EVP, Chief Content Officer and General Counsel, www.twitter.com/@malyarov
So you’re probably wondering, “Why the inverted map on the cover?” Bear with me while I explain...
When I studied in Europe, the map of the world was always represented with the zero meridian in the middle, Europe, Africa and Asia on one side and the Americas on the left. But when I moved to the US, I saw the world map from the American perspective, with North and South America in the middle and everything else on either side.
Interesting perspectives, but which one was right? When you put the meridian in the middle you have to carve out sections to follow the international dateline, but you don’t disrupt any of the continents. But with the Americas in the middle, the other continents become disintegrated which, to me at the time, seemed wrong.
Upon further reflection, why should we look at the globe through a single lens where north is up and south is down? In our infinite three dimensional universe of orbicular planets and stars, does the orientation of up or down even make sense?
We are programmed to look at things in certain ways – ways that make us feel secure and safe in our limited understanding of the cosmos. I believe the same is true in business.
As much as we talk about out-of-thebox thinking when it comes finding creative ideas to help address the challenges brought on by the internet, I’ve come to believe that it’s no longer enough.
According to serial entrepreneur and author of a new book, The Great Rewrite,
Leonard Brody, we are living in an age where our planet is being rewritten from the ground up – a complete reboot of the largest era of mass institutional change in the history of world and no industry is exempt. Media, hospitality, travel, finance, and healthcare, to name just a few, are all feeling the effects of this phenomenon.
When I started thinking about this, I was reminded of a survey I heard on the radio where people were asked, if they could have their memory completely erased and start a new life, would they do it. I was surprised that so many people said they would since I would rather live with my (albeit very few) bad memories than give up all the good ones.
It also made me think about whether businesses struggling to rewrite themselves should wipe out the past and start with a clean slate. And I came to the conclusion that, in the case of publishing, it would be a grave mistake. There’s just too much good that would be lost – key fundamentals of success like quality content produced by talented journalists, media-hungry audiences and a vast array of global distribution channels to connect with them no matter where they are.
Media has all the pieces to be profitable; it just has them in the wrong orientation. As Brody explains in The Great Rewrite, for the first time in the history of humanity we own our own communication at mass and global scale – a many-to-many communications medium, where millions of people can converse with millions of others at almost no cost to them.
This condition has fueled the complete inversion of the “funnel of power” – a new reality where readers are in control of what, where, when and how they consume content. Many publishers still can’t seem to wrap their heads around this because they are stuck in the paradigms that worked in the past. But that world as they knew it is gone, and gone for good.
To capitalize on all that the fifth media revolution has to offer, publishers must rewrite themselves and their corporate culture in light of this inverted power funnel. They must put people and quality journalism at the core of their business, pursue funding sources beyond circulation and advertising, explore opportunities for diversification, experiment with new technologies and incorporate consumer-centric business models that align with users’ behaviors and expectations.
Believe me, I know that rewriting oneself is not easy and can be a risky business, but as they say, “Those who don’t take risk, don’t drink champagne.”
I hope you enjoy our interview with Leonard and the rest of the magazine which suggests some of the opportunities publishers and businesses have in our new and exciting, upside-down world.