Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's Joel doing?

I created and began posting on my blog about one month ago. Since that time, I've received quite a number of e-mails (from friends and acquaintances) in the industry asking me .... "what are you doing?"

Knowing that I will likely get other e-mails asking that same question, I decided it would be appropriate for me to do a post about what I'm doing; this to avoid people from having to ask that question.

First, I guess I should tell you what I'm not doing:

I am NOT involved in the reprographics business, in any way shape or form in the U.S., at least not at the present time. On the day I retired from NGI, I agreed to a Covenant-Not-To-Compete. My CNTC lasts (a long, long time) until mid-December 2012. My CNTC covers the U.S. and Canada. With regard to the U.S., my CNTC does not cover "all" of the U.S., but it does cover most, if not all, of the medium and larger cities and market areas in the U.S.

Secondly, what I am doing:

a) being "semi-retired", I'm spending a bit less time at the office than I used to when I was working "very" full time. I maintain a small office in a high-rise office building in downtown St Petersburg - that gets me out of the house every day and that gets me into a "work mode."

b) I'm reading more than ever before; continuing my reprographics business and industry research and education (that's my hobby), and I also read books about other stuff, mostly fiction, but sometimes non-fiction.

c) I'm a consultant to - a team member of - a reprographics enterprise that operates businesses in six different Eastern/Central European countries; all of the countries were formerly under communist rule. The young man who's the Managing Director of that company is absolutely brilliant; highly passionate, aggressive, very focused, amazingly organized, definitely a strategic thinker and planner at the highest level, and he's a natural leader. [Yes, I'm in awe of someone who is that young (38) and who is already THAT accomplished.] He has assembled an outstanding, very smart, (and also young) management team. If his enterprise was based in the U.S., I have no doubt that his enterprise's sales would easily be 5 times what they are now, and they are not a small company. I'm generally in Europe two weeks out of every month. Six different countries (I haven't been to all of them), six different languages, six different currencies, and, yes, they follow the metric system. Not to mention that there are cultural differences as well.

Thirdly, as to inquiries I've received from reprographers in the U.S. (and Canada) about consulting services (mine):

Inasmuch as my time commitment to the Eastern/Central European reprographics enterprise I'm working for is quite substantial, I am, until that commitment changes, not available to provide consulting services to any other company, except for one exception. If a U.S. or Canadian reprographer is interested in considering my for an "advisory board" position, I might consider such a position, a) provided that the time commitment is not substantial and b) provided that your company's location would not violate the geographic restrictions in my CNTC.

Finally, when in the U.S., I'm mostly in the Tampa Bay Area (that's where St Petersburg is), but we also have a small condo in Boston, so I do spend time in that area. I'm always up for debates and discussions about the reprographics business and industry - and I enjoy seeing industry friends - so, if you find that you're going to be in the Tampa Bay Area or in Boston, let me know; breakfast, lunch or dinner on me.

One last item: For those of you who are located in the Boston area or who visit Boston, I recommend B&G Oysters on Tremont Street in the South End area of Boston (right adjacent to the Back Bay area.) B&G Oysters is a fabulous seafood restaurant (always lots of fresh oysters on hand), and my beautiful daughter, Cassidy, is the Chef. If you go to the restaurant, make sure to ask for Cassidy, tell her I sent you (and I should tell you that she's rather shy and that always pisses her off.)

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