Who's Steering Your Ship?
I was in two great meetings today with like-minded industry professionals. I say like-minded because we are each, to a person, very bullish on the future of the publishing industry. Both meetings, although different, had a commonality of purpose. We see a great and robust future for the publishing industry.
The question is this: How do we make sure that we guide the players on the corporate chessboard to understand the new rules of the old game? That is, indeed, an interesting problem. The senior executives of our industry have had the rules of the businesses they are in charge of changed while they watched. Nobody asked them if they wanted these changes to happen; they were just thrust upon them.
There was a time when, if you entered the publishing business as a rookie and learned how the system worked, the lessons of your youth paid great dividends as you matured and rose in the ranks. You eventually understood how all the pieces fit together, and how to either make a career or a profit or, hopefully, both.
Now, sadly, many of the things our senior management learned on the way up can actually prove detrimental to continued success. If you once positively knew how to successfully publish a magazine and have held onto those golden, tried-and-true methods, you might be doomed to failure rather than to repeat your past successes. So radically has the process of the system changed that older, more experienced executives might not even be able to speak the lingua franca of the day. This is a hard concept for many to understand -- the thought that seniority and experience might be a detriment.
All I ask is that you think about it. Who is steering the ship and do they understand that the game, the board, the pieces, and the dice have changed? The only constant is that you can still tell the winner by the revenue trend at the end of each game's cycle.