John Paton successfully encapsulates practically every argument I’ve been making to the companies I’ve worked for since the nineties.
I had only rare success because of the great point he makes. No leader was truly committed to the web. No single department besides mine was Digital First. They may have even thought they were.
Sure, they wanted the web to succeed, but not at the cost of print, and so success in both areas was compromised. In fact, it wasn’t only waffling at the compromise of print. None would take any risk whatsoever toward a future that might cost the company in the short term but turn profitable in years to come.
If the folks that started the newspapers in the first place took that attitude there would be no newspaper at all. Startup costs were a lot greater back then.
I do understand the reason, in many cases, was that they did not understand the sweeping changes that were happening around them, and so they were scared to gamble. Gamble with shareholder’s money. Gamble with their retirement goals.
But that’s exactly why John Paton says to put the Digital folks in charge. That doesn’t mean they won’t have any fiduciary responsibility.
It’s often ego, let’s face it.
In some cases it was worse. Intentional conflicts of interest from Publishers that put their own self interest before that of the company’s future.
I’m thrilled to be working for a company that gets it from the top down. All I see is great opportunity.
And yes, I love the sentiment that Paton exposes from the incumbent folks that would rather keep things rolling smoothly,
Of course we should engage the community! We’ve always done that. And we are Digital First. We post to Twitter!
Uhh No, you aren’t.