[sociate] Guess I won't be using LinkedIn to meet Barry Diller

  • From: "Jerry Michalski" <jerry@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <sociate@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 23:25:55 -0400

You never quite know what will come from a longish interview, so it was a
fun surprise that the quote Andreas Kluth used in his great
<http://economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=6794156> survey of
participative media (requires sub.) in The Economist this week was my saying
"What an ignoramus!" -- about major media mogul Barry Diller.

I don't think Diller's a slouch. His  <http://www.iac.com/>
IAC/InterActiveCorp has been busy buying up companies that power
transactions on the Net, from TicketMaster and HSN to RealEstate.com and
LendingTree. They just did a terrific makeover of  <http://www.ask.com/>
Ask.com, formerly the perennial also-ran Ask Jeeves (though I do miss the
Jeeves reference).

Match.com is still in the running, but Evite... I always thought of it as a
feature posing as a company, and if you've tried the invite feature built
right into Google's new  <http://calendar.google.com/> calendar, you'll see
what integration does for invites (and events, and more).

But when it comes to media and talent, I put Diller's "
<http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,69114,00.html> there is not
that much talent in the world" comment alongside other executive hubris,
like AT&T's
092.htm> Ed Whitacre threatening to charge sites for using his pipes. (I
can't get over the irony of SBC resuscitating and adopting the AT&T brand.

The thing we tend to forget is that until this Internet thingie came along,
an average person could not leave stuff out in the world for many others to
find and use. Impossible. Through all of human history.

This remarkable, short period since the very end of the last century is the
first time ever that we've been able to share essays, comments, songs, film
clips and code with one another. Worldwide. All the time. With very few
constraints. It's remarkable and brilliant, a turning point in human

Even better, the tools for producing all this stuff now cost a couple
thousand dollars, not several hundred thousand. And when you buy a commodity
connection to the Net, global distribution comes free.

So of course there will be excesses. People will post junky, goofy things.
They will experiment. They will do the most senseless things with the new
medium. They will also get obsessive about it, sinking hours and hours into
it. No wonder: they can now connect to everyone. It's overwhelming and
exciting. And messy.

As they learn the tools, experiment with the forms and invent new ones, we
will see the latent talent that exists everywhere.

Perhaps more interesting, their talent won't be constrained by the
artificial busines pressures that so constrain "media" today, like the very
concept of mass markets.

At a conference about the future of newspapers a half-dozen years ago, I
remember a guy from an African-American periodical describe his market as a
"niche." If the black American population is a niche, we've got real

I realize this will sound too utopian and "everything will be free"-ish, so
let me add that I'm actively involved in creating novel ways for talented
people to be rewarded.

It happens that much new media can be produced at low cost, merely for the
attention it attracts or the needs it fills. Over time, though, we'll find
ways for new media to support promising talent outside the pretty
dysfunctional music industry, for example, or the painting scene. The
solutions are likely to be authentic and low-cost, with fractal markets
built through long-term relationships. But all these things will take a
couple decades to materialize.

Till then, I'm betting on an abundance of talent.

Oh, there's also a nice  <http://economist.com/media/audio/new_media3.mp3>
podcast interview accompanying the Economist piece.

posted by Jerry at
6678> 9:35 PM

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