Last month, when I visited Silicon Valley for the 10th time in five years, I took a break at Stanford University to see how media business is doing. All the technological developments we observe worldwide come from this place, where the best talents catch up and create, disrupting traditional industries step-by-step.
At d.school, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, design thinking is one of the methods used to learn how to do things in a different ways. Think of this blog post I wrote last year. So, I expected some inspiration about the next big thing.
But it wasn’t about that at all. I got lessons in newspaper making.
The girls who shared their insights with me told their story about ......[more]
23 March 2016 · by Pit Gottschalk
Think of your publication as a kind of experience people are willing to pay for.
They don’t want to read just a piece of a story in your newspaper or magazine. Most of them stick to the brand you’ve created over the years and, in the best cases, are committed to your approach of guidance in how to spend their time. Your publication tells them, for example, what events are worth attending.
There’s no economics of scale yet. At least, not for publishing companies. Publishers just hope this service of event announcements can keep readers in touch with their newspapers.
Honestly, this hope could be a mistake. The threat of your editorial job is actually around the corner.
Eventbrite, a company based in San Francisco, was founded in 2006 to help people find and create events providing small and large experiences. It isn’t difficult at all to see the parallels between event organisations and publishing ......[more]
24 February 2016 · by Pit Gottschalk
Manuel Neuer is just 29 years old and no rock star at all, but he’s one of those guys who can competes with you for your son’s attention. He smiles like a teenager whenever a camera turns on, is polite to anyone, and is probably the one and only guy a father would let his daughter go out with on a date.
Neuer is the goal keeper of the German football team and the Bundesliga club Bayern Munich (OK, for the Americans: soccer!). He became the FIFA world champion in 2014. And, he’s richer than any of my readers here.
As a media brand, he’s even stronger than many publications in sports journalism worldwide.
On Twitter, he has nearly 3.5 million followers, and, on Facebook, 8.7 million fans. Whenever Neuer publishes news on his social media channels, a huge audience of sports fans consume his postings. Big companies like Sony, Allianz ......[more]
27 October 2014 · by Pit Gottschalk
When Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt joined Google in his 40s, he was sure to know anything needed to run a successful company. Leadership skills, business plans, and an innovative approach: He looked well prepared in 2001.
After a short period of time at Google HQ, he became aware of the Socratic paradox: “I know that I know nothing.“
Today, he says, “we quickly learned that almost everything we thought we knew about managing businesses was dead wrong.” He saw several companies handling the digital challenge and describes his observation this way:
- “Their design is a vestige of an era when failure was expensive and deliberation was a virtue.”
- “Information and data [are] hoarded, not shared. Decision-making power lies in the hands of the few.”
- “Most companies are slow by design.”
These days, he puts his learning in a breath-taking presentation that has spread around the world and delivers more than just a few insights on how to align a company. It’s a blueprint for ......[more]
02 October 2014 · by Pit Gottschalk
It isn’t possible not to like Richard Gutjahr.
He’s always smiling, joking, and charming. His kind of storytelling is based on a great experience as a television journalist and inspires anyone listening to him.
He’s about 40 years old, but he successfully plays with his childish attitude and says sentences ready to be broadcast. He promotes his own lifestyle of journalism.
When my editors met Richard Gutjahr in Berlin for the very first time, they were sure he was an alien.
Although employed as a journalist at a traditional public television station in Munich, he told them strange things like:
- Build your personal brand with a blog on the Internet.
- Share with other people publicly what you’re thinking about.
- Create your own videos.
- Get paid by vendors with stuff you can honestly recommend.
My editors asked: Is he still a journalist?
Yes, he is. He is probably the most modern one. That’s the reason he left the comfort zone of his television station.
I’m thrilled by his story: From Fifth Avenue to Tarhir Square, a single entrepreneurial journalist can shake the industry – and even ......[more]
08 September 2014 · by Pit Gottschalk
Fany Péchiodat is probably younger than 30 years old and lives in Paris. She wore a beautiful red dress when I saw her on stage for the very first time, and she presented her online idea as lovely as a kid would do with his Christmas present on Boxing Day.
To be honest, before her presentation in Berlin, I’d never heard anything about her online idea called My Little Paris. I expected to come away saying this is just another crazy thing we see a lot of these days thanks to the digital age, which lets people launch their ideas so easily.
But, after Fany Péchiodat’s presentation of facts and figures, I’d like to add: All media companies should be scared.
Fany Péchiodat started My Little Paris by publishing just one story a day. She didn’t care about any search engine optimisation at all. She just sent this one and only story to ......[more]
17 August 2014 · by Pit Gottschalk
A newspaper brand, as we know it, is created like a dinner in the Sizzler’s restaurants in the United States: Pay once and you get all you can eat.
Politics, culture, economy, and sports, some additional supplements and extra sections, enriched by the digital line extension – a huge range of editorial stuff, small pieces, big pieces, more or less hot, made for the day to fit the needs of a hungry audience.
Newspapers offer a lot for quite a little amount of money and put more and more pieces of content on the table, at least digitally. Why the hell has this audience decreased?
The fundamental mistake media companies can make is to just trust the strengths of their brands and the quality of their journalism in the news room. It’s worth a lot, no doubt about that. But it’s just one side of the coin.
To use the Sizzler comparison: For dinner, do you always go to a restaurant where you get food from all parts of the world at one place?
Some people do, of course. But most people avoid ...
10 June 2014 · by Pit Gottschalk
During the INMA World Congress in San Francisco, publishers from all over the world considered the one and only question: How to shape their media companies for the digital challenges they already face.
No one has ever undertaken such a huge transformation before. Where’s the starting point? Where are the strengths and weaknesses in your own organisation? Are they in the newsroom determined to create the core products of a media company?
Here’s the gift: This story helps you modernise your newsroom. It’s just for INMA members: Click here and invest some time, and you will get an exclusive analysis.
Of course, a lot of consultants and so-called internal experts make suggestions, give hints, puzzle plans, and conduct change management. And after the change is completed, any change agent will tell you that his solution was the best of class, at least the best of ......[more]
13 April 2014 · by Pit Gottschalk
Dressed like a college girl, shy eyes and black hair, Kara Swisher is an inconspicuous person you might not notice at a Saturday night party. But listen to her for just a moment, and you likely won’t stop talking to her for the rest of the night.
Swisher worked at The Wall Street Journal, where she wrote the popular blog, “All Things Digital,” before leaving to start her own media outlet, recode.net, which reports on things happening digitally, especially in Silicon Valley.
She will tell you: “In a media company, there are a lot of people in the way,” preventing others from working. Her recommendation? “Don’t be lazy!”
Swisher and her small team are doing now what once was the task of traditional media companies in the past: becoming relevant by content....[more]
17 March 2014 · by Pit Gottschalk
Rethink your business and be innovative.
It’s easy to say, but how can media managers be innovative when they’re drilled to match the key performance indicator (KPI) goals over years? They have to learn as kids do – by trial and error.
Or they can use the guide developed by the smart guys of Stanford University and the Hasso Plattner Institute, which includes eight steps for rethinking your media business. It’s called “The new city experience: An Introduction to Design Thinking.”
Step 1: Create a quick interview guide – with open-ended questions. First, chat with someone and ask him anything about the latest experience in a new city. It’s just to build a bridge to him. “How are you today?” Or: “Tell me where are you from?”
Next, seek stories. “Tell me about your time in…” Or: “What would I find surprising about how you…” Then, go deeper. Talk about feelings. “Why do you say that?” Or: “How did you feel at that moment, when…”
You see: It’s far away from product development. Please wait and take notes. Yes, you need time....[more]