/* */ Silicon Valley Watcher — at the collision of technology and media: Search Results
Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Results matching “"media valley"”

The Financial Times (FT) newspaper business has been sold by Pearson to Nikkei, the Japanese media group for $1.32 billion. The deal values the FT at nearly three-times the market valuation of other publicly traded newspaper groups.

Industry sources report that Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and Axel Springer had placed bids but late entrant Nikkei won it 15 minutes before the announcement from front-runner Axel Springer, which had been in negotiations for about a year. 

The FT has about 737,000 mostly digital subscribers. Nikkei is Asia’s largest independent media business group. It publishes newspapers, magazines, books, database services and broadcasting. The Nikkei newspaper, its flagship publication has 3.12m subscribers.

Foremski’s Take: The sale of the Financial Times was expected as Pearson, its owner has been shedding non-educational assets, and also as its core educational business has slid further into trouble.


It might not seem surprising to my readers that I'm working on a project with Mediaco, a Weber Shandwick business that advertises, "We Help Every Company Become A Media Company.

Helping companies be great media companies is a noble calling these days, especially with the huge loss of skilled and experienced media professionals. There's hundreds of years of best practices that still apply regardless of paper and electron.

I'm working on an interesting project with Mediaco's West Coast lead Luca Penati and an enthusiastic team of professionals across many disciplines and locations.

This is what's needed in today's digital media worlds — the complexities of managing fragmented media channels and user interfaces across many devices requires integrated tech, media, design, SEO and communications professionals on the same publishing teams.

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SF historian Gary Kamiya signing a copy of his book "Cool Gray City of Love."

San Francisco's transformation into a bedroom community for Silicon Valley's business parks is a huge mistake because tech companies should be exposing their people to the city's rich diversity and its incredible culture, a history steeped in more than 150 years of media innovations.

San Francisco historian Gary Kamiya, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, tells the story of San Francisco's early newspapers (and the passionate duels using the pen and the gun):


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The tower of the copper-clad de Young museum in Golden Gate park.

San Francisco has been at the epicenter of more than just earthquakes, it has a long tradition of being at the forefront of the media industry stretching back to the gold rush.

It’s where massive newspaper fortunes were started by newspaper magnates such as M.H. de Young, and more famously, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst got his start in the newspaper business in 1887 at the San Francisco Examiner, which competed against de Young’s San Francisco Chronicle. 

Ebay co-founder Pierre Omidyar's news venture has been adding staff to the as yet unnamed organization, with the latest being New York university journalism professor and news media critic Jay Rosen. [Out of the press box and onto the field » Pressthink]

The Omidyar news venture (ONV) is being led by Glenn Greenwald, the former blogger and Guardian newspaper journalist.

Rosen, who has virtually no experience in news journalism, did not say what his role will be in ONV, which is backed with $250m of the billionaire's personal money, the same amount that Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post newspaper. 

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Oscar Wilde in in America, 1882, 28 years old. 

Gary Kamiya tells stories on SFGate.com, from the history of San Francisco and its newspaper archives. It's a rich history for such a small city,  and it's a strong literary history, too, which is apt with Silicon Valley becoming a Media Valley.

This week Mr. Kamiya tells the story of Oscar Wilde's visit to San Francisco in 1882, as part of strange promotional stunt for a Gilbert & Sullivan opera lampooning the Aesthetes, an English artistic and literary set enamored with  a "Cult of Beauty," a heightened level of sensitivity to the beauty of nature, and in the decor of their surroundings — rooms, furniture, and even wallpaper. 


David Galbraith, co-founder of Yelp and Moreover used to be based in San Francisco and now lives in Switzerland. He recently gave a great talk at CERN's Open Days event, which looks at the cultural impact of the web.

"The web is the most important invention since the Gutenberg press." I certainly agree. Silicon Valley has become a Media Valley, its technologies are media technologies, enabling a giant virtual Gutenberg machine using real-time programmable type, instead of moveable type, and enabling a two-way publishing system in that every computer screen can publish any content -- and publish back.


Credit: San Jose Mercury

I had a great conversation with photographer  Charles DiLisio (above), who is a man with a mission: photographing, and tracking down old photos of some of Silicon Valley's most important historical buildings for a project he calls, "Silent Icons of Silicon Valley." 

He was recently featured in the San Jose Mercury by veteran columnist Mike Cassidy:


If there is further proof needed that Silicon Valley's top companies are in fact media companies (technology-enabled) then take a look at this Bloomberg story: Zuckerberg Brings Silicon Valley Friends to Sun Valley - Bloomberg


Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of marketing giant WPP, slammed Google, Facebook, AOL, and Yahoo over their refusal to be take editorial responsibility for their content they publish.

In a video interview with Mark Sweney at The Guardian newspaper, (1.08 minutes) he says that by calling themselves "tech companies," rather than media companies, they are hiding.

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In three days I'm off to London for a week,  then Amsterdam, hopefully a few days in Berlin, and then Warsaw (above) returning in early June.

I'll be making a series of presentations around my favorite topic: "Every Company Is A Media Company - the transformative business equation of our times."

Colleen Taylor at Techcrunch, reports that Yahoo! has changed the way it describes itself in its latest 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Yahoo is now labeling itself first and foremost as a "global technology company," in the place where it used to call itself a "digital media company."

She writes that it's a small change but symbolic.

Fridays is when SVW opens up to additional voices by publishing some of the guest posts that readers send to us. This week there's a coincidental theme: the hundreds of millions of women that are missing from the global online communities.

It's a massive gender gap that is found within the digital gap -- an economic barrier. But it's also a cultural obstacle. This infographic sent by  Muhammad Saleem from Brain Track illustrates the issues.

Intel Free Press interviewed Trina DasGupta the Director of the GSMA mWomen organization, whose mission is to help more than 300 million women acquire their own mobile phones.

Maryruth Belsey Priebe from Noble Profit, profiles two projects by social entrepreneurs that have helped alleviate women's burdens in the collection and transportation of clean water.

Also: Social By Design announces a new type of marketing lab based on work at Stanford University.

If you have an interesting guest post to contribute please send it to [email protected] with "guest post" somewhere in the subject line. A wide range of topics is fine. It's OK if it has been published elsewhere. Guest posts might be edited lightly for readability.

DejaView from earlier: 

- Richard Edelman, the head of the world's largest privately held PR firm speaks at the Churchill Club on the contagious lack of trust that is infecting business, government, and entire industry sectors. - Video extracts from Richard Edelman panel at Churchill Club.

- The massive amount of content that's being produced will grow ever larger as web sites pursue falling advertising rates, making it more difficult for all types of content to cut through the noise.

Silicon Valley has become a Media Valley, a giant virtual Gutenberg machine that's evolved from moveable type to programmable type.

- The martyrdom of Aaron Swartz: Where were the activists when he needed them the most? His suicide is being used to promote open data agendas, and a reform of the judicial system yet he chose not to link his death with anything at all.

- The Crunchies Awards in photos: Geeks dress up and head to San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall for a mutual adoration festival.




Watch Silicon Valley on PBS. See more from American Experience.

The superb American Experience documentary series on PBS finally cast its focus on Silicon Valley yesterday evening in an 82 minute program largely focused on the founders of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel.

The heroes of the story are eight scientists, in mechanical, electrical, metallurgical, and optical engineering, and a chemist.

It's a story that takes place more than half-a-century ago, when the "traitorous eight" left  their employer Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory en masse because their boss, William Shockley, had become grossly egotistical and a horror to work with. He sounded like an early version of Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder.

It was shocking to leave an employer, which is why they were called traitors. In those days loyalty was expected, as were the lifelong careers that companies provided. And it's this "traitorous" culture that continues to grow Silicon Valley, as people continually leave to create new startups.

American Experience also showed the close connection to the US Department of Defense and how military spending was the prime source of money for new ventures for a very long time.

Foremski's Take:

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When it comes to making industry predictions I always resolve not to make any, but as you can see, I have trouble keeping my new year's resolutions.

Two year's ago I made the same resolution and failed when I wrote: 2010 Prediction: The Media Tsunami Is Coming...

The media is dead, long live the media. We now have more media, in more formats, in more times of the day and night, from more people -- than at any other time in history. And we will get even more in 2010.

When I talk about media, I mean anything and all things that are published: news stories, magazine articles, TV, radio, video, music, advertising, photos, web pages, and of course social media. All of it, all the media that's fit to print and all that isn't. 

The low cost of the tools to make media content is a big driver, more important however, are the media hungry platforms that make it easy to publish anything and distribute it widely. One-click uploading to Youtube, or Facebook, or wherever, it's all very easy to create and publish media. A tsunami of media.

Tsunamis come in waves...

WPP, the world's largest advertising and marketing group, is on a buying spree, reports the Financial Times. WPP - can't stop shopping - FT.com

Who says there is no M&A any more? WPP made no fewer than 40 acquisitions, in 21 countries, in the first half of 2012. That is nearly two a week.


