Monthly archive

August 2005 - page 3

Asking the wrong questions,part deux

Best Buy gets to know its customers better. Well, a little:

At the same time, it has begun to woo a roster of
shopper profiles, each given a name: Buzz (the young tech enthusiast),
Barry (the wealthy professional man), Ray (the family man) and,
especially, Jill
(CEO of the household).

Neat. Except I’m a Buzz and a Ray who hopes to be a Barry someday and my wife is a Jill who is usually with me if I walk into Best Buy.

My name’s Mike. I’m not an archetype; I’m a person. Don’t make up a story about me; converse with me.

Customizing to archetypes is better than one size fits all, but I fear a lot of companies are about to spend a lot of powder customizing to archetypes in the name of targeting. That’s sad, because with only a little more effort, you can customize to people.

People buy stuff. Archetypes don’t.

Asking the wrong questions

Baltimore Sun: Can newspapers reverse their decline?:

How did newspapers react?

They brought in consultants,
armed with MBAs and experience in other troubled industries, to
evaluate their operations. Recommendations were simple: Cut staff,
cooperate more closely with advertisers (i.e., create "partnerships")
and offer the public more of what it wants to read – not what
experienced editors believe the public needs to read.

Demographic studies are used to identify a core readership and to serve
it by providing more "news you can use." This has meant an increase in
medical, travel and lifestyle news, often at the cost of international
reporting and investigative pieces.


Who are these strange critters called readers? How do we know what they want?

They’re actually a lot of individuals. Unpredictble muggins. How do you appeal to them as individuals?

In other words, how do you converse?

We’re working on that. But the answer isn’t in print.

Linkprops to A Little Pollyanna.

We're relevant!

I remember way back in the dark ages that the ancient ones knew as March, we still thought we were a news company. Over the past few weeks, I’ve subconsciously started my explanation of what we’re about with one word:


The rest, as they say, is just details. Big devil-housing details, but not the forest.

And then tonight, is see that Fred Wilson hits the nail on the head (again):

Because I believe that relevancy is the next dimension and stored
user preferences and data are the foundation of delivering it…

…It’s about understanding how the next 10-20 years are going to play out in technology and web services.

The Gotham Gal was looking for some stuff for the kids yesterday on
the Internet.  She is one of the best Internet shoppers I have ever
met. She knows all the best tricks of finding what she wants.

But she said to me that the Internet is getting really crowded these days.  There is so much stuff out there.

Information overload?  No, we were overloaded ten years ago.  What
we are today has no word for it because we are too busy checking our
non stop email deluge to think of one.

We’ve largely solved the “automate and process” problems. 

But we haven’t begun to scratch the surface of the relevancy problem.

I’m beginning to see that our local relevancy model is the big picture for us. Sure, we’re going to do our damnedest to create a great local news and information service. And that’s our only focus until the job is done or deemed impossible.

But there’s a part of me that’s beginning to think that what we really are is a relevancy lab. And if I’m right; and Fred’s right, those lessons may be the greatest part of the value we create.

Help wanted:"Citizen Journalists"

(Revised 8/15/05)

PageheadercontextPegasus News
depends on contributions from its readers. Although
our staff of professional journalists will cover traditional news stories, we
know that our readers usually “know more than we do” and may want to share
their expertise with the entire community. Therefore, we would like to give our
readers a voice by allowing them to participate as “citizen journalists” who will
submit stories, columns, audio and video on subjects about which they are most

Because Pegasus News will not be constrained by print space limitations, we
have the ability to write about niche topics that traditional media may not
cover. For example, parents will be able
to receive stories and pictures from their kids’ youth sports leagues, and
local jazz aficionados will receive regular articles about the local jazz
scene. As a result, citizen journalists
should write for an audience comprised of readers with a strong interest in a
given topic. In other words, we are not seeking “surface level” articles
written for a general audience. If you
write about SMU football, we want in-depth analysis of gameplans and depth
charts. If you write about the Frisco city council, we want detailed
descriptions and analysis of the meetings.

If you are interested in writing,
please submit to
a writing sample, a description of the subject area you would like to write
about, and a brief explanation as to why you are qualified to write about the
topic. It is perfectly acceptable to say that even though you are an insurance
adjuster, your true passion is rugby. It is also acceptable to write about
topics in which you have a personal stake, such as politics or your industry,
so long as that is clearly disclosed in the items submitted. Our readers will
be able to comment on any Pegasus News
story, so it is in all of our writers’ best interests to be open about their
intentions rather than have a reader point out any hidden agendas. 

Although we will gladly accept
citizen journalist articles on any family-safe topic, in the continuation is a list of
topics in which we particularly desire contributions from our readers. Please
note that we are most interested in things that are inherently local, and those
items will be displayed most prominently on our site.

Keep Reading

Not such a bad business to be in after all

Veronis Suhler Stevenson: Average Consumer Will Spend Nearly 10 Hours A Day With Media, $1,000-plus Annually By 2009.

High points from PaidContent:

— VSS predicts the new media sector will grow its share of total
advertising from 16.7 percent in 2004 to 26.3 percent in 2009, with
traditional media declining from 83.3 percent to 73.7 percent.

— VSS projects that media consumer spending per person
will break $1,000 for the first time in 2009, increasing at a 5.2
percent compound annual rate.

Hook 'em broadband

Via AdAge (reg req), UT is delivering a premium video product with a lot of exclusive "reality-show style" content from inside the lockerroom. Based on the demo, it looks to be far more worthwhile than many other premium football packages.

In the course of pointing out the obvious (that this won’t interfere with Yahoo!’s gameday broadcasts), the publisher gives a hint at an all-too-familiar business plan