Scripting News for 12/16/2006

Time named its person of the year, and it’s you! 

I got a nice mention in one of the cover stories.  

YouTube: Hand Farting the Star Spangled Banner

Hot fire keeps you warm. New header graphic

Today meat sauce, tomorrow lasagna. 🙂 

Goodbye to the embargo 

I read on Frank Shaw’s blog that Nick Denton thinks that embargoes will soon be a thing of the past. I think this is a good thing, even though I fully understand why big companies like Microsoft (Shaw’s client) have attempted to orchestrate product rollouts in the past. It made more sense before there were blogs, when the number of news outlets was finite, and when most people were dependent on intermediaries to find out about new products. That hasn’t been true for quite some time, and it will be less true in the future.

The embargo system led to an inbred information flow, and created opportunities for competitors that didn’t have the ear of the big pubs, like the NY Times, Fortune, Business Week or the Wall Street Journal. How many of the ideas that made a difference in the last few years were rolled out in the orchestrate and embargo system? When you see a rollout that’s been orchestrated does that make you more or less interested? For me, if 18 big publications got the story before me, I’m not interested at all. If Om and Mike got it before me, ditto. And in a world where everyone is a publication, you just can’t play favorites, you have to find a way to spread the news on your own, without help from middlemen.

Luckily it’s easy to do. No reason you can’t cover your own rollout. It requires that you undestand your product, have an idea how people will see it. It means maybe you haven’t been that secretive about it while you were creating it. Chris Anderson’s list of transparency features, which we’ve been writing about here for years, apply to businesses too. So what if your competitors know where you’re going. Stop worrying about them so much, think more about the users.

The embargo system is a throwback to the ivory tower development system. But I’m sure of this — in the future, the users are the designers, so you can’t hide your ideas from them, they already know them, if you’re barking up the right tree, if your ideas are any good. So goodbye to embargoes, and good riddance.

One response to this post.

  1. Dave,

    Just a note about the NYT river. It will be missed, and I am sorry that only a middling number of smartphone geeks used it (or enthused about it to you). It was not clear to me that it required upkeep of any kind. I would have considered paying a donation to keep it going much more than for Times Select because it actually stripped away gunk and presented the NYT content in a more usable way. I even used it on the desktop, b/c it was more like flipping thru an old fashioned newspaper (and also like a blog in the “new entries first” mode).

    I don’t know if there will be a groundswell of emails following this one, leading to your reinstating it (the likely suspects are probably still camped out in front of 1 Infinite Loop on a hunger strike to bring back the Newton).

    But I liked the NYT river and found that it did change the way I thought about the news online format. And I stumbled on alot more interesting stuff than I ever do on the regular site.


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