WPP is already the world's biggest advertising agency. It intends to get bigger still. As Sir Martin points out, half its business - emerging markets, digital - did not exist a decade ago.

WPP agreed to pay $540 million for San Francisco based AKQA in June. AKQA is one of the largest independent digital agencies, an area of particular strategic focus for Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP.

Silicon Valley is producing a lot of startups developing digital marketing and advertising services, potential targets for WPP and its giant competitors, such as Omnicom and Publicis.

Apple, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! have also been making large acquisitions in digital advertising companies, and Salesforce.com has been acquiring digital marketing and analytics companies. The competition will provide some good exits for Silicon Valley investors in these sectors, and spark investment in new startups hoping to profit from this M&A trend.

Silicon Valley is increasingly becoming "Media Valley" - funding the development of cutting-edge media technologies used to power a new generation of technology-enabled media companies.

For many years I've been saying that every company is a media company and writing about what that means and its importance to business.

At first people were puzzled by that statement but these days it is much better understood. Its importance has increased tremendously and it is now fueling multi-million dollar acquisitions.

Jeff Bezos is getting a lot more attention these days from the media and it's for all the right reasons: he has a distinct vision and his success is hard earned.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Jeff Bezos a few years ago (above, with Matt Greeley CEO of BrightIdea) and I was very impressed. It was a casual conversation but surprisingly striking in many ways. He clearly loves challenging conventional wisdom and exploring contrarian business strategies.

Investment banker Kevin Covert is increasing staff at his company, Covert & Co, up to prepare for an M&A bonanza in Silicon Valley. He says that the conditions are great for M&A especially in new media.

Mr Covert lives in southern California but he is no stranger to Silicon Valley, having been very active here, founding investment bank Montgomery & Co in 1999, in the middle of the dotcom boom.

Over the past ten years he's had a hand in many large deals such as selling MySpace to News Corp, plus also raising money for many companies, such as Meebo.

Here are some notes from our meeting:

Ted Nelson is a computer pioneer and industry veteran. His work in the early 1960s led to hypertext -- the ubiquitous technology that literally links all online documents.

Mr Nelson is also the author of one of my favorite quotes: "As fish live in water we live in media."

Back in the early 1960s, Mr Nelson was one of the first to recognize that the computer is a media machine. That was an impressive achievement because computers in those days were not the multi-media systems of today. Input was through stacks of punched cards or punched tape; output was mostly numbers and monospaced text with no fancy graphics.

Many of Mr Nelson's ideas when he was 23 years old in 1960 are now being rediscovered in a similar way to Marshal McLuhan and his ideas about media have now found new audiences. And as Silicon Valley becomes a Media Valley -- Facebook, Twitter, Google etc, are all media companies -- Mr Nelson's ideas will become more important.

Mr Nelson's current focus is on making it easy for people to republish content on the Internet. His proposal is to charge readers and publishers, based on how much content they read or re-publish. He presented his ideas on syndication at the "Future of Money" conference on Monday.

Readers would pay for content based on how much they had consumed. For example, if you read only one-half of an article, you only pay for one-half. The same for republishing content, you only pay for what you use.

"Computers are very good at floating point so we can keep track of minuscule amounts of payments, and publishers get an additional revenue stream."

Because the content comes from the original source, computers could keep track of which "splinter" of content people own throughout their life. Once you have paid for something you don't pay for it again.

Although Mr Nelson invented the concept of hypertext he is not a fan of the way it was implemented in the world wide web. He says that the web is held hostage to prior file structures which limits its usefulness.

"The computer is a wonderful media machine, we shouldn't use it to produce imitations of printed materials. We should think of all the new things we can do with it."

Mr Nelson said he "dislikes very much" the world wide web and the way its technologies have been implemented.

Some of Mr Nelson's syndication ideas will be used on the Internet Archive and he hopes others will take up his ideas too. It's a similar approach that is taken by Repost.Us, which launched its syndication service today. (Repost.us: Syndicate Content And Get Paid - SVW)

David Laws writes at the Examiner:

January 11, 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the first appearance of the name Silicon Valley in print.

Under the headline SILICON VALLEY USA, journalist Don C. Hoefler wrote the first of a three-part series on the history of the semiconductor industry in the Bay Area. His behind the "scenes report of the men, money, and litigation which spawned" the industry appeared on page one of the industry tabloid Electronic News on Monday January 11, 1971.

He points out that there is anecdotal evidence of the use of the name "Silicon Valley" prior to this date but that, "Author Michael S. Malone suggests that Hoefler's pioneering coverage of the Silicon Valley community as a collection of characters, dreamers, and eccentrics made him "the one that put the whole idea in our minds".

(Here is a guest post by Justin Bedecarré - a Real Estate Advisor at Cushman & Wakefield.)

By Justin Bedecarré

As entrepreneur after entrepreneur poured into the Mission Street bar Bruno's one Thursday night, for a tech startup party, the notion that we are trapped in a perfunctory recovery completely escaped my mind.

The tech scene, driven by a plethora of startups like Flowtown, Plancast, and Awe.sm who hosted this meet up, is thriving in San Francisco's South of Market (SoMa) district.

As San Francisco's banks and law firms continue to consolidate, fast growing firms such as Zynga are hiring hoards of engineers and salespeople and they need lots of office space. Zynga recently signed the biggest office deal in San Francisco in five years, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

As Palo Alto becomes more expensive...

Palo Alto is home for many startups and it is home to hot companies such as Facebook but competition for office space has driven up prices. Palo Alto office space now leases at comparable rates to the top floors of the Pyramid Building and the Embarcadero Centers in downtown San Francisco -- two of the top marquee buildings on the West Coast.

I caught up with Kieran Hannon the other day. He was in the Bay Area for a meeting with the Irish prime minister (he's on the board of Enterprise Ireland) and I realized it had been a good few years since I had last seen him.

He used to be co-managing director of Grey Advertising, then had gone off to Texas to work as VP of Marketing for Radio Shack, and then moved to Santa Monica, in Southern California. He's now working as COO at a promising startup called Sidebar, which has an interesting mobile technology that recommends content based on what people like, very useful for online retailers and others.

Kieran and his family had spent 18 years living in San Francisco, and I was curious what life in Southern California (SoCal) was like.

He said life was good, and that the startup scene was healthy and that there are a lot of media/technology centers there. I often write about how Silicon Valley has become Media Valley, because of all the media companies here (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, etc) so it makes sense that SoCal, with its rich media history, would be a fertile breeding ground for media technology startups.

Earlier this week, Mark Suster, a VC based in SoCal, wrote an excellent post about startups in LA. Want to Start a Technology Company in LA?

He makes some great points:

...LA [is] the second largest city in the country with a population if 16 million. We have universities like Caltech, UCLA, USC and many more. We have many seasoned entrepreneurs who have built successful companies here and made a lot of money for investors and themselves. But LA is not Silicon Valley and we don't need to aspire to be so. We will never be Silicon Valley in the way that Toronto will never be Hollywood. But we have a great city for building technology companies.

He goes into details about how LA is not like Silicon Valley.

- Funding is different, there are smaller "A" rounds of around $3m rather than $10m here.

- Recruiting is different. There aren't huge pools of engineers, but it is possible to build 100+ sized teams.

- Commuting isn't as bad as people think it is, most people live close to where they work. And hey, commuting isn't that easy here.

- Lots of content creation skills. This is an interesting point to make because software engineers can be found almost anywhere in the world today, but content creation skills are very culture specific, you can't outsource this work.

- There are now larger numbers of successful entrepreneurs, many are on the their second and third successful company.

Here are a few success stories:

There is a lot of innovation happening in LA from places like Eqal, Deca.TV, DemandMedia's studios, Clicker, Filmaka and other initiatives.
. . .
The whole category of "sponsored search" came from a successful LA company, Overture. (my firm, GRP Partners, was an investor). LA produced Applied Semantics that created AdSense and was bought by Google. We were also an investor in the early local listing company, CitySearch - an LA company. LA was a leader in lead generation (LowerMyBills), comparison shopping (PriceGrabber, Shopzilla), social networking (MySpace ... I know, I know - Facebook won - but it was still a big business). If we extend a bit North up the coast line we have many affiliate marketing innovators including ValueClick, Commission Junction and FastClick. They also produced GoToMeeting and CallWave.
. . .
A great team from MySpace has created Gravity. Gil Elbaz from Applied Semantics has now created Factual. Zorik Gordon is tearing it up at ReachLocal. TechCoast Angels backed GreenDot should be a major IPO this year. Frank Addante has created Rubicon Project. Douglas Merrill, the former CIO of Google, is building his next company in LA. Scott Painter, founder of CarsDirect has created two new generation LA startups (Zag and TrueCar, both backed by GRP Partners). Brett Brewer (ex MySpace) has AdKnowledge, there is Adconian, Legal Zoom and many more. Hautelook, Gogii, Magento - all very high potential companies building in LA.

