Tackling the Deer

March 28, 2008

Source: ShutterstockI tackled a deer yesterday. Imagine my motorcycle and me as a linebacker, and the yearling deer as a wide-receiver, foolishly jumping into the air over the middle. Slamming on the breaks, the motorcycle crouched low, the deer went high, and blam-o….I stuck my headlights right between the numbers. The deer took about a 5 mph punch to the ribs, skidded across the road, leaped to it’s feet and jumped the nearest fence. Happy to notice that I managed to stay on two wheels, I signaled to an on-looker that all was in the realm of okay.

That was my experience, and now here’s my philosophical leap. Wedia is like a deer, running open and free, jumping fences, and Media tries to avoid it until they literally cross-paths. Wedia is wild, organic, unpredictable, and lives mostly for itself. Media is a static machine, purpose-built to follow the money. Wedia hardly acknowledges that Media exists, but Media agonizes about how Wedia could interrupt it’s path towards the benjamins.

Bringing it back from the brink of over-metaphoring this, think about a local Media company. When something more in the mold of Wedia (like Craigslist) comes into their market, they watch in awe as they jump fences and steal customers. But to follow the model of these new Wedia competitors, Media Co. would have to get off their money-making machine and run off into the wilderness towards an unknown. Most often, Media Co. has a guy watch Wedia from a distance with some binocs. After all, Media Co. knows their money-machine would quickly get mired and stuck if they chased it. So, in the end, Wedia looks at Media with disdain for failing to jump fences and go to new places. And Media is wary of Wedia for failing to follow the path towards ROI.

Us guys over here at e-Me think this is a problem that is worth solving. We’re gonna spend time understanding Wedia and Media. We’re gonna experiment. We’re gonna find Media Co.’s and Wedia Pioneers to become a part of the innovation. We’re gonna fall on our faces a few times. We’re gonna bootstrap and scrape along. We’re gonna share because we care.

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4 Responses to “Tackling the Deer”

  1. easmussen Says:

    I think the success of wedia comes from the fact that the source of the information is a community of other users, and is therefore trustworthy. It’s analogous to the ‘overheard conversation’ advertising model, e.g., a commercial where two consumers are discussing the merits of a product. People are more likely to believe the arguments come from their own personal feelings and not from the sponsor company. People evaluate the source of their information to assess its reliability. So the moment you associate a money-generating company with a wedia community, the motives of the information-providers become tarnished, and the power of the community model is lost. So how will you work around this source bias?

  2. njpeters Says:

    Excellent issue, easmussen. I think a potential answer is in the power of aggregation. You tend to listen to the overheard conversation because you figure that that person isn’t going to make any money off of what they’re saying. Therefore, it must be authentic and trustworthy. Now, what if the person made 5 cents off mentioning a product? Still seems too little to erode the authenticity of the message. And, better yet, what if the 5 cents came from a third-party who is just hoping that she’ll say anything, not something specific? No one makes much money in the “say one thing and make 5 cents” model. But someone could make a lot of money in the “aggregate 100 Billion things and make 5 cents on each”. Just because a comment on a product is aggregated and monetized shouldn’t mean that it is therefore inauthentic. I’m sure there is more to this issue yet….


  3. [...] would we do this?  Because we want to be the deer, not the [...]


  4. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!


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