Mar 09

Really New Think for Old Publishers

Yesterday afternoon here at South by Southwest (SXSW) I had the chance to sit in on a panel featuring Clay Shirky (author of Here Comes Everybody) and several key members of the traditional book publishing world, including representatives of Penguin and Bloomsbury, titled New Think for Old Publishers.  Unfortunately this panel had very little think involved, as the first half of the panel basically consisted of introductions, descriptions of favorite books recently read and attempts to reinforce the importance of the beaurocratic system traditional publishers work in (and why this model is essential for book readers).  It wasn’t until the second half of the single hour allotted for the conversation that the audience was told the publishers weren’t here with “new think” but instead wanted to get ideas from the audience.  What ensued was quite a show of vitriol from the audience.

Rather than get into the details of the audience discussion (you can get the gist from the Twitter discourse or  can get the overview from MediaLoper), I want to discuss a bit the bigger point the publishing industry doesn’t seem to be getting – they no longer hold the keys to the kingdom. Continue reading →

Mar 09

Is There a Point to Web Conferences? (Yes, I’m @ SXSW)

I’m sitting here on the floor at Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference, waiting f0r the next panel discussion on my schedule to start, but as I sit here I wonder a bit what the point of coming to these conference really is.  Sure, there are a lot of smart people here, and for the most part the panels have some great ideas… but are they ideas I couldn’t have acquired by simply reading sites like Mashable, Internet Retailer or other tech blogs and news sites? The answer here is pretty clearly “no.”

Continue reading →