New year predictions: Robert Keane, Cimpress


Cimpress CEO and Vistaprint founder Robert Keane believes keeping up with ever-evolving technology will present the biggest threat to printers in 2015, while specialisation and partnerships will be offer the greatest opportunities.

What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?

Personal: more time with my family. Business: customer obsession.

What trend (business or technology) do you think 2014 will be remembered for?

I personally think that 2014 will be remembered as the year when the 'collaborative economy' started to become mainstream. The internet is eliminating friction that previously limited the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services. Companies embracing this trend include Uber, Amazon AWS, Alibaba, Zipcar and others. This trend is opening up new growth opportunities all across the economy, including in printing.

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2015 and why?

Focus and specialisation, combined with partnerships with other focused specialists. I firmly believe that no one can be the best at everything but each of us can aspire to be the best at something.

What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2015 and why?

Keeping up with ever-evolving technology – each new generation is better quality, lower cost and faster than the last.

What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2015?

Embrace the future, not the past.

What was your biggest disappointment in 2014?

The failure of our first venture in China. We made the difficult decision to walk away from our joint venture there after multiple years of effort and wrote down a large investment.

What was your highlight of 2014?

Launching Cimpress and our vision for being the world leader in mass customisation.

What are your hopes for 2015?

Mastering both large-scale and nimble innovation.

What was the most important thing that you learnt in 2014?

Cimpress can’t win a price war in China.

What if anything will you do differently in 2015?

See new year's resolution.

What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?

Q: Why are horse-drawn carriages losing market share?
A: Because horses are rubbish at drawing.

Are you making any new year’s resolutions? If so, what?

Several years ago, we embarked on a journey to be more customer centric. It’s something I talk about a lot at Cimpress. And the new year is a perfect time to recommit to being even more customer centric.

Who will win the Rugby World Cup in 2015?

The fans.

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