Getting it Right by Doing it Wrong
March 22, 2008
There has been a lot of coverage regarding successful companies like Google and Apple who have climbed the ladder of success using business models contrary to the traditionally proven models. Now that these companies are becoming more successful, other companies are beginning to emulate them, or are in the process of investigating how to become like them. A main component of this recent recognition stage is the documentation of these companies. Wired published an article on how Apple made it’s way to the top by breaking every rule. Siva Vaidhyanathan , media scholar at the Univeristy of Virginia, is in the process of writing a book called The Googlization of Everything. Also, Jeff Jarvis has recently been contracted to write a book about Google’s business strategy relating it to other businesses and industries, aptly named: WWGD – What Would Google Do? It is expected to be published next spring.
The method in which these publications are being or intended to be distributed is also relevant. Should the author choose methods analogous to the digital age which it is being written about, or by traditional paper-based methods? Jeff Jarvis is choosing to write his
novel book by taking and exploring topics covered in his blog, and getting as much input as possible from viewers. Using a discussioned based approach, Jarvis wishes to incorporate topics and comments which come about from this course of peer-review. Jarvis believes this approach will be more valuable to him, rather than posting finished chapters and asking for his readers’ reactions.
novel book is published, Jarvis intends to make it available solely in the form of a physical paper-based book. The writing process and development of the book will still be available on his blog. There was some commentary on his post announcing the contract, which believed that a PDF format release would be more appropriate to correspond to the material content, however Jarvis is opposed to this method of distribution. The reason why Jarvis is choosing to publish his book on paper, is that he wishes to “freeze-dry” the content of the digital age which he frequently discusses on his blog and thus make it available to an audience of readers who do not utilize his blog.
With the rising popularity of publication moving online, will Jarvis’ book become lost amongst other innovative business model books? Unlikely. By incorporating a peer-aid writing process, Jarvis’ book will likely become a success. The comments on his contract announcement post were all offering positive congratulations and generous offers of help. Everyone seems to be in agreement with his book and wish to help join in the writing process, just as the peer process dictates.
So, should other authors take notice of methods which are being used to create works in the digital age? Yes! It will not only help ease the writing process itself spawning numerous ideas and topics which one author probably wouldn’t have given prior thought too, but it also opens up the potential to reach a larger market through increased distribution. The internet can reach more people than the bookstore down-street ever could!