Paul Gillin: What's Now, What's Next
From my co-founder Brenda Nashawaty...
Last week technology industry executive Paul Gillin visited CHEN PR.
Paul’s been a force in technology media for more than 20 years, including top editor positions at Computerworld, PC Week and Digital Review. He was instrumental in building TechTarget, a network of Web portals for IT professionals, into a leading news and technical advice resource. His new venture, Paul Gillin Communications, offers marketers strategic services including market research, business blogs, podcasting and Internet audio.
Among the points Paul raised:
New technology disrupts from the bottom up.
At higher levels of society or an organization, change is resisted. He cited a survey of 100 CEOs who said that they did not like blogs and found them unproductive and even dangerous. Top people often say no to a new platform.
But the blogging platform is becoming a powerful personal publishing and social networking medium because people at lower levels in organizations saw its potential for communicating ideas, insights and news. After seeing the power of blogs to influence public opinion and purchasing, CEOs of several major organizations including Boeing, SAP, GM, Ford, HP and Sun Microsystems blog. Which supports another of Paul’s points:
Platform change is more disruptive than application change.
In addition to being a powerful communications medium, the blogging platform is becoming a powerful economic channel, thanks to inexpensive memory, free open source software and good old American capitalism. Virtually anyone with an interest in making money online can blog for fun and profit. A growing number of entrepreneurs use blogs in the “long tail” marketing model of selling products or services to many small markets. eBay started on the long tail for people who wanted to buy and sell Pez dispensers. Today it's a very long tail for millions of products and services.
Bob Parsons, founder of domain registration site GoDaddy and of his own site, bobparsons.com, is another example of the power of blogging and the community it's creating to proliferate economic change and opportunity. Bobparsons.com says that it “explores the often-dicey issues that affect Internet users and businesses. It takes a critical look at subjects like identity theft, scams like phishing and pharming; threats like viruses, spyware, malware and others – and how to avoid them. You'll also learn what we're doing at GoDaddy.com to prevent you or your business from being victimized by such threats.” The site also is an online marketing academy that offers tips and advice to people who want to start their own online businesses. There isn’t a hint of competitive attitude. Want to learn how to make money online selling sports cards, your old Ginny dolls, online landscaping plans, those Beanie Babies you couldn't live without? Visit the site.
Take it a step further - smart marketers will increasingly use blogs to promote their own products and services for a fraction of the cost of traditional print and broadcast advertising. Two blogs that are personal favorites of mine were started by people who wanted to know what others thought of the thousands of products in the cosmetics market. Lately these blogs are carrying advertising from top cosmetic companies. I'd wager that advertising on these sites is considerably less expensive than advertising in Vogue magazine, and they're reaching an interested audience of thousands every week.
Which leads to another point Paul made:
Small changes lead to big shifts.
The transistor radio was the first device that made music portable. Teenagers used these small battery operated radios because they didn’t want to listen to their parents’ music, and they didn’t want to sit at home to hear their music. The transistor radio gave teens the freedom to take music to the beach or the park. This concept was the forerunner of the iPod, which not only makes music portable, but also makes it user-definable. Paul remarked that the iPod is turning the entertainment industry on its head because it’s changing the way we consume not just music, but all media – TV, movies, etc.
Paul commented that use of blogging, podcasts and other media is in a Geoffrey Moore-like tornado period – the time in which a new generation of influencers and early adopters figure out how to exploit new technology. Eventually blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, etc. will be as common as it was to see teenagers on the beach listening to The Beatles on their 1960s versions of the iPod.