Monday, October 24, 2005

"To be a media company, technology is in the core of it – what you must excel at...Yahoo is all about content...I see us as a 21st century tech company that drives great media. I don’t think you can be one without the other" Terry Semel

My thanks to Scott Krisner for his coverage of Web 2.0 Conference from which the above quotation has been liberated. You may read Scott's summary of Terry Semel's session here, and his writing about Barry Diller's session here. Congrats to the O'Reilly gang for a simply great conference. See you in San Diego next March, more info here.

Mark Hall writes about the Diller session, specifically about the issue of "talent" being discovered via the new forms of online media, a good read which concludes with...

But as many others have noted, ad nauseam and better than I, the online medium is not at all about that. It's about conversation. Participation. Remixing. Democratization. It's about us talking to us. For all the many good things that come out of this new, collective medium, I am not sure it makes the best home for talented people, and their works. There are and remain other media that remain better suited for that: the short story, the novel, the film, the interview show, the essay to name but a few. (Oh, and digitization of those things and distribution online is just that -- distribution, not a new medium).

The point of all this is that the cheerleaders and operators of these new platforms should stop being so defensive when folks like Diller say it's not likely they'll become showcases for great, undiscovered talents. He's right. Concentrate on the other things that the medium is good for -- its ability to foster new forms of conversation; to allow us to find and to share information about specific things more efficiently than ever before; and to connect us and bind us together in new ways that harness our collective talents. Points well made Mark - bravo! Read all of Mark's post here.

A few words about the NAB Radio Show.

Seth Godin's keynote was a disappointment. For years I have admired and respected Godin. My sense is...while short on any original thinking, Seth is strong in the creative repackaging of important tenets and collected wisdom. His advice to the first tribe of wireless...make the product so exceptional that people talk about one of the so-called basics of the biz and certainly nothing new. As this premise relates to broadcast, it may have been McLendon who first said it way back in the fifties "get people to talk about your radio station." Granted, word of mouth or buzz may be fresh new themes for some sectors but are, in fact, rather old hat for electronic media. Regarding Godin's statement that we are in the fashion business. Others including Drucker and Peters have successfully used fashion as a metaphor. During the eighties our film buyer at Midcontinent Theaters always said we were in the "business of the moment", that picking films was "exactly like picking hit fashions off the runway." While I would rate the Godin presentation low on any original content, insight or take away, I would give him above average marks for an entertaining presentation.

Lots of good discussion, all but a few of the panels were lightly attended.

Scott Donaton, Editor of Advertising Age, offers up...

Underscoring a Marketing and Media Industry Leadership Vacuum

Will someone other than David Verklin please stand up?

I mean, really, is there a single other human being who has been as much of a leader, visionary, a force for change and a voice of optimism in the marketing and media industries over the last 15 years? The answer is no, and that’s remarkable, as a statement on Verklin’s talents and as shameful commentary on the leadership vacuum.

Lack of public stands

I’ve heard many executives articulate the challenges facing their industries and offer daring, innovative solutions one-on-one. But most of them don’t have the guts or willingness to take a public stand, because corporate won’t let them or the industry wouldn’t rally behind them or rivals might twist their words to gain competitive advantage. The ideas go nowhere -- or, worse, are voiced only in the confines of trade -- association boardrooms, where they die with a muffled whimper.

To which Joseph Jaffe responds...

He continues to expound on the fact that executives “don’t have the guts or willingness to take a public stand” for a variety of corporate, legal and political reasons.
Finally, he ends with a call to action that “we need to recruit a few more just like him, explorers to map the way forward.

“Who’s signing up?” Donaton asks?

I am, Scott. I am. That’ why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for 3 ½ years. That’s why I wrote the book. That’s why I am challenging you…as Managing Editor of one of the foremost advertising trade publications to recognize my efforts and make sure the industry knows about my message.

This isn’t motivated out of self-interest; it’s motivated out of passion.

It is why I am calling you out to determine whether you are just like the people you are criticizing, or in fact, if you are different. It’s easy to throw stones from up high on your pedestal. You have a mouthpiece and a megaphone…but along with that voice, comes responsibility as well.

Agree that we have leadership issues in the media and marketing communities, however, I do not agree with Scott's pov that one and only one qualified person (David Verklin) is speaking up and offering an engaging vision. At issue would seem to be "leadership by example" since talk remains cheap or at least requires less investment. Joseph is correct to raise his hand and call Scott out. Stay tuned.

Great trip to New York last week. More later this week.

Claude Hall, Mr. Vox Jox himself, begins another online novel, check out Chapter One of his latest "Hill Country" here