Jon’s Radio Comments

October 18, 2006

Drowning in a rising tide

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonsradiocomments @ 2:50 pm

The original item is here.

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7 Comments »

  1. I used to worry more about this “race to the bottom” than I do now. The source of my optimism isn’t because I don’t feel the major media outlets–of any type, be they Time Warner or Google–will quickly attempt to “Wife Swap” and “Temptation Island” themselves to the subterranean level of content quality. Of course they will.

    What I expect, however, is that the ability for practically anyone to publish–and profit off their effort–will result in more than a few people who eschew mass pulp in favor of quality work. Not every photographer stops shooting art photos in favor of liquor advertising work. Not every doctor chooses plastic surgery over family practice.

    If I want to see some idiot chug a twelve pack of beer in under two minutes on YouTube, I can. But I can also find some outstanding musicians who will never hit Top 40 radio. Yeah, the beer swilling moron might get more page views than the musician, but some people might be happy to live on a smaller piece of the pie.

    Maybe, however, I’ve been drinking too much long-tail Kool-Aid.

    Comment by Christopher Lindquist — October 18, 2006 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  2. It’s painful to see an idea you have conceived and delivered be left in the dust by copycats. I had a photo sharing application in 2002 with tagging called myphotopia.com but somebody made a million out of the idea 😉 My running route tool WalkJogRun.net was conceived and built in September 2003 before Sue and Paul made it better with Google Maps integration so I quickly updated to keep up. The net result is that this constant stream of copycat websites raises the bar higher quicker than trying to innovate as an individual. Take Microsoft, Google or Yahoo. We’d be pretty stale without constant competition. To quote our sysadmin “brand loyalty is not the consumers job”. For the running route sites, the game is to innovate quickly and it breeds a generation of people who are marketing innovators. The web developers are learning marketing strategies quickly as we battle to make the pages of the Wall Street Journal in a fight to win over new visitors.

    Comment by Adam Howitt — October 18, 2006 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  3. hmm… this isn’t my experience at all. on the content side, there is SO MUCH fantastic stuff out there that I have access to now that I never had access to previously. You only need a small audience to make something worthwhile these days. Things might look different in the big media congloms, but the niches of interest will always be there: both the willing audience (market) and production (supply). Just look, for instance, at all the knitting podcasts (!?!) … who knew? will people get paid for that? who knows, but if I were a knitting needle maker, I’d sure be finding ways to sponsor these shows. maybe finance the best one. And what goes for knitting goes for chess, history, philosophy, geology, dance, art… whatever your poison. if the media congloms can’t manage to provide this small market stuff to the world & insist on lowering the bar to catch a bigger share of the middle, others will pop up to do differently, for profit or otherwise.

    re: software … I can’t really comment about what’s going on in the larger world, but where I live it’s hard to throw a stone without hitting someone doing some sort of interesting, innovative and entrepreneurial software development/web/ITish/arty kind of project, many of them with “good of the universe” at heart. & seems to me that the availability of modular open source/free software tools means building stuff has never been easier. people like building stuff, so they will build. and the tools are enabling great interaction between more arty folk and the techies – much more than ever before … i expect more, not less innovation as a result.

    I doubt if many of us will become dot-com millionaires … but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone.

    and I wouldn’t look to Time Inc. as a model for what innovation will look like in the next few years!

    Comment by hugh — October 19, 2006 @ 3:16 am | Reply

  4. Christopher Lindquist wrote:

    If I want to see some idiot chug a twelve pack of beer in under two minutes on YouTube, I can. But I can also find some outstanding musicians who will never hit Top 40 radio. Maybe, however, I’ve been drinking too much long-tail Kool-Aid.

    I’m drinking it too. But the currently-fashionable media “business model” creeps me out:

    1) Buy the largest closed network you can
    2) “Monetize” the “community”

    There’s a world of talent out on the long tail, but we don’t — or anyway shouldn’t — need to form closed networks to surface it. Syndication and federation across the open and global internet are the ultimate enablers for individual talent. There’s no such thing as a YouTube community, there are only the same interest groups as always, some of members of which produce videos. The members of these groups affiliate with one another primarily, not with YouTube or Blip or wherever. Aggregators will always play a key role, because of what Tim O’Reilly calls the “mathematics of multi-tier connectivity.” But the aggregators don’t need to be a few monolithic dinosaurs any more. They could be lots of small, quick, intelligent mammals, and I claim they should be.

    Hugh McGuire wrote:

    You only need a small audience to make something worthwhile these days. Things might look different in the big media congloms, but the niches of interest will always be there: both the willing audience (market) and production (supply).

    And so the question is exactly this: How to reorient the power of central media congloms to the new reality of a myriad of viable niches?

    Comment by Jon Udell — October 19, 2006 @ 4:03 am | Reply

  5. I thought we already hashed through this ’97 – ’02.

    AK
    Detroit, MI

    Comment by AK — October 19, 2006 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  6. Herds will be herds.

    Comment by Steve Champagne — October 19, 2006 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  7. So what? There has always been a race to the bottom among tabloid newspapers and there have always been readers, publishers and advertisers who didn’t take part in that race. There continue to be limits to what you can write and get paid for it because advertisers have to watch out for their reputaion.

    Comment by fauigerzigerk — October 20, 2006 @ 10:05 am | Reply


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