• Print

Coming to Grips with the "Unthinkable" in Publishing

While much of the Twitter chatter this past weekend was about the annual South by Southwest festival and conference, there was quite a bit of “retweeting” of links to a post by Clay Shirky:

During the wrenching transition to print, experiments were only revealed in retrospect to be turning points. Aldus Manutius, the Venetian printer and publisher, invented the smaller octavo volume along with italic type. What seemed like a minor change — take a book and shrink it — was in retrospect a key innovation in the democratization of the printed word. As books became cheaper, more portable, and therefore more desirable, they expanded the market for all publishers, heightening the value of literacy still further.

That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing. (Luther and the Church both insisted, for years, that whatever else happened, no one was talking about a schism.) Ancient social bargains, once disrupted, can neither be mended nor quickly replaced, since any such bargain takes decades to solidify.

And so it is today. When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.

There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.

I’ll second Tim O’Reilly’s reaction to the piece:

This is a piece that anyone concerned with the future of publishing simply MUST read.

It’s a long post, but well worth a close read (and re-read). Though Clay’s talking about newspapers, much of what he has to say applies to book publishing in particular, as well as media in general.

More on Shirky’s post from Mark Bertils (@mdash) over at indexmb.com:

Journalism is the act. Newspapers are the artifact. The infrastructure around the artifact is imploding, never to be replaced.

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  • http://www.smashwords.com Mark Coker

    I was particularly struck by the line, “The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place.”

    It made me think of p-books vs. e-books. E-, unburdened by the expense of pulped tree and carbon-fueled delivery truck, offers the opportunity for publishers and authors to sell their product for less yet still make a greater per-unit profit.

    However, what becomes of all the disintermediated intermediaries who contributed costs (and earned income) by growing the trees, pulping the trees, manufacturing paper, shipping paper, manufacturing ink, shipping ink, printing and binding books, manufacturing and packing the boxes the books are packaged in for shipping, driving the trucks and piloting the boats and airplanes that move the books, working the book warehouses, working the receiving docks, working at the bookstores to unpack and shelve the books, and provided the labor to box up and ship books to remainderers who ship to someone else, etc etc?

    And what becomes of the good people who create, publish and add value to books? Personally, I think they have a bright future if they play their cards right.

  • bowerbird

    mark said:
    > what becomes of all the disintermediated intermediaries who

    they rejoice that they no longer have to do such trivial “work”,
    and they then become artists and free their imaginations and
    springboard the potential that creates the world of tomorrow,
    and we all live happily ever after…

    > I think they have a bright future if they play their cards right.

    for the most part (except your reliance on that lame ms-word),
    i like the way your hand looks now, mark. you’re playing it fine.

    -bowerbird

  • Russ Wilcox

    “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.” – loved that line from Clay Shirky

    Today journalists give away their product for free on the web. News becomes a commodity. Ad dollars are spread thin across infinite web sites, and no one paper can earn much.

    Letting Google index this was the ultimate act in self-commoditization. When Google points to 657 articles within a few hours of an event, it suggests worthlessness of any one article.

    Ironically, the high number really means that the story is important and thus more valuable to a reader. When Google is the ad network, they get the benefit of this arbitrage.

    The newspaper industry has – in business terms – locked itself in a price war of “free” when it comes to digital. This is a strategy for failure and it is accelerating.

    Here is a better strategy: do not give away your work for free on the web. (please read twice)

    Clay Shirky calls for experimentation. Can’t agree. Any one paper working alone can never break the vicious cycle above, because they will immediately lose ad dollars to those who remain open.

    So let’s call for leadership. Cooperation among newspapers is the only way to end this. The major newspaper chains must cooperate to shut down the free journalism portion of all web sites en masse. AP and Reuters must stop selling content to Google and the like at commodity rates.

    That alone is not enough, because 300 newspapers paysites would still be locked in a price war. What is needed is even further collaboration, where (a) people can buy a single electronic subscription to a pool of content at a price less than a paper subscription; (b) all ads sold with the pool’s electronic content are sold by a central agency; (c) readers can either personalize their news or adopt a “viewpoint” from a local newspaper that reflects local editorial judgment thus preserving the value of editorial; and (d) the content is available under digital rights management in a convenient way. As a result, the journalistic work of the pool is no longer a commodity; it is valuable and can support a stream of profits.

