4 blogs you should bookmark in 2011
Monday Note, co-authored by Frederic Filloux and Jean-Louis Gassée, does a wonderful job of covering newspapers in the digital age, among other topics. Filloux is a media consultant and Paris-based freelance writer who in 2002 was part of the team that launched the free French daily 20 Minutes, now the most read newspaper in France with 2.7 million readers. Gassée is a former Apple executive who founded the multimedia system software company Be, Inc. in 1991. He sold the company to Palm in 2001.
Both of these men have been in the trenches and have some interesting ideas on how publishers can turn a profit. Filloux, for example, just wrote an insightful post on Le Monde: a blueprint of a turnaround. "Over the last few days, I have been on the receiving end of feelers from both insiders and outsiders: they wanted to gauge my interest in Le Monde’s editor job," he writes. "(None of these informal conversations directly involved the owners.) For reasons I’ll discuss towards the end of this note, I made it clear I wasn’t interested." Drama!
Filloux then goes on to list some of the problems -- e.g., lack of a coherent digital strategy, part ownership by the Lagardère Groupe, etc -- that plague France's most prestigious newspaper. Always interesting.
Larry Kramer's resume in publishing is second to none. He sits on the board of directors of Discovery Communications, American Media Inc and Harvard Business School Publishing. Kramer was the first president of CBS Digital as well as the chairman, CEO and founder of MarketWatch, Inc., and he has spent more than 20 years in journalism as a reporter and editor. But best of all -- he blogs! C-Scape, which happens to also be the name of Kramer's new book (highly recommended), carries his musings on the trajectory of digital media.
Kramer's subjects range from the etiquette of tweeting (to delete, or not to delete) to his contention that we are all now essentially digital publishers, whether Best Buy or The New York Times or the Washington Capitals. "A central theme of C-Scape is that every company will have to become a media company in order to build the kind of relationships it will need with its constituents. " A must-read blog.
In "The Web is a Customer Service Medium," Paul Ford -- a self described writer, editor, programmer -- writes:
"'Why wasn't I consulted,' which I abbreviate as WWIC, is the fundamental question of the web ... WWIC is the thing people talk about when they talk about nicer-sounding things like 'the wisdom of crowds' or 'cognitive surplus.' It has become the first thing I think about when I think about the web. I've spent a lot of time with users, and as part of various web communities. I've answered thousands of emails about things I built or said. Now, when I sit down to graffle, I start by asking: 'How do we deal with the WWIC problem?' Everything else comes after."
This is just a whisper of the quality of thinking you are bound to encounter if you read. this. blog.
Jason Calacanis officially and dramatically retired from blogging in 2008. That having been said, Calacannis' Launch newsletter can only be properly construed as a blog. And, being a blog from a man who sold a network of blogs for a figure reported to be around $25 million, it doesn't disappoint. The blog/newsletter is a collaborative effort, but the editorial voice is all Calacanis with a chorus of Silicon Valley insiders occasionally popping up.
Jason's first post was about Facebook's developer-driven culture. The most recent post is Best Products of 2010 from 16 Insiders. Quora, Dropbox, Google and Apple were far and away the favorites chosen by the contributors. "Quora is going to be one of the foundational Internet brands of the new decade," predicts angel investor Shervin Pishevar. "It will change they way we seek answers to questions and democratize the process of asking those questions of almost anyone regardless of status and influence. Quora will change the way we blog, the way we search and the rate of human knowledge distribution."
Also getting kudos from the 16 insiders: Huffington Post, Netflix Streaming and HTML5.