I got tired of blogging, and thought I would take a break. Well, I’m back! The break was good. While the media business went into free-fall, I was able to think about, and help start some new media companies.
The free-fall has stopped. Of course for some, it stopped with a loud splat, but some have survived.
The dark year of 2009 was saved for me by a big project at the Washington Post. That taught me how hard it is for the legacy newsrooms to adapt to the new realities quickly enough. We got some good typography into the paper (thanks to Dennis Brack and the design team), and the web site is now synched in pretty well with the visual brand (thanks to Paul Compton and the survivors of the newsroom integration over there).
One example of change at the site was the treatment for the special report on the U.S. security industry since 9/11. Scary, and worth reading.
But while the media slept, or more accurately lost sleep, I realized that the change was not coming from the legacy companies. They had too many reasons why they couldn’t make a big change.
My friends and I started on a bunch of startups. Some I was towed into. Some I am doing the pushing. These two announced in August:
These launched, with some fanfare:
I’m going to talk about them on this blog, and explain how they are already working together. They illustrate the direction I see for the media. We’re going to find out pretty fast if I’m right, and having been involved in some notable busts (@Home, Rumbo come to mind), I’m alive to the risks.
But you learn more from failure than from success. The gloom of free-fall was the catalyst for a sudden upswing in innovation. Many new groundbreaking designs, like Flipboard, are iPad apps. But with all the platforms emerging, the web is far from dead.