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Re-integrating the Media Business

June 18, 2008

vcmike

One of the great things about my job is that I get to spend lots of time with really smart, intellectually curious people who are passionate about many of the same things I am. Although we do lots and lots and lots of meetings that never lead to investment, our days are almost filled with interesting people and ideas.

Yesterday I got to spend 90 minutes or so with an entrepreneur who spent a bunch of time in the media and newspaper business and then spent much of the last decade helping startups disrupt his old industry. He had lots of great insights. While many of us have been ranting about the disruption of the media and news businesses, he had one of the more thoughtful analyses not just of how the old media model is disintegrating, but also of how it is in the process of re-integrating 4 of the key steps in the value chain: creation, curation, distribution and monetization. He is going to be posting on this topic shortly so I won’t steal his thunder.

Reflecting on the conversation, it dawned on me that each of these four things have been important investment themes for me and Polaris over the last few years.

The power of democratizing the content creation process was an important theme behind my interest in blogging and consequent investment in Automattic, and more recently Plinky the value in enabling creative “curators” on the web to remix premium content was a key part of our interest in Sprout; the demonstrated success in gaining distribution was part of our investment thesis for both Heavy and JibJab; monetization is the key business problem being addressed by BlackArrow, Quantcast and Husky Media.

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  1. June 22, 2008

    I can honestly say that what I saw in the panels I organized in the mid-70s (public input concerning the UN’s 7th Special Session, on the “New International Economic Order”) shaped the rest of my life: even as the expert panels shared their knowledge, the way things worked actually had the effect of quenching discourse.

    Curators and editors … gate-keepers … from WikiPedia to Citizendium … facilitating actual discourse is a bear!

    My “participatory deliberation” works by doing away with rhetoric and sophistry while allowing space for subjective narrative. But it lacks “fun” so *HeyHo* nobody’s interested!

    Anyhow, my aim is to “integrate media” by creating a discourse-based document portal. (Seems so obvious to me now; I have to gasp when I think of how many years it took me to derive the design!)

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