    To this pool, each paper donates its journalism, proposes its viewpoint, sells local ads with its salesforce, and sells subscriptions with its local subscriber team. Local papers would also retain their paper operations as they stand and would operate geographically-relevant community websites.

    From the pool, dollars are shared by formula according to ad sales, subscriber sales, and journalistic contribution as measured by actual readership.

    What about anti-trust? This is the typical objection I hear about the pool concept and it dumbfounds me. Folks, you are the media. This is a solvable problem for you, if you make your case to society. You do play a key role in democracy and the government needs to back you.

    Do subscribers buy this? Yes a great number will pay for professional journalism and editing. They used to pay $299 so a number like $99 which is feasible electronically would be a real bargain and restore subscriber numbers.

    Will advertisers buy? Yes, they will follow the eyeballs. And since all the eyeballs will be on one network of content, and only one place to buy ad space, the pool can charge a fair price.

    Finally, will newspapers cooperate? Well, they will go out of business until the ones who remain cooperate. Pride goeth before a fall.

  • bowerbird

    nice try, russ.

    won’t work.

    first of all, there are those pesky t.v. stations,
    giving away “the news” for _free_, and they
    aren’t going to stop doing that, because they
    _actually_make_money_ giving away “the news”
    at a price of zero. so they’ll step into the gap
    created if the newspapers did what you propose.

    further, there are lots of websites that would also
    love to fill the vacuum that your plan would create.

    so your consortium will be the same type of suicide
    newspapers are now doing, just by different means.

    having said all that, i would love to see ‘em try it!
    it would sure be more interesting than the current
    death-spiral. moreover, i think it would give us a
    valuable perspective on how the new will manifest,
    which is now underground and thus less visible…

    -bowerbird

  • Russ Wilcox

    Bowerbird,

    The question is whether the country’s professional newspaper journalists and editors as a group are actually good at their jobs – can they provide information that is more valuable than other news sources? I think they can – and therefore have something of value to offer. With the current web business model, they are not paid for that superior value. With the centralized pool subscription, they can both charge for that and sell advertising alongside.

    TV cannot do what print can do in terms of breadth and depth of coverage. TV people who put their stories into print on the web will have the same problem as newspapers – there’s no real money there. That said, there’s no reason to exclude the top TV news sites from joining the pool and thus enhancing its value for all.

    If the pool has 1,000 professional journalists who actually charge a fee for the value they create each day and are therefore paid, they will provide a superior product vs. any freebie or volunteer site. That what will make the pool a must-have subscription for million of people. Even if people see some news from other sites and media, they will not want to miss the daily news from the largest and best source.

    Russ

  • bowerbird

    russ said:
    > The question is whether the country’s
    > professional newspaper journalists and editors
    > as a group are actually good at their jobs

    their job these days, as it has been for some time, is
    largely covering the tracks of their corporate masters
    by distracting the people from the tricks being played.

    and yeah, they’re pretty good at that.

    and the t.v. people are great at showing us footage
    of any fires and car-chases that happened that day.

    as for the important stuff — like, say, for instance,
    an industry-wide financial-services scam that took
    america down into a 700-trillion-dollar black hole
    – well, um… gee, maybe not _quite_ so good, eh?

    then again, we’re certainly well-informed on octomom.
    of course, that seems to have come at the expense of
    some slippage on the britney watch, don’t you agree?

    > can they provide information that is more valuable
    > than other news sources? I think they can – and
    > therefore have something of value to offer.

    ok, hold that thought, i’ll get to it down below…

    > TV cannot do what print can do in terms of
    > breadth and depth of coverage.

    and breadth and depth is what the public demands!

    do you know the reason newspapers are in trouble?
    simple. not enough people are buying or subscribing.

    that’s because we don’t have enough time or money.
    mostly, we don’t have enough time to justify spending
    the money that newspapers are charging these days…

    so we get our news off the web, where it’s cheaper and
    faster and more convenient and we can control the flow.

    and newspapers didn’t react fast enough to this change.
    the world changed, and we changed, and they didn’t…

    > If the pool has 1,000 professional journalists who
    > actually charge a fee for the value they create each day
    > and are therefore paid

    your “therefore” right there is a very curious choice, a
    _tremendously_ curious choice. just exactly what is the
    mechanism by which they charge and “therefore” get paid?

    how do they prevent the websites that buy their service
    and then simply “pass on” all the news to everyone else,
    for free, making money off the resultant tons of eyeballs?

    just because you _charge_ doesn’t mean you’ll get _paid_.
    your customers have to have a compelling reason to _buy_.

