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Media Frenzy

Daniel Baxter

 

"Death by Smiley Face: When Rivals Disdain Profit"

By RICHARD SIKLOS, NY Times

"THE tectonic changes facing media companies are by now the topic of an often-recited sermon. Put briefly, digital technology is placing control over much information squarely in the hands of consumers and creating all kinds of opportunities for new entrants who can push the revolution forward.

Understandably, attention in this race is focused on the companies that are, as the management consultants like to say, transferring value from conventional outlets to new disruptors that deliver personalized media more efficiently and hence with greater profitability. In other words, to the victor go the spoils.

The obvious standouts are Google and Yahoowith their aggregation software, prominent brands and ability to layer advertisements all over the Internet and perhaps beyond; or Apple Computer with its iTunes and iPod and their utter dominance over portable music.

Consider Monster Worldwide, the online employment advertising company, where the numbers tell the story: Monster, the owner of the www.monster.com site, has a stock market value of $6.2 billion, some 40 percent greater than the amount for which Knight Ridder, the newspaper chain owner, is being sold. But Monster has only one-third of Knight Ridder's $3 billion in annual revenue.

There is another breed of rival lurking online for traditional media, and it is perhaps the most vexing yet: call it purpose-driven media, with a shout-out to Rick Warren, the author of "A Purpose-Driven
Life," for borrowing his catchphrase.

These are new-media ventures that leave the competition scratching their heads because they don't really aim to compete in the first place; their creators are merely taking advantage of the economics of the online medium to do something that they feel good about. They would certainly like to cover their costs and maybe make a buck or two, but
really, they're not in it for the money. By purely commercial measures, they are illogical. If your name were, say, Rupert or Sumner, they would represent the kind of terror that might keep you up at night: death by smiley face.

Probably the best-known practitioner is Craigslist.org, the online listing site. Although it is routinely described as a competitor with — and the bane of — newspaper classified ads, the site is mostly a free
listings service that acts as a community resource. When the company contemplates imposing fees for using its site in a particular city, as it has recently in New York, it does so cautiously and thoughtfully, as a means to weed out real estate brokers who are abusing the site by posting their ads over and over.

Maybe the lesson for media companies is to keep your friends close but to keep these friendly menaces even closer. As far as Mr. Nguyen is concerned, pursuing his labor of love is enough reward in and of
itself. "We just dig music," he said. "Karma plays a role, man."'

 

Any business that wants to create and connect to a community would do themselves a gigantic favor if they read the cluetrain, "...markets are conversions" and the hughtrain, "the market for something to believe in...".  Business need to come to grips with the simple idea that it is not all about them.

the hughtrain

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"THE HUGHTRAIN: "THE MARKET FOR SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN IS INFINITE."

We are here to find meaning. We are here to help other people do the same. Everything else is secondary.

We humans want to believe in our own species. And we want people, companies and products in our lives that make it easier to do so. That is human nature.

Product benefit doesn't excite us. Belief in humanity and human potential excites us.

Think less about what your product does, and think more about human potential.

What statement about humanity does your product make?

The bigger the statement, the bigger the idea, the bigger your brand will become.

It’s no longer just enough for people to believe that your product does what it says on the label. They want to believe in you and what you do. And they’ll go elsewhere if they don’t.

It’s not enough for the customer to love your product. They have to love your process as well.

People are not just getting more demanding as consumers, they are getting more demanding as spiritual entities. Branding is a spiritual exercise. These are The New Realities, this is the Spiritual Republic we now live in.

The soul cannot be outsourced. Either get with the program or hire a consultant in Extinction Management. No vision, no business. Your life from now on pivots squarely on your vision of human potential."

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