Flipboard is BEAUTIFUL and Fatally Flawed

It’s no secret that I seriously slammed Flipboard when it launched in July. Rightfully so. The launch deployment was beyond weak and their ongoing response was amateurish - watch a video to see how cool our product is; submit your email and we’ll let you know when you can use it? I never received my email by the way. 

That said, I’m not a hater. I decided to let them get their act together and take a second look at Flipboard two months post launch and after a recent software update. 

Flipboard is beautiful and fatally flawed. 

Hubba Hubba - First and foremost, Flipboard is stunningly gorgeous iPad app. Photos are amazing on Flipboard and if shot professionally, Drop. Dead. Beautiful. If not, they look like your usual crap camera phone pix on a nice display. The GUI is dead simple/intuitive. The recent upgrade allows you to add more custom lists which is an improvement over just the few originally available. I hope that they eventually allow users to move lists icons based on personal preference. It’s quick and simple to retweet on Twitter or post/like on Facebook. I like being able to read a paragraph from tweeted web pages and then quickly go to website. The scraping is slick although we’ll see how long they are “allowed” to do this as The Content Wars continue to heat up. 

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23.09.10
The Interwebs are not killing print? 
But the companies’ business models and overhead structure need to dramatically change/shift. Price, smart investment, and innovation/risk will be increasingly critical to traditional media companies future success based on my experience. The companies that get VERY LEAN & ENTREPRENEURIAL will thrive. The other’s, the majority in my opinion, will continue their slow and painful death spiral.  
soupsoup:

We thought the internet was killing print. But it isn’t
A fascinating new piece of research this week looks in detail at the success of newspaper websites and attempts to find statistical correlations with sliding print copy sales. As one goes up, the other must go down, surely? These are the underpinnings of transition.  But “in the UK at least, there is no such correlation”, reports the number-crunching analyst Jim Chisholm. “This is true at both a micro-level in terms of UK newspaper titles and groups and at a macro-level comparing national internet adoption with circulation performance. Indeed, the opposite case could be argued: that newspapers that do well on the web also do better in print… Understandably worried traditional journalists should know that the internet is not a threat.”

The Interwebs are not killing print?

But the companies’ business models and overhead structure need to dramatically change/shift. Price, smart investment, and innovation/risk will be increasingly critical to traditional media companies future success based on my experience. The companies that get VERY LEAN & ENTREPRENEURIAL will thrive. The other’s, the majority in my opinion, will continue their slow and painful death spiral.  

soupsoup:

We thought the internet was killing print. But it isn’t

A fascinating new piece of research this week looks in detail at the success of newspaper websites and attempts to find statistical correlations with sliding print copy sales. As one goes up, the other must go down, surely? These are the underpinnings of transition. But “in the UK at least, there is no such correlation”, reports the number-crunching analyst Jim Chisholm. “This is true at both a micro-level in terms of UK newspaper titles and groups and at a macro-level comparing national internet adoption with circulation performance. Indeed, the opposite case could be argued: that newspapers that do well on the web also do better in print… Understandably worried traditional journalists should know that the internet is not a threat.”
18.10.10
via jaketbrooks:

What do Instapaper, iPad apps like the Daily, Nomad Editions and Gourmet, and premium aggregator Ongo have in common? They’re all betting on user experience. For all of these startups, the quality of the content is not at question, but how users will access it. All of these startups believe there is room for improvement on the browser-based reading experience and they’re making huge bets on this assumption. 
This is the gamble most news publishers are reticent to make and this is why they’re letting apps like Instapaper drink their milkshake. Publishers, anchored to their old business model, first fixated on advertisements and pageviews to the detriment of the reading experience. Now, they’re obsessed with paywalls—and maybe they’re right to be, but maybe they’re charging for the wrong thing. All this time the focus has been on content. Maybe, if you take the new focus on user experience seriously, it shouldn’t be.
That’s where publishers have gone wrong. They’ve fixated on the content, when they should have been fixating on the experience. Perhaps therein lies the solution: Give the content away for free and charge for the experience. What would that look like? Maybe the free Times becomes a glorified RSS feed with ads. Let the “free” world share your content and promote it via Twitter and Facebook. Let them sort it and spread it. Then the publisher can spend their time focusing on creating the ideal reading experience in whatever format the reader is willing to pay for it in: web browser, iPad, Kindle, et al. Could that work?

Interesting thoughts on presentation but I doubt consumers are going to pay for a pretty package of content they can get for free online (i.e. I’d never “pay” for Flipboard or a similar agregration and probably wouldn’t tollerate ads on it either).
When push comes to shove what the publishing/newspaper/magazine/print industry has to realize is:
1. Large print advertising subsidies (classified & display) are gone or have a greatly diminished future. They now have no choice to be see it happening in real time after more than a decade of ignoring events. 
2. Your business models and practices have to CHANGE. Dramatically alter your structures (i.e. fewer levels of management and staff) and expectations of revenue (e.g. the recording industry). This is painful.
3. Gadgets (eg. iPad, tablets) and Paywalls are not your old business model’s salvation. 
Will they change? I’m skeptical. 

via jaketbrooks:

What do Instapaper, iPad apps like the Daily, Nomad Editions and Gourmet, and premium aggregator Ongo have in common? They’re all betting on user experience. For all of these startups, the quality of the content is not at question, but how users will access it. All of these startups believe there is room for improvement on the browser-based reading experience and they’re making huge bets on this assumption. 

