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Be careful with matches

March 8, 2010

I love new media as much as the next guy with a blog. I’m a freaking unabashed tech nerd. Let’s not get carried away, though.

@kbodnar32 posted a link to a story where Marc Andreessen, a Silicon Valley heavyweight, suggests traditional media like the NY Times stop all print operations. To quote, they need to “burn the boats” to force commitment to web content. 

Someday we’ll have flying cars, that doesn’t mean we need send the VW to the junkyard and head to flight school.

Andreessen and I don’t differ on the ends, but the means. To just pull the trigger on print operations when the ratio of print to web is 90/10 (his words) is just not responsible. It fails to take into account any thought of who your market is and how to start transitioning your content and readership online. His all or nothing theory also fails to take into web access issues and generational gaps when it comes to consuming information & news.

To stick with the analogy, I’d say the better way forward is an increasingly smaller boat. Traditional media has to become more adaptive than ever before. A 100% print or web strategy makes no sense. I’d like to see traditional media start to scale back traditional print and focus their efforts on providing a richer mobile & online experience. As milestones are reached, the boat gets smaller and smaller until the dingy is used for kindling. 

Until then, let’s be careful with what we send up in flames. Rebuilding is a bitch.

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