Archive for October, 2008
I created a slide presentation about The Target Experience that talks about the company moving their weekly ad to the online environment. One of the reasons I cited was the decline of the print news industry and the migration of younger readers to getting news online.
Well, it seems as if The Christian Science Monitor is heeding the forthcoming shift and announced today that it would move from a daily to a weekly print publishing format. It is also adopting a ‘web first’ strategy according to John Yemma, editor of the newspaper.
Does this mean the remaining news industry might need to start making the leap and following other traditional paper outlets that have crossed the bridge? Take Thomas Register for example. Thomas Register was printing industrial supplier books for over 100 years when it decided to cease making print copies of their book and go all electronic in 2005.
I think the entire industry said Holy Crap are you CRAZY?
I think the word bold and innovative would have been better suited because ThomasNet.com is a massive website that is getting about 1 million unique visitors a month. The company has also spawned a newsroom that is 21% of their total web property traffic (according to Quarkbase). They have an average stay of over 4 minutes.
Now that is going from zero to 100 mph in less than 3 years.
It is an excellent example of a Good to Great concept. Thomas Register is really good at maintaining and organizing lists of industrial suppliers. They still do that. It is just that they looked at the market forces and made a move that created a more agile and profitable company.
It will be interesting to see if any only traditional news outlets make the same move, and when they do it.
As the internet industry really started to rise from the ground in the mid-90s, a rift of understanding already existed between what candidates learned in college and what they needed to know to succeed in the online world. It was also interesting that a fair amount of successful technology leaders (Michael Dell, Steve Wozniak, Richard Branson, Janus Friis) have left college or never attended.
What does that mean for major universities? Why go to college if you can study at a local tech school to learn how to program for the gaming industry? Well, it seems as if USC is on of the universities that has caught on. They are now offering course in game design and trying to maintain the interest in computer science that seems to be cropping up from the growing online gaming industry.
It will be interesting to see if universities – generally mammoth organizations – can keep pace with the nimble online gaming industry. On second thought, can they keep pace with the online world in general.
There is a certain irony to that fact that so much innovation comes out of these universities through the back door, but is not something that is taught or fostered as part of the curriculum.
Last week, I wrote a post about the new buzzword, convergence, that talks about a movement on the internet to the merging social media outlets. With the growth internet society, development companies have been coming at online tools from many directions. As matter of fact, David Mead mentioned in his VFW6th post about repurposing social networks. People use a lot of different networks, and the lines between them are blurring.
The emergence of these tools were created as an alternative to email. With all of the competition, you have to wonder when these social media networks will start to incorporate traditional technologies such as email to win. For example, when someone sends me an email message on Facebook, it goes to my hotmail account, but links me to my Facebook Inbox.
The post poses the question – will social networks become email providers. I quote Charles Darwin – “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adapable to change.“
People love their email. I don’t think Social Networks will replace email, but social networks will adopt the idea of convergence and maybe become email providers unto themselves. It won’t be this generation or users, but the Next generation of users who don’t have an email address yet. I am ridiculously loyal to all 3, yes 3, hotmail accounts that I have. That doesn’t include work or my gmail accounts. Forget about the amount of other online inboxes that I have no idea are lurking out there or twitter or the messages posted to me in Panaramio.
So the question is: will someone win? IMHO, people are loyal and will not be fast to let go of their current media habits. However, the next generation of users in 3-5 years are going to approach media consumption in a way we cannot even imagine now. The company that figures it out best (not necessarily first – see Darwin quote above) is going to come out at the end with a powerful victory.
In June of this year, my co-worker and I started talking about Web Troika. We joked about the name of it, but it was an idea that was founded in where the internet was moving.
Today, as I was perusing my many emails, I stumbled across a posting about Convergence.
Basically, it is Web Troika dressed up in a different name. The idea that information will merge into one platform and create tools that provide collaboration not only within their community, but also collaboration among communities.
My prediction, Convergence is something you are going to hear a lot more about and see companies competing to figure out how to develop and monetize tools that embrace and elevate the concept.
Today, there is so much technology out there. Tech companies are still trying to push the barriers of the online world. Of course, Google is a mammoth part of that growth and expansion.
I remember a few years ago, after I got in on the Beta for Gmail, poking around the Google website and finding Labs.
Google uses this space for the pet projects that are making their way beyond the corporation doors and onto the web. Most of these projects are not ready for prime time, but worth checking out.
What are some of the things that have come out of labs – some things you take for granted like – Suggest. Google uses it to predict the phrase you are typing and give you suggestions. Remember when that wasn’t a feature?
Many people are using iGoogle. Yes, there was a day when the only thing you could do on a Google page was search. Now iGoogle is a great personalization tool and content aggregator.
When I started to poke around, I noticed Gaudi – Google’s Audio Indexing of videos. The feature lets you do keyword searches for the audio. Basically, Google is creating a transcript through speech recognition technology to find spoken words inside videos and lets the user jump to the right portion of the video where these words are spoken.
Another interesting product Google has in labs is Lively, which is a 3-d chat tool. I just downloaded and am starting to us it, so I will check back in soon and let you know how it goes.
Overall, I still like to dig through Labs to see what the folks are cooking up. There are a lot of tools in there I haven’t mentioned that you might want to check out