The following is a proposal. No promises or guarantees are expressed or implied. Only assessments and goals. All statements made here in must stand or fall on their own merits, and are presented to aid in the formulation, for each reader, of an opinion of their own, freely expressible.
In so far as this document expresses objectives that we are committed to, it still, however, represents no binding commitments to anyone else. Any existent or future contracts and guarantees what so ever are simply not dealt with here in, and are or will be a matter for entirely separate documentation.
In so far as this document constitutes a prediction or prognosis, it is our best effort. But this document is not a promise by anyone to anyone else. Only the prospect in and of it self may be deemed promising. Such is hoped.
Media Content Creation
The vital marketing tools under consideration here include Flashy commercials, from conception to completion, with an emphasis on cutting edge high tech computer animation. For television, on film, or via the Web, plus print lay outs, press releases, color FAXable or emailable color brochures, and more. If you don't see it, then ask. Comprehensive full service to include everything that will be needed. The very best for the very least expense. Not much different, only more complete. It is only the deal that is different, slicker, and better.
As expounded in the Executive Summary, and further detailed in Case Study, with the lease purchase of the hardware and software, plus some incidental expenses, establishment of a shared high-end cgi full service bureau facility can now be accomplished for pennies on the dollar versus the cost of out sourcing (that is to say: hiring out the work as is likely now being done by your company and it's client companies). This alternative will help to conserve and maximize precious start-up or expansion capital. It will also enable Media projects and presentations that otherwise would be dismissed, out of hand, due to budgetary restrictions; and presentations that otherwise would never be feasible.
This will be nothing less than unlimited complete state of the art cgi, computer animation, FX, nonlinear editing, and Post Production; for video, film, audio, music, presentations, desktop publishing, emailable electronic color brochures, dispensed from web pages complete with Virtual Reality worlds, for web surfers to visit. The computer system will also easily double as web server, to release content to the Internet. Also, interactive Multimedia, video games, CDs and CD ROMs, Advertising copy, press releases, and everything else ever needed; all in one stop; Content from conception to completion. Even CAD output, for technology and merchandising spin offs, even clothing patterns!
Such is the current state of the art, in the high end, that there is the potential for a computer literate Digital Artist, equipped off the shelf, putting in the man hours, to accomplish more than whole teams of leading technicians could with the elaborate and cumbersome systems of the very recent past. This proposal restructures business to keep pace with the advantages of the current high-end state of the art.
But all this may depend upon a revolution in education and user interface, for the aspiring Digital Artist:
On the job training:
Coming up to speed with
For the pilot program, it is proposed to begin with a robust Entry-Level High End system, a Work Station, to soon become the front end for the Super Computer. The option of briefly delaying the purchase of the Super Computer postpones depreciation on this most expensive component of the system until itís utility can be maximized, at the crest of the learning curve.
But this need not be long. Given the robust software, the intuitive and User Friendly GUIs, built in tutorials, and telephone tech support for any software questions or problems as the Digital Artist in on the job training goes along, the goal is to be up to speed in a matter of two to six months. -Capable within two months, and proficient within six, for all of the software. Believe it or not, the most powerful software may also be the most User Friendly.
There are also short-term courses, priced commensurately with the other expenses, but who actually needs them, and why? They generally request that you finish the in-built tutorials, before even signing up. Presumably, the courses must be somehow more advanced. Taking such training courses may entail travel, or there are local courses. Alas, I have come mistrust the local training companies, run by frankly predatory and lackadaisical consultants. And there are always the exorbitantly expensive four-year academic degree programs.
What is unbelievable, incongruous even as sheer Science Fiction, but nevertheless true, is the apparent gap in Distance Learning, even on a platforms that have actually been designed for sophisticated electronic communication! The high end Silicon Graphics Incorporated Work Stations, for example, for years now have all come equipped, right out of the box, Ethernet ready; with the same robust video conferencing system built in. And, lately, even the humble home PC follows suite. White boards and even VR are available. In short, the cutting edge of High-End online show and tell is built right in. So, why does anyone commute, let alone actually travel cross-country, to attend courses?
To fill this gap, enter3Cyberpedant4TM, an online video conferencing Distance Learning curriculum. Initially 3Cyberpedant4TM must cover the software that will have been selected for the pilot project. Curriculum can be expanded, later. Obviously, prospective teachers must be experienced End Users of whichever of the software packages for which they are to give training. But they must also have teaching talent. The aspiring Digital Artist(s) are to interview applicants, via videoconference, as prospective tutors, perhaps even with the intermediation of advanced automated Sociometry .
Later on, class attendance may be expanded, as more students are to be solicited. As we prepare for phase two, franchising, we are to already have 3Cyberpedant4TM online training in place; as well as proven technical support providers. And even before the franchise operation is under weigh, a modest return from the3Cyberpedant4TM online training enterprise may help to defray the costs of future periodic system upgrades, in the pilot system.
3Cyberpedant4TM tutorial CD-ROMs will follow. Also radically improved custom integration and GUI of a proposed new software package, an Hierarchical Consolidated Interface that will also be marketed separately.
And by affiliation of various specialized curriculum development and promotion, including3Cyberpedant4TM, with Strategic Partner academic institutions, accreditation and student loans become possible, all according to the Social Entrepreneurship model. This is to cover wages for our online educators, who will gain academic status as Teaching Assistants. In the franchise phase, the Digital Artists must shoulder the student loans. But the student loans are to be paid off directly from the first dividends of the equity participation of the Digital Artists.
SGI and you and me. The technological ramifications:
There are two diametrically opposed strategies in marketing computers, or any other good or service:
One is the proprietary system or platform, making the consumer, once you have them, dependant upon the same source from then on, because no one else's blades will fit the proprietary razor, so to speak.
For example, until recent years, if you bought a MAC, you where stuck with having to buy more expensive MAC peripherals etc. (Now printers work for both MACs and PCs, and you can even get a PC on a card, to install into a MAC, to run PC software.)
The other approach is to offer the most flexible possible system, which is easiest to use.
Paradoxically, Silicon Graphics Incorporated has done both at the same time:
On the one hand, they run their own platform that is not compatible with anything else, for parts or software. Worse still, they concocted an Operating System named IRIX, which is just different enough from more standard UNIX variants to utterly confound even for the most accomplished Systems Administrators. This is how for years, they have enslaved vast corporations and institutions to outrageously expensive Technical Support programs.
But what have they offered to make the consumer endure such abuse? Answer:
They offer not only the fastest and most robust systems and Alias/WaveFront software (companies whom they bought out just to prevent versions on other platforms, before they evolved and became powerful enough to support the software), plus third party software. Anyone who has viewed Joe Haldeman's 'Robot Jox' on cable TV will recall the character of the illiterate fighter pilot, and the control system that enables and nurtures his inexpert talent. This one plot point barely exaggerates reality. As far as that sort of interface technology goes; the future is now! And User Friendly interactive tutorials for the visually intuitive Graphical User Interfaces incorporated into High End Graphics software for Silicon Graphics computer systems, is the least of this technological revolution; and already old news. Innovating and developing, Silicon Graphics, forging ahead at the cutting edge of visually intuitive computing, has not been above holding onto that lead by anti-competitive means.
So, it can be seen, that Silicon Graphics Incorporated has used both strategies, of a proprietary strangle hold on the customer, and the market appeal of maximum ease and flexibility, not to mention productivity, of end use, simultaneously. And they have thusly built up a love hate relation with their market.
But now Silicon Graphics is working hard to change this perception, and to break with their own traditions. They are changing with the market. They claim that their current generations of workstations are no longer as maintenance intensive. They want to sell more workstations to independent Digital Artists and smaller concerns, which would be destroyed by the need for constant maintenance and prohibitively expensive service contracts, as has been traditional.
But is this hype actually the truth? If it is, then, in so far as the outmoded assumption of the vital need for ongoing and advanced Systems Administration persists, in business ventures centered on the Silicon Graphics platform, there may be a vacuum, an information gap, to be taken advantage of. Of course, if it is not true, than there is only danger in relying on such blandishments. And, indeed, this very business proposal is based upon these rosy assumptions. But the trade papers are saying that it is, indeed, all true. New Media Magazine even heralded the new golden age for the Silicon Graphics platform! But we must welcome skepticism, and I'm all for double-checking. Nor is it proposed to go forward without qualified IRIX Systems Administration. If it is not covered on the management team, then a contract, for help on standby, in case of emergency, and regular periodic maintenance, must be provided for. The needs of this proposal do not require complicated custom reconfiguration. The system will be strictly for end use of proven high-end software packages, not ambitious and unstable Computer Science experiments.
This leaves the question of Digital Artist End User qualifications:
Again there are two views:
The one view is that an experienced Graphics professional, or at least a diplomaed Graphics student, is required to fulfill the need. And this need not come as any surprise, if such precepts tend to reflect the considered opinion of the experienced Graphics professionals and diplomaed Graphics students.
The other is the view propagated by the hardware and software Resellers:
That in accordance with the Silicon Graphics philosophy of the leading edge of productivity and User Friendliness, the software, at least the good stuff, all comes with unparalleled interactive tutorials. That it is all visually intuitive in the first place. And, for what they charge, it comes with fairly comprehensive technical support, by phone, in case you ever run into a snag. So, don't worry! Be happy! -is their message.
Silicon Graphics finally took the hither to proprietary leading edge Alias/WaveFront software cross platform from their own highly idiosyncratic IRIX platform, having originally bought out the publishers, just to prevent the software from being ported out to other computing platforms as the competitors caught up to the processing power requirements. And they also offer attractive deals for fully loaded systems.
There are even short term training courses in each software package. But, even then, completion of the in built interactive tutorials is actually prerequisite, prior to enrolment. Just to see if the class is even necessary! And to avoid redundancy, with what the leading edge in built interactive tutorials already cover. The in built interactive tutorials already make the End User able to operate the software, and all of its features.
If you hire a brain surgeon to lance a boil, he or she will still want brain surgeonís wages. That is, unless he or she is simply too busy. Worse, you may end up with a sullen, greedy, and conniving Prima Donna. But an intelligent though far less skilled lay person can excel at a number of less exacting tasks, and even learn on the job, only with guidance as needed.
Let the proposed computer systems be used to realize the creativity of a lay person or unrecognized Digital Artist, just as is promised by all the SGI marketing hype. But also take Graphics experience and/or Graphics academic qualification on board as consulting supervision, to cover whatever gaps in interactive tutorials and tech support for the GUI. This makes optimum use at respective skill level, mitigating both over and under qualification, while also helping lay the foundation for the development of3Cyberpedant4TM Distance Learning, so crucial to functional community in the franchising phase.
Assigning pertinent liability:
You have no idea how I struggled in my research, with packs of incompetents and greedy conniving Prima Donna "expert" consultants, until I finally found an honest and competent Silicon Graphics Reseller, who finally helped me with my basic research. But how can we be sure of anyone or of the technology? Answer:
Let's make all major purchases, both the initial purchase for the pilot system, and subsequent sales through the franchise, conditional upon reseller involvement, risk, and commitment to the success of the proposed Computer Graphics Imaging facility. Let that be the credibility test.
Copyright 2000 - 2009 by Aaron Agassi