Thursday, October 27, 2016

Silicon Valley 2016: Unicorns, Psychedelic Drugs and Disruption

The company I work for Expert Laser Services, is a technology company in south central Massachusetts, just a stones throw from the quiet corner of Connecticut.

We are by no means as large or productive as the silicon valley giants listed below.
  • Adobe Systems.
  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
  • Agilent Technologies.
  • Apple Inc.
  • Applied Materials.
  • Business Objects (acquired by SAP)
  • Cisco Systems.
  • eBay.
Just like any other tech company, we are looking to grow and become a major player in our industry as well as the technology sector at large. We look at companies like those listed in the bullet points above and consider their success, hopefully learning from their success in an effort to replicate it on some level.

When looking into the current habits, ideas and theories of some of the larger tech company's CEOs however, I have to ask, what the hell is going on?

From the Washington Post:

Wall Street's top regulator went to the heart of Silicon Valley this week to defend the public markets and warn tech startups of the perils of staying private too long.

Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, took particular note of the world's 150 so-called unicorns, tech companies valued at $1 billion or more, but still in private hands. 

"Beyond the hype and the headlines, our collective challenge is to look past the eye-popping valuations and carefully examine the implications of this trend for investors," White said in a speech at Stanford Law School late Thursday.

 "These are areas of concern for the SEC."

White did not mention any specific companies, but investors are patiently waiting for Uber, Airbnb and Snapchat to all go public. They are worth $62 billion, $25.5 billion and $16 billion respectively, according to Fortune.

They are among a growing group of Silicon Valley tech firms that are eschewing tradition and staying in private hands, rather than joining their brethren in the public markets where mom and pop investors could buy shares in the company. By stubbornly staying on the sidelines these companies are helping suppress the already dismal initial public offering market this year, critics say. And now they're starting to catch the attention of the country's chief financial regulator.


With that in mind, let us consider why this information above is a problem...

From The Secret Sun:

Many see the entire enterprise as a house built on sand and call the high-flying startups there "unicorns", a reference to their sense of financial unreality. And Internet-based companies are sitting on the powder-keg of recent revelations that digital advertising simply doesn't work as promised. 
Despite hosting the Valley and Hollywood, California is now the poorest and most unequal state in the nation. Once the dream destination of many Americans, a mind-staggering five million people have migrated out of California in recent years, predominantly middle-class taxpayers.

This is the model Silicon Valley wishes to export to the rest of America. Atlantic columnist Sam Kriss:

Wealth is being concentrated in fewer hands, we own less and less of our own lives, and meanwhile these brave entrepreneurs are automating ever more decent-paying jobs, turning humanity into an ungrateful sea of surplus flesh, to be connected and quantified but not necessarily fed, because that’s what progress looks like. 
And why stop there? Why not declare war on reality itself? Kriss writes further that, "the tech industry is moving into territory once cordoned off for the occult. Why shouldn’t the fate of the entire cosmos be in the hands of programmers hiding from the California sun, to keep or destroy as they wish?"

What Kriss is referring to is based on a New Yorker profile of a Valley hotshot, who reports that to some movers and shakers in the tech industry, Creation itself needs to be hacked:

Many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer; two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the secret sun is an alternative media blog with a focus on the paranormal, occult and metaphysical side of the topics it covers.

So you may be thinking to yourself, this is all nonsense...

I can assure you, it is not. The Author of The Secret Sun, Christopher Knowles is absolutely on. point.

Not convinced? Let's take look at some more main stream media outlets and consider the strange topics presented above from another perspective then, shall we?

From Business Insider:

The theory that we might all be living in a computer simulation has gotten so popular among Silicon Valley's tech elites that two billionaires are now apparently asking scientists to help break us out of the simulation.

That's according to a new profile in The New Yorker about Y Combinator's Sam Altman. The story delves into Altman's life and successes at the helm of the famous boot-camp and investment fund for tech startups, and doesn't shy away from the quirkier aspects of Altman's character.
In the piece, Altman discusses his theories about being controlled by technology and delves into the simulation theory, which is the idea that human beings are unwittingly just the characters in someone else's computer simulation.

The simulation idea has gained popularity among Silicon Valley's elite — it's so popular that even Elon Musk is tired of talking about it. But now, a few of the tech industry's billionaires might be doing something about it. 

For those of you who are having an hard time understanding what is being said here, let me clarify things for you. There are very rich and powerful people in silicon valley who actually believe we are living in the matrix...

These people are paying scientists copious amounts of money to find out how to break us out of the matrix...

This is not science fiction people, this is actually being considered as a reality by some of the technology sectors biggest and brightest minds and money is being spent on this endeavor.

Now in light of the US election consider this, again from The Secret Sun:

Hillary Clinton has the advantage of the support of the entire Establishment (even major sectors of the GOP Establishment), which has now come to include Silicon Valley and its tributaries. Yet, like so much of the Establishment, much of Silicon Valley is actively at war with most of the country, even those with whom they ostensibly might ally themselves with.

