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Two men laying bricks to build … something November 21, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Economy, Musings.
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Both of these guys — Apple Steve Jobs and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch — can make you flinch often with their ego and their controlling approaches. But they have one thing in common that bears considerable study as we all move forward: They lead.

This venture they seem to be proposing does not appear all that radical in its design, though it does funnel distribution through a narrow needle, and of course opens up another potentially large information pipeline to the Murdoch empire — and philosophy.

But there is plenty of room for competition in this too.  Maybe.

The lesson, I think, is far more valuable than concerns about monopoly power or propaganda. And it is a simple matter of men with an idea taking considerable riches and putting them on the line to build something to meet what they see as a need in the marketplace, perhaps hedging the bet a tad with smartness to help create the need with buzz.

It’s a TV model: Here’s what we say is the “news” today, all packaged and buffed and piped to a predominantly passive audience, one that isn’t going to be floating all over the ether browsing. A loyal, measurable audience that can be sold to advertisers now pulling their hair out trying to line up with media with an audience that doesn’t change in the blink of an eye.

Many mega-rich folks out there are sitting on their pile, waiting for someone to point the way to a safe place with a high margin and no downside. They’ll do OK and I guess we need that also.

But we badly need people willing to point the way, hack through the first layer of brush and plant the flag in new territory.

Not just in media. In every realm. Because most of the old streams, mines and deep formations are played out, and new market share comes from someone else’s piece, not from growth.

This isn’t a government thing. Government and make this easier maybe, or harder maybe. And our elected officials need to work real hard to make sure the balance is properly tipped to the former.

But without this kind of vision focused on cultivation rather than on harvest, it does not happen. Stagnation happens.

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