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“Brands and their marketers suffer from what I refer to as medium’alism, a condition where inordinate…”

16 Feb

“Brands and their marketers suffer from what I refer to as medium’alism, a condition where inordinate value and weight is placed on the technology of any medium rather than amplifying platform strengths and ideas to deliver desired and beneficial experiences and outcomes. Said another way, businesses are developing for the sake of development and establishing supporting presences without regard for how someone feels, thinks, or acts as a result. In doing so, “engagement” programs are calculated, brought to life in the form of an editorial calendar that, by its very nature, isn’t not designed to really engage people at all.”

Engagement Ain’t Nothing But A Number | PandoDaily

See also: “if you build it, they will come”.


Facebook users: lonely

13 Feb

“People who used Facebook largely to socialize tended to be younger, more social and more neurotic—suggesting that Facebook habitués use the site partly as a tool to alleviate loneliness, the researchers said. People who used Twitter to socialize scored high on openness and sociability but low on conscientiousness.

Participants who used Twitter to seek or spread information, as opposed to socializing, were high on measures of conscientiousness and intellectual appetite and low on neuroticism; Facebook information-gatherers were less curious.”

All about audience targeting…

Facebook and Twitter Users’ Personalities, Robot Heater | Week in Ideas –


Kickstarter Comes Into Its Own – Liz Gannes – News – AllThingsD

10 Feb

Kickstarter Comes Into Its Own – Liz Gannes – News – AllThingsD:

I saw Kickstarter described today as the most meta of all startups. Quite.


Urgency as a pricing strategy

10 Feb

In my very recently-past life as a finance journalist, I wrote about topics like high frequency trading and so-called latency arbitrage.

Both of these terms refer, broadly speaking, to the arms race consuming investment banks and hedge funds over who can “react” to a news event (i.e. buy or sell shares in a company that’s just released its earnings, say) the fastest.

In finance, fractions of a second can mean the difference between making money, not making as much money, or indeed losing money.

Time is money, etc.

Which is why the likes of Goldman Sachs and Citibank have been willing to cough up large sums for annual subscriptions to Bloomberg and to ThomsonReuters, both of which specialise in being both fast and accurate.

And it is why both of these organisations are investing in so-called “machine readable news“, the better to serve their increasingly demanding algorithmic clients.

This is all happening alongside the rise of machines writing the news (leading to the inevitable question, “will software replace journalists“?)

The two trends are mutually reinforcing: as more banks and hedge funds use computers and software to both inform their trading decisions and execute transactions, wire services and other news organisations are obliged to speed up the pace at which they get data to their customers in the financial world.

This inequality of access to sensitive (read: potentially profitable) information strikes many as unfair at best, and possibly illegal at worst.

But the likes of Bloomberg and ThomsonReuters and startups like Selerity have built reputations and businesses on perpetuating, or at least facilitating, the information divide.

There’s a lesson in microeconomics here, and one that startups thinking about their monetisation strategy would do well to remember: price discrimination works.

As The Startup Daily put it, urgency creates pricing options:

Some customers place a high value on gaining early access to a product, while others will only buy at a lower price, and are willing to wait to do so. Media companies often use release windows to maximize profits across this urgency spectrum.

[A common example of a pricing-as-timing strategy is “skimming”, which is the practice of charging a comparatively high price at launch – when the early adopters are out in force.]

One to think about.

See also:
Fixed to Flexible: Four Simple Lessons AboutCost, Price, Margin and The OptionsAvailable to The 21st Century Business – Todd Sattersten (PDF)


“I have never seen a successful business model built on the verb ‘should'”

9 Feb

I’m a compulsive underliner. I tend to prefer physical books over their electronic counterparts because “pen based annotation” is still largely superior to fiddling around with the Kindle’s highlight feature.

These were the first sentences I underlined in Mark Briggs’ “Entrepreneurial Journalism: How to build what’s next for news“. They’re from the book’s foreword, written by Jeff Jarvis. You may have heard of him.

Too often, I hear newspaper folk lament that people “should” pay for their news. I have never seen a successful business model built on the verb ‘should’, nor on tradition, virtue or what a journalist most wants to do. Successful, sustainable businesses are built on the public’s, and our success will be measured by how well we satisfy those needs in a competitive marketplace.

It’s important not to think of “pay” solely in monetary terms. Every startup, every business, every brand, every publisher is competiting not just for the public’s money; we are also competing for the (continued) attention of the people formerly known as the audience.

Which may be harder to capture than their wallets.


‘The popular social blogging site Tumblr is hiring writers and editors to cover the world of Tumblr’

8 Feb

So meta my head imploded:

Chris Mohney, a senior vice president for content at BlackBook Media, will be the site’s editor in chief. Jessica Bennett, a senior writer and editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast, will be the executive editor and, she said, a kind of Tumblr correspondent.

“Basically, if Tumblr were a city of 42 million,” Ms. Bennett said, referring to the number of Tumblr blogs that exist, “I’m trying to figure out how we cover the ideas, themes and people who live in it.”

Their work — both documenting the Tumblr service and marketing it to users — will appear on the Web site’s staff blog and on a separate part of that has not been set up yet, a Tumblr spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Source: Blogging Site Tumblr Makes Itself the News – NY Times

As if more examples were needed that the lines between so-called “content creators” (curators?) and “platforms” are indeed blurrier than ever.

[Originally posted at Galavant Media]