Archive for the What I Say Category

DRG Publications Highlights

All in all, it is a good thing—and not just in terms of mortgage payments and tuition fees—that the work through DRG Publications has been so engaging.

Assignment highlights include:

  • Serving as Senior Analyst for Outsell, Inc. (and before the acquisition by Outsell, Inc., Gilbane Group), I contributed to a number of big projects, including:

A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-invent Publishing, as main author and lead analyst, as well as lead sponsor prospector; this study describes the multitude of strategic decisions facing the entire industry, and its 277 pages, includes 5 chapters (including Industry Forecast), 6 case studies, Industry Directory, and over 50 tables and figures.

Enterprise Rights Management: Implementation Imperatives & Business Readiness, as contributing author and analyst; this report presents the most comprehensive publicly available research on the ERM market ever undertaken. ERM: Business Imperatives and Implementation Readiness is backed by qualitative and quantitative research on general awareness of ERM, the current state of ERM deployments or plans to deploy (or decisions to avoid the technology), and target applications.

  • I analyzed publishing market survey results and wrote up the findings for one of the leading ebook and electronic publishing out-source vendors, and developed and participated in a webinar presenting these results.
  • For SoftLock.com/Digital Goods Inc., I wrote and project managed a white paper explicating their business repositioning from DRM technology supplier to direct content marketing service.
  • For InterTrust Technologies Corporation, I researched and wrote various strategic technology and market development reports on digital cable set-tops, online music, and privacy, as well as writing and editing strategic marketing collateral.
  • As Senior Advisor, Strategic Research for Fuse Products, Inc., I researched CE/home network software market and strategic business development opportunities and produced technology briefings.
  • For New Millennium Publishing, Inc., I authored and edited white papers and researched backgrounders, articles, and reports in support of clients (ASTM, Cahner’s Manufacturing.net, CAP Ventures, Classwell Learning Group, ContentGuard, ContentRules.com, eGrail, Enigma, Inc., Houghton Mifflin Co.).
  • As Associate Editor, The Gilbane Report (Bluebill Advisors, Inc.), I authored the following analyses:

“Editorial Interfaces & Enterprise-enabled Content” (Volume 9, No. 7)

“Privilege Management & Rights Management for Corporate Portals” (Vol. 9, No. 3)

“XHTML: What You Should Do About It & When” (Vol. 9, No. 1)

“XML: The State of the Union” (Vol. 8, No. 10)

“E-Books: Technology for Enterprise Content Applications?” (Vol. 8, No. 9)

“Syndication, Actionable Content, and the Supply Chain” (Vol. 8, No. 7)

“Digital Rights Management: It’s Time to Pay Attention” (Vol. 8, No. 6)

  •  I wrote business plan and carried out market research and funding meetings with potential sponsors for Disc/Web, a B2B portal concept for the optical disc and connected content vendor and professional user communities.
  • Over the past 14 years, I’ve produced conference programs, track programs, presentations, and tutorials for various conferences, including, among many others, (BISG Making Information Pay, Gilbane Group Content Management Conference, CAP Venture Dynamic Content, GCA XML 2000, AIIM/GCA/Bluebill Advisors Enterprise Content Management Series, DVD World, MacWorld, and CD-ROM Expo.

My post-EMedia Professional career has been rather interesting, and my efforts have extended well beyond my work through DRG Publications. I got back to art making—which is fun, but, not surprisingly, not too lucrative!—and my attention to Arch Art, from a practical perspective, has to be a secondary priority.

It’s been something of a balancing act between my professional work and Arch Art, especially since our move from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Housatonic, a village in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in southern Berkshire County, where a good chunk of time on and off over the course of the last half-dozen years was spent on rebuilding the plus-100-year-old house. Much of the work of renovation led to my starting a new company, RetroSheath, which took over much of my spare time  from 2010 onward, including a provisional patent application sent in the fall of 2011.So far RetroSheath—which is a system for recladding the exterior of existing homes to improve insulation and air sealing—has failed to result in tickertape parades for me, and RetroSheath remains a secondary priority in terms of my making a living.

