Last week, I attended the Book Expo America (BEA) and the TechCrunch Disrupt (TCD) events in New York City. Both were well attended, but the scope of the events and the way they see the future of media—and the convergence of that media—is what I found to be very interesting.
TCD was, as billed in the guide, “a full-contact conference...an introduction to 31 new startups.” It seemed to me, however, these firms were at the event seeking funding for their continued operations, and the distinction between “new” and “startup” was critically missing. Can there be an “old startup?”
What I found to be very unusual about TCD was the lack of startups looking to add to the model on Media Integration and Media Convergence. Most of the presentations focused on software, social networking, location-based marketing, photo search software, health records and the mobile world. Maybe in the broad definition of the term they are all focused somewhat on Media Convergence.
With company names like do@, weotta, karizma and kohort, the TCD event in its design, attendee names, goals and purpose was a very different from Book Expo America. That difference may be only at the surface, since—in the end—both events had the same unofficial, unstated goals: Simply to make money and showcase new technologies that can be built upon and that will serve as the foundation for the future temple or skyscraper of their individual media—NOT a Media Convergence future.
BEA, on the other hand, was in direct contrast to TCD not only in terms of the names of the firms on hand, but in mind space as well. It featured such giants as Simon & Schuster, Random House, Ingram and others, and on the surface appeared to be a more promotion-minded event, with an extensive, almost excessive focus on autograph seekers.
The BEA event held my interest on many levels since this niche industry seems to be in full boom with the growth of a digital market place and embracing the coming change with wide and warming arms. The TCD crowd, on the other hand, accepts the digital world with open, robot-like claws and siphon hoses.
The most interesting parts of BEA were a blogging event and the many webinars that related to Media Convergence. The blogging event was a side show, not in the negative sense since I felt that blogging may have a bright future for independent publishers’ profits. I also found a high level of interest in and seemly active acceptance of using Media Convergence to add to or expand the customer experience.
Both groups are looking to make the customer experience a pleasant event with a :) on everyone’s face. I can see the need for both industries to add to the pleasant experience of the customer. TCD offered what is known as indirect benefits, while BEA offered more of a direct, tangible benefit.
Media Convergence will touch many lives and at many levels, some directly and others indirectly. Book publishers and those startups at TCD are beginning to realize that making a customer’s life more orderly, fun, enjoyable and results directed should provide an avenue of revenue that has eluded many verticals.
Would you, as an e-Book reader, pay more if the book on the paper like screen offered dimensional support, links to related and supportive information, perhaps notes from the author or even updates that the author has made after the book has been published? And what about the concept offered by Thomas Pettitt in The Gutenberg Parenthesis, which has been defined in this blog and is being covered in some detail in a previous column.
Pettite states print may have been the anomaly in that it is a separating process that has kept ownership of reading material and, in turn, knowledge from the masses with little or no ability to change or add to that content. The Internet—and, I would guess, its many children such as e-Books—on the other hand, provides an open frame work to control, change, add to or modify what we read. Google “The Gutenberg Parenthesis” to review his exact words and summary and let me know what you think.
So if we can add more to the value of an e-Book, and some of that value has a commercial value, the publisher can offer advertising via the links, the author gets a share, and customers get a reduced cost, is that a better thing or a bad thing?
Seems to me that on the surface, yes this is a better thing for all. I believe that you need capital to grow, expand, explore and experiment in this new world of Media Convergence. Publishing would also offer expanded profits to the industry, having the capital needed to move to the next stage of convergence.
A similar argument can be made for TechCrunch. Its stakeholders too are looking to make the consumers life simpler, easy and stress free. They offer a more indirect benefit offering—the ability to search out a networked medical record via the Internet, or voice activated array of interconnected mini-apps linked to social networks and social media. Direct or indirect benefits, your call?
In the end, the result of will be the same—life, at least one level, will be made better for all involved. The integration of media via a defined strategy based on Media Convergence and the increased benefit to the consumer by the combination of media used is in itself a valued option. But can the media experience be added to in a positive manner across other media venues?
Yes. Why can’t marketing and advertising look to the same solutions that are being offered by TCD and at BEA and add to the customer’s visual, mental and buying experience? Yea, why not!
The fields of marketing, communications and advertising, in combination, need to start to think of the consumer/customer not as a large, defined demographic group, but as individuals, an individuals that may need to be less stressed and enjoy a life less complex—and ultimately an enjoyable (as much as it can be) buying experience.
Check out the article in the Tuesday, May 31 issue of the New York Times
with the headline “Retailers Offer Apps with a Catalog Feel.”
This is just the type of assistance consumers/customer need. Please read the article and when you’re finished, if you can provide me with a valid reason not to say, “WOW! That is cool and addresses a real need.” I will buy you cup of coffee. Conditions apply, as they say, so you need to be in New York City to get the free coffee.
I think that Media Convergence is more than just media types being linked—why not firms, industries and verticals? Think about the space program would be without the convergence of multiple technologies, industries and manufacturers. You might have said, “What space program?”
We can’t move to the future in thought without a plan to move into the future with some valid integration of the very basic technologies of need. Looking to the real world, if tomorrow you were the only person left, what technologies would you turn to, if they survived? Would you start to look to the formula of 1+1+1 thinking it totals 3? But in the Media Convergence future, it does not add up to 3, but equals 5.
Would you not look to use technology in an additive state, using whatever combinations that can be used to make your life in the new world better then in the old world? That is what Media Convergence offers, if done correctly.
Media Convergence will make your customer’s life easier for having your product or brand. What that means is that you may then develop new business, expand your business base and increase your profits. And then you and your profits can converge on an island in the sun with a sundowner in hand and finally enjoy life.
Get it? Media Convergence will not only save the environment (not true), but also put you on beach, in a very positive state of mind (very true).
So, if you want to share your suntan lotion and pour me a sundowner, I am ready and can be converged with at: (917) 597-1891 or Thad@nakinc.com.