A word on competition in the media industry

Wow.  The past few weeks have been pretty intense as I complete a white paper on Media in the 21st Century (gotta get it done because lots of people are aksing for it.) But in the past week, the conversation, from my audio interview with Kevin Morris of EE Journal has started to get a little heated.  It sort of reminds me of a scene from the movie "The Man Who Would Be King."  As Michael Caine and Sean Connery are recruiting followers, every tribe has the same thing to say about the tribe that harrasses them. ""We don't like the people who live upstream; they keep pissing down the river on us."

Nobody likes their closest competitor and it seems to be required that you blame them for serious moral turpitude.  Only the guy on top has the requirement to be magnanimous.

I'm not really a competitive guy.  I have a basic moral code that makes me try to see the good in everyone and everything.  Most of the time it works (except in politics and soccer) and in the world of media evolution it is mandatory.  Footwasher Media has taken a middle ground, which make people on both sides uneasy and sometimes angry.  I was right with one side for a long time.  In fact, I kinda blazed the trail to it back in 2001 demanding that everyone see that it was about to fall apart.  Some of the people who don't like what we are saying and doing now were the same ones who said I was delusional more than a decade ago.

But I do understand the need to be competitive.  The pie has gotten much smaller in traditional media than it was at the turn of the century and conventional business wisdom requires that you establish a moral high ground for yourself over the rest of the field that is still offering much the same thing you are.  It's called differentiation.

But it's all so tiring because there will always be someone pissing into the river upstream from you.  Sometimes you just have to dig a well.