This is the gamble most news publishers are reticent to make and this is why they’re letting apps like Instapaper drink their milkshake. Publishers, anchored to their old business model, first fixated on advertisements and pageviews to the detriment of the reading experience. Now, they’re obsessed with paywalls—and maybe they’re right to be, but maybe they’re charging for the wrong thing. All this time the focus has been on content. Maybe, if you take the new focus on user experience seriously, it shouldn’t be.

That’s where publishers have gone wrong. They’ve fixated on the content, when they should have been fixating on the experience. Perhaps therein lies the solution: Give the content away for free and charge for the experience. What would that look like? Maybe the free Times becomes a glorified RSS feed with ads. Let the “free” world share your content and promote it via Twitter and Facebook. Let them sort it and spread it. Then the publisher can spend their time focusing on creating the ideal reading experience in whatever format the reader is willing to pay for it in: web browser, iPad, Kindle, et al. Could that work?

Interesting thoughts on presentation but I doubt consumers are going to pay for a pretty package of content they can get for free online (i.e. I’d never “pay” for Flipboard or a similar agregration and probably wouldn’t tollerate ads on it either).

When push comes to shove what the publishing/newspaper/magazine/print industry has to realize is:

1. Large print advertising subsidies (classified & display) are gone or have a greatly diminished future. They now have no choice to be see it happening in real time after more than a decade of ignoring events. 

2. Your business models and practices have to CHANGE. Dramatically alter your structures (i.e. fewer levels of management and staff) and expectations of revenue (e.g. the recording industry). This is painful.

3. Gadgets (eg. iPad, tablets) and Paywalls are not your old business model’s salvation. 

Will they change? I’m skeptical. 

(Source: jaketbrooks)

26.01.11
The NYT page is like walking into a library, while the HuffPo page is like walking through Times Square.

Felix Salmon weighing in on the HuffPost-AOL merger deal in his piece, “Why the NYT will lose to HuffPo.”  

Fellow member ‘20’ member Anthony DeRosa says he’s not sure if he agrees.

My take: The driving force behind HuffPo’s success is the comments and feedback from readers, who send it along and add their own voices and thoughts on the topic. Although the Times site allows comments, it’s not as open or available.  Despite being run and named after an extremely rich female, HuffPo is the true populist news site —and the reason why, I agree with Salmon, it will topple the Old Gray Lady.  

-KH 

(via the20newyork)

I’m not sure I represent the majority of people since I never go to Huffington Post, despite the fact they’re one of the most frequently trafficked websites on the Internet.

I think the above comment by Felix is spot on, and is exactly why I avoid HuffPo like the plague. I work in Times Square and try to escape from it as quickly as possible. I do agree with Felix’s point that I don’t navigate around the NYT. I go there because I’m directed to single articles. I read the article and leave and wind up coming back many more times to read other single articles, but never seem to be led down a path from one story to another by the Times itself. 

But does the sensory overkill on HuffPo work? The numbers speak for themselves. They get a ton of traffic and they’re profitable. Peter Feld defended the fact that people slam HuffPo for having 3,000+ unpaid bloggers. According to what I’ve heard, the paid staff is somewhere around 60 people.

Peter does make a solid point that we here on Tumblr are very much like that staff of 3,000 unpaid bloggers. When’s the last time Tumblr sent you a check for the billions of pageviews they received last month?

(via soupsoup)


I’m fascinated with how “traditional” media industries - newspaper/magazine/publishing, music, TV/movies, web 1.0 (AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, Google) - are thinking about and REACTING TO the emergence of social media integrated apps, games, business, sites, etc. like The Huffington Post, Zynga games, Tumblr, etc.

It’s still strikes me as we approach nearly 20 years of digital that the media companies usual reactions follows a cyclical pattern of disfunction:

1. Dismissal,

2. Ignoring early signs of success,

3. Looking for & latching onto the “me too” silver bullet gadget/retread business model,

4. Taking a half/wrong steps (e.g. DRM, paywalls, magazine/newspaper iPad apps), 

5. Continuing their methodical death march towards obsolescence hoping their half/wrong steps will work,

6. Going back to step 1 when the next digital innovation occurs.

Influential VC’s and tumblr users Fred-Wilson and Bijan Sabet had interesting posts about music/movie piracy and their frustration at trying to buy content and not being able to because of backasswards attitude/ineptitude of traditional media companies. 

Here’s the deal - while there will always be a market for purchased entertainment and information (Broadway/West End theatre, physical/digital music copies, print/digital information), they will all increasingly become smaller and more niche industries. 

The challenge that has been obvious for well over a decade now: How should media companies best proactively plan, change, and innovate for inevitable massively disruptive technology advances? I’m talking about fundamental repositioning of their value proposition, what they do, how many people they employ, their revenue expectations, HOW CONTENT DEVELOPMENT IS FINANCED, and most importantly, how they create new valuable business models that are not retreads of what worked in the past while realizing that they may not be as BIG as record vinyl discs were in the 70s-80s or CDs in the 90s. All that’s over. 

Unfortunately, my up close experience and work within these industries has shown me that the delusional cycle continues…and continues.

Meanwhile the most innovative thoughts/leadership comes from smart musicians likeDavid Byrne and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke…or bloggers like Anthony De Rosa (SoupSoup).

Hmmmmm…

(Source: nbcnewyork, via soupsoup)

09.02.11