BoSacks - The Profit Prophet: The Organized Chaos Theory
A few weeks ago, I was reminded of Bob Garfield's 5-year-old book, "The Chaos Scenario," in which he explained that various converging forces will doom mass media and mass marketing. Garfield argued that the style of old media will continue to be under stress and that this stress will change what we, as producers and users, have grown accustomed to expect from our media.
Garfield once said, "It would mean radical changes in the economy, the culture and the society itself. And they wouldn't be easy to swallow. And, by the way, it's happening right now. We are heading, all of us, into a historically turbulent moment in the history of media, with the very real risk of disruption on a mass scale."
Upon a review of his statement five years later, I think Garfield was correct. Applying his theory directly to our own print publishing industry, I think it is time to consider that what we are still confronted with is, at best, organized chaos. I say "organized" because we have been greatly privileged to have a period of adjustment between what was and what will be. We are still able, in many cases, to make a very nice profit from our old media tools as we seek a sensible path to use the new tools and methods that are now available to us. As fast as the new media order is changing our universe, we haven't been totally vaporized, but rather greatly scorched. It seems that we have been permitted a short period of time to make adjustments to our business plans toward a new era of publishing sensibility and sustainability.
So, contrary to what many believe, we are not yet in complete chaos, even though our systems are, indeed, under tremendous stress to survive in this still-evolving convergence of technology and society in addition to what is now a stressed global economy.