Media Threads May 11(ish), 2019

It’s been an interesting few weeks for me personally – not in a bad way – so I haven’t had time to put together fully flushed out versions of my blog. However, I still wanted to share a few stories I found interesting from the week.

First up is a podcast from Digiday with Morning Brew‘s co-founder and COO Austin Rief. Morning Brew is a digital startup email newsletter (that’s a lot of buzzwords) focusing on business. More importantly, it’s a digital startup that is not reliant on venture funding, something that was a rarity not long ago, but now that funding is drying up should become the norm.

What struck me is the amazing focus the company seems to have:

“The biggest upside is focus. Not getting distracted by say, Facebook video. We couldn’t even think about it. The downside could have been choosing the wrong lane. We could have gone with Facebook video. We chose email. But even within the area of focus, we haven’t been able to scale as quickly as we wanted to. The problem with focus is we’ve not been able to test new things. Just now as we’ve gotten bigger and started generating more revenue can we start thinking about a three-year strategy, a five-year plan or hiring more senior people in sales or other parts of the business.”

You can listen to the full podcast here.

Another piece from Digiday is on Google’s plans to curtail third-party tracking and what it could mean for publishers. The move, which was confirmed during Google’s I/O event, is good from a user perspective. I for one can’t wait for my dashboard.

The move is not at all surprising. Google continues to lag behind in privacy when compared to other companies in the browser game such as Apple and Mozilla. Although Google has a reason to move slow given it’s core business is online advertising which is largely driven by third-party data.

CNBC has a deeper dive into the announcement from earlier this week here.

Finally, I found this piece from Harvard Business Review thought-provoking. In the column, titled Why Every Company Needs to Think Like an Entertainment Company, the authors argue that businesses should move making things and providing services to one defined by entertainment and stimulation in order to capture and retain audiences.

Doing so won’t be easy, but according the the authors argue businesses need to:

  • Have the best material
  • Get people talking
  • Know your audience
  • Mind your language

It’s hard to argue with any of these points, all of which apply to publishers, but I would put them in a different order. The best publishers

  1. Know their audience well enough to
  2. Know their audience’s language
  3. In order to create the best material
  4. Which gets people talking

Am I oversimplifying this? Yes, absolutely. But nothing on that list is anything most publishers do well, let alone in concert with one another.

You can read the full post here.

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