Saturday, December 22, 2007

Book or magazine?

Fray Busted Demo, originally uploaded by fraying.

I'm not sure printed publications are going to be so easy to classify as either book or magazine in the future. Derek's Fray is an example.

This demo was produced on an HP Indigo 5000 commercial digital press:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Finding Everywhere

Finding Everywhere, originally uploaded by Telstar Logistics.

The cold reality of the newsstand. I bet there will always be newsstands, but as mags become more niche, there is obviously a challenge with the format. There isn't enough physical space to represent even a small fraction of the marketplace of magazines. We need some newsstand innovation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Putting the touchy-feely into Web 2.0

A few quotes I like from Christina Wodtke today:

"In other words, Web 2.0 is made of people."

" begin to see how social networks can be as effective in solving retrieval problems as data networks (i.e. taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, etc.)"

"I notice how terrified we in the technology business are of the human aspects of our work. This theme will come up later, as we look at the question "does technology matter to virtual community building", but for now let's note it's hard to use "peace" and "love" these days without irony and a certain amount of distancing. Are we so scared of aspirational emotions? If we are going to talk about social systems, we are going to have to face the fact that terms like Love and Caring and Friendship are probably going to come up, so stop giggling."

Put these together over at: "What is Community Anyway?" from IA? EH.

Monday, December 17, 2007

HP Labs as "hit factory"?

HP Labs has been working its way through a fairly major reorganization the past few months, and the PR machinery is using that to raise some visibility in the press. This Fortune article has a nice quote that sums up my feelings pretty well:
"Along the way, there are many things that could go wrong. Chuck Geschke, who left Xerox PARC with his friend John Warnock and 25 years ago co-founded Adobe Systems, notes that no one has yet cracked the unique code for making advanced research consistently pay off. “There must be something special, because not everyone’s able to do it as well as they anticipate,” Geschke says. And perhaps there is no perfect formula at all. “You have to accept the fact that if you’re really pushing the envelope, some of what you do won’t work out.”"
FORTUNE: Big Tech Turning an idea farm into a hit factory

I think Geschke pulled his punches and really should have said "because nobody ever does it as well as they hope to." But his skepticism, like mine, is clear.

Any very large company like HP has evolved countless systems to protect against risk, and there are countless employees who carry out that mission. HP is now a $100B company, and if you divvy that up that means there are theoretically >1000 (!) $100M businesses in themselves, each of which will try to defend itself from any perceived threats. If a disruptive incubation cannot steer clear of all of these, in addition to the corporate-wide functions (legal, finance, etc) that represent them all, that project is doomed. Thus the odds of success for incubations in a BigCo would appear to be tiny. In my mind this is the biggest difference between a BigCo incubation vs. a small independent startup. The BigCo may think it gives autonomy to the incubation, but in practice it never does.

I've been involved with several incubations in my years at HP, most of them in HP Labs, and the main impediment to success has always been other parts of HP, not external competitors. Unless a makeover like this includes a dramatic revamp of how the disruptive activities interface with those countless existing functions inside the BigCo, you will likely end up with the same end result: a lot of frustration all around.

Call me skeptical, but I've always wanted to make this work inside HP, and intend to keep trying :-).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Wagazi � Google is heading into the business of magazines

Jonas at Wagazi comments on the Google patent application that has been making the rounds this past week:
While it seems a bit unclear what exactly Google is aiming at with this patent I’m interested in whether or not they will present a software that will make it easier and cheaper for independent magazine publishers to reach out to a bigger audience. Like Blogger or Wordpress did for bloggers. I’m not sure whether this will work with ordinary print magazines but more likely it could be a hit within digital magazines.
Wagazi � Google is heading into the business of magazines

It's not clear what "this" is that you are not sure will work with ordinary print magazines, but rest assured that something like "this" will. The world of digital commercial printing is just starting to take off, and the printed magazine world is in for a rebirth.