BoSacks Speaks Out: The Plastic Was Bent, but the Logic Was Sound
There was a wonderful impromptu debate on twitter last night. The protagonists were Samir Husni (Mr. Magazine) and myself (Mr. Media Intelligence). It started with a terrific French advertising video, which Samir tweeted about suggesting that it reminded him of our now legendary debates on the future of our industry across the country. The peak of those events was in 2007.
You will notice from last night’s debate that Samir uses an obscure reference to a company called Plastic Logic. My dear friend loves to bring this up to suggest I was wrong about something. In fact, my past predictions have been better then spot on and as a publishing futurist my batting average is stratospheric, not to mention my on-base percentage.
Let’s take the Plastic Logic case which was a device I touted in 2007. Remember this is four years before anyone had thought or dreamed of an iPad. In our debates I suggested in no uncertain terms that the device and the form factor of the Plastic Logic reader was a piece of our future. This was, of course, not only pre iPad, but pre-Kindle, which was introduced on November 19, 2007. That would be 4 months after our debate at the FMA (Florida Magazine Association). The Kindle sold out in five and a half hours at $399, and the device remained out of stock for five months until late April 2008.
At that time I was one of the very few members of the paper brotherhood to suggest the sacrilegious position of a digital future for our industry. I had been doing so since before the turn of the 20th century which is how Samir and I got to debate in the first place. Because 100% of our revenue was still from paper products, the industry thought my vision and lectures were quirky and somehow cute. They humored me, but didn’t believe in the on-coming peril.
So, perhaps I was wrong about Plastic Logic, but I put forth the observation that I was more than twice correct. The iPad, a superior device in every way but one, surpassed that Plastic Logic reader. The Plastic Logic was an e-paper device and thereby it was reflective and not light transmitting. So continuing the debate with Samir and my wacky futuristic projections, a better device than the one I was hinting arrived to take center stage. My point in the dialog was not to sell Plastic Logic stock, but rather to point out the kinds of reading devices that were on the horizon. From that perspective, it was a home run prediction from BoSacks.
Editor's Note: Wish you could witness a legendary Sacks-Samir debate? Well, you can—at the Publishing Business Conference & Expo taking place this Sept. 23-25 in New York.