Niko­lay Mal­yarov

EVP, Chief Con­tent Of­fi­cer and Gen­eral Coun­sel, www.twit­­yarov

The Insider - - NIKOLAY 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.

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