Silicon Valley start-ups offer teachable moments on talent, design thinking

By Dawn McMullan


Dallas, Texas, USA


Allen Williams, managing director/Australian Publishing Media at Fairfax Media Australia, found many takeaways legacy media companies can use from the culture of Silicon Valley during INMAs five-day INMA Silicon Valley Study Tour.

“It’s not about what we do today, what products we produce today,” Williams says. “The culture of how we do those things, it’s been embedded in our DNA for a long time. The real value is ... shifting the mindset that experiences are of value, data is of value, which enables us ... to create a great customer experience and engage with great content.

“Undeniably we’ve still got great content. We can see Facebook, Twitter, Google, everybody wants access to our content. But we’ve got to make it in a way where we can share it. And find a commercial model around that.”

Williams worries about the industry having the right skills for the future.

“The type of people we need are sales people with mathematics degrees, data scientists, people that actually understand things like programmatic, trading desks environments, DFPs, DSPs. Im looking at saying, ‘Who do I need to do that?’ and create that environment for them.”

Williams learned a lot from visiting Matter (a start-up incubator that focuses on media through the lens of design thinking) and hearing about its start-up mentality and design-thinking process.

Design thinking is really hard for a lot of people because its about saying ‘How do I start from the customer end?’ ... and then how do I sort of reverse engineer my thinking back to the model that we have today, something Fairfax has been doing a little bit of. Were not doing it as a start-up, were doing it as a business in transition.

INMA’s second Silicon Valley Study Tour takes place October 17-21. There are still a few seats left on the bus if you’d like to join us.

About Dawn McMullan

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