Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Tagged technology

Some of America’s most venerable newspapers face extinction

Economist.com — “Pick almost any American newspaper company and you can tell a similar story. The ABC reported that for the 530 biggest dailies, average circulation in the past six months was 3.6% lower than in the same period a year earlier; for Sunday papers, it was 4.6% lower. Ad revenues are plunging across the board…”

Fact: many technologists were quick to predict the death of pen and paper with the rise of typewriters and personal computers. Similarly, many technologists predicted book sales would decrease with the rise of e-book readers.

That being said, older technology can often persist in light of new technology through adaptation (i.e. new technology does not always obviate older technology). I believe the same is true for newspapers and magazines, provided they accentuate their remaining value (portable text, reputation, local community, and/or more non-ephemeral reporting like features).

[via Digg]

Now with 100% more milkman

According to Wikipedia, milk was first delivered in bottles on January 11, 1878. As of April 14, 2008, it is still delivered to Wasatch Front doorsteps in plastic jugs.

Though Lindsey and I had heard and tried Winder Dairy in the past, we recently become customers in a cooperative with our downstairs neighbors, the Johnstuns. We pay about a dollar more per gallon than we would at retail. The milk (not to mention bread, cheese, and whatnot) is not only deliciously fresh, but it’s delivery method is loaded with history, something I’m convinced makes the cow extract taste even better.

To my surprise, milk is still delivered in isolated regions of the United States, but it’s seemingly a rare luxury for most. It’s amazing how long older technologies can endure, and with the quiet resurgence of web-to-order grocery delivery, the milkman may still have a future.

Fun Fact: I was in talks with Winder Dairy many years ago as a web consultant to redesign their website.

Visual search is nothing more than a lame gimmick to rival Google

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When will software executives finally learn that speed of functionality will always trump bells and whistles. You’d think RedZee and SearchMe would already know this after the “we’ve got more glitz” Ask.com called it quits last week.

Build a better mouse trap, people — not a sexier one. Google is number one because it returns relevant results faster than others. It takes a lot more than good looks to be “cool.”

Report: “Google generation” doesn’t use Google

Ars Technica reports: “A new UK report on the habits of the ‘Google Generation’ finds that kids born since 1993 aren’t quite the Internet super-sleuths they’re sometimes made out to be. For instance, are teens better with technology than older adults? Perhaps, but they also ‘tend to use much simpler applications and fewer facilities than many imagine.'”

A Digg user responds: “Quite true — my youngest brother (14) is constantly asking me how to do this or that on his computer. Usually it’s quite simple, and the first thing I ask him is if he Googled it first. The answer is invariably ‘no.’ Kids are lazy, no matter when they were born.”

Disruptive Technology or Disruptive Myth?

John C. Dvorak, a good but rather quirky writer at times, has a great article on why disruptive technology is just a bunch of business rubbish.

Disruptive technology is a term coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. He claims it to be an innovation that comes in cheaper, and is better than current technology. The disruptive technology then supposedly replaces the older technology. Only problem is, there is no real evidence supporting this idea.

Quote from Dvorak: “There is no such thing as a disruptive technology. There are inventions and new ideas, many of which fail while others succeed. That’s it. This concept [of disruptive technology] only services venture capitalists who need a new term for the PowerPoint show to sucker investors.”

Can we stop with the cliches and false ideas as to how to make more money in business? The equation is simple:

Consumer Need + Quality Product + Great Service = Happy Customer. That yields happy profits. (more oversimplied business equations coming soon!)

It’s funny how many businesses forget the first ingredient in the equation…