There Are No Sacred Cows

By September 14, 2010E-Rep

(This is a guest post by my old friend and colleague, Ray Charland of Lead Dog SellingThink as you read this piece.  There’s a subtle, yet powerful message regarding the necessity of creating and growing your “e-Rep.”  Please forgive his fondness for the Red Sox and Celtics…)

My sister Kathy is an avid reader. Her dining room and den have floor to ceiling bookcases that are home to more books than I care to count and equipped with rolling ladders to get to the top shelves.

Nicholas Negroponte, Director of the renowned MIT Media Lab, a frequent contributor to Wired, wrote a book titled “Being Digital” in 1995. His basic premise is that atoms (physical things) will be rapidly converted to bits (binary streams of data) and distributed over high-speed packet networks (the Internet). As an example, he refers to books as “ink crudely spread onto dead trees.” My sister’s library! She would disagree.

However, Kathy recently became the proud owner of a  Kindle, a wireless reading device that comes equipped with free Global 3G and Wi-Fi. It weighs less than a paperback, can download a book from anywhere in less than 60 seconds and can hold 3500 books in memory. A single battery charge lasts over one month with the wireless turned off. The cost is about $190 bucks.

Kathy loves her books but wouldn’t give up her Kindle for anything.

Visit a Hollywood Video or Blockbuster lately? Netflix killed them. Even Netflix moved on from putting 2 million DVD’s (atoms) in the mail each day to digital film downloads in seconds.

Newspapers? Advertisers have shifted budgets to the Internet in huge numbers since about mid-2008. With the exception of the Wall Street Journal, subscriptions are falling like a rock. Yet, these same papers offer their content on-line for free while they’re struggling to come up with a new business model. Wanna invest in the Chicago Tribune?

Rupert Murdock paid a 2/3 premium for Dow Jones, which included the acquisition of the Wall Street Journal. Why? Content.

Ted Turner purchased Warner Brothers’ pre 1986 film library. Why? Content. With over 500 TV channels offering little more than mindless entertainment produced for the average 12 year old, excepting of course the Red Sox and the Celtics, content is king. Good content is limited. The number of channels is increasing.

Take a look at this video clip of Vint Cert, recognized “Father of the Internet” expressing his views on the future of Television. Note that TV is faced with the same drop in ad revenues as the newspapers and are also struggling with finding a new business model.

Just click on the photo and enjoy the video. It’s five minutes that will keep you thinking.

As for my local TV station, the weather guy comes on and says something like “Some interesting weather in store for us. Stay tuned for my forecast at 6:00” I hate this. Just tell me now! Then the anchor comes on with “First Birthdays.” “Happy birthday greetings go out to John Jason Smith in Coventry, RI.” At this point, and more often than not, I find myself gagging over my Cheerios.

As for radio, I don’t listen anymore. More advertising dollars out the window on the backs of lemmings. I have a PC input to my 44″ flat screen and set-up my own custom music/video playlist using YouTube. When I’m in the car, I use my iPod.

If there’s a Lead Dog out there, my vote goes to Steve Jobs. You could’ve bought Apple stock eight years ago for around $50 per share. Today it’s worth about $250. Their market cap is more than MicroSoft, GM, Boeing and a lot more.

While the editors, publishers and network execs are whining, the dreamers and visionaries in the garage in Cupertino got it right.

The Times They Are A-Changin Recognize it. Embrace it. Profit from it.

As for me, I’m off to my sister Kathy’s to thank her for the spark of this idea.

Think about it.

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