Mr Suster is one of the organizers of Launchpad LA V2, which was announced today. This is a project aimed at helping first-time entrepreneurs and helping to educate them and guide them in building successful companies.

We will be selecting 10 startup companies to participate. There is no cost but you must physically be based in or move to Los Angeles for the 6 months of the program. Applications are due April 6th, 2010, the form is on the website and the Twitter address is@launchpadlad

A West Coast corridor of innovation...

It won't be long before we have a West Coast corridor of innovation stretching from Silicon Valley to Southern California, and beyond.

In fact, if you fly from San Diego heading north along the coast you pass over tons of innovation centers:

- The communications and biotech industries of San Diego;

- The electronics industries of Orange County;

- The media centers of Hollywood and Santa Monica;

- Then you reach San Francisco/Silicon Valley with its electronics, software, media tech, biotech, cleantech industries;

- Then Portland with its thriving startup scene plus Intel's big presence there;

- Seattle with a thriving tech scene mostly spun out of Microsoft, and Amazon;

- Vancouver and its software industry.

Wow. 1400 miles of innovation. There's no other region like it, hundreds of miles of world-class, industry leading, innovation and creativity.

Interestingly, it's all built on top of one of the most unstable fault lines in the world. A disruptive reality. Is there a connection?

I've always said that innovation has to be disruptive otherwise it's not innovation.

Gabe Rivera, well known for Techmeme, has unveiled a new news aggregator site: Mediagazer (media grazer might be a better name :).

Megan McCarthy is the site's editor (yes, Gabe uses human-enhanced news search algorithms).

Introducing Mediagazer «

The media business is in tumult: from the production side to the distribution side, new technologies are upending the industry. What do news organizations need to do to survive? Will books become extinct? When will an audience pay for content? Can video bring television and the internet together? Will the iPad save us all? Keeping up with these changes is time-consuming, as essential media coverage is scattered across numerous web sites at any given moment.

The site looks a lot like Paidcontent.org, which also covers the same space.

In her post, Ms McCarthy is describing how technology is changing the media industry. And that's what SVW has focused on these past five years : the business of innovation at the intersection of technology and media.

It's not until fairly recently that people recognize "the intersection of technology and media" idea. And I'm glad that this idea has caught on because it is the most interesting aspect of the tech industry and also Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley turned into a media valley a long time ago.

Google, Yahoo, Ebay, for example, are technology-enabled media companies. They publish pages of content with ads.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, for example, are technology-enabled media companies. They publish pages of content with ads.

And so are tons of startups... Silicon Valley is a Media Valley.

New York city's media industry is in sharp decline but ours is on the up and up.

Here is a behind the scene look at a Japanese TV team coming to my apartment to interview me about Silicon Valley becoming Media Valley, two years ago in February 2008.


In September 2007 Nikkei magazine, Japan's prestigious business magazine, featured me in a long article about Silicon Valley becoming Media Valley.

Here are some of my posts over the years:

April 2009 - Media In Transition: Silicon Valley Is Driving The Changes . . . And Is Changing

March 2009 - Media Is Dead . . . Long Live The Media!

May 2007 Silicon Valley Watcher - at the intersection of technology and media: Search Results

February 2007 Silicon Valley has become Media Valley - someone should tell NYC - SVW

September 2005 - A Report From NYC

I'm glad that more people now recognize what is going on in Silicon Valley and the importance of what happens at the intersection of technology and media.

I've been meeting a lot of media people, and having the same conversation, how difficult it is to make a living. Even if you work for a 'new media' publisher, it's tough to make a living as a media professional.

I shouldn't be surprised about all the disruption going on in the media sector because I was one of the first to draw attention to the gathering disruptive forces that will affect media way back in 2004.

That was the year I left my job as a reporter at the Financial Times to make a living as a 'blogger' journalist. By being the first reporter to do that, it has given me a valuable insight into the media sector as a whole.

My business reporting background gave me the analytical tools I needed to figure out what was happening in the media industry.

I understood how the old media business worked because that's where I came from. And in my new job as an online publisher, I saw the economics of the new world.

I quickly saw that the old media world would face a huge problem transitioning to the economics of the online world.

Althoug it was five years ago I started warning people about this massive issue, few understood there would be a problem. The difficulties in the media industry were seen as part of a business cycle rather than the fact that a fundamental change had happened.

I could see that there was no way that a current media business could make the transition to economics of the online world without a tremendous amount of pain. Even a large regional newspaper such as The San Francisco Chronicle would be in trouble. In trouble because of its many costs: more than 400 editorial salaries, its admins, its pension plans, office buildings, expense accounts, its vans, its printing press etc.

There was no way online revenues would support that cost structure.

I could see that "you can't get there from here." It's a wonderful American expression that makes perfect sense in the context of the media industry.

Back in 2005 I was writing articles about this issue and asking "What will happen if the old media dies before the new media learns to walk?" What will happen if this coming disruption is so devastating that we lose the best practices of journalism that have taken hundreds of years to develop?

What happens if we lose most of our journalists, editors, and all the rest of our media professionals?

Five years ago I thought that by now we would have figured out a viable business model for most types of online media businesses.

Five years ago I thought that we would go through a tough disruptive period that would shake up the media industry but that by now we would have figured out the new media business model.

I was right about the disruption, I was wrong about how long it would take.

So I shouldn't be surprised that media is a tough place to be in right now. I shouldn't be surprised that many of my conversations at CES have been about how tough it is to be in the media business.

It's frustrating that my foresight into the media sectors future challenges has been no more valuable than hindsight. Seeing the future doesn't mean you can change the future.

I, too, am caught in the middle of the disruption, I, too, am trying to figure out how to make a living as a media professional...

I love my beat: reporting from Silicon Valley at the intersection of technology and media. Silicon Valley is now a Media Valley, driving much of the disruption of the media industry. And I love the irony that media is the worst place to be as media professional, but it's the most fascinating story around. And I love that I'm in the story too.

And it is great to be in the middle of one of the most important questions facing society: How do we figure out the new business models for professional journalism?

The software engineers have a saying: Garbage in, garbage out. We need professional journalism because we need high quality information so that we can make good decisions as a society.

We need high quality information so that we can improve our chances of making the right decisions about many important things: environment, economy, the middle east, education, energy . . . and that's just those that begin with the letter 'e' -- there's plenty more.

As the media industry transitions to a new business model and as we figure out what that business model will be, we will face a very tough period for our society. We will have a free-for-all media world that will be exploited by various self-interest groups, nefarious organizations, and criminal groups.

I'm optimistic that this coming Wild West world will be short-lived and its effects transitory but that's just a guess.

In the meantime, it would be great if we could speed things along, speed the disruption in the media industry but not throw the baby out with the bath water. We need to make sure that enough of the old media world transitions into the new, so that it can teach the new media world how to walk.

A common discussion I've been having at CES with other journalists, bloggers, and publishers of new media sites, is about how difficult it is to make a living. It's not just the traditional media companies that are struggling.

You need a huge amount of traffic to make a living as an online journalist, news site or blog site. I keep hearing from other online publishers a similar story: 'I can't do this for much longer.'

One publisher asked: "Why aren't large advertisers such as Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, supporting our work?"

I can sympaphize because I'm in the same boat. Intel, Tibco Software, Infineon, Edelman, were early sponsors of SVW and I'm very grateful for that support. But I haven't had any sponsorship in close to a year and I know many online news sites run by veteran journalists, unable to win any support from large companies.

But this is the precise time that companies such as Cisco, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Adobe, Dell, and others, should be stepping in and investing in the new media publications, choosing those that are run by experienced veteran journalists, ensuring that what emerges from the disruption of the media industry is quality media.

Otherwise it will take years to rebuild the integrity of the media sector because we will have lost our best people, they will close down their sites, they will get other jobs.

This is the best time for large companies to spread some sponsorship monies around and help birth the next media industry.

If they don't, they will have huge problems dealing with a future media sector that has to relearn, rediscover its best practices, its ethics, and its integrity.

Dell, for example, did a lot to help online news sites such as CNET, when they first began to publish in the 1990s by providing generous advertising deals.

Of course, I have an enormous self-interest in all of this because I want to continue to doing what I love to do, publishing SVW. But I'm having to branch out into consulting and other work, so that I can support my journalism. I'd rather spend my time working full-time on SVW.

I have a self- interest but I am not self-centered. There are many others in the same position as myself. There are many journalists trying to build great news sites, create unique content, and striving to maintain the best practices of their profession.

Now's the time for large businesses to step up and to support those ventures through sponsorships and other deals. Now's the time because those opportunities won't be there for long. Those nascent media ventures will be gone. The opportunities to promote the best media organizations will be lost.

Five years ago I pointed out that every company is now a media company. That means every company has to develop the skills and expertise of a media company. Without a vibrant independent media sector there will be few models, few professionals, to help companies with one of their most important business transformations.

