Personal Printers and Ink in São Paulo and Recife: Getting New Things Done

  • Ken C. Erickson


Team ethnography for a desktop printer manufacturer in two Brazilian cities on desktop printers and printing is reported here. Our team aimed to resolve an initial puzzle about printers and ink and explored what was going on with the desktop printers as they were acquired, used, and maintained. Our work expanded to encompass the LAN house, small shops, often operated by entrepreneurs, that provide access to the Internet and to printing. The research led to an intrapreneurial modification of a long-standing desktop printer business model by the client. The article concludes by exploring how entrepreneurs (shop owners and teams doing ethnography for hire) and intrapreneurs (those who venture from within a large enterprise) widen the scope of their venturing to encompass wider social and political issues like moral panic, poverty reduction programs, and building social capital in low-income communities in the course of entrepreneurial venturing.


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