WiFi Kindle at $139 may be the answer for newspapers

Newspapers around the world haven’t learned that half their name is no longer valid. Unfortunately- what they’ve built as NewsWebsites may qualify as the best example of how not to build a website.

The key to the news industry is the first part of their name: NEWS. The rest of it- if it isn’t absolutely relevant to their readers- isn’t worth the paper it’s soon to be no longer printed on.

For as long as newspapers have been in business- they’ve been a one-to-many ad sponsored vehicle. Those days are over. Now, they have to learn how to be a one-to-one conversation- and know as much about you and your interests as they know about the things they are supposed to cover. Unfortunately- no one in the corporate suite has figured it out yet- and they are still selling impressions- by the thousands, instead of meaningful relations.

And while the iPad from Apple may be the ultimate way to provide a multi-media experience on a screen- these are areas that the newspaper industry is still playing catch up on. Sure - a little video here or there, and of course- photos in color (although if you look at their print editions some newspapers are still printing some pages in black and white). But- iPads are expensive and Apple isn’t exactly being easy to work with on the data collection side.

With Amazon’s new $139 wi-fi Kindle- or any of the numerous Android powered tablets hitting the market these days- the economics of publishing “Newspapers” digitally is now practical: of the $200 or so collected for a 1-year subscription- at least that much is spent on the printing and distribution of the dead wood with oil on it. It’s time for newspapers to take a lesson from the phone companies and start handing out Kindle’s for a 2 year subscription. So what if you can read other newspapers- or books on it, put your logo on it and lock customers into a “better news experience.” Make the content slightly better than the print or typical online experience- and tailor the ads like a Hong Kong custom suit- expressly for the reader. Work to sell the relationship to local businesses- who are struggling for a way to reach the masses without being obstructive- and build a community that’s talking to each other.

People still want news- and especially news that’s relevant to them. But- being assaulted by random ads in the internet age has no more relevance today than back in the sixties when Howard Luck Gossage said “People don’t read ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”

Advertising is plastic surgery for business bullshit

Guy Kawasaki once wrote that “Advertising is the plastic surgery of business,: a procedure to make ugly and old products look good” in his book Selling the Dream

However, the business of business has become corrupted by charlatans practicing what can only be called some kind of voodoo economics- be it in banking, insurance, or even selling cars. We’ve started taking our own economic buzzword driven drivel and packaged it into arcane business models- ones that suggest that selling “Credit Default Swaps” is actually business instead of grand theft.

I recently questioned if Venture Capitalists, as they practice their craft now are anything but parasites. With the casinoization of Wall Street- where stock prices can drop by half, even when a company hasn’t changed it’s products- business model or suffered from any change in demand (Google during the current financial meltdown), is there any reality attached to the very real and tangible ways to define and guide business?

Either you have solid financial goals, objectives and strategies- with real products and services that fill a need, or you don’t. Back in the dot.com bomb of 1999-2001 we had VC backed online companies opening only to go out of business the next day (www.bigwords.com ended up at a local liquidator- the breadth of the offering was amazing- Amazon like, when all indications that laser focus is the key to most online success).

I lay the blame purely on the shoulders of Wall Street and Bull Speak. You know, the ability of CEOs with no “skin in the game” who are able to “push the envelope” inventing new “ecosystems” for “profit optimization through….” while forgetting the basics of business, which is providing goods and services that fill real needs.

So, I was ecstatic to find this:

Bull has become the official language of business. Every day, we get bombarded by an endless stream of filtered, jargon-filled corporate speak, all of which makes it harder to get heard, harder to be authentic, and definitely harder to have fun. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

via Fight the Bull - Why Business People Speak Like Idiots.

Which besides having the book: Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide

Also comes with a downloadable BullFighter software program, which allows you to analyze your Microsoft Word document for a BS quotient. If there is one thing that stops advertising from being able to do its job- making the “ugly and old products look good” it’s the clients inability to clearly describe the market, and the product without lapsing into bull speak.

Copy god, Howard Luck Gossage once famously said “people don’t read ads, they read what interests them- and sometimes it’s an ad.” If you try to read some of the horse hockey coming out of our corporations, talking about “making paradigm shifts” when what they really mean is we can’t clearly tell you why we do what we do, but you should still believe our CEO is worth $2K an hour- and we’ll be lining up for a bailout from the Federal Government as soon as we figure out how to explain what we’ve been squandering our stockholders money on.

Business and advertising both are easier without bullshit. So go get your Bullfighter now- and lets work together on selling stuff.

We won’t confuse you with anything that won’t directly impact your bottom line (translation- make you money).