Maybe I've allowed Dave Winer undue influence over me in this regard, but I can't see giving up Google Reader's All Items "river of news" view. Are there plans to offer this presentation style in NewsBlur for those of us who'd rather not visit the original sites? It doesn't seem incompatible with the AI management feature, especially if you can do better than Reader's "sort by magic" setting.
Jason doesn't have just one persona. He alternates from Dean Martin to George Steinbrenner and from Jerry Lewis to Donald Trump. Now he's doing his Tony Soprano "youth today" routine demanding one-way loyalty. Hey Jason, while you're getting in touch with your old-school values, go ahead and hire a publicist. You really need one.
At-will employment: Deal with it or sign an employment contract. This applies to both parties. End of story.
Jason in October of 2008: "We’ve laid off a just under 10% of our full-time staff, cut our overhead by doing smart things like renting desks (we have six offices in Santa Monica fyi), and reorganized our editorial department to focus on freelance positions over in-house editors."
Freelance positions, huh? You can't have it both ways, Calacanis. As an experienced businessman you should know this.
"Charlie Bit My Finger" is a specious example. It's a 56s clip like one you'd see on America's Funniest Home Videos, a program filled with viewer-submitted content and a counterargument to "By Moms, For Moms." Two questions raised here: How does "Charlie" stack up against American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and the Superbowl in terms of total viewer-hours? More important, how many of us are willing to sit through 1.5h movies with "Charlie" production values?
I'm not going to claim that you've missed the point since I can't speak neither for the article or for you, but my take on his argument and example was different.
It's not that Charlie is just straight off replacing Dancing with the Stars. No one is saying that people will spend the same amount of time they do watching TV now watching crappy youtube clips. It's that maybe, there just isn't a market for the kind of entertainment Dancing with the Stars represents - it's just becoming too expensive. I'm not sure that's true, but I do think the market for traditional TV/entertainment in general is shrinking. That, I think, is the core argument: That maybe, there is no way to answer the question "so, how do we continue making this much money?" without letting people down. Perhaps there is no way for these big organisations to make all their money doing what they do. Perhaps people like the guy who posted "Charlie bit my finger" will find some way of monetizing that, in small scales. Perhaps not.
The thing that people don't like to hear is that things change. So maybe the days of entertainment are over, maybe no one can work in show business, maybe copying that floppy really killed the radio star - yes, maybe. That's what progress does - new opportunities grow from the corpses of old businesses.
Maybe, perhaps, possibly, or maybe, perhaps, possibly not. Without data, it's all just speculation.
"It's that maybe, there just isn't a market for the kind of entertainment Dancing with the Stars represents."
The irony there is that Dancing with the Stars represents an extremely successful attempt on the part of television networks to cut costs and increase profits. "Reality TV" costs far less to produce than dramas or sit-coms with real actors and directors, but remain perplexingly successful at attracting viewers and profits.
What I find more interesting is the remaining opportunities for dis-intermediation. I went back and forth between the TV and the computer for the NCAA basketball tournament games. The online version allowed you to pick any game at any time, including previous games. Why should watching an NCAA basketball game take me to the channel of the local CBS affiliate on my cable system, instead of ncaa.com? Why are there bidding wars to carry the Superbowl, instead of the Superbowl being broadcast at nfl.com and the NFL taking all the revenue for themselves?
I'm curious if there are still any reasons for networks to intermediate between content producers and consumers, or if it is just an anachronism we have not yet moved past.
Oh, absolutely.. it's impossible to predict the future. But yes, looking at the current data the whole argument seems to fall apart: As far as I know, the movie industry is doing better and better each year, and I think the same is true for TV. Reality TV shows certainly represent successful change.
I agree that the middlemen are the ones that _should_ be in trouble, just like in the music industry. If successful TV and music can be produced without studios or actually distributing anything physically, the result should be a more direct system. It could be that the change is happening while at the same time the whole entertainment market is growing hugely (more and more people living comfortable lives, devices that make it easy to grab entertainment time where available), so that even failing businesses are growing, just slower than the whole market is expanding.
Shirky wrote, "Expensive bits of video made in complex ways now compete [emphasis mine] with cheap bits made in simple ways. 'Charlie Bit My Finger' was made by amateurs, in one take, with a lousy camera." That's akin to writing in the early 2000s that since movie and TV products like "Blair Witch," "Survivor," and other reality TV programs became so popular, it meant that the public was losing its appetite for video of high production values, and that this was likely to become a permanent trend.
The talk in Edinburgh last year mentioned at the top of Shirky's piece was to UK TV executives. Here's a Reuter's headline about it: "TV executives meet in Edinburgh as ad drought continues." Here's a bit of an article from the Guardian published 2 days ago:
"Analysts double the forecast for television market in 2010
A report says that bullish spending by advertisers has led to the revised predictions for 2010
Bullish spending from TV advertisers has led analysts to more than double the forecast for year-on-year growth in the UK market, with ITV set for a boost of up to 30% in the second quarter."
Context? I have a natural tendency to start sentences with "I think" and the like, and I have to fight myself to NOT to use such phrasing on the job. Every "perhaps," "maybe," "why don't we ... ?" opens a door through which the other party can force his own agenda, I've found. This advice doesn't work in business.