...bringing this book to print was a matter of years?
The whole exercise of collecting the data, editing, writing and re-writing the connecting text, creating the graphics, looking for a publisher, getting it published, and up to selling the first printed copy took more than... 10 years.
The idea to write the book started germinating inside me while I was still working in Scitex, around 1990-91, much before the personal dramatic (to me) events mentioned in the book started taking shape. Actually I was toying with the idea of creating something that could be distributed to the Scitex customers - "look, this is the real wonderful serious us, this
is the real (huge) effort put into supporting you, Mr. Customer, and we are damn working hard on it, etc., etc...". Of course, years passed by, and things started changing shape while going through all this editing effort, and I had the choice to either update the book and lose my "this is presentable Scitex", or freeze it in time an lose
the "this is the real Scitex". 'Presentable' and 'Real' may have been one and the same at the begining of this adventure, however they divorced each other somewhere through the middle of the process. So the decision I took was - keep it up to date but forget selling the idea to the company itself, too many dark sides started emerging.
Instead - just keep it as a log book, for your own sake. Which is what I did.
Once I decided not to go through the company itself I allowed myself a bit of extra freedom of expression. Something's good - say it, something's bad - damn well say it as well. And if the bad guys have names - OK, let's have their names down. Funny enough, when reading and
re-reading (and correcting typos again and again...) the text - I am still taken aback by the force of this love that connected me to this virtual entity called Scitex. Through all the good times and the bad times - its love all the way through. And except for a few baddies here and there - it's almost uniformly pink from start to end. Where the hell did I take it from?
And why? I keep asking myself to this day.
...the original book title was The Life And Death Of A Scitex Patriot?
I was so proud of this title, especially with the original idea of distributing this book via Scitex to the customers. Then several things happened, with the main two being:
a) When the contents of the book starting losing a bit of their pinky colour, I took the decision to consult a lawyer to get some legal advice (I actually paid him about 2000$(!!!) worth of it) if there are any kind of do's/don't's in the material I include in the book. Well, he didn't find much reason to worry about anything special, however - as a precaution - he advised me
not to include the company name in the title. After all - this is not a fiction book.
b) "Who the hell is Scitex?" asked me many of the editors/publishers I approached along the way. So I took notice of their unforgivable ignorance regarding famous Scitex and of my unforgivable ignorance regarding the assumed fame, and I changed the name to a more generic one. And now I can sell the book even to the biscuits industry.
...I received threats from Scitex, style "don't publish or else..."?
I wonder how did they, at the time, get wind of my intentions? Not only that, but they probably got also a copy of the preliminary manuscript. I estimate it was through one of the channels that I tried to use for publishing. Whatever way it was, they got the company lawyer, the much esteemed Mr. Martin Ossad, to write a subtly (lawyer style) threatening letter about
why is it in my best personal interest to cancel my project. Not that they were going to open a contract on my name, but you know...
It kept me busy for some time - what could they have found or interpreted in the book to base the letter on? True - I call some people names... but none too low,
true - I spill out some facts... but none less than gospel truth. All in all - it's actually kind of (incroyable mais vrai) glorifying the down to earth hard work running in the backyard of the glossy front, doesn't it!? I never actually tried to analyse this reaction in depth. If you'll allow me a few lines now, together with you, to do the Freudian bit - I'll probably reason along the following lines:
1. They panicked, because they knew they have reason to panic. Meaning they knew more than me. They feared some kind of wild vengeance applied through me telling some dirty truths to the world at large. Missing the point, of course, since even though some such dirty truths were known to me this had nothing to do with the book contents. And neither was I bent on revenge - rather on anger. But they were judging me
by their own measurement standards, of course. If they would have read carefully they would have seen that actually there is a lot of love and care - to start with, and pain and anger - to end with. Surely no vendettas. And surely not from this specific person.
2. Activating the company lawyer is an act that has to originate from the top of the company's ladder. It's a) - risky, and b) - costly. Therefore my point 1 above reasoning probably applies to the company's VPs and above layers. Did these specific persons have anything to hide? If yes - they should not have had it done, to start with; if not - they should have just shut up.
