On May 12, 2015, two big events occurred in the digital universe. The New York Times announced the end of a six-decade tradition, the “Page 1 Meeting,” and Verizon bought AOL for $4.4 Billion.
The infamous New York Times Page 1 Meeting was where the editors from each news desk “hashed out the day’s top stories,” which concluded with the list of articles for the next day’s front page edition.
The Times, now mostly read on smartphones and computers, forced Executive Editor Dean Baquet to “refocus” the Page 1 Meeting to better meet the demands of a “constant news cycle;” now coverage and ranking items for “digital display” will allow the Times “to mobilize faster in the morning so we can get an earlier start on setting news and enterprise priorities.”
Verizon bought AOL for that company’s ability to supply mobile content integrated with advertisements to hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablets. AOL’s content may or may not be worth it, but offering Verizon a mobile ad platform for text and video makes both companies competitors in the Google-Facebook-Yahoo marketspace.
On May 12, 2015, it was Digital Media 2:Print 0.
Both of these events are foreshadowed by Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, Naomi Baron’s latest entry in the field of writing, linguistics, and e-media. Baron, Professor of Linguistics and Executive Director of the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning at American University, is a well established presence in the academic world, and with recent writings has sought a hybrid approach to these complex areas. Thus Words Onscreen is a popular book about e-reading and ebooks supported by scholarly research, examples, and stories as well as contemporary surveys, events, and anecdotes.
Read the full review at the New York Journal of Books
After almost a century in business, electronics stalwart RadioShack has filed for bankruptcy. Their well situated real estate presents an opportunity for one of the companies that put them out of business: Amazon.
Sprint and the hedge fund Standard General agreed to buy 1,500 to 2,400 of RadioShack’s 4,000 company-owned stores in the United States. The current plan is for Sprint to transform 1,750 of the acquired stores into “co-branded Sprint-RadioShack locations” where customers can buy Sprint products and services, and the rest of the store is RadioShack. The primary brand would switch from RadioShack to Sprint.
It is widely believed that Amazon will want some of the remaining stores for their advantageous real estate locations to provide the e-commerce giant with a physical venue for products and services.
If Amazon were to buy RadioShack locations now, or establish a physical presence at some point in the future, what are the likely outcomes and what would we like to see happen?
PBS MediaShift, January 14, 2015
If you don’t like change, don’t work at the Washington Post.
But if you are a consumer of digital news, you can expect some interesting and perhaps delightful innovations. And if you are in the news business, you already know that the old kid on the block has a new owner who is sling-shotting the Washington Post into global digital journalism.
On October 1, 2013, two months after his initial offer, Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, billionaire technologist, tech entrepreneur, and market mover formally became the owner of the Washington Post.
I predicted in 2013 that Bezos would turn the Washington Post upside down. He’s doing just that. He saw the Post as a “black box” for experimentation and development on all levels. The last six months show the challenges of ongoing change and innovation. Here are the highlights…
This is more than just money being thrown at development. It’s a flexible plan that has carefully engineered resources for support and success. And it’s not the first time a company has paired distinct functional staffers to get different or better result in sales, marketing, or production. The Washington Post will be staffed by an integrated digital news team, one in which reporting, editorial, sales and tech development functions intersect and work together in a symbiotic relationship. This is possibly a make-or-break goal for the new Post. There’s no turning back if this new alignment doesn’t work — there isn’t anything left to go back to.
The Man from the Other Washington
The joke going around right now is that nothing will change at the Washington Post, but in two years you’ll only be able to read it on a Kindle.
After seven consecutive years of declining revenue, the Graham family has sold the newspaper to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. As reported in the Washington Post, Post Company Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham explained that “The Post could have survived under the company’s ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future. But we wanted to do more than survive. I’m not saying this guarantees success, but it gives us a much greater chance of success.”
The Graham family bet on Bezos.
So what can we expect to change within the next five years and why? Here are some reasonable assumptions:
Read More at PBS Mediashift:
by Janet Asteroff
Do you like Stein Meat in Brooklyn? Do you like Marcus Lemonis? Here’s a good case study
Selling Your Business
There’s an old adage when travelling that you should “know before you go”.
