Seth has a thought-provoking post on the newspaper industry. More people consume more news than ever, yet newspaper companies are dying. Why is this?
The answer is obvious: Consumers of news moved online, but newspapers didn’t. Instead, most newspapers chose to defend paper (the medium) rather than defending their ability to deliver the best news (the message). They chose the wrong battleground.
To be fair, even the most forward-thinking newspaper — one that was willing to completely cannibalize its paper business — would have its hands full competing online. Blogging and other forms of citizen journalism have fundamentally changed the way news is reported (not to mention the cost structure). So maybe that industry was doomed — just like video killed the radio star, the Internet killed the morning paper.
Seth’s insight is this: Think about the “trees” that you’re defending in your business. These days, you constantly have to ask yourself how a start-up with no baggage could re-invent your industry. How could new technologies and social trends disrupt your business? If you don’t ask these questions, someone else will.