Scale accordingly

Here's a math equation traditional media folks are going to get some schoolin' in.

Lean operation + good sales + good content = internet money

I found that in Wil Harris' article in "The Inquirer" on the sorry state of computer and technology magazines. It's a good read and I think the analysis extends far beyond the tech rags.

Time Inc. is struggling to keep Business 2.0 publishing, but Om Malik, a top writer who left the magazine two years ago, has created a successful family of Web sites, Harris points out.

The Duh! paragraph:

The most successful online publications - whether old or new media, whether video or text - all have a lean, mean operation that employs the best people, gives them creative freedom to shape their publication, and frees them from the constraints of the traditional publishing environment and of what has gone before.

He notes Malik works out of his home and uses standard off-the-shelf blogging and content management system software. Silicon Valley's popular snarky gossip publication ValleyWag is a two person editorial outfit. The most popular independent audio podcasting service is a two-person office.

Get the picture?

In the rock, scissors, paper game of what media is becoming, leaner always wins.

But that doesn't mean lean isn't profitable; the winners are making money where bulky traditional media can't because of their leanness. That coupled with creative freedom, Harris argues, attracts the best and brightest.

Again, it's not about just making the tough cultural transformation from print to online. Harris writes:

The most successful online publications - whether old or new media, whether video or text - all have a lean, mean operation that employs the best people, gives them creative freedom to shape their publication, and frees them from the constraints of the traditional publishing environment and of what has gone before.

Back to the blackboard:

Lean operation + good sales + good content = Internet money

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