How much should you tip? What are the local laws and customs? Which side of the road do they drive on? Is it bottled water or tap?
In the same way, it’s wise to be prepared for your next excursion to avoid any foreign faux pas, it’s equally important if you want to avoid any expensive problems when selling (or buying) a business.
Knowing as much about the company’s financial position before buying, selling or merging a business is essential – otherwise you often won’t get the best deal and will be liable to make expensive mistakes. (See “How to Value a Business – Asset Valuation” and “How to avoid scams when looking for investment” for more background on valuing a business.)
Whether buying or selling, it’s essential to make sure you consider the full facts when valuing a business. How much is the machinery worth in the current marketplace? How are the intellectual property assets valued today? How much cash in on the books? How much money is the company owed? How much does it owe to banks and others? What’s the payroll?
But what happens when business valuations go wrong?
“The Profit” – Marcus Lemonis
Marcus Lemonis is chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises. He has approximately 6,000 employees in over 100 cities. Forbes Magazine estimates his consolidated companies “will record close to $2.5 Billion (£1.2bn, €1.5bn) in sales in 2013.”1 An investor and turnaround guru, he works with small businesses to make them successful.
Check it out http://sellingyourbusiness.com/business-valuations-go-wrong/
Selling Your Business
It’s easy to feel a bit left out these days.
Facebook bought global messaging giant WhatsApp for $16 Billion (£9.5bn, €11bn). Google bought crowd-sourced navigation app WAZE for $1.3 Billion (£600m, €722m). And Airbnb, which lets you rent your spare room to strangers, has a market capitalization of about $10 Billion (£6bn, €7bn), more than the established hospitality chains Hyatt, $8.4 Billion (almost £5bn, €6bn), and Wyndham, $9.3 Billion (£5.5bn, €7bn).
The technology sector has money to burn for acquisitions, and well-placed startups anywhere in the world can offer them the right technologies, talent for growth and competitive advantage.
How do large, cash-rich technology companies make these decisions? And how do newer, smaller companies decide that to sell to them is to their advantage, rather than remain independent? And what does this mean to everyone else who owns a non-high tech business?
Check it out at Selling Your Business: http://sellingyourbusiness.com/worth-much-lessons-high-tech-sales/
Review by: Janet Asteroff for The New York Journal of Books
There are still people out there who don’t think the Internet is a good medium for conducting business. Those people should read this book so they can understand how to make it work for them. It doesn’t mean all other forms of commerce are gone, but if you want to stick to the old, it’s sort of like betting on the railroad rather than the airplane. Both have their place in this world, but the people who built the railroads are long gone. The people who are building the Internet are here, with more all the time.
For communication, the Internet is overkill. How many forms of communication do we need to get the message? Email, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, iTunes, Google+, Instagram, and on and on and on. Multiples in each category. Kind of like having 20 phone numbers for 20 telephones in 1901. Is it an embarrassment of riches? Maybe. But the signal-to-noise ratio for communications is off.
If you want to understand how the Internet shapes what, how, and why we do things, then put a hold on your games, blogs, tweets, text messages, emails, and videos, and spend some time absorbing the messages of Clive Thompson’s Smarter Than You Think. This book is required reading for anyone interested in, working in, or enjoying the culture of the Internet.
If you’ve read all the books on how the Internet and World Wide Web change our lives and thinking, be prepared to step up a significant level, because Smarter Than You Think puts the Internet in the chronological timeline not only of the printing press, typewriter, and telephone but of the larger schemes of orality and literacy that shaped societies.
Smarter Than You Think is a superb book. Read my review of this wonderful book in The New York Journal of Books
If you’ve ever felt that all this email, facebook, and twitter stuff was getting away from you, get back in control by setting boundaries. You might look at Anne Katherine’s Boundaries in an Overconnected World: Setting Limits to Preserve Your Focus, Privacy, Relationships, and Sanity. If you want better communication skills, then read this book.