It's a war of attrition, a sustained and unrelenting attack, not only on the American middle class (an enterprise the entire global hierarchy is devoted to) but on the socioeconomic, political and communication infrastructures of the entire planet.

Why? Because they can. Atlantic columnist Sam Kriss writes:

Silicon Valley's) culture is pathologically fixated on the notion of ‘disruption.’ Tech products no longer feel like something offered to the public, but something imposed: The great visionary looks at the way everyone is doing something, and decides, single-handedly, to change it. 
Propped up by an endless front of Deep State money, the Valley thrives on an almost completely artificial environment devoted to the global program of radical culture-change, through supply-side economies built practically in defiance of consumer demand. Companies are valued almost hilariously in relation to their actual worth and burn through capital like drunken sailors on liberty. 
With all this in mind, let me ask you, what is the inspiration for silicon valley to go from building innovations such as the iphone, to spending money on escaping the matrix?

Psychedelic drugs apparently...

Consider the following article from FORBES and also this one from Rolling Stone Magazine...

From the article(s):

"Are things so dire in the workplace that some persons are now turning to microdoses of psychedelics in order to reach new heights in creativity?

Microdosing refers to taking a much smaller dose, about 10-15 micrograms or about 1/10 the standard dose of LSD –and is thought to confer a much weaker effect on your body, just the amount to produce mild euphoria, energy lift or added insight, without allowing you to feel like you are “tripping.”

So to reiterate, the biggest technology companies in silicon valley are housing unicorns, who are composed of young twenty somethings micro-dosing on psychedelic drugs while paying scientists to find a way to break us out of the matrix...

All of this is happening while Elon Musk and Jeff Bezo's compete to start the first successful independent space travel company...

From CNN:

Elon Musk is the founder of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and PayPal while Jeff Bezos is founder of Amazon and Blue Origin. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin are privately held aerospace companies whose goals are the privatization of space exploration.

Of the two, Musk is the more flamboyant and entertaining. He's like a real world Tony Stark, minus the flying Iron Man suit and weapons. Bezos is known to be more private. Judging by the number of their tweets -- Musk's 1,500 vs. Bezos' 5 -- we know who likes to talk.

Musk's plan is to build a heavy lift rocket that would make spaceflight more economical. His big idea is to send humans to Mars in a decade or two. Once the heavy lifting technology is reliable, the next step is working out the issues of interplanetary travel. 

Perhaps his grandest vision statement was revealed when he said that he'd like to die on Mars and preferably not on impact.

Bezos holds his plans a bit closer to his chest, but his company's successes seem to be aimed more at the suborbital tourist market. 

By now you are probably wondering, what is the point of this blog post?

My goal is simply to illuminate some of you to the fact that all this is happening and to suggest that 2017 is likely going to be a very, very weird year... 

With that being said, what is your take? I would love to hear your opinions.

Monday, August 1, 2016

New Blog...

Hello, everyone.

Just making a quick post to notify you that Expert Laser Services has a new blog hosted on our brand new website. You can visit the new blog here.

I will continue to post here with a more stringent personal opinion on the imaging industry and the technology sector as a whole.

stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Acquiring MPS, Page After Page...

Well I am just going to cut to the chase with this one.

We here at Expert Laser Services are super happy to announce that we have acquired our competitor Page after Page, essentially doubling the size of our company.

The acquisition was set in stone last Thursday and we are now integrating their employee base with our own. We are excited to bring Expert Laser Services and Page after Page into a new age of managed print perfection.

Exciting times are ahead as we move into the future with this endeavor.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Revisiting A Myth

Back in 2010 I wrote this post. It was an attack on the idea that the paperless office was ever to become a reality and I stand behind that post and the perspective which inspired it. A week or so ago, I came across this blog post which reiterates my opinion that I was right in my convictions. 

Based on the facts presented in said article I must reiterate, since the inception of paper people always have and always will have an intense emotional connection to paper. Granted it may be more subtle to the printed page in the office space but, take it away from your employees against their will and behold the sh!t-storm!

From the Article:

"As Publishers Weekly puts it, “the 2014 figures are further evidence that print books are selling better than they have since sales of eBooks exploded in 2010.” The paper tome apparently hit rock bottom in 2012, but has since rallied in categories from children’s books to adult non-fiction, and formats from trade paperback to hardcover.

Students, too, are rediscovering paper. Several studies – including one by tech-centric Hewlett-Packard – find a strong preference for printed textbooks, notably among those in college who have tried both types. In the HP survey, 57% preferred print; only 21% preferred an eTextbook."

Read the whole article here.

Monday, January 12, 2015


It has been a long time since I have had any desire or perhaps any reason to write about MPS. For a long time, I have felt that talking about the subject is beyond the dead horse. I have always believed there are those who do it right and those who do it wrong. That it is essentially simple. For months now I have not chimed in about this industry or the players within it and for the most part, I had no intentions of doing so.

