It’s Official: Murdoch has Ruined the Wall Street Journal

I am appalled at how far the WSJ has sunk in recent years. The editorial and opinion section have always struck me as ludicrous, but that is just a matter of personal ideology, and it has always been this way, so it shouldn’t count for the purposes of this rant. But their transparent link-baiting does count, as does their total lack of journalistic integrity. [Read more...]

What Publishers Just Don’t Get: Why Zite Wins

Publishers will never be able to establish successful mobile platforms. The Zite model of customized content will win. Why? Because publishers think editing means curating their own proprietary content. In the days of the printing press, limited square inches on the broadsheets, slower news cycles and information scarcity rather than information overload, they might have been right. But today, editing means [Read more...]

Where the Puck is Going

Vinod Khosla, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, a long time partner at Kleiner Perkins, and a principal in well-respected Khosla Ventures, just published a great piece in TechCrunch on the “unhyped” new areas in Internet and mobile that interest him.  These are the areas he expects to produce the next batch of great opportunities and start-ups.  It is well worth a read, but here are the twelve areas he identifies:  [Read more...]

Magazine Meltdown – But is Radical Tablet Innovation the Cure?

Just when you thought it was bad enough for the magazine publishing industry with increasing paper and printing costs, decreasing demand for ad space and decreasing ad revenues, slumping newsstand sales (discussed here and here), challenging new issues raised by tablet computers, the rise of long form reading sites like LongReads and reading aids like Instapaper, I realize they have another issue of an even more pressing nature.

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The Future Of Publishing – The Book is Dead; Long Live the Book

Is the traditional publishing model dead?

I’ve touched on this topic before (for example,  Amazon becoming a publisher; Amazon really stepping up publication efforts; ebook growth; blogcasting), but three recent events bring it back to the forefront. First was a conversation with someone at a TCN panel talk I gave last week who had just self-published her own book, second was a conversation with a friend who had just published a book with a traditional publisher and third was an interesting piece just published by Matthew Ingram at GigaOM about the value of publishers.

At the panel last week I was discussing intellectual property issues in the start-up context, and one of the participants was focused on IP questions around a book she had just published. The questions were straight-forward, but what was interesting was that when asked who her publisher was, she said that she had self-published.

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Netflix – Again

The Netflix topic is like the gift that keeps on giving.  Last month I was working on a post with three take-away lessons from their summer price change fiasco.  In the middle of drafting that post, Update One to that post became necessary – Netflix said they were sorry for handling it so badly, and now they were splitting into two companies.

So much chatter ensued as a result of that move by Netflix that I put out Update Two about some of the reasons which may have been behind it.

Update Three noted that none other than Roger Ebert had weighed in on the topic.  And Update Four posted a great Saturday Night Live skit on the subject.  A skit I should point out, that now looks hopelessly out of date.

Which brings me to Update Five:…

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Amazon Ups the Ante On Publishers Again

Back in August, I noted that Amazon was stepping up its nascent publishing efforts to allow authors to sell directly to its customers without going through a traditional publishing house.   Yesterday’s New York Times points out in an article entitled Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal, that Amazon is dramatically accelerating its efforts.  Should be interesting to watch.  Below are a few key pull-outs from the article:

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Netflix: 3 Lessons From the Pricing Fiasco [UPDATED]

It is by now fairly well known that Netflix had a little bit of a boo-boo recently in switching its pricing plans to force people to pay separately for physical DVDs and streaming.  Customers left the service in droves.  They tried to distract/counteract with an announcement about launching in Latin America, but to no avail.  More customers left than expected, they had to revise their guidance downward and they took a beating on NASDAQ.

Now, I like Netflix very much, and I don’t want to pick on them unfairly – according to their records, I have been a loyal customer since May of 2000, which is a lot of years for those keeping score at home.  But we cannot pass up this chance to purse our lips, grab our chins and shake our heads sagely.  Lest this excellent case study go to waste, let’s ponder what we can learn from this.  Three primary lessons leap to mind:

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Amazon Moves Up the Food Chain

I guess this is the week for partner conflict.  With Samsung, and HTC still reeling from Google’s announcement that they are getting into the mobile phone manufacturing business (discussion here), Amazon has now announced it is stepping up its nascent publishing efforts and going to war with the traditional publishers who have feed its business for so long.  Amazon has signed on to be the direct publisher of Timothy Ferriss, author famous for his series of “4 Hour” titles. The NYT had a great article on this and my four favorite quotes are set out below.

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Vizibility – An Obvious And Useful Idea

Nice write-up on Vizibility in Business Insider recently.  Vizibility is a cool company founded by James Alexander which provides a very useful service.  It allows you to easily build the perfect search of yourself to pull up the best and most relevant items, remove duplicates and irrelevant hits, and promote the key stories you want to highlight.  It then gives you ability to capture that perfect search as a “search me” button, link and QR code that you can use online and offline in email signatures, business cards, blogs, web profiles and the like.

I’ve been a user of the service since before I first invested and have found it very handy in personal use – I’ve even got my QR code on my business card.  But what it is interesting is the power this gives professionals who live and die by their professional identity, not to mention the flexibility it gives to the marketing professionals who try to manage them.

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