    > they will provide a superior product
    > vs. any freebie or volunteer site.

    the problem is, it’s impossible to “own” the “news”.

    if there really was a fire on 34th street, and you report it,
    then somebody else can take your report and tell others
    “there was a fire on 34th street”. you cannot _own_ that.

    you probably can’t even stop people from reporting that
    “the wilcox superior news-pool reported a fire on 34th.”

    > That what will make the pool
    > a must-have subscription for million of people.

    well, the good news for you, and for your pool, is that
    i can pooh-pooh the idea from now until next year, but
    if you are correct, my opinion will be of no consequence.

    so even though _i_ believe it would be a waste of your time,
    if _you_ think the idea will work, russ, try to make it happen!

    i encourage you to believe in your dreams, and act on them!

    i’m not opposed to reporters being paid a fair wage, not at all.
    in fact, i am all in favor of it, especially if they do a great job…
    so if you really believe this is the way for them to get paid, do it!

    -bowerbird

  • http://www.daynal.org Rob Davis

    The “media” is as ever, but material scaffolding used to build the various stages of the only enduring “medium”- mind.

  • Russ Wilcox

    Bowerbird,

    You write wonderfully and humorously and I really enjoyed your posts!

    Let’s pick out four of your major points:

    (1) Most people are content with tabloid news rather than useful news, and so “quality of reporting” is not worth a subscription fee.

    - Great comment and it is (tragically) supported by the trends. Let’s agree that tabloid news – like junk food – is unhealthy as a pure and steady diet. And some other time you could hopefully explain to me what exactly the rise of sensationalist news in America, along with simultaneous rises in personal debt and obesity, reveals about our culture and whether this is something we can correct before it is too late.
    - I have an impression that the “here’s a fire / click on Britney” problem is worst on free TV, then on the web, and actually major daily newspapers do the best here. There is something inversely correlated to attention span – when you surf on impulse, your impulses lead you to tabloid news.
    - In short, people *need* an editor if they are to have a healthy diet of information and reading at least promotes a better degree of concentration than other media.
    - That is value provided by a newspaper – and a large segment of consumers will appreciate that.
    - Ultimately, the question on the table is how to serve up the news profitably, and not really a referendum on how to correct the bad habits of Americans who want trashy news.

    (2) The web is cheaper, more convenient, and more customized than the print newspaper.

    - Totally agree. Actually I advocate for an electronic newspaper with an electronic paper screen, but anyway the issue of whether to charge money for a newspaper’s website is separate from whether to distribute news digitally where it gets all the benefits of customization.

    (3) You can’t own the news. Someone can always post “News Pool Reports That …”

    - Well… OK but is someone going to rewrite all of the content of the 1,000 reporters?
    - Models like iTunes suggest it is possible to charge for digital content and not have it rampantly reposted in a way that destroys your business.
    - If you do not let people link your whole article, then people talking about your headlines will actually drive them to be curious and pay for the pool subscription.

    (4) Stop talking; start doing.

    - My company E Ink devoted the past 12 years to developing an electronic paper display, so that newspapers can do exactly what is proposed above. We have skin in the game and working hard to make the above more and more feasible.
    - Rupert Murdoch seems to be starting to think this way, see here:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_cableshow_murdoch
    - And we can see it starting to get aligned politically here:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSTRE52H81K20090318
    - So a bit of momentum is getting started that could be used to create the News Pool above.
    - The way a “pool” gets started is not through one person or even one company’s actions, rather it is by the growing endorsement of a mass of people.
    - So it is time for the types of people in this TOC community to speak up, if they want to see a Pool concept emerge and create a sustainable news enterprise.

    Best,
    Russ

  • bowerbird

    russ said:
    > You write wonderfully and humorously
    > and I really enjoyed your posts!

    did dale carneigie tell you to say that? ;+)

    some people call me a troll.
    other people love my humor.
    i’m just one big rorschach blot.

