Don’t Be The Victim

Richard Nash, former publisher at Soft Skull Press and entrepreneur behind Cursor, wrote a set of predictions for what publishing will be like in 2020.

The highlight has to be:

6. In 2020 we will look back on the last days of publishing and realize that it was not a surfeit of capitalism that killed it, but rather an addiction to a mishmash of Industrial Revolution practices that killed it, including a Fordist any color so long as it is black attitude to packaging the product, a Sloanist hierarchical management approach to decision making, and a GM-esque continual rearranging of divisions like deck chairs on the Titanic based on internal management preferences rather than consumer preferences.

Notice that the adjectives are mostly people. I love that.

Contrast that with these statements:

  • Video killed the radio star.
  • The electric arc killed integrated steel mills.
  • The internet is killing newspapers.

Each of these statement relieves the decision makers of responsibility for their company's demise and instead lays the blame at the feet of innovation.

Not one existing steel company built an electric arc in the two decades that Nucor perfected the technology.

Michael Jackson and Madonna recognized what the rise of MTV would mean to the musicians.

The newspaper story is still playing out, but I would say it is not looking good for the incumbents right now.

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