One of the things I started pushing on at work over the last year wasdoing outreach to colleges to talk about the lessons I have learned over the last several years and to talk about the things that I think are important to share with those who will hopefully determine the future of media and content. I have spoke at a number of schools and have a handful set up for this semester that have really been the catalyst for this post and a series of posts that I want to write in the coming months.
Although different classes have different subject matter and I generally try to tailor what I am saying to the specific audience, there are some recurring themes that I find myself repeating over and over and I realized in the process that these are things that I assume other people consider and that I have never formally put structure around my thoughts. Acknowledging that there is not an original thought, I think we do each synthesize a combination of our experiences as well as material we have encountered in our journeys. The things I plan to cover in the coming weeks or so will be a combination of my experiences and things/thoughts I have encountered in the past. I hope to give proper attribution where I can remember.
So here I am four paragraphs in and I haven't made any meaningful points...
CDs were an incredible invention. As a consumer I recall that I was excited about the idea of a form of media that wouldn't get eaten by a tape machine or melt on the dashboard on my car. So much for vision on my part. What I didn't get at that time way back in the early 80s was that the promise of crystal clear digital sound was the seeds of massive change in what the future would hold for the media and content businesses.
Over a decade later while working at MP3.com I would experience firsthand the intersection of technology and content and watch as both sides grappled with what would come next and what would the future hold as consumers marched rapidly into unchartered territory. A big reason for this was that very same digital CD format that was transformed by the rise of personal computers.
Again almost a decade later the changes continue to come and still the clear cut impact or rather the clear outline of what is to come next is not obvious to me or many others who watch the media and content space. To me there are a number of historical things that are worth exploring and discussing as they give hints to what has transpired and hopefully may give some indications of what the future might hold. I don't pretend to have any answers but I think that a good hearty discussion of the issues might point to some future possibilities.
My goal in the coming weeks is to hit on the following specific topics: The role of scarcity in the creation and maintenance of value in media and content, the rise of personal distribution and publication platforms, the rise of inexpensive content production tools, the differences between open and closed networks, and possibilities for future business models. I don't expect to have any divine revelations but I do hope to get a handful of people engaged in a conversation, if not now, hopefully soon.