Exercises in Futility



Ozzie, my bizdev homeboy, has been busting my chops for a
few weeks over making some comment on our experience at the Design Automation
Conference (DAC), so I'm giving in and talking about it.



For the past year I've been talking about some new models
for journalism that include the adoption of video/audio podcasts, social media,
a variation on pay-for-play coverage (that we call objective advocacy™) and
cooperative reporting.



We've been working on developing video interviews and have
one currently running on YouTube, not to mention the interviews I've done on
this blog for the past year.
  We've
had some enormous initial success with text articles as well … all outside of
the electronic design automation (EDA) world.
  We went to DAC reluctantly with a lot of pressure from
several marketers and PR folks to create video podcasts of four or five
companies.



I say reluctantly because we all know that EDA marketers
don't believe in supporting the information infrastructure that promotes their
business and they have little inventiveness when it comes to marketing
concepts.
  They believe that their
technology is just "so amazing" that the media ought to support their
efforts for free.
  I think trying
to help that industry is an enormous waste of time and effort.
  Not to mention money.  But I gave in to my crew and friends
and we set up our meetings and got down to DAC on Sunday evening.
  We arranged to have all our tapings on
Monday and then head back to edit and post.



I've always said, if you think you're a leader, turn
around.
  If no one is there, you're
just taking a walk. So on Monday I turned around and found a whole bunch of
people in my wake.
  EE Times (one
of my media partners) was doing videos of the big company CEOs with crappy
little handheld cameras … at no cost to the companies.
  IB Systems (another media partner) set
up an on floor booth with great cameras and good production value… to do up to
a 3-minute interview that was little more than restating the first sentence in
a news release. Dave Maliniak of Electronic Design was doing really good
interviews with really good cameras and really good production values… that you
can only find with some effort on the ED site because none of them have URLs
attached to them.
  And finally
SCDSource was doing video interviews with Richard Goering at a bargain $500 a
pop … and I still haven't been able to find where they are.



What all do these new efforts have in common?  They are "free" and they are
hard to find.
 



I put free in quotes because the fact is someone is
subsidizing these efforts.
  The IB
Systems videos are part of what you pay for in membership. SCDSource's price
did not cover the expense of producing the videos (they barely pay for Richard's
time).
  Electronic Design sold
advertising and got additional subsidies from other sources.
  That's what everyone has to learn about
the media … someone has to pay for it and finding people and organizations
willing to do that, in certain arenas, is getting hard to find.
  Once the funding dries up, so does the
media.
  Right now, the electronics B2B
media is experimenting with video … and not doing it all that well … hoping
that someone will start to support it.
 
If that doesn't happen soon, that opportunity will go away.



But here's the thing, media folks, if you keep giving it
away, no one is going to be willing to support it.



Video is not an easy medium to work in.  It is highly restrictive in the ability
of the web to handle it, storage, time, and the fact that every little visual
and audio error is there forever in the minds of the viewer.
  It takes more time and effort to
produce a 5-minute video than it does to create a 2500 article.
  But the benefits if done well are
amazingly profitable for a marketing effort.



The second issue is accessibility.  You can have a great production, great content and a high
bandwidth server to handle to gigabyte files,
but if no one can find it on the
web
, what good is it?  (BTW, that link is to show you how easy it is to make it accessible ) So far, the
efforts of the organizations mentioned here are mostly ego gratification of the companies' CEOs, not
the transfer of information or presentation of messages to the audience..



New Tech Press has been working out these bugs for a year
and has almost got it right , so if you are going to follow our example at
least learn from our experience.



First, use the power of the internet and get that content
out there.  Go see what Chip
Design, EE Times, Techonline and Electronic Products are doing as they put
audio and video material in easy reach, easily searchable; a click or two away
from the home page.  Second, remember you get what you pay for.  If you pay nothing, expect crap.  If you pay a little more than nothing,
expect little more than crap. And if
you don't want to follow these two simple rules, don't bitch if the media
disappears.