The dirty little secret about all of this is that it's not just the media industry that is being disrupted, that's just the visible part of a much larger issue.

If every company is now a media company, then every company is now vulnerable to the disruptive forces affecting media companies.

We're all in it together but we don't all yet realize it.

I was at Chris Brogan's Inbound Marketing Summit on Wednesday, speaking on a panel moderated by Paul Gillin, on the subject of "Media in Transition: The Future of News in a Democratized World." My old friend Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat (formerly with Wall Street Journal, Red Herring, San Jose Mercury) was also on the panel, along with Ken Doctor, analyst with Outsell.

Media in transition is a fascinating subject, I can talk for days, for weeks on this subject.

Between the four of us on the panel, we probably have nearly a century of experience with news media. We now find ourselves taking part in an incredible transition within our industry of a like we will never see again in our lifetime.

And few people realize that Silicon Valley is the main instigator of the disruption happening in the media industry. It is Silicon Valley technologies and companies that are at the forefront of developing the new landscape of the media industry, and also transforming SIlicon Valley into a "media valley."

Take a look at some of our largest companies, such as Google, Yahoo, Ebay. These are media companies. These are not tech companies, you can't buy any tech from them, these are technology-enabled media companies.

They publish pages of content with advertising. What's not a media company about that?

Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist -- are all media companies, they publish pages of content and advertising. And so are most Web 2.0 companies.

Take a look at the Internet, it is a media technology. It allows you to distribute and publish web pages, data, to any computer screen, any computer platform. Now, in this second phase of the Internet, anything with a computer screen can publish back -- it's now two-way, it's read/write, we now use both sides of the glass screen.

It is Internet technologies and services, it is online companies such as Google, Craigslist, etc, that are helping to disrupt the media industry. Or more accurately, disrupt the business model.

When we talk about the death of newspapers, what we really mean is the death of traditional media business models.

On Silicon Valley Watcher, I often use the tag line: "reporting on innovation at the intersection of technology and media." Because that's what's happening, that's what I see, a tremendous intersection of technology and media. It's like tectonic plates coming together and crumpling the landscape into a new mountain range.

And mountain range is a suitable metaphor because there are always two sides to a mountain range, one side is dry and the other is wet and fertile. For example, the Andes protect and enable the massive, wet, fertile Amazon rainforest with its incredible diversity of life, while the west side of the Andes is dry and relatively barren.

The mountain range being created by the intersection of technology and media is a barrier to the traditional media companies, most don't seem to be able to climb and transition to the other side; most won't make it.

But, I'm confident we will have a new type of Amazon rainforest emerging in the media industry, we will see an amazing diversity of media companies and services. You can already see the tremendous amount of innovation emerging and we've only just started.

For example, Facebook and Twitter are very new, even to us in Silicon Valley, and they are spanking brand new for the majority of people today. What other new forms of media will we have a year from now?

We can create incredible mashups of media technologies and media formats that have never been seen before. How will we use them? How will we deal with the loss of traditional media? How will our society handle the transition? How will we pay for journalists and the vital Fourth Estate service that they provide? How do we sell products and services? How do we find trusted sources of information?

There are tons of questions waiting to be answered. And that's what's so wonderful about all of this, we are directly involved in figuring out those important answers. We, the people working in media, in communications, in marketing, in startups, we get a chance to help create and define the future.

This is why I love my job, writing Silicon Valley Watcher, and reporting on innovation at the intersection of technology and media.

All the chatter in the mediasphere about the death of newspapers (and TV) makes the subject of media seem so morbid. But, we have more media happening now than at anytime in humanity's existence.

We have more media, in more formats, and at anytime we choose. We consume more media today than ever before. [It's just that we haven't yet figured out how to make money from it (but we will).]

These are the best times to be a media or PR, imho.

I spent 20 plus years working as a journalist in Silicon Valley, interviewing people about the work they were doing on a chip, software application, or one of many technologies. These days people are looking over my shoulder, and that of my colleagues in journalism and PR, looking at what we are doing with a plethora of media technologies.

Silicon Valley has turned into a Media Valley, because so many of our large and startup companies are essentially media companies. They are technology-enabled-media-companies, they sell advertising around content. That's true for Google, Yahoo, Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, and it is true for many smaller companies, Web 2.0 companies, etc. And the rise of social media is just a continuing part of this trend.

As journalists or PR/corporate communications people, we are in the middle of a unique period in history. I think it is very likely that we will never, ever, experience this kind of disruption that is happening in our industries, in our lifetimes, again.

It's not a pleasant time for many, because the chief quality of disruptive technologies are that they are disruptive. But, these are also incredibly creative opportunities.

There are so many questions and so few answers, and that's great. Because we all get a chance to figure things out, we all get a chance to make mistakes and create the best practices that will become part of the future. We get to discover the new rules of story telling and communications. And that's what gets me out of bed.

Newspapers would like to be paid for their online content because they can't survive on online advertising alone.

Pay-for-news might work but only if newspapers have original content, "you can only read it here." That's what I try to do with SVW, I try to have original interviews, scoops, original angles -- stories that you can only read here.

But a lot of newspapers don't have much original content. They use a lot of wire copy or simply rewrite the wire copy; they publish news stories that look very much the same as other news stories; there is little competition to get scoops.

If a newspaper can generate a lot of "you can only read it here" content then there is a halfway decent chance that it can find enough people to pay for it. And there is a lot of potentially original content to be had by focusing on hyper-local coverage.

But a lot of newspapers have journalists that sit at a desk all day long and rarely interact with their local communities.

Some newspapers have recently come up with the concept of MoJos -- mobile journalists equipped with notebooks, cell phone modems, and cameras. Isn't that what journalists used to do, go out into their communities and hunt down stories, hangout in bars, cafes, look for original stories, scoops?

Newspapers should own their local stories. For example, San Jose Mercury or the San Francisco Chronicle should "own" Silicon Valley stories. They should be breaking all the best Google stories, Oracle, Apple, etc. That would be something people would pay for.

Here are some ideas on how newspapers could survive and become viable businesses:

- Focus on original content, do not rewrite wire stories or press releases--people are more likely pay for content they can't get anywhere else.

- Focus on hyper-local coverage, newspapers should "own" their regional beat because they have the best contacts and the best understanding of local companies and issues.

- Don't run foreign bureaus unless you are the New York Times or the like, or are publishing a unique perspective relevant to your community.

- Be a regular and visible part of your local communities by getting out of the office and into those communities.

- Become an active teacher of media literacy and also media production in your local communities. Help teach citizen journalists how to be great journalists, editors, photographers, videographers, etc. Teach how to be effective and ethical.

- Celebrate the best citizen journalists/bloggers in your communities, publish them on your platform.

- Become involved in local events, organize conferences. There is a ton of money in conferences.

- Don't let advertising networks sell your advertising. They take a huge cut for serving ads and you lose the customer connection. Newspapers should always own their customer relationship.

- Develop a hybrid content strategy for search engines and news aggregators that takes advantage of the distribution power of the Internet without giving away all the content.

- Adopt a culture of a "news organization" rather than a "newspaper." Paper or electron, it shouldn't matter how the news is distributed.

- Online readers that want to pay, have no way of paying for the the news except by buying a newspaper subscription! PBS does quite well with membership packages that include discounts from local businesses, while keeping broadcasts freely available. That's a model that could be offered by newspapers.

- Become the host for all important discussions about local issues and politics. Moderate the discussions to ensure civil discourse. Nothing kills discussions faster than offensive comments made by anonymous people.

- Newspaper journalists need new publishing skills in video, audio, images, and should have some basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. Being able to type is not enough.

- Help raise money for schools and other essential local services. Show you are part of the community.

- Create a safe online experience, free from phishing, malware, and adverts for scam services.

- And there are lots of other ideas...

There are many people coming up with great suggestions to help newspapers survive. There is probably no other industry that has so many people willing and eager to help out with ideas. For example: - How to mend what isn't really broken! - Jan Simmonds

Newspapers have a unique opportunity to reinvent themselves. In some cases it means rediscovering what they used to do, and what they used to know: original content sells. You can only read it here.

The other opportunity is to innovate and create new forms of media that have never ever been created. There is a tremendous amount of innovation happening in media.

I've said it many times: Silicon Valley has become a Media Valley. Google publishes pages of content with advertising. So does Yahoo, Ebay, and many others. Facebook is a media company, and so are thousands of startups in the "Web 2.0" space.

Why aren't newspapers part of this innovative media industry?

- - -

Please see:

- Why Pay-For-News Won't Work: The First Mover Disadvantage

- "Google Devalues Everything It Touches" - Wall Street Journal Chief

- Bye-Bye Free News - Murdoch Joins The Pay Debate

- Saturday Post: The Inevitable Rise Of Cockroach Media . . .