If you can’t stop reading your email, tweeting, or facebooking all day, then this book’s for you. If you have employees who are compromising their productivity, then Boundaries will help you get them back on the right path.
To try to keep your communication professional at work, don’t spend time on personal messages. Don’t interrupt your workflow to handle non-essential matters, and concentrate on the task at hand. Setting boundaries is important for you, your co-workers, and your job. In the end, if you set up your workflow right, you’ll be happier, more productive, and certainly less distracted.
Managers should pay attention to this book because it will help them focus their staff more fully on the work in front of them, and cut down on the number of distractions they face during the day. Some companies limit access to social media and external email sites for security purposes. If you don’t want to do that, or your business doesn’t warrant it, get a copy of Boundaries in an Overconnected World for your staff.
Check out my review of Boundaries in an Overconnected World at the New York Journal of Books
By the way, if you want to read one of the first pieces written on how to manage email, what to do, what not to do, see the 1985 Toward an Ethics and Etiquette for Electronic Mail by our two favorite RAND researchers, Norman Shapiro and Robert H. Anderson. It’s a great read, now it’s free. RAND, along with the Institute for the Future, were the pioneers in the study of email usage in professional settings. The url is: http://www.rand.org/pubs/reports/R3283.html
The Shallows: What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains
by Nicholas Carr
Review by: Janet Asteroff for The New York Journal of Books
Point. Click. Scroll. Scan. Point. Click. Scroll. Scan. Repeat until you walk away or shut off the computer, smart phone, or tablet.
This is how we communicate, get information, work, and even play. Most importantly, in the age of the Internet and the Word Wide Web, this is how our rewired brains are becoming comfortable with reading and writing.
The persuasive and comprehensive case for this current state of affairs is made by Nicholas Carr in The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, the paperback release of this Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Mr. Carr, the author of the provocative Does IT Matter? (2004), and The Big Switch (2008), is a thought leader to be reckoned with when it comes to interpreting how technology, history, business, and society interact to determine the way we live now and in the foreseeable future.
Indeed, Mr. Carr admits that to write The Shallows, he removed himself from “a highly connected suburb of Boston to the mountains of Colorado,” which lacked cell phone service and high-speed Internet access. “When I began writing The Shallows, toward the end of 2007, I struggled in vain to keep my mind fixed on the task. The Net provided, as always, a bounty of useful information and research tools, but its constant interruptions scattered my thoughts and words. I tended to write in disconnected sprits, the same way I wrote when blogging.”
Mr. Carr also shut down the agents of communication, those ever-present reasons to stop reading and writing in the traditional way and return instead to the point-and-click of the computer or smart phone to check in. He canceled his Twitter account, suspended his access to Facebook, “shut down” his automatic news reader, and “curtailed Skypeing and instant messaging. Most important, I throttled back my e-mail application.”
To Read more about how the Internet is changing your brains, go to the New York Journal of Books >>
Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom
by Rebecca MacKinnon
Review by Janet Asteroff for The New York Journal of Books
Released: February 1, 2012
Publisher: Basic Books (320 pages)
Go ahead, click the Facebook “Like” button on your friend’s cat picture. Don’t think twice about it. You’re being a good netizen who participates in collegial dialogue and keeps the world safe for democracy. And you are being a good friend.
Facebook’s multibillion dollar IPO has been valued, as least in part, on the capture of just this kind of personal data from the “Like” click. What seems innocuous—or at least innocent—to the average user, translates into monetary benefit for the Company and its many advertisers and affiliates. Seven years of data from approximately 800 million users will drive considerable targeted advertising and resulting revenue for Facebook and related entities.
And if that doesn’t work, Facebook has many other avenues for continued success as a versatile communications company. So WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell can stop his handwringing about Facebook’s bad plan to monetize via advertising and commercial messages, which is the business of WPP. Mr. Sorrell thinks that Facebook is better suited as a “PR and word-of-mouth medium.” Somebody should reacquaint Mr. Sorrell with the theories of Joseph Schumpeter, the latest edition of What Color Is Your Parachute?, and make sure he has a LinkedIn profile.
To Read more about freedom in the networked world, go to the New York Journal of Books >>