BoSacks - The Profit Prophet: Find Your Place in the ‘Great Search Society’
Over the past 15 years or so, I have become a genius. I know that sounds brash, but the thing is, so have you. In fact, everyone's a genius these days. It is no longer important to just know facts; it is more important to be able to find facts. That is a definite sea change for society and especially for the information distribution business formally known as publishing.
With the push of just a few keys on any computer, you can find out anything you need to know on any subject at any time. The next generation is already comfortable with this new reality, having grown up in the "great search society." They have the ability to settle arguments, finish projects, or complete any task or chore with an efficiency and speed unheard of a few years ago. You want to build a jumbo 747 airliner in your spare time in your backyard? There's an app for that.
Unfortunately, this concept of "instant information" is growing faster than any business, including publishing, can adapt. And if you can't adapt to it, how can you monetize it?
If you think about it, magazines, especially niche magazines, were the focused apps of yesteryear. They were the system-specific resources for information on subjects that were near and dear to you. For me it was, and still is, the how-to titles—Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and PC Magazine, to name a few. I still enjoy perusing these titles for the thrill of focused, personal information discovery.
While the natures of the editor and writer remain the same, the key for them to remain functionally lucrative today will rely upon their ability to join the still evolving "great search society" infrastructure.
It will be important to isolate and monetize the various components of the "great search society." In which part of this process do we (publishers) belong, and which part, if any, are we willing to allow someone else to monetize?