The funny thing about growth curves

Jay Small has a smart take on the similarity of Twitter’s audience retention woes and those of local news sites:

The consumer value of a social-status service like Twitter resembles the value of “news” as a service. It is incidentally important, but not always important, and never all important to any one person. The intervals between incidents that you or I might deem important defy any prediction.

Does that mean we in local media should hope Twitter finds a great business model to capitalize on its traffic, since it so resembles ours? Hmm. Maybe. I find it easier (though not completely easy) to connect those dots than the ones between us and, say, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple or eBay.

In praise of last year’s model

Last Year's ModelAnil Dash of Six Apart has a funny new site with a semi-serious purpose: Last Year’s Model.

Dash says with all the coverage of what’s new, soon to be in released and cutting edge, existing technologies that are less expensive and work get marginalized. I guess that’s an attention problem for gadget guys and gals.

“Even alpha geeks often don’t run out and buy the newest gadgets and electronics the minute they come out,” he writes on his personal blog.

So he created a movement “to save the planet through sheer laziness.”

The constant hyping of what’s new creates the impression that you have to geek-up to keep up.

It ain’t necessarily so. I bounced this idea off of a few tech experts I know, and they all agreed that the constant pursuit of novelty over actual value takes a lot of the joy out of loving great technology. So, to help promote the idea of being thoughtful about what we buy, and how long we hold on to it, I created Last Year’s Model, with a design from my friend Mike Monteiro of Mule Design.

To join the “Last Year’s Model” army, all you have to do is:

  1. Choose to hang on to a gadget or technology product that you own, instead of just buying a new one.
  2. Join our Facebook Cause, or tell people on Twitter, your blog or Flickr why you’re participating.
  3. Optionally put the Last Year’s Model badge on your site or tag your story with #lastyears.


A date with demise

Michael WolffMichael Wolff, founder of Newser and author of several books, gives newspapers, oh, about 18 months.

“About 18 months from now, 80 percent of newspapers will be gone. The Washington Post is supported by Kaplan’s testing business. The testing business will still be around in 18 months, and they will probably continue to support the newspaper. But that’ll be an exception.”

Wolff was speaking yesterday on a panel in New York.

Interestingly, he blames all the ills on Craig Newmark. He makes a point that Newmark’s Craigslist took away newspapers’ revenue brimming silos of auto, jobs and real estate ads.

While it certainly had an impact, the idea that Craigslist primarily wrecked the newspaper industry’s cash stores is a bit far fetched as is the 18-month prediction of the death of nearly all newspapers. Far more likely is the death of “Burn Rate” Wolff’s own Newser in 18 months.

Check back here in October 2010 for the scorecard.