I’ve even gotten involved in local development projects, and, especially in the effort to bring new use to many of the mill buildings that I can see from out my front windows, by helping get information out about the project using my writing and web content management skills (www.monumentmills.com). By the way, the redevelopment is moving forward, albeit slowly, as the effort to garner historic tax credits grinds on.

But it can’t be said that I don’t keep myself busy!

The Amazon Publisher

There’s been a certain amount of scuttlebutt about Amazon’s job postings that have been showing up in various publishing-oriented sites with listings, and yesterday’s PW Daily —one of such job listing providers—ran an article on the new Amazon imprint, Montvale Romance, that started this way:

With the news that Amazon is expanding its publishing arm, launching in the fall Montlake Romance (with plans to deepen its category publishing to mystery, science fiction, and thrillers), many in the publishing business have been talking about the company’s hiring strategies. And agents have been eyeing the unfolding process closely, trying to gauge whether the retailer will become as viable a place for their books as traditional houses.
For weeks job openings at Amazon, in both editorial and publicity, have been posted online, offering positions in Seattle and New York.

While this isn’t Amazon’s first foray into building direct deals with authors, the creation of an imprint and the hiring of many and high-level publishing professionals (engendering complaints about poaching from publishers, but ever thus…) highlights a significant sea change.

Just like people have been speculating over the last few years, the recent Amazon activity at least suggests a disintermediation of traditional publishers.  Poaching executives could prove to be the weakest complaint from the existing trade publishing business: the bigger danger is that Amazon will be “poaching” these publishers’ authors and customers.

Amazon has proved itself to be an essential part of the publishing (especially trade) value chain, first by becoming the first place that people now look for books, then by building—really, almost singlehandedly—the real ebook marketplace.  The success of the ebook marketplace is no longer a matter of speculation, as report after report points to digital publications taking on sales growth, even as print versions of titles are slowly dropping back.  Fortunately for everyone, there are strong counters to Amazon in the marketplace, including the rise and continuing improvement of ePub, as well as the apps-side of publishing, by which we still mean Apple and iPad, although this is sorting itself out quite nicely, thank you, with the growth of tablet competitors.

But the initial reaction to this recent news about Amazon’s quite serious play to become a publisher has engendered a fairly absurd pushback among some of the competitors, with what amount to mewling on the part of some publishers and independent book retailers who say that they simply won’t play along.  The PW Daily article, “Montlake Romance Marks Tip of Amazon’s Expansion Into Publishing,” by Rachel Deahl (May 04, 2011), mentions that some independent booksellers are already saying they will never carry a book published by Amazon, and the writer points out that “B&N did not respond to e-mails about whether it will carry Montlake titles,” which in journalism-speak means nothing, really.

Probably the single best assistance Amazon’s competitors could provide the new publishing efforts would be to refuse to participate in selling Amazon’ published titles, thereby driving even more consumers to Amazon as the one-stop shop.  Amazon’s biggest play isn’t to become the biggest publisher—although that may be a fervent hope of theirs—but to become the number one place to buy things, including books, and just because Amazon is already the number one book seller in the known universe doesn’t mean that it can’t get bigger. Petulance is not a sound business strategy for Amazon’s competitors, I’m pretty sure, although, to be honest, I’m not all that sure what the best strategy may be in the light of these recent developments.

Amazon is doing a sensible thing, cutting out “extra” participants in the publishing value chain.  It remains to be seen if Amazon does this well, and whether it distributes its bigger slice of the pie to authors and their agents to encourage robust sign-up with the A-Team.  Early days yet, and there’s little news about who Amazon has tagged for its publishing team, and a technology company getting into the book business has plenty of negative precedents, but this is a sound strategy on Amazon’s part.

Now, if they will only call me, so that I can tell them all the other things they need to do to achieve world-domination…

An Experiment in Crowd Sourcing

LinkedIn is a terrific service, and one in which I find plenty of practical value. I’m a member of well over a dozen groups from which I receive a mix of daily and weekly abstracts of the discussions and announcements. In other words, I get far too much information to practically track.  Continue reading An Experiment in Crowd Sourcing