This Just In! Newer New Rules of Old and New Media

Some of the More Up-to-date Lessons Learned About the 'Sipping Point'

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Last fall, I revealed in this space that I've quietly been working on a business book -- a media-advice book that collects some of the lessons I've learned from my many years in this business. At the time I considered titling it "Everything I Know I Learned From MySpace" or "Tuesdays With YouTube" or "Who Moved My Facebook?"
Chad Hurley, designer extraordinaire
Chad Hurley, designer extraordinaire
But lately I've been leaning toward "The Sipping Point" -- which, by the way, is "early and often," because when you think about the depressing state of media all day like I do, it's never too soon to pull the Svedka out of the freezer. Or, to give my old friend Jim Cramer ("Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich") a run for his money: "Simon Dumenco's Snack Attack: Watch TV, Get Fat." If not that, then a much-needed challenge to Tom Friedman's delusional "The World Is Flat," titled "The World Is Fat." (I mean, c'mon, Tom: duh!)

Anyway, because I want the book to be as up-to-date as possible, I've been trying to work in some very current new rules of new and old media. Some samples:

Billionaire zombies must die!
We've gotten pretty used to the idea that media moguls never die. I mean, Rupert Murdoch, how old is he now? 100? And Sumner Redstone -- 150? OK, maybe those two particular vampires actually are immortal, but lately it's been heartening to realize that billionaire media moguls -- and mere billionaires with media-mogul dreams -- are destined to shuffle off this mortal coil just like the rest of us, as evidenced by their collective death wish. How else to explain so many of them suddenly wanting to buy newspapers? Speaking of which ...

How fortunes aren't made
Here's an old saying that needs to be updated: "How do you become a millionaire? Become a billionaire and then buy an airline." Scratch out "airline" -- substitute "newspaper."

How much is a good logo worth? Oh, say, $800M
That's what I estimate YouTube's logo is worth -- that's how much value it added to YouTube's $1.65 billion price tag. Without that logo, without that simple, eye-catching brand mark, would YouTube have commanded even, say, $800 million? YouTube cofounder -- and YouTube logo designer -- Chad Hurley is still, when you get right down to it, a designer at heart. He designed (literally) a brand, and the audience followed. He's a (Steve) Jobsian. More and more designers like Hurley -- guys who can literally design brands and launch them virtually in real time -- are going to get obscenely rich over the next few years. Forget technologists. It's designers (those with just enough web literacy) that are really building the new new economy.

Two is too many
One of the ironies of The New York Times story about Time Inc. that ran last week -- the one titled "As Time Inc. Cuts Jobs, One Writer on Britney May Have to Do" (a snide reference to a recent People story about Britney that included contributions from seven reporters) -- is that it was written by two Times reporters. Hey, how's about "As NYT Cuts Jobs, One Writer on Time Inc. Cuts May Have to Do"? Or how about no writers? Can't we just read about Time Inc.'s incredible disappearing act in Romenesko Memos?

It's the end of time
Not just Time, or the Times, but time itself. I know this because Wired magazine Editor in Chief Chris Anderson just told National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) conference-goers that the Blockbuster Age is over. Right, sure, but then again, magazines -- which are mostly a niche medium these days -- are doomed too, so I guess maybe the Niche Age is over as well.

Once again, I just want to strangle myself with the Long Tail.

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