रविवार, २७ फेब्रुवारी, २०११

Publishing 2.0 & Music 2.0 (Part 2)

Before we really start, one small but important detail, I am a passionate follower of Edward De Bono's "Lateral Thinking" for couple of decades. No wonder, if you will find references to Lateral Thinking in further pages.

Thus, my advice is based on my first hand experiences of the similar situation, which you are facing or may face in coming future. So, how about continuing the discussion ahead.

Second prominent example I have observed as a practitioner was rapid decline of film photography. I have been trying my hand at photography for good ten years. Like many of us I started with film. I was obsessed with film, so much so that I was not ready to believe that digital photography will ever catch up. I started investing in more film SLR setup at the beginning of DSLR revolution. I was blind. I was dumb. I thought this whole digital photography thing will never catch up. It will be a niche market.

Who in their right minds will want to replace good ol' prints?!? You can touch it! You can feel it! It almost takes you there!!!

I was mesmerized by the stories of Ansel Adams and "the Zone System" as well as the f/64 club. It is amazing to see what he could achieve with the technology of the time. True father of the B&W photography. My fascination with Ansel Adams kept me blind to the advances in the digital photography.

That brings us to the next part of this story. Kodak and Polaroid was sitting pretty on a huge pile of customers and idiots like me who were burning billion exposures a day of their product worldwide. I am close to certain that almost 99.999% of those pictures never made it past the family albums (and never will). I also feel that may be 10-20% of those shots never made it even on paper because of some problem or other with the exposure and lighting (I know I have been there!).

Digital revolution started in earnest early nineties. It is interesting to note that Kodak came with one of the earlier professional digital camera's (1991) that used to cost around $13,000 based on a Nikon body. In my opinion though that was not the tipping point for the technology.

I think some time in mid-nineties consumers started embraced the format and rest is history.

Film was out of favor overnight. If you ask me that it happened so fast that most filmmakers didn't even realize what hit them.

There are numerous more examples like spread all around us if we care to look. Horse carts to Horseless carts (Yes! That's what they were called). Mainframes to PCs, Snail mail to email, phone call to Instant Message....

Point of the story is...it will keep happening around us. Delivery mechanisms change but the function doesn't change. Aha! What do we have here?

What is the function of Maps (Paper or Digital or Yet Uninvented format)? What is the function of Photography? What is the function of carts? What is the function of computers? What is the function of mail?

Humans like to claim that we have evolved over number of years but if we really look at the core fundamentals the veneer of sophistication is just that veneer. Our core necessities, needs and wants have not changed much. It is easy to show that we keep inventing different ways of doing things around core human needs (and lately mostly wants).

We want to believe that products or ideas are selected based on their need, want, quality features, prices, performance, value, emotion, community value, status...this list is infinite.

My sense is all of the above is true in some percent for every product. Some products share more of the one than the other. For example people tend to care more about their cars (emotion) than say toilet paper (function). At the same time if you have used a cheap toilet paper found in restaurants & compared to the one you used in your home...you would have noticed the difference in quality hence the product selection.

The idea of "Democracy of Selection" is interesting. Folks select because they feel something. I have deliberately kept this sentence vague as some of you may notice that the idea of democracy of selection is infinitely broad. Play some thought experiments and you will be blown away... :)

Let's wander in to Music (& content publishing in general)...

What's going on in that field?

Hope you have been watching rise of iTunes. Sony PS3. Kindle (the WiFi kind), Android phones...

I will not waste your time talking about this often talked subject...instead focus your attention to something more interesting.

Content creators (Musicians, Writers) will soon find a different platform to sell their wares. They were distributed by the middlemen once (record labels, publishers) now they will be distributed by their digital counter parts (Apple, Amazon).

Middlemen exist because content producers don't know how (or don't care or don't want ) to distribute their product.

As long as content producers remember the motto - Content is King. They will do fine.

Otherwise we will see what the title of my blog entry boldly predicts at the very beginning...

Music 2.0 and Publishing 2.0!

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