    > Let’s pick out four of your major points:

    ok, let’s…

    > (1) Most people are content with tabloid news
    > rather than useful news, and so “quality of
    > reporting” is not worth a subscription fee.

    i’m quite certain i never said that, although once
    i think about it, i’m not so sure that i’d disagree…

    people don’t seem to _demand_ “quality reporting”,
    that’s for sure. the government seems to be able to
    lie to us whenever it’s convenient for them to do so,
    and big business seems to have the same “pass” too.

    plus then there’s the stuff that they just don’t tell us…
    “oh, did we forget to mention we’re tapping your phone?”

    > Let’s agree that tabloid news – like junk food –
    > is unhealthy as a pure and steady diet.

    agreed.

    > And some other time you could hopefully explain to me
    > what exactly the rise of sensationalist news in America,
    > along with simultaneous rises in personal debt and obesity,
    > reveals about our culture

    sorry to disappoint you, russ, but i can’t do miracles…
    i can do funny. sometimes, according to some people.
    but i can’t do miracles.

    > and whether this is something
    > we can correct before it is too late.

    well, i can probably answer _that_ part.
    but you won’t like the answer, i’m afraid.

    > when you surf on impulse,
    > your impulses lead you to tabloid news.

    maybe that’s where your impulses lead you.
    mine take this bird on a beeline to the porn… ;+)

    > In short, people *need* an editor if they are
    > to have a healthy diet of information and
    > reading at least promotes a better degree
    > of concentration than other media.

    hey, i think i can agree with all of that, russ.

    now the question is whether people will _pay_
    for such an “editor”, and have the _discipline_
    to engage in that concentration.

    again, i’m afraid we won’t like the answer…

    > That is value provided by a newspaper – and
    > a large segment of consumers will appreciate that.

    well, maybe. but the truth of the matter is that
    reality has already provided us with the answer:
    people don’t buy dead-tree newspapers any more,
    not in the numbers the newspaper industry needs.

    it’s not a matter of “should”, it’s a matter of “did not”.

    and when the people stop reading the dead-tree paper,
    advertisers stop buying ads in the dead-tree paper, and
    the dead-tree paper can no longer afford to print itself.

    > Ultimately, the question on the table is
    > how to serve up the news profitably, and
    > not really a referendum on how to correct the
    > bad habits of Americans who want trashy news.

    actually, it would be rad if we can do both.

    > whether to charge money for a newspaper’s website
    > is separate from whether to distribute news digitally
    > where it gets all the benefits of customization.

    i would say the issue of “whether to charge money for a
    newspapers’ website” should first depend on the answer to
    the question about whether it’s even _possible_ to do that.

    and since the answer to that question is “probably not”,
    any further questions would fall into the “moot” category.

    > Well… OK but is someone going to rewrite
    > all of the content of the 1,000 reporters?

    yep. thousands and thousands of people will rewrite it,
    and re-post it (for free) in order to accompany their ads.

    and a couple intelligent computerized routines will make it
    simple to do, with relatively little need for human guidance.

    > Models like iTunes suggest it is possible to
    > charge for digital content and not have it
    > rampantly reposted in a way that destroys your business.

    that’s because each album is unique, and thus “ownable”,
    while news consists of “facts” and is thus not “ownable”…

    _editorial_ might be “ownable”, if opinions weren’t so cheap,
    and easy to rewrite. but “facts” are quite difficult to corral…

    > If you do not let people link your whole article,
    > then people talking about your headlines will actually
    > drive them to be curious and pay for the pool subscription.

    but that’s not what the new york times, and others, have found.

    they found that, if you don’t let people link to your whole article,
    they won’t talk about your article at all, let alone your headline.

    instead, they link to another version of “the facts” that _does_
    “let” them link. you lose pagerank; your competition gains it…

    > My company E Ink

    your name sounded very familiar! but i didn’t place it. sorry.
    ok, well that helps me put your arguments into some context.

    > We have skin in the game and working hard
    > to make the above more and more feasible.

    well, you’re in a better position than most to do something.

    but i will suggest that you move _very_quickly_, because time
    is of the essence. dead-tree newspapers are already folding.

    the only reservation i’d have is that you guys can’t do color yet.
    (please don’t tell me it will be here “in a few years”. you guys
    have been saying that about your technology for 15 years now.)

    if you can’t do color, then you can’t really do justice to _fires_.
    let alone _porn_… ;+)

    > Murdoch seems to be starting to think this way, see here:
    > http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_cableshow_murdoch

    act quickly.