- Pandora's Box 1981: The Online Newspaper Experiment

Fortune magazine columnist Adam Lashinsky has a very interesting interview with GOOG CEO Eric Schmidt.

Google's business is very clearly making it very difficult for the newspaper industry to transition to an online business model because GOOG can sell advertising very cheaply, it doesn't have to employ legions of editors, journalists, photographers, etc, it uses servers and algorithms to publish content.

GOOG a new media company competing with old media in an online environment where it has by far the most efficient economic model. This is an issue I've been following very closely the past four years - the old media can't transition to the new media economy - "you can't get there from here."

The Fortune interview is set in the context of the dire straits for the newspaper industry:

Eric Schmidt wishes Google could save newspapers - Jan. 7, 2009

...the Christian Science Monitor eliminates its print edition, Tribune Co. declares bankruptcy, Detroit's two dailies slash home delivery to three days a week...

Mr Schmidt says there isn't much that Google can do to help the newspaper industry. He is asked if Google would purchase newspapers (it has enough cash to buy nearly all the publicly traded newspaper companies.)

Mr Schmidt replies:

The good news is we could purchase them. We have the cash. But I don't think our purchasing a newspaper would solve the business problems. It would help solidify the ownership structure, but it doesn't solve the underlying problem in the business.

That's certainly true - why buy a business that isn't viable?

What about a cash investment similar to Microsoft's investment in Apple, Mr Lashinsky asks?

There are no current plans to do that. The necessary criteria to get us to make that decision are not currently in place.

What about an investment from Google.org, the philanthropic organization?

We didn't want to co-mingle philanthropy with business. We are in the advertising business.

It should be pointed out that Google.org is a for-profit organization and expects to make profitable philanthropic investments. Again, the newspaper business is not profitable, so that rules that out.

The best Mr Schmidt can offer is to point to some fringe media projects:

What's an alternative way to support the public good? One is Pro Publica [the non-profit investigative journalism organization headed by former Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger and funded by, among others, the Sandler Foundation].

What if newspapers die?

To me this presents a real tragedy in the sense that journalism is a central part of democracy. And if it can't be funded because of these business problems, then that's a real loss in terms of voices and diversity. And I don't think bloggers make up the difference. The historic model of investigative journalists in any industry is something that is very fundamental. So the question is, what can you do about this? And a fair statement is, we're still looking for the right answer.

Foremski's Take:

Mr Schmidt is crying crocodile tears. There is a tremendous amount that Google could do today for the newspaper industry. Here are some suggestions:

-Pay for the use of newspaper stories in Google News. Monetize Google news and send the revenues to the news organizations so that they can reinvest the money and create a virtuous cycle. Sending traffic to newspaper sites is not good enough--the newspapers can't monetize the traffic to any real extent.

-Create subscription services for news products that can help news organizations monetize their work.

If Google is sincere in believing that news organizations perform a vital role in society and democracy then it should actively help find a way of supporting this extremely important resource. It has the brains, and it has the means, it just needs the will.

I don't see any sign that Mr Schmidt and Google has any desire to solve what is one of the most important issues on the Internet today: how to create a viable online business model for news organizations. Without this we face a dire future as a global society, imho.

- - -

Please see:

Google Is Really Bad At Monetizing Content Yet CEO Schmidt Lectures Newspapers

- FutureWatch: The End Of The News Aggregators And The Future Of News

GOOG Founders Could Buy All US Newspapers and Still Have $12bn

The Financial Crisis and its Impact on Journalism

- What Happens if the Old Media Dies Before the New Media Learns to Walk?

Shrinking Mass Media Masses At Googleplex

Silicon Valley = Media Valley: The MashUp of technology and Media

Google is a Media Company

One of the best panels at the recent Fortune Brainstorm conference was the "Blogger Showdown" panel at the Monday evening dinner. Adam Lashinsky does a great job moderating the panel. This is the only video of the panel.

On stage is Robert Scoble, Kara Swisher and Om Malik. The panel soon gets off to a raucaus start.

Hear Kara saying that she's loving being a Rupert Murdoch employee!

Hear Om repeating my mantra that Silicon Valley has turned into media valley!

Hear Robert Scoble saying how his mistakes are fixed by his readers!

Hear Adam Lashinsky say how Fortune avoids mistakes by getting it right the first time!

See Fortune report the "Blogger Showdown" and issue a correction!

Download video - iPod/PSP


BTW these are all media professionals, Robert Scoble majored in journalism. Where are the bloggers, the citizen journalists?

More Brainstorm coverage:
- Joichi Ito - One of the Smartest Guys in the Room - a "Venture Communist"

- Internet Father Vint Cerf Says Telcos Harming National Interest
- Intuit Looking into User Generated Unemployment - the Reward of Social Media?

- - -

Rave reviews find out why! - Order the The Amazon Kindle Electronic Book Reader!

You need video services! Creation, Distribution, Attention. Contact Aron Pruiett at SF Media Collective- 415 533 4487 - Here is a demo reel.

Silicon Valley Watcher Consulting services - call Tom at 415 336 7547

MartinSorrell.jpeg I popped over to the start of Fortune's Brainstorm conference primarily because they said Sir Martin Sorrell, who I consider to be one of the world's savviest media executives along with Rupert Murdoch, would be there.

Unfortunately, Sir Martin couldn't make it because he is engaged in a multi-billion acquisition. Too bad, this is someone worth watching. Check out Reuter's Eric Auchard's interview with Sir Martin. I love the end part when Sir Martin tells Eric "good luck with your merger." He was reffering to Thomson Financial's acquisition of Reuters, which had just closed a few weeks before.

Eric says, "it's over, we are the survivors."

Sir Martin says: "Sorry. It’s not done, it’s just starting. The easiest thing is to do the deal. The most difficult thing is to make it work."

It's a great interview and I love that Eric left that quote in there, both are class acts.

Please see full interview: Summit Notebook » Blog Archive » Q&A with WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell | Blogs | Reuters.com

Despite my disappointment the left over pickings weren't that bad...

Coming up on SVW:

Vint Cerf on Internet Neutrality . . .

I got a fantastic interview with Vint Cerf, father of the Internet and chief Internet evangelist for Google. Coming up: Vint Cerf tells me how he was misquoted over net neutrality in full page ads on WSJ and elsewhere! He talks about how the government needs to stop the Telcos from controlling access to the Internet.

First Data wants to be first in consumer data . . .

I also got a great interview with Michael Capellas, co-founder of Compaq Computer, former head of Worldcom and now chairman and CEO of First Data. Mr Capellas tells me about First Data's plans to become a consumer data powerhouse. He says "Right now data is just ten percent of our business I want it to be 50 percent within two years."

It's a Media Valley...

I have exclusive footage of the "Blogger showdown" with Robert Scoble, Kara Swisher, and Om Malik. It was difficult to get Kara to shut up but Om got a few words in edgewise and I'm glad that he did because he seems to be an avid reader of Silicon Valley Watcher because he repeated my line of "Silicon Valley is now a Media Valley."

I've been saying that for nearly four years. I was on the front cover of Nikkei Magazine last year on this topic, Japan's top business magazine. And I had a Japanese TV crew in my living room earlier this year interviewing me on this topic.

In fact, just Google "Media Valley" and see who pops up?

Here is my first mention of how the center of the media industry is moving to SIlicon Valley in September 2005.

I hate blowing my own horn it's better if someone else does it, but...

Unfortunately, his Omness didn't give me any credit for media valley :-( But maybe he would have if Kara would shut up for a bit :-)

Video of the "blogger showdown" is coming...

Behind the Scenes: Japanese TV Crew First Stop In Silicon Valley (Media Valley...)

Why Silicon Valley is Media Valley: And Why Japan Is Interested...

Silicon Valley = Media Valley: The MashUp of technology and Media

Silicon Valley has become Media Valley - someone should tell NYC


I was Twitting like a maniac during the conference despite not Twitting much at all the last week or so. My view is that you shouldn't Twit unless there is something to say.

Do I need to know that Loic is having another beer? That really is a Twit of a Tweet imho. Keep it real, don't take up bandwidth with crap like that...

Media not allowed in to eat...

There was a bunch of disaffected journalists/bloggers that were banned from the dinner at the Fortune Brainstorm. I won't name them but they are huge in their sectors.

They vowed not to come back the next day and wondered how I got one of the main (eating) badges. I couldn't answer that question, you'd better ask David Kirkpatrick, he invited me.

I was late strolling over to the dinner and had to pass by the disgruntled media pack who clearly had been sharing bile about the organizers, (and their blood sugar was very low), and said "Hey, I'll see you over at the dinner!" A howl arose of curses and laughter...

I think some of them got in in the end :-)

- - -

Rave reviews find out why! - Order the The Amazon Kindle Electronic Book Reader!

You need video services! Creation, Distribution, Attention. Contact Aron Pruiett at SF Media Collective- 415 533 4487 - Here is a demo reel.

