Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

More chatter about Bad Competitors ... and the New Media Age

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 9, 2006

[One of my comments was getting long so I thought I'd turn it into an entry]

This relates to my Bad Competitor series, part one and part two.

David Tebbutt commented:

It was good to spend time with you last night. Not enough for all the subjects we wanted to talk about.

Kind of you to mention me in the blog. You're right about 'veteran' but it sounds a bit ageist. I guess I'll get used to it. :-)

I'd like to suggest a minor tweak to your words:

"Bad competitor startups will succeed because what they have is so much better than what is available, it is a no-brainer."

I'm not sure "because" is correct. I'm sure there are some lousy startups with indifferent products and services. It reads to me as if "bad competitor" automatically means "better".

I've noticed a similar tendency in the arguments about the blogosphere and journalism. (A subject close to your heart. And mine.) A lot of people try to assert that blogs are better than MSM just because they're blogs.

Fair point David. I was using Bad Competitor as describing a company that had already attained such a status although only one in 20 startups will get to be a BC...
PS: Regarding your age, I could have used "old fart" instead of veteran :-)

Anyway, I think most of my colleagues in the media are very veteran, with 15 to 25 plus years experience. And there aren't that many able to replace them, I could get excellent first mover advantage if I could persuade them to join me...unfortunately journalists are extremely risk averse.

This is a pity because now is the dawning era of the technology-enabled journalist, the Media Engineer! The days when Geek gods ruled the world are over--we have plenty of technology and plenty of geek engineers from an alphabet soup of countries.

I thank them all for all the wonderful technologies, the super smart and super easy development tools (that even a journalist can learn in a weekend or so...) and the almost free server and bandwidth infrastructure.

For $40 per month I have the publishing power of a small country.

Now it is about publishing: back and forth, ... Internet 2.0 is a push-me-pull-me technology that magnifies the value of the Internet tremendously.

And that's where media engineers will prove their worth: they will produce and technology-enable the content.

To succeed in the new world you need great content and an understanding of how to use the new media technologies to competitive advantage. It's all about the astute use of technology to distribute, present, and involve an audience.

But you also have to create exclusive, smoking-hot compelling content--and that's not that easy.

I bet there would be a considerable first mover advantage to the first new media company. For example, you could corner the market in top journalists for very little money. You could employ at least two for the price of one geek engineer (Robert Scoble) :-)

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