I will spare you for the details, but though most civilized countries, fortunately, aren't using death penalties anymore, I can't help thinking about how things are developing for the better. 

Politics

In just a short time from now, the Olympics is planned to take place in Japan - and with many people coming to Japan this is, of course, a challenge to manage. I am, of course, referring to the current COVID situation. Many advocates for the games to take place. However, this a major challenge to handle, but now cities and hotels are cancelling and rejecting visitors. At the same time, countries are still reluctant to open for travel because of the thread and the variants we see right now. What weights the most? Business and events or health? It's, of course, a balance and one that isn't easy to manage!

TRENDS

There is a trend towards private labeling, and while good for the printing industry with new opportunities, I am not sure about the consumer value. Private labels have, in my opinion, become a result of too low margins on the branded product - and while this allows supermarkets to have their own 'brands' with potentially higher margins, it also leads to a quite sad tendency. When you buy a private label, the brand owner can easily exchange the product's ingredients without telling the consumer. Of course, the supermarket will declare the product, but not all consumers read the small print, and therefore you see changes from time to time, change of suppliers, and by all means being able to change the actual value of the product. Years ago, Coca-Cola altered the list of ingredients in the Classic Coke, which led to a lot of anger from consumers. Coca-Cola had to revert to the old recipe. With more and more people buying processed food, ready-made food, and take away, the consequences of this culture can have long-term effects that I believe should be discussed. 

See you next Sunday!

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