    > And we can see it starting to get aligned politically here:
    > http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSTRE52H81K20090318

    you can’t afford to wait for “political alignment”.

    > So a bit of momentum is getting started that
    > could be used to create the News Pool above.

    i live on the edge of the continent. i often watch the sun set
    into santa monica bay, in this nice park along the palasades.
    (yes, it’s the famous “palasades park”.)

    lots of people, tourists and natives, stop to watch the sunset.

    and the one thing you hear, more than any other thing, is this:
    “once it starts to go, it goes really fast.”

    and it’s true. from the time the bottom of the sun hits the bay,
    the whole bright fiery ball ends up disappearing _very_quickly_.
    can’t tell you how many times i missed it because i looked away,
    for the slightest moment, thinking i had more time than i did…

    so too with this situation, russ. it has already started to go, and
    “once it starts to go, it goes really fast.” don’t look away, russ…

    > The way a “pool” gets started is not through one person
    > or even one company’s actions, rather it is by
    > the growing endorsement of a mass of people.

    you’ll never get that. and if you sit around waiting for it, you’ll
    lose the little time you have left. you need to _go_for_it_now_.

    steve jobs said “we don’t use focus groups at apple, because
    people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

    you need to take that attitude.

    but if i were advising you, it’d be to think bigger than news…
    people have shown that they can live fine without much news.
    you need to give them a screen that links them wirelessly to
    a whole raft of services, such that — once they have them –
    they cannot live without them. at least not _voluntarily_… :+)

    you need to hire lots of smart people to invent those services.
    because we won’t know we need ‘em until you show ‘em to us.

    -bowerbird

  • bowerbird

    russ-

    i responded, but it’s caught up in the spam filter.

    in the meantime, though…

    > it is time for the types of people
    > in this TOC community to speak up,

    um, if you want “the t.o.c. community”, they aren’t here.
    they don’t have the patience (or chops) to spar with me.
    they’re far too busy twitching to each other on twitter…
    so, if you wanna catch up to ‘em, that’s where they are.
    but you know the drill, right? 140 characters or less…
    yep, that’s where the deep thinkers are, twitching away.

    -bowerbird

  • bowerbird

    russ-

    well, it appears the o’reilly chaps have abandoned us here,
    so i am reposting the message that was hung up earlier…

    ***

    russ said:
    > You write wonderfully and humorously
    > and I really enjoyed your posts!

    did dale carnegie tell you to say that? ;+)

    some people call me a troll.
    other people love my humor.
    i’m just one big rorschach blot.

    > Let’s pick out four of your major points:

    ok, let’s…

    > (1) Most people are content with tabloid news
    > rather than useful news, and so “quality of
    > reporting” is not worth a subscription fee.

    i’m quite certain i never said that, although once
    i think about it, i’m not so sure that i’d disagree…

    people don’t seem to _demand_ “quality reporting”,
    that’s for sure. the government seems to be able to
    lie to us whenever it’s convenient for them to do so,
    and big business seems to have the same “pass” too.

    plus then there’s the stuff that they just don’t tell us…
    “oh, did we forget to mention we’re tapping your phone?”

    > Let’s agree that tabloid news – like junk food –
    > is unhealthy as a pure and steady diet.

    agreed.

    > And some other time you could hopefully explain to me
    > what exactly the rise of sensationalist news in America,
    > along with simultaneous rises in personal debt and obesity,
    > reveals about our culture

    sorry to disappoint you, russ, but i can’t do miracles…
    i can do funny. sometimes, according to some people.
    but i can’t do miracles.

    > and whether this is something
    > we can correct before it is too late.

    well, i can probably answer _that_ part.
    but you won’t like the answer, i’m afraid.

    > when you surf on impulse,
    > your impulses lead you to tabloid news.

    maybe that’s where your impulses lead you.
    mine take this bird on a beeline to the pr0n… ;+)

    (that’s the word that got this post hung up earlier.)

