Tag Archives: media

“The Business” vs technology

One of the abiding complaints that I hear all over the publishing industry is that “technology” just don’t understand “the business”. It has always struck me as odd that these monolithic and unhelpful descriptions have been so enduring; it’s not as if technology, in all its guises, hasn’t be central to our success as an industry for at least the past 15 years. And it is hardly the case that the various functions that make up “the business” always see eye to eye, either.
Recently, however, I have seen a shift. And it has happened because we’ve started hiring Product Managers. By that I don’t me IT Product Managers (in my view a title which has contributed rather more confusion than clarity – they should really be business analysts or delivery managers). I mean *real* Product Managers – people whose job it is to define what goes into our products. 
Now, at last, I’m hearing debates about the appropriate roles for Product, Sales, Marketing and Technology in bringing new products to market. And I’m hearing much less discussion about “technology” vs “The Business”. It feels we are maturing as an industry as a result. 

Elsevier’s experimental articles

Elsevier has announced an experimental project to design the scientific “article of the future”. There are currently two prototypes which our sister company is inviting comment on from the scientific community here and here and from my standpoint these look like pretty good attempts to update the scientific article formula. I particularly like the way that each of the constituent parts of the article – abstract, text, results, figures, references, authors etc, are given their own tabs and treatment relevant to their particular information needs – the analysis of the references struck me as a particularly useful fusion.

However, not everyone has so far been overly impressed with the efforts. Paul Carville, writing on the Online Journalism Blog, is particularly underwhelmed. He has a detailed critique which looks at things such as design, information architecture and innovation, and he is less that glowing:

I think this area of publishing is indeed long overdue a complete overhaul of its staid online publishing practices, and any move to define a new specification for doing so should be welcomed. Even the otherwise impressive nature.com only goes so far in its presentation of research papers, and there is much room for improvement. But when the result is as underwhelming, cumbersome and shortsighted as this, I despair.

As Paul says the reinvention of the scientific article is long overdue, so I look forward to seeing what else emerges in the coming months.

Media needs to catch up

It is a testament to how much the world has become connected by the web that when you see something like this it just seems so lame and so anachronistic.

You can read a review of the Nintendo DSi which has just launched in Japan, or watch events than happen all over the world, but still the old geographical distribution paradigms seem alive at least in the minds of the studio bosses.

A new approach to copyright has to be just around the corner, right?