Gigs, Gongs and Granules

Do you have a Flowchart? By Kev Gilmour

“It’s important to be aware that if you have ten people in a room, 8 of them have no interest beyond keeping their job secure, one is there to criticize everything they see, and then, there’s you. So, most of the room is going to be against anything that is either A) new B) risky. Since A tends to equal B, you might as well ignore the opinion of everyone in any corporate environment.

Ask yourself how your manager got into the position they did? Most likely by not fucking up. But innovators fuck up a lot on the way to success, so most managers are the worst people to lead a company, they’re serial monotonists.”

–“Alice for iPad Co-Creator Chris Stevens on Risk and Rabbit Holes,” Fast Company

GIGS: The countdown to Digital Book World 2011 hit double digits today, so the next few months promise to be hectic, pulling me in multiple directions, most of which will converge at the end of January when DBW 2011 and the 2011 Writer’s Digest Conference will find me living at the Sheraton for almost a full week!

I’ve created a new page for Upcoming Gigs, including DBW Battledecks, Science Writers 2010, and Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley, all happening within a three-week period and perhaps as diverse a mix of topics and audiences as I’ve ever taken on. Battledecks should be a total blast (think improv poetry slam meets Powerpoint!), while SW2010 will probably be the smartest audience I’ve ever spoken in front of, and SMBTV the most challenging.

Funny how a few years ago, my Gigs page would have only featured poetry readings!

GONGS: There’s no shortage of opinions on the future of publishing, and thanks to the Internet’s short-term memory, everyone can add their two cents to the conversation. Unfortunately, most of it is worth exactly that, as the signal:noise ratio is out of whack, dominated by completely uninformed rants and/or statements of the obvious as if it were news.

Mike Elgan’s intriguingly titled article for ComputerWorld, “Why book publishing needs the Silicon Valley way,” would have been a lot more interesting if his take on the existing model wasn’t so simplistic and he’d acknowledged that there are already plenty of examples of his proposed “new” business model.

Like, OMG, really?

Come on, son!

GRANULES: I’ve had some great conversations with a variety of people over the past several weeks, including Alison Norrington and Scott Walker, who are separately doing some really interesting work that syncs perfectly with my idea of what the ideal publisher of the 21st Century might look like.

For years, I had a goal of becoming a magazine publisher, achieved it, and found it didn’t quite live up to my expectations, largely because the traditional model for publishing magazines hasn’t changed dramatically over the 15+ years I’ve been in the industry. Working with DBW over the past year, I’ve found the traditional book publishing model isn’t terribly appealing, either, largely because its emphasis on continual growth over sustainability isn’t, well, sustainable. But the model isn’t so much under attack as it is simply less viable for new entrants, and a bit of consolidation/contraction overall is inevitable and not unique to publishing.

I still believe in the idea of publishing as a community service, though, and there are far more opportunities to do that today, and far more underrepresented communities to serve than there are established publishers interested in doing so.

If the other 9 people in the room want to play it safe and/or buy into the doom-saying, that’s cool with me.

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Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, one-time poet, still opinionated. Reading, writing, running, gaming, soccer, beer.

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