    > In short, people *need* an editor if they are
    > to have a healthy diet of information and
    > reading at least promotes a better degree
    > of concentration than other media.

    hey, i think i can agree with all of that, russ.

    now the question is whether people will _pay_
    for such an “editor”, and have the _discipline_
    to engage in that concentration.

    again, i’m afraid we won’t like the answer…

    > That is value provided by a newspaper – and
    > a large segment of consumers will appreciate that.

    well, maybe. but the truth of the matter is that
    reality has already provided us with the answer:
    people don’t buy dead-tree newspapers any more,
    not in the numbers the newspaper industry needs.

    it’s not a matter of “should”, it’s a matter of “did not”.

    and when the people stop reading the dead-tree paper,
    advertisers stop buying ads in the dead-tree paper, and
    the dead-tree paper can no longer afford to print itself.

    > Ultimately, the question on the table is
    > how to serve up the news profitably, and
    > not really a referendum on how to correct the
    > bad habits of Americans who want trashy news.

    actually, it would be rad if we can do both.

    > whether to charge money for a newspaper’s website
    > is separate from whether to distribute news digitally
    > where it gets all the benefits of customization.

    i would say the issue of “whether to charge money for a
    newspapers’ website” should first depend on the answer to
    the question about whether it’s even _possible_ to do that.

    and since the answer to that question is “probably not”,
    any further questions would fall into the “moot” category.

    > Well… OK but is someone going to rewrite
    > all of the content of the 1,000 reporters?

    yep. thousands and thousands of people will rewrite it,
    and re-post it (for free) in order to accompany their ads.

    and a couple intelligent computerized routines will make it
    simple to do, with relatively little need for human guidance.

    > Models like iTunes suggest it is possible to
    > charge for digital content and not have it
    > rampantly reposted in a way that destroys your business.

    that’s because each album is unique, and thus “ownable”,
    while news consists of “facts” and is thus not “ownable”…

    _editorial_ might be “ownable”, if opinions weren’t so cheap,
    and easy to rewrite. but “facts” are quite difficult to corral…

    > If you do not let people link your whole article,
    > then people talking about your headlines will actually
    > drive them to be curious and pay for the pool subscription.

    but that’s not what the new york times, and others, have found.

    they found that, if you don’t let people link to your whole article,
    they just won’t talk about your article at all, let alone a headline.

    instead, they’ll link to another version of “the facts” that _does_
    “let” ‘em link. you lose pagerank, and your competition gains it.

    > My company E Ink

    your name was very familiar! but i didn’t place it… sorry…
    ok, well that helps me put your arguments into some context.

    > We have skin in the game and working hard
    > to make the above more and more feasible.

    well, you’re in a better position than most to do something.

    but i would suggest that you move _very_quickly_, because time
    is of the essence. dead-tree newspapers are already folding.

    the only reservation i’d have is that you guys can’t do color yet.
    (please don’t tell me it will be here “in a few years”. you guys
    have been saying that about your technology for 15 years now.)

    and if you can’t do color, you can’t really do justice to _fires_.
    let alone _pr0n_… ;+)

    > Rupert Murdoch seems to be starting to think this way

    act quickly.

    > And we can see it starting to get aligned politically here:

    you can’t afford to wait for “political alignment”.

    > So a bit of momentum is getting started that
    > could be used to create the News Pool above.

    i live on the edge of the continent. i often watch the sun set
    into santa monica bay, in a nice little park along the palasades.
    (yes, it’s the famous “palasades park”.)

    lots of people, tourists and natives, stop to watch the sunset.

    and the one thing you hear, more than any other thing, is this:
    “once it starts to go, it goes really fast.”

    and it’s true. from the time the bottom of the sun hits the bay,
    the whole bright fiery ball ends up disappearing _very_quickly_.
    can’t tell you how many times i missed it because i looked away,
    for the _slightest_ moment, thinking i had more time than i did.

    so too with this situation, russ. it has already started to go, and
    “once it starts to go, it goes really fast.” don’t look away, russ…

    > The way a “pool” gets started is not through one person
    > or even one company’s actions, rather it is by
    > the growing endorsement of a mass of people.

    you’ll never get that. and if you sit around waiting for it, you will
    lose the little time you have left. you need to _go_for_it_now_.

    steve jobs once said “apple doesn’t use focus groups, because
    people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

    you need to take that attitude.

    but if i were to advise you, it’d be to think bigger than news.
    people have shown that they can live fine without much news.
    you need to give ‘em a screen that links them to a whole raft of
    services that — once they have ‘em — they cannot live without.

    you need to hire loads of smart people to invent those services.
    because people won’t know they need it until you show it to ‘em.

    -bowerbird