Silicon Valley Watcher Consulting services - call Tom at 415 336 7547

davidnordfors.jpgI'm spending much of Wednesday and Thursday at Stanford University at the Innovation Journalism conference organized by David Nordfors, who leads the Innovation Journalism program at Stanford. I'm speaking on a panel on Thursday afternoon.

It's a good event because it pulls together top Silicon Valley journalists and also journalists from around the world--with a heavy bent towards Scandinavian business journalists because of Mr Nordfors' Swedish roots.

I don't see that there is much difference between innovation journalism and journalism. Both require the same skills to do well and the subject matter shouldn't matter. However, I do agree with the tag line for this year's conference: "Journalism driving innovation - innovation driving journalism."

That's exactly what I've been seeing and saying the past few years. The media industry is where there is an enormous amount of innovation occurring - and where you find a lot of innovation that's also where you see massive disruption.

Running around the valley . . .

For 20 some years I covered Silicon Valley's innovations, running around interviewing people, looking over their shoulders and saying "that chip/software/hardware looks interesting, tell me about what you're doing."

Since I left the Financial Times nearly 4 years ago, I've had other journalists interviewing me, looking at what I and my colleagues in "new" media have been doing, and saying "That looks interesting tell me about what you're doing." It doesn't get any better than this...

It's a Media Valley . . .

Silicon Valley is transforming into a Media Valley. When I would say that a few years ago few people understood it. Now more people understand it especially when I say it this way: Silicon Valley's largest and fastest growing companies are media companies - Google, Ebay, Facebook, Yahoo, for example, are media companies: they publish pages of content with advertising around it. They are not tech companies they are technology-enabled media companies, there is no tech you can buy from them." The same is true for many of the Web 2.0 companies and their Google AdSense based business models, they are technology-enabled media companies.

My Japanese readers have been particularly intrigued with this concept of Silicon Valley as Media Valley. Last year I was featured in Nikkei business magazine on this topic--this is Japan's largest business magazine. Tokyo Week newspaper sent its New York editor to interview me about another local media sensation: LonelyGirl 15.

And earlier this year a TV crew from Japan's most prestigious and largest TV channel, the equivalent of PBS, came over to my living room to kick off a week-long investigative piece on Silicon Valley and its transformation into Media Valley.

There is a quick video at the end of this post which I took as they walked in and we chatted about what we would talk about. I'm always flattered by such attention but it always feels like a hall of mirrors ...media talking about media. But then again, media loves talking about media.

That's what we'll be doing the next couple of days at Stanford, media talking about media. Join us if you can.

- - -
[BTW I'm heading over to Japan next week for almost a week as a guest of Lunarr - visits with Japanese startups and also Japanese government innovation officials, and much more... details to follow. I can't wait, it'll be my first visit!]

They started arriving Friday evening from all over. By Saturday evening there was a large British encampment in the Clift's Redwood Room. Sunday the Germans were holding court, and Monday the Finns were throwing a party at The Foreign Cinema. All Web 2.0 entrepreneurs.

The Web 2.0 conference starts this week and it has become huge. I can't remember a time when a conference has grown so large, so quickly, and become so international. The Internationale should be rewritten with the words "Web 2.0 will unite the world."

I stayed away from the Web 2.0 crowd for part of the weekend. It was fun seeing them Sunday and Monday but I'm glad to be going out of town for a couple of days before plunging back in.

I'm heading over to the other great conference this week, the New Comm Forum, one of the best conferences around. It is organized by the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR), a Palo Alto based think-tank founded by Jennifer McClure and Elizabeth Albrycht.

I'm honored to be a Founding Fellow and part of a unique group of people that are involved in some of the most cutting edge projects in media and communications.

The New Comm Forum always feels like a home coming, a group of people that speak the same language, a constantly changing language of media and communications. That's the exciting aspect. Silicon Valley has changed into Media Valley and now the cutting edge is at the intersection of technology and media.

I'll be up in Sonoma at New Comm Forum Tuesday and I'm speaking Wednesday morning and I'll be back in town for the Web 2.0 events Wednesday evening. Thursday from noon onwards I'm shooting Silicon Valley Minutes over by the Blogger Lounge, organized by The Conversation Group, no appointment necessary. I'll shoot a quick Silicon Valley Minute about your Web 2.0 company. 3rd floor Room 3018. Or send me a Silicon Valley Minute and beat the line...

- - -

Please see: Behind the Scenes: Japanese TV Crew First Stop In Silicon Valley

I recently had the great pleasure of hosting a Japanese TV crew, (the equivalent of PBS here) as they explored my idea of Silicon Valley turning into "Media Valley."

- Nikkei Magazine, the top Japanese business magazine, interview about Silicon Valley turning into Media Valley.

Please also see:

Web 2.0 Is On The Ropes. . . Kleiner Perkins Halts Investments

I had the great pleasure of hosting a Japanese TV crew, (the equivalent of PBS here) as they explored my idea of Silicon Valley turning into "Media Valley."


For about three years now I've been talking about how Silicon Valley is transforming into "Media Valley" because our brightest, and our fastest growing companies are, according to my metrics, media companies.

Companies such as Google, Yahoo, eBay, Facebook, Digg are all media companies. They publish pages of content with advertising around it.

These are not technology companies but rather technology-enabled media companies. And this is a key distinction.

I've been writing about this change for about three years, and how the center of the media industry is shifting from New York city to Silicon Valley.

Our media industry is thriving and expanding, their (NYC) media industry is shrinking (as one example New York Times last week announced 100 newsroom job cuts).

Initially, only a couple of people picked up on my Media Valley concept, a couple of journalism professors at NYU. But gradually, over the past couple of years, more and more people have grown to understand this perspective.

This has been especially evident within the Japanese media community. Last year, I was featured in Nikkei business magazine, Japan's largest business magazine. And today (Wednesday), a four-person TV crew flew in from one of Japan's largest TV channels and interviewed me for three hours on this topic.

[I took some video that I will post very shortly, of them interviewing me, about the media industry. I love talking to the media about the media industry, but it always feels a little (sometimes a lot) Alice-in-Wonderland-ish, a hall of mirrors effect.]

In my world, I see everything as a media technology, and as a media strategy. I've said this before many times: Every company is now a media company to a greater degree than ever before. Even if a company makes steel, or napkins. Every company publishes to its customers, staff, partners, neighbors, to itself. It had better master the two-way media technologies that we now have or it will not survive.

Three years ago, when I would write about this, few people understood. Now, this is becoming better understood. But only slightly, which means there is still a lot of work to be done to help organizations understand this fundamental sea change.

And we, in Silicon (Media) Valley, are best positioned to help educate others about what is going on. It is happening not because we say it is but because it just is.

Andy Lark is now at Dell . . .

Andy.JPG.jpgCongratulations to Andy Lark. Sun Microsystems' former head of corporate communications is now Dell's new VP of Global Marketing and Communications. Andy is one of the savviest people I know working in media and communications. Dell has acquired one of Silicon Valley's top people.

Andrew Lark: The Larks Are On The Move

Hat tip to Stowe Boyd.

It's a Media Valley . . .

I've been writing about how Silicon Valley is changing into Media Valley. In the latest issue of Nikkei Business magazine, the top Japanese business magazine, you'll find a long interview with me about Silicon Valley turning into media valley.

Hat tip to Hideshi Hamaguchi. (BTW: Tokyo News sent a reporter to interview me recently about LonelyGirl 15, a story that has legs. How we found the secret identity of LonelyGir15 )

Please also see: Media Valley and... Marvelous Musings of Miss Moxie: Silicon Valley has become Media Valley - someone should tell NYC

Mother Jones hires Nick Aster . . .

My good friend Nick Aster is now Media Architect at Mother Jones, the venerable lefty magazine. Media Architect is a term I made up to describe people such as Nick. I'm glad it is being used more widely. It is a term that combines the best qualities of a media professional with a software engineer.

Architecting the huge array of media technologies we have at our disposal is a tough job, and Nick has been doing it for a long time, at Moreover, at Gawker Media, on my projects, at Treehugger, and now at Mother Jones.

Mother Jones Hires TreeHugger.com's Media Architect

Blogging for dollars . . .

San Francisco Chronicle's Ilana DeBare interviewed me this week for a piece about how to make money from blogging. All is revealed :-)

Blogging tough way to make money - but here's how

Please welcome The Conversation Group . . .

Congratulations to Giovanni Rodriguez and the other members of the newly formed The Conversation Group. My good friend Chris Heuer is a member of the team. Also Denise Vardakas joins from Eastwick. Mark Adams, co-founder of Text 100 is on the board and so is Peter Hirshberg, CMO at Technorati.

I like the name, a wise choice to move it away from something like the "Social Media Group" which I'm sure was a temptation.

hubbub: Hubbub Merges

I hate Quechup . . .