In light of reflecting on the past year, this has changed.

I can not ignore the fact that chaos is breaking out across political, military and social dynamics in many of the worlds super powers and smaller countries alike. Terrorist attacks and the horrors of gun related tragedy are commonly found in the headlines of both mainstream and alternative news networks daily content.

The world is burning...

So what does this all have to do with managed print services?

Control and dominance.

As MPS evolves, the enterprise level players push BPO, print volume caps, excessive monitoring and auditing and various other dynamics on end users so that the share holders and CEOs of massive corporations can squeeze every last cent out of a previously ignored element of the companies expenditures.

While this is not always the case nor is it always done with an iron fist, I can not help but to notice how some of these tactics have a very "police state" feel to them. Treating end-users like commodities that can be regulated like products tends to create a tense work environment. I for one have quoted a few software's that allow end users weekly printing volumes to be capped or limited to monochrome only. When I quote such a product I ask the decision maker how comfortable they will be as the point of contact to the angered and frustrated end users who's jobs have been complicated by their actions. This always tends to prevent a purchase of said software because all the clients who asked for the quote quickly back pedal after this question is asked.

As an MPS provider who's foundation is built upon high quality re-manufactured toner cartridges, my company's CPC rates are enough to save large accounts thousands of dollars. These elements that create a dictator out of a CEO or VP of IT tend to strike the heart of my clients and so far, none have gone so far as to place these restrictions on their end users but I wonder about the enterprise accounts of some of the OEMs...

It is clear that large corporations are largely in control of various elements of the united states government and that money above all else (including people) is the driving force for these problems. It is the same force that leads the hand of men and women in powerful positions of corporations who would become the gestapo of the printing environment in their company.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand that end users occasional printing of full color photos of their kids birthday to post in their cubicle, coupons, emails, etc. is something that should be brought under some control...

That being said, I personally think a company wide proclamation from the president via email (or other form of communication) to the employee base as a whole where an emphasis on environmental sustainability and financial effect is made known, would be more effective and less likely to cause strife.

Some may think these ideas are extreme and that it is nonsense to assume this is happening on any level of concern what so ever. This is not what I have found...

What I have learned from watching humanity from my perspective as a human being is that once a tendency for a dynamic is enacted in one part of a system, you can expect the same dynamic to appear else-ware. Now, should the motivation of that dynamic be the all mighty dollar, you will most certainly find that dynamic spreading across the system as a whole should the decision maker in charge of said system be primarily concerned with profit over all else.

The managed print industry has been a catalyst for many things, I am under the opinion that it can be used as lens to view the world.

From where I sit I will say this, If the elite of both the world and the MPS industry take control of the majority of either...

We are all f!$&ed.

This is why I would implore customers more than ever to do business with small providers as much as possible. Choose the local companies who care more about people than pennies. Support small business even if it must be multiple small businesses to cover your fleet across states or countries. Even if it means some logistical challenges.

At the end of the day if all your saving is money, your not really saving anything. In this respect, I would suggest a revolution in dividing the MPS market across smaller providers rather than consolidating them through larger corporations.

There is enough opportunity for everyone and there needs to be change in the system otherwise it will collapse.

In closing I will repeat my sentiment.

MPS can be used as a lens, what do you see when you look through it?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

AIOI Makes DOTC: The Book!

Guess who's back?

It's me, the suddenly reclusive (and now shamelessly self plugging) Dubious Monk!

That's right folks I, Nathan Dube have returned! (at least for the moment and possibly longer). So where have I been you ask? Selling MPS and (GASP) copiers! Crazy eh, Greg? Well to be fair, it's mostly A4 MFPs which are selling like hotcakes....

So why post now? Do I have new industry relevant prophetic views of the times we live in and the times to come? Am I returning from the shadows to destroy more printers? Well...


I am simply popping in to say hello and THANK YOU to the man, the myth and legend himself Mr. Greg Walters! I must admit, I only just purchased his book (pictured above) recently and was charmed to find that my blog is listed as suggested reading and I am listed as a "Leopard" which if you are familiar with DOTC you will understand, if not... BUY the book!

No really, buy it. Greg's content always has been cutting edge and ahead of the curve while also being quite hilarious, provocative and borderline offensive (at times). All things that drew me to the death of the copier blog in the first place.

Greg is by far one of the (if not THE) greatest minds in MPS and the realm of office imaging professionals in general. If you are currently in and/or are planning to enter the MPS industry, this is a must read. End of story.

As for me, well... I said everything I wanted to about MPS in the content of this blog in posts past and until something new comes along I will not simply write to just meet the expected three posts per month that "professional" bloggers are called to manifest.

When I have content worth sharing, it will pop up. Furthermore, you may see posts from additional authors here should things proceed the way I think they should.

Hoping you are all well and wishing you a happy holiday season!