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

3-Dot Friday...

Posted by Tom Foremski - 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...

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/business/yourmoney/17shelf.html

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:
http://www.amazon.com/My-Start-Up-Life-Learned-Journey/dp/0787996130/
-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...

 

Panels...

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

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