I fell for it but please ignore any Quechup friend requests. Quechup is a "social networking" site that uses aggressive technologies that spam your address book to recruit users. My apologies to my address book.

Quechup is like one of the early virus/worms that uses your address book and your name, to get people to click. How does Quechup think spamming people's address books is going to build a lasting user base?!

It also damns some of the misbehaving Facebook apps--which are not as bad as Quechup but aren't too far behind. Unless this kind of behavior is nipped in the bud, every social network site will suffer.

See Mashable: Are You Getting Quechup Spammed?

Technorati Tags: ,

Silicon Valley is rapidly transforming into media valley because our top companies are publishing pages of content with advertising around it: GOOG, YHOO, EBAY and a host of Web 2.0 companies such as FaceBook, are all media companies harvesting content as inexpensively as possible. . . and selling it with advertising draped around it.

Silicon Valley produces media technologies

Nearly all of the emerging technologies that now emerge out of Silicon Valley are media technologies, they enable the two way publishing of data and information, such as RSS, (which should stand for Relationships Simply Syndicated).

Every company is a media company

The interesting point, in this Internet 2.0 phase, is that now: every company is a media company, even if it produces steel or teddy bears. This is something which I've written about for nearly three years. Because every company publishes all the time, to its customers, to its staff, to its markets, to its future hires.

If a company cannot efficiently use these two-way media technologies it will not survive.

Where was the Internet 1.0 disruption?

Here is my math: Internet 1.0 was a very disruptive technology. But we didn't realize that it was a media technology and that is where we saw the disruption, in the media sector, in my industry.

Newspapers such as the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury... saw multiple years of declining revenues, and layoffs. That's because the Internet is a disruptive media technology and so that is precisely where we saw the disruption, in the media sector not the broad technology sector.

A Media Hammer...

Now, as we move into Internet 2.0 (...not Web 2.0... that is so 1.5), every company is a media company, even if it makes steel or teddy bears.

Now, every company faces the same disruptive forces that are decimating the media industries because every company has to publish to its many different communities. Every company is a media company.

This means that the disruptive forces of technology are broader now than ever before.

I've been saying Silicon Valley has turned into media valley for more than two years. So it is good to have some backing.

Today at a fascinating VC panel, Roger McNamee, one of the top Silicon Valley investors, said Silicon Valley is doing great (despite the lack of exit strategies, and a mediocre IPO market.)

"For the first time, Silicon Valley is now represented in every form of media except television," he said.

About two years ago on a visit to New York, I wrote that someone should tell Mayor Bloomberg that the center of the media industry is moving to Silicon Valley and the West Coast. Because Google, Yahoo, EBay, (and now YouTube, FaceBook, etc) are all media companies.

New York is very cool partly because of its large media industry. The largest news and magazine companies have a heavy presence in midtown where I was staying. You can't avoid seeing their ticker tape news headlines whirl around their buildings, and their giant logos at night.

My alma mater, the Financial Times US HQ is there, and so are large offices of Reuters, CNN, Time-Warner, Hearst, etc.

But it's a shame that the center of the media industry has moved to Silicon Valley and nobody told New York :-)


GOOG, YHOO, EBAY, etc, publish pages of content with advertising around it. They are not technology companies, they are technology-enabled media companies.

Yes, GOOG et al would rather not represent themselves as media companies because they republish content for free from media companies. Media companies will let a "technology" company do this but not another media company...


Please see:

A Report From New York City...
September 2005

Silicon Valley has become Media Valley - someone should tell NYC Feb 2007.

3-Dot Friday...

June 22 2007

I have so much I want to write about but I've been busy working with Podtech.net, working on some interesting projects projects that will appear very soon.

The main thing I like about Podtech.net is that we all speak the same language, we don't have to convince each other that we should be doing what we are doing. At other media companies we would be in committees for six months before we made a decision on anything.

Podtech.net is full of the most media savvy people I know. Yes, we might still crash and burn but it won't be because we needed to convince each other on where the future is heading...


3 Years Ago...

It was 3 years ago that I left the Financial Times to become a "journalist blogger." I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. My friends Dave Galbraith and Om Malik had always encouraged me to start blogging.

But I ignored them, I thought I knew what blogging was about because I wrote all day long--even though I had never blogged. It is the way my colleagues at other newspapers and magazines thought about blogging. (Dave and Om were right and I was clueless.)

I took the summer off and then September came around and I realized I had to start "blogging." I looked at a blank screen and realized I really didn't know what I was doing. What is "blogging?"

I had no choice but to jump in and start doing it. And it has been an incredible 3 year journey and I'm still learning about blogging. My friends were right--I should have started earlier.

And I'm so glad I left the oldstream media to be in the newstream media. During such times it is always better to be on the disruptive side of the equation--even if the business models are still being invented--than on the sharp pointy end of the disruption...

Please see:

June 25, 2004: Media Guerilla (aka Mike Manuel) from Voce Communications runs the results of an informal poll asking which leading tech journalists would leave for the blogging world first.

Sibling Revelry...

Hats off to Connecting Point Communications for their super-fun charity event last week. Don Clark's band played and they were incredibly good.

It was good to run into Anastasia Marin, and the wonderful Voce crew, and many other industry contacts. Everyone was having fun and supporting a worthy cause. We should have more of these types of things...


Startups Get Younger...

All those people that proclaim that our younger generations are driving us to hell in a hand basket are wrong, dead wrong. Kids today are incredibly media savvy and business savvy, I have full confidence in their abilities to disregard our nonsense (and clean up after us.)

I say this as a father of Sarah, who just turned 13, and Matthew, who is now 19, and seeing them and their friends over many years. For example, the things Matt and his friends are doing on the Internet, the business models they are playing with, is fascinating to see. There is a lot of innovation going on here.

Ben Casnocha is a young entrepreneur and now, also a young author. His book "My Start-Up Life" was recently published.

My son Matt has been reading the book and he says it is pretty good, which is a great recommendation because he doesn't hand out compliments as easily as the New York Times, which said it was pretty good too...



Additional Info:
Ben Casnocha
- Author of "My Start-Up Life" (Jossey-Bass, 2007)
- Book web site: http://www.mystartuplife.com
- Buy it on Amazon.com:
-Blog: http://ben.casnocha.com

Muckrackers and Master Baiters...

I was thrilled this week to be able to meet and hang out with Andrew Keen and Nicholas Carr. They are among the more original thinkers on the Internet and also natural journalists in that they know how to push those buttons, how to get people riled up and thinking.

Wednesday they were on a panel in a local Barnes & Noble, along with Steve Gillmor and Keith Teare from Edgio, moderated by Dan Farber. It was an excellent evening and I have it on video (coming soon).

(Tim Ferriss, the author of the "The Four Hour Week" was there too, in the audience. I have a video interview with Tim coming very soon. Tim is an excellent case study in how to use new media to promote a book.)

Nick Carr first made a splash with his essay and book on why IT doesn't matter anymore. And he is right, when every company has installed an ERP system what becomes the distinguishing, competitive characteristic?

Andrew Keen is doing very well with his book, "The Cult of the Amateur." It is a critique of Web 2.0 and all things long tail, and the disruption and dissolution of mainstream media.

I agree with Mr Keen on many of his points, it is a subject I've been writing about and talking about for several years. I portray the situation in simple terms: What happens if the old media dies before the new media learns to walk? What is the economic model that will support journalism?

I disagree with Mr Keen in his thesis that Web 2.0 is destroying the best of mainstream media, New York Times etc. Web 2.0 and blogging does not have a business model. It is search engine marketing that is to blame. You have to follow where the money is going.

The simple fact is that It is far more effective to sell products and services next to a search box than next to journalism. I sometimes offer an extreme example: You can sell shampoo next to a search box but not next to a news story about beheadings in Iraq.

The sad fact is that the same is true for any news story. Journalism is not very effective at selling products and services. We know this because now we can track such things.

The reason Google and Craigs List, etc can sell advertising cheaper, and provide better conversion rates, is that they don't have to pay for the journalism.

When I worked at the Financial Times my employer sold advertising to pay for my work, to pay for the journalism. When you don't have that cost , you are way ahead of the game (which is why media companies should not be part of Google AdSense because they have to compete against Google and their production costs are far higher. It is a no win situation.)

So what will pay for high quality journalism? It is the most important question that we face as a society, imho...



I've been taking part on a lot of panels lately. Cisco held an excellent one-day conference on the new media, and I got to talk about media  and how Silicon Valley is turning in "Media Valley."  Dan Scheinman, head of Cisco's Media Solutions Group gave an excellent presentation. He knows where things are heading, it'll be interesting to see if he can persuade the rest of Cisco to head in the right direction.

Also, Launchsquad hosted an evening panel with Bill Flitter from Pheedo and myself. It was great to connect with Bill again, he has an intuitive understanding on new media and the new marketing techniques that are emerging.

Check out these links. My fellow panelists said many interesting and insightful things about the new media and related matters...

