Friday, February 27, 2009

Chaos and Opportunity

Reading over my recent posts and predictions for this year, it would seem that I am something of a dark horse, predicting massive upheaval and hardship to come. I'm not. It is already happening and is going to happen in increasing levels until the mistakes and excesses of the last decades are purged out of the system.

That chaos is creating a lot of personal, professional and corporate pain. It would be cynical to pretend otherwise.


This is also a time of enormous opportunity. Publishing made some gambles that entrenched it into business models that were generating ever dwindling long term viability, and the only way out of that trap is for it either to fail or for it to move decisively in another direction. Large corporations are brilliant at stable, long term group activities, and terrible at generating creative action. That requires decisive risk taking, individual thinking and stubborn self-confidence. Just what a group of newly out-of-work professional content makers can provide.

We need hungry, nimble, highly efficient and professional small teams that can work together to make salable material that the audience finds meaningful in a way that is much deeper than just supporting increased consumption.

At our disposal are all the new internet and digital technologies that have evolved over the last decade. Let's experiment, take risks, succeed, fail, and most of all, learn.

Print isn't going away, either. It just needs to be held more precious. The printed and bound book is just too beautiful of an object to disappear.

This morning The Wall Street Journal reported that the Commerce Department just revised their month old estimate for fourth quarter GDP contraction last year from 3.8% to 6.2%. The slide is steepening.

I don't think the old publishing economy is going to come back, folks. Let's get to work on making a new one.

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