cougar took me to this little bar by her condo last night. she got drunk, ran into some of her friends, and when she introduced me to them told them where i worked. fortunately for everyone involved they were drunk and stupid and loud. oh and like her, they were lawyers, and thought they knew it all.
as they blathered on they tried to grill me on the decline of newspaper circulations nationwide, and the fact that my very own paper might go through some pretty noticeable changes. they asked if i was nervous.
i told them id be nervous if we werent going through changes.
i told them about the hallway on the first floor of the Times and the walls where we have framed some of our most dramatic front pages. if you look at those pages you’ll see that almost every front page looks very different from the next. not just the style of the headlines but the way we laid it out, the way we covered things, and the way we used to have ads on the front page.
ten years ago no one had ever heard of Google, but now they are the most dominate company in the most dominant industry in the world. Google changes their search algorithm reportedly 200 times a year. if that number is true it means that one of the most powerful and trusted companies, one whose stock is beyond $500 a share, fiddles with its bread-n-butter product almost every working day.
meanwhile it has expanded what it does in almost every direction. how many times do you see tv news stations utilize google earth, or friends of yours use gmail, or websites use google maps? google hit the ground running and changed who they were almost every day. this blog is powered by blogger which is owned by google.
if newspapers dont learn from what is working today and what has always worked, then they will fall into the margins and deserve the same fate that ibm, xerox, and gm are now experiencing. all once mighty giants who no one thought would ever be an also-ran.
business and life are won by the nimble, the fearless, and the aggressive who look back in the past for clues both in how they should change and as to how far theyve progressed. although i go through different towns and cringe that my favorite sandwich shop has turned into a starbucks, or frown at how my fro has utterly disappeared, it would be absolutely foolish of me to blame competition or nature for the inevitable. which is everything worthwhile grows, and sometimes to grow youve gotta eat everything around you.
so the question is, are you going to grow or be someones lunch today?