Cisco New Media Summit.

Cisco's blog: http://blogs.cisco.com/news/


Launchsquad: http://www.launchsquad.com/blogs/whatsnew/?p=59

...and the rapid fall of the East Coast Media

Advertising agencies have become the prime target of the Internet giants in their most recent M&A activities.

It is all part of the roll-up in the industry, as Sramana Mitra describes it well.

It is also a way for GOOG, YHOO, and MSFT to acquire advertising agencies as part of their inevitable move up the value chain.

The goal in these acquisitions is not the technology but the revenues and customers. Why split revenues with advertising agencies? Especially if you know how much advertising content you can publish in the months ahead. And you have the computing platforms to scale the advertising content much more efficiently.

It is much better to acquire those companies because:

  • You recover the share of ad revenues paid to the advertising agencies.
  • You also buy the customers. And those customers are going to be increasing their online advertising spend dramatically as they finish up with advertising contracts elsewhere.

These are easy numbers to crunch for the CFOs and justify the valuations of the deals.

But the Internet giants will face challenges:

  • These are more people based businesses than they are technology based.  They don't scale nearly as well as servers-and-software. Google and the others know how to grow through servers-and-software but not through people.
  • Managing the advertising businesses is going to require skills in managing relations that are nothing like software developer relations. Managing those businesses well and not killing them will be a challenge.
  • Their market valuations might come under pressure if their cost of business rises because of the people-scaling factor and impacts operating margins.

The Rise of the West Coast Media

This is all part of a larger trend as the new media companies of the West Coast grow in value, while the old media companies of the East Coast cutback and shrink.

GOOG, YHOO, EBAY, AMZN, and MSFT are all publishers. They publish pages of content and advertising. Some of it is subscription based, some of it is advertising supported. These are technology-enabled media companies.

Our West Coast media companies are growing by leaps and bounds. The East Coast media companies are shrinking.



Advert: The New Lenovo ThinkPad is here! A short review.


Silicon Valley has become Media Valley - someone should tell NYC

 Silicon Valley is rapidly turning into Media Valley--and New York, NY should look out--the capital of the media world is shifting about 3,000 miles westwards. Some of Silicon Valley's largest companies are media companies: Google, Yahoo, EBay, for example are...

Posted by Tom Foremski on February 24, 2007 5:18 PM

The acceleration in the disruption of media

I'm often invited to talk to groups of people about what's going on in the media sector, and I often start with a simple observation: At no other point in our lives will we be witness to such a...

Posted by Tom Foremski on November 22, 2006 3:53 AM

Cherry picking advertising and not paying for the journalism

Google can sell advertising for much less because it doesn't have to pay for any journalism. Newspapers, TV and radio sell advertising so that they can pay for the journalism. Craigslist can operate a global classified ads business with...

Posted by Tom Foremski on May 17, 2006 2:17 AM

What happens if the old media dies too soon? The urgent need for solid online news media business models
Exploring the new media business models
Old media is being cut off at the knees as Google and a few others grab ad revenues. But for most new media enterprises, existing business models don't generate enough revenue and it's not yet clear what will. An analysis of the situation and some thoughts on new approaches

Posted by Tom Foremski on November 14, 2005 7:00 AM

How the media sausage gets made is a vital part of media literacy. In the spirit of adding transparency and showing how my media is made, here are some background notes on my past week.


It was a busy week and I'm days behind on my emails (sorry everyone!). My inbox is the bane of my life because I can never catch up. I'm out and about most of the day and then I need time to write, which means my inbox is often the last thing I get to. And if I get a day or two behind on my emails I hate going there, which means it piles up even more...

[SMS + cell phone ( 415 336 7547) are usually best way to get me if all else fails.]


Saturday- I spent most of the day writing articles instead of working on a new project, Silicon Valley Minute short vid pitches by startups - who are you and what do you do.)

I wrote a bunch of posts, some exclusively for our new sister site New Rules Communications - the new rules in media and pr

-One of the articles was about how Silicon Valley is becoming transformed into a Media Valley. It received lots of links over the next few days. It reminded me that timing is everything for some ideas...

Silicon Valley has become Media Valley    see: 52 blog reactions


Sunday- I went to Kezar Pavilion to celebrate the life of Pablo Heising, a friend who died suddenly just before Christmas and worked hard for many communities in San Francisco. Pablo used to be a Digger in the 1960s and so the value of community was something he understood very well. I dubbed him the "Mayor of Haight Street"  when I published "The Street" a local Haight-Ashbury newspaper here in 1987 to 1989.

Laughing Squid » Squid List » A Celebration of Pablo Heising

Pablo Heising -- 'mayor of Haight'


Monday- Worked on setting up Silicon Valley Minute.


Tuesday- Popped into the Tech Policy Summit in San Jose:

- Low turnout for Silicon Valley Tech Policy Summit - do tech companies care about policy?

- Tech Policy Summit: Kara and the poster boys of social media

- Tech Policy Summit: Tech companies have deep pockets and short arms


Wednesday- Down in Palo Alto meeting with Stanford University David Nordfors senior research scholar on Innovation Journalism and journalism fellows, many from Europe.


Met with John Furrier and team over at Podtech.net. Ran into one of favorite people, Gabe Rivera, from TechMeme.

-Podtech.net: the dark horse of the new media pack

- I announced Silicon Valley Minute.

- I ran out of time to get to the Intel World Ahead Program  at the Computer History Museum. And I missed Cohn & Wolfe's HP event stuck in traffic coming back from Palo Alto.


Thursday-  Met  with VC firm Emergence Capital Partners in San Mateo. I really like these guys, I'll have a report on them in the next few days.

-Met with CEO of BlueLithium and Anheuser Bush execs, we talked about beer and social networks.

-Popped into Level3 Temporary Comprehension Event at Levende Lounge   Level3 event at Levende Lounge, caught the end of it. Ran into the very talented Adriana Gascoigne from GUBA, the online video site (very addictive),  and did a quick interview on camera with Adriana for bub.blicio.us.


Nice backlink from the New York Times:

WHAT’S ONLINE; Sell and Tell (the I.R.S.)

At SiliconValleyWatcher.com, Richard Koman wrote, “EBay especially doesn’t like being singled out when Craigslist and other online services that don’t use an auction format are not being asked to inform on their customers.”


 Silicon Valley is rapidly turning into Media Valley--and New York, NY should look out--the capital of the media world is shifting about 3,000 miles westwards.

Some of Silicon Valley's largest companies are media companies: Google, Yahoo, EBay, for example are media companies--they publish pages of content and advertising around it.

Some of the most interesting and most valuable new Silicon Valley companies, such as Youtube, Facebook are based here in Northern California. So is Craigslist, the seventh largest online media company in the English language world (in terms of traffic).

Take a look at Business 2.0's 25 startups to watch and look at how many of these mostly "social" media and advertising companies and are based in the Bay Area:18. Only two are based in New York.

Masters of the Universe

But if you work in Manhattan you feel at the center of the media universe. Midtown and the Avenue of the Americas is where the capital of the media industry has sat for many decades.

Whenever I am in New York, it feels as if I am in the coolest, the most media saviest place in the world. Just as in the famous New Yorker magazine cover, in which New York is depicted large and the Rest of the World is shown as distant, small, and uninteresting, that's the way it feels to me when I'm there.

As a media professional, New York has always been a mecca, where I love to be. It was one of the perks and attractions of working at the Financial Times that our US HQ was smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, in the ITT building, and I loved those opportunities of working in New York.

Which leads me to my point, New York's media industry doesn't see the shift that is going on because it feels as if it is master of its universe. It has noticed that its business models are under tremendous pressure but it hasn't noticed the shift westwards, the competition in Silicon Valley and in Santa Monica.

Google, Yahoo, Ebay, etc, are keen to portray themselves as technology companies rather than media companies--it is much more conductive to establishing partnerships and ad network deals in which they benefit far more than their old school media partners. If they were seen as more media company than technology company, I'm sure things would be different.

The New York Times, for example, would not give over its online front page to Google AdSense, which means Google owns the advertisor relationship ("if you would like to advertise on this site click here").

If Google were seen more as a media company the partnership advertising deals would be a lot different.

Our media industry is growing

Which is why our media industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Last time I looked New York's media industry was contracting, facing lower revenues, layoffs and a confused future. But still building skyscrapers(!)   New York Architecture Images- Times Tower.

Let me help out the New York media industry...

Five basic rules for media company success:

-Tomorrow's media industry is all about being technology-enabled and community-powered.

-Get your content as near-to-free as you can with machine harvesters such as spiders and searchbots.

-Use algorithms and community-power (also nearly free) to organize the content.

-Publish it widely and in many forms (video, podcasts, etc) through the amazing scale that the global internet provides and that our media technologies (RSS, media platforms, TCP/IP, etc) provide.

-And remember Foremski's First Law of New Media: Content is infinitely scalable.