You May Take This As Encouragement

Michael Hyatt on why people in traditional publishing need to be blogging (transcribed from the embedded video):

…People get stuck right here. Because they think: ‘Okay; Do I want to start a corporate blog or do I want to start a personal blog?’ And we’ve all seen those personal blogs where it’s just—you know—somebody’s diary, and it’s boring, and it’s not that interesting, and we’ve all seen the corporate sites, where it’s nothing but a stream of PR announcements. You know, I don’t think either one of those will garner a lot of traffic, and I think fundamentally it’s a false dichotomy. I think the best corporate blogs are blogs that are personalized—that are about the individuals in the company that are writing the blog.

We are a nation—maybe a world—of voyeurs. Reality TV is still very popular. People want an inside look at how you think, what you have to say, how your company operates. And the great thing about publishing is it’s very mysterious. I get emails all the time from people who—they can’t fathom how a book makes its way to the market […] but they just don’t know what the process is. They’re mystified by it. And for you to peel back the curtain a little bit in a blog and give people an inside look at your company connects them to your company. And an inside look at your own life connects them to you.

He goes on to list twelve reasons why publishers should be blogging. I think you should watch the video to receive the context and to hear the rest of the talk, because it’s really good. I’ll place a summary of the twelve reasons behind the cut below.

In his post linked above, he entreats other publishers to attend the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference next year (where this talk was taped):

I also one of two traditional publishers who participated in the “CEO Panel.” (The other one was Tim O’Reilly himself.) Surprisingly, I did not see any other CEOs from traditional publishers in attendance. Perhaps I just missed them. Perhaps they sent people to attend. Frankly, I think they need to attend themselves. This is not something you can afford to delegate.

If you are a traditional publisher, you need to be there next year. The world is changing fast. This is the only conference I know of that is totally dedicated to exploring the future of publishing.

I hope this conference gains steam over time. The list of presentations was staggeringly interesting. I plan on watching a handful of the other presentations over the weekend. You can find them at toccon.blip.tv.

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Something for Nothing Can Make You Something

Chris Anderson is the editor-in-chief of Wired.

I don’t expect that to draw you in for a very exciting post. What I do want to share with you is that he believes that the future of commerce and business, especially over the Internet, is in giving things away for free. An article about this very subject was the cover story in Wired about a year ago, and Anderson is writing a book that will be out in July called, simply, Free.

Pay attention to this one, because it’s possibly very revolutionary and is likely to turn some heads. He thinks you should be giving stuff away in order to make money.

He’s not necessarily talking about the Gilette model, either:

Thanks to Gillette, the idea that you can make money by giving something away is no longer radical. But until recently, practically everything “free” was really just the result of what economists would call a cross-subsidy: You’d get one thing free if you bought another, or you’d get a product free only if you paid for a service.

As examples, he mentions that after experimenting with paid content, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are now free to read on the Web (excepting some information in WSJ). At the time of this writing, I can even browse NYT on my iPod touch, using an application they wrote that is also free to download.

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