It's not that I took the threat lightly. Of course they with their giga millions will always win against me with my pico cents. Neither is it that I acted recklessly. It's that I decided to call their bluff since a bluff it must have been, and all I wanted is to see my work of art (my definition of course) on paper.
So I refused to be admonished by any kind of real or imaginary scoundrels and I sent them my response.
To tell you another secret, one additional factor that emboldened me into this response was the fact that my lawyer, a local Belgian high placed guy, wonderingly contacted me one day and said that he actually does not find any trace of a lawyer called Martin Ossad registered and allowed to exercise law in Belgium. Could I get him some more details? So what did we find here? Of course I did not follow this track. Who cares if right or wrong or if my lawyer made a mistake himself,
all I wanted is to stop looking over my shoulder and concentrate on the realities of life. Which is what I believe I've got done in the end.
Before closing completely this special chapter, I must mention the second time the same Mr. Ossad, a couple of months later, tried again unsuccessfully and with a certain amount of dirty unethical manipulation, to interfere with my life. And this time I almost unburied my hatchet, war paint, and autographed Sun Tzu manual; if it was not for a succession of completely unrelated events that persuaded me that life is too short and too fragile to spend it on hatching each other to death. So I let things pass as if nothing happened.
I was a relatively newly hired emplyee at the company Orbotech. Still fresh, full of ideas, energy, no bullshit... Yet one day the General Manager calls me in, and without beating too much around the bush tells me that Mr. Ossad called on him (and here I found out that Mr. Ossad is also the company lawyer of Orbotech!!!), and having found out, by dealing with my contract, that I am working for Orbotech - he asked him to "gently" persuade me to abort my publishing quest. Do you guess the dirty unethical
underlying trick? Not only is Mr. Ossad bouncing (illegally?) personal information from one company to the other, not only is he using his influencial position in the new company to bully his old mini nemesis, but actually he is also actively working on getting me fired by seeding in the GMs brains the seeds of "...this guy will one day tell the story about you as well, beware...". The dirty scoundrel. The truth, this was the one instant where I really appreciated Orbotech's GM direct approach. Telling me that what I do with my extra time is my business,
as long as I promise not to start writing books about my new company as well. Which suited me perfectly, and I told him so: with Scitex it was an emotional involvement, with Orbotech it is just another working place. And we stayed friends.
Just imagine they would have taken me to court... I would have had a best-seller overnight.
...calling editors/publishers/agents dirty names is never dirty enough?
Did you ever try getting in touch with one of these super-humans? sons-of-god? the-gods-themselves? If you did - you know, if you didn't - don't. They have this famous slush pile, where anything that's less than famous for the last 3 years gets slushed, and your chances with them (unless by blackmail/marriage/brute-force/bribe) are nil. They don't even try. So high on their pedestal that even with the Hubble you can't see them. The modern kings. Yeah, more like the modern kingpins.
I know, I better shut up less I be charged with lèse-majesté and lose forever my right to any kind of future publication. But this is my site and this is my country and this is my right to insult as much (well, a little bit of much?) as I want.
Let's get it straight - I am copyrighting the name and I am copyrighting my material and I will be the one that will publish it. If you dear friend, biped, multiped or noped, have a nice letter you would like included - you are mostly welcome. Bien sûre, this time I will act the "God of approvals" (oh, the excitement, my chest for once bigger than my belly...) and if your letter is accepted it will carry your name (weight and serial number only if you insist...).
And immortality it's all you're gonna get from the final edition. When and if it will be published. No contracts. Agreed?
Of course, it will always stay on this site, or at least as long as this site stays alive.
So, wish to contribute? Just e-mail me your letter. Wish to browse?
Be my guest
'cause my friend you already are.
...the first 3 books were sold to -
Book #1 - Guy Simon (Belgium)
Book #2 - John Matheson (Belgium)
Book #3 - Stefan Pirard (Belgium)
My eternal thanks to these gentlemen, thanks to them I am now only 999,997 books away from my first million. Hoooraaay...
...the backgrounds to these frames are fractal art creations?