By Editor & Founder Morten B. Reitoft
The very first film published by INKISH was uploaded to our YouTube channel on April 10th, 2015 - so these days we are celebrating our seven-years birthday. In this article, I will share some of our basic ideas - some ideas on our route to where we are today.
It's late 2014 and I am searching for information on the internet about how to run a business in the printing industry, and I am not entirely sure where to search. The vendor websites don't give me answers, nor do the trade-media websites, and an idea starts forming in my head. I want to create a video/film channel about business. The only problem - I am not a good businessman, so the mission is to find successes and failures who want to share their stories with our at this time non-existing audience. I start talking with friends, and they all tell me how crazy bad this idea is. I reach out to my good-old-friend Nils Harbo who I've worked together with before, and soon we start conceptualizing what later becomes INKISH. Nils Harbo is a musician and a very creative person, and also an experienced editor - and he has a camera and some experience filming and editing.
Nils also comes up with the name INKISH - which I love from the first time I hear it. We think of it as INK'ish!
The Early Days
In the beginning, INKISH wasn't a business, but a project done on the side of running a print broker in Denmark. Nils Harbo was both the editor, filmer, and editing the videos - and even composing the music for the films. In the beginning, we published one-two film's a month. They were way longer than most of our films today, and the quality and consistency were entirely different from today - but we did something other people liked, so after just a few months we had more than 15,000 views, and the very first commercial job was ordered by Highcon filming a Highcon Euclid II installation at Gafs Karttong in Sweden. It was fun. It was a success, and when we shortly hereafter attended GraphExpo in Chicago, Highcon used the film - and were we proud? Yes sir!
GraphExpo wasn't, however, our first event - that was Gulf Print & Pack - and below you can see our very first 'postcard.' Ten minutes of interesting equipment.
As time passed by I soon realized a growing interest in INKISH. From the beginning, I was sure that I didn't want INKISH to be advertising-driven. If you are driven by advertising I am afraid that stories will be picked on measures I don't like, so I have been stubborn since the beginning to find alternative ways. We call our supporters sponsors, and they for the most only decide who and where. Quite soon after our launch decided on our payoff - 'We Are People.' We take our payoff very seriously and have over the years developed editorial principles and a strong commitment to the industry with publicly available prices, disclaimers on films sponsored, and a critical yet curious and professional view of the industry!
Already in 2016 Nils Harbo and I quit working together and I took on the role of being the editor. Jan Majnik got on board as the filmer and video editor. That increased dramatically our production speed and as Jan was a schooled professional filmer, not only could we produce more and faster, but the quality also jumped quite a lot.
One of the first jobs Jan and I did together was from drupa 2016 - and if you look at the postcard below, you can clearly see the difference.
More and more viewers and feedback encouraged me and my team to move forward. In 2018 we launched INKISH.NEWS. The idea was to give the industry a channel to publish stories. As we didn't and still don't work with press releases, press briefings, and almost not with any PR companies, we thought it would be brilliant to let the industry publish themselves, and directly. We have today more than 25,000 newsletter subscribers, and content created from all over the world. Today INKISH.NEWS is a platform that we also use to write stories - and our critical stories about Benpac, Gallus, and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen have been read by more than 38,000 readers - which in our mind is really high numbers.
INKISH.NEWS has become a very important channel for us, and we continue developing both channels - and who knows, maybe more channels are in the planning?
In 2019 we expanded our capabilities with LIVE streaming, and from PRINTING United in Dallas. We broadcasted LIVE two hours daily and delivered an experience as current as it could possibly be. At future events, we are now ready to broadcast LIVE from the entire show. The ability to do this in high quality is a combination of great equipment and even greater people.
And then came the COVID!
Everything stopped. On March 11th the lockdown changed the world forever, and in the days after we got cancelations of drupa activities, pre-drupa, and films for so much money that I was certain we could survive! Terrible, sleepless nights, and endless speculations, made the days difficult. Would the pandemic be one month, 6 months, 12 months, or? Nobody‚ of course knew, but one thing I was certain about. If we couldn't produce content we would not have a chance to return post-pandemic, and as we couldn't travel, we very fast moved to online. We invested in webinar software, and we started doing webinars. We introduced a format we called Over the Skype - and with everybody home, we grew our audience dramatically. Over the Skype became almost a phrase - and with more than 70 LONG interviews with people from all over the world, we developed something people apparently liked! Thank you!
We also did a new format called Fast Forward. Share 5-6 personal photos, let's discuss these, cut down to a 2:12 format - and more than 50 amazing people from all over the world participated.
We got recognized. When Canon EMEA in the video above awarded us, I got emotional. Totally unprepared and extremely happy about this award (in today's time it would be called a non-fungible token (NFT)) - but as this was an almost unknown phrase at the time - it was an award!
We also developed our webinars into hybrids with shipping of print samples to attendees - again WAY before most of our friends and competitors did the same - and I think our ability to be adaptive and responsive to change is the key to our success.
Internally we also changed many things. Henrik Klem Lassen who had then been working with INKISH for almost a year took over the role as CEO and shareholder of INKISH, giving me more time to focus on the development of INKISH, and our stories, products, services - really good for both the channel and for me personally. Very grateful that Henrik has taken on this role!
One year into the pandemic we could again travel within Europe. It was difficult. It required a lot of COVID testing. Endless transfers before getting to the destinations - but we could travel, and it gave hope to not only us but both our sponsors and the amazing PSPs we visited. It also opened widely the value of trade shows and though many of the organizers think that we are against their shows and events, we are BIG fans of shows as long as they bring value. In the interview above I was interviewed by Julie Watson from Ultimate TechnoGraphics in Canada - fun, and again different!
But we are now out filming, and we are thinking about what's next. In the nearby future, we will be filming the Durst Expo, Xeikon Café, and hundreds of films from all over the world.
We will bring a magazine (Mags Sustainability) to the world. We will introduce new types of products - one is called Road Show with Robert Godwin as the product owner. We will also introduce the publishing of books we are planning, and we will also re-think some of the things we currently work with - all to benefit you dear reader/viewer.
All of this is, of course, only possible because of the amazing people working and supporting our endeavor.
Thank you very much to Henrik Klem Lassen (CEO), Jan Majnik (filmer), Ziga Kovac (filmer), Robert Godwin (producer), Jacques Michiels (CEO INKISH.BENELUX), Jean Lloyd (co-host at webinars - hopefully, more to come), Deborah Corn (the first supporter of INKISH in the US) and working together on exciting projects, Pat McGrew for PrintSampleTV and the endless support of our work. All our customers, viewers, and readers - THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT in the first seven years!
Also, a WARM thank you to our great Indian team from MyVirtualTeams developing our websites - and behind the scene services.
A personal thank you also to the almost 900,000 views of my posts on LinkedIn last year - amazing.
If you want to support our work - please share our films. Link to us on LinkedIn. If you need film in your communication reach out and finally we DO have a Patreon website in case you want to support us with monthly payments :-)