Kenneth Lerer (of HuffPo) on how we (the Newspaper industry) got here, and how we must move forward
A very nice speech by Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer delivered at the Columbia Journalism School in in April 2009 titled How We Got Here and How We Get Out. The article is a very nice application of Clayton Christensen’s classic Innovators Dilemma (which, BTW, was originally subtitled When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail).
In a nutshell, Christensen’s book provides explore the havoc that distruptive technologies can bring to established incumbent business models, and how difficult it can be for incumbent companies to adapt to disrputive forces of change. In Lerer’s article, he applies this analysis to the Newspaper industry, and finds strong evidence that this exact scenario has occurred amongst mainstream newspaper and news media companies.
One of Christensen’s key messages in his book is that at times of disruptive change, listenging to your traditioanal customer base can be precisely the wrong strategy for transitioning to emerging business models. Lerer explores this thesis in the context of the Newspaper industry during the 1990’s and early years of 2000.
Another interesting comment from Lerer is “As a starting point, I think that online newspapers need to think of themselves as technology companies, as much as media companies”. This represents a significant change for the newspaper industry – not just regarding leveraging technology in their products and operations, but actually “operating” as technology solution providers, and everything this entails from managing product release cycles, to new product development, and so on.
Anyway, a very nice piece IMO.