Jettisoning brands?

Business 2.0 editor-at-large Erick Schonfeld has an interesting piece in the magazine's April issue, offering five suggestions of ways to save Time Warner. He suggests dumping distribution, creating "nichebusters" instead of blockbusters, letting the audience play with content, becoming a content rebundler and structuring the company around customers, not products. It's that last one that seems most radical, as it most likely would mean the end of brands to a certain extent. For example, if I want business content from Time Warner (parent of Business 2.0 and a number of other content providers like CNN, Money and Fortune), is it enough to provide it to me in a way I want without being able to brand and market it a certain way? Perhaps there's a future where they'll be able to brand my own preferred content as "John's business news" and target ads to me, but I'll be willing to bet that TW and others won't make that leap without a lot of teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling.


Flatter world

Publisher's Weekly reports that Thomas Friedman has prepared an expanded and updated version of his groundbreaking and controversial book, The World is Flat. No surprise, save for the fact that the revised version will be in hardback. It's become typical for topical non-fiction to be revised for the paperback version, but a bit odd to do so with a second hardback. Either way, it will be interesting to see if this is simply an amplification of the original points with more examples -- PW reports that it will feature "new reporting, insights and commentary, drawn both from Friedman's 2005 travels (to India, China and the Middle East) and from his encounters with readers around the country who have shared their accounts of the flattening of the world as they have felt it" -- or if any of his assumptions will be altered or challenged.


Mea culpa

I've had a few design problems of late, and that coupled with a busy work schedule and the introduction of a new family member has meant less time for blogging here. The design problems are fixed, however, and I have a backlog of things about which to write, so things will pick up here very soon.