“Hic sunt dracones”
Publishing, like other industries, is undergoing massive shifts in perception and use. Many publishing professionals look to their own devices for solutions, some to others (internal and external), and some to no one. It is time to look to the past, address your fears, and learn from the intrepid explorers of the golden day of discovery.
Would you have financed Christopher Columbus’ trip to the New World? It was a journey filled with danger and unknowns—not knowing if land was to be found or how violent the seas would be; lacking an understanding of the weather; and, of course, relying on ancient maps annotated with the frightening admonition: “hic sunt dracones.” Sounds just like the media business, does it not?
Hic sunt dracones (“here the dragons”) was often placed on ancient maps to indicate dangerous regions and to define unknowns to the explorer—warnings to some, opportunities to others.
Columbus and other explorers found no dragons, and the unknowns weren’t really unknowns at all, just the differences between the world they came from and the world they “discovered.” Their journeys, their fears, and concerns turned to golden rewards, great fame, and a day off work for some (Columbus Day).
Are your future business plans edged with hic sunt dracones? Unknown areas are potential regions of profit, not dangers but opportunities. Does your business plan include areas that, when traversed correctly, are safe, secure regions from which you can gain control and profit?
Why did these explorers succeed?
They were imaginative in planning, integrated their resources, interacted with the right people, and offered an innovative idea. In short, they used their skill set, their intellectual capital, to find a way to lead and profit from this combination.
Publishers need to follow the explorers’ model, and be willing to venture into “here the dragons” zones.
Consider the current state of publishing as the known world, a world that has some predictability, profits, and perhaps limited growth. Include in the known world all your print and digital editions.
Now, look beyond the publishing gates of Hercules and out to that broad B2B/B2C based ocean of unknowns. Include within your areas of exploration the need to discover new worlds of data management, data ownership, integrated marketing, media convergence, scientific marketing, and partnerships within your known world of existing customers and advertisers. Look to those who question your new world explorations as profit heretics and go beyond any limits. Push forward, and you will discover that the dragons are really potential gold and treasure.
Look to technology (AR, IR, and beyond), interaction, CRM, transactional, business development, lead generation customer (user) centric communications, branded content, custom publishing, tracking measurement. Each of these “dragons” is actually a profit generating center that transcends the current view of publishing and places you in the future world of Integrated Business Communications, a one-stop profit-based interrelated world—a force that you control, and a force that will draw new business to you.
It takes only one to start the exploration and provide the argument. The world will follow. You will find that this hidden yet-to-be-discovered world is loaded with even more treasure, more gold, more profit. Don't fear the dragons as some within this industry suggest. Be bold, embrace the dragons, and reap the many long-term benefits of path finding and leading the way.
“Chance”, they say, “favors the prepared mind”. Be prepared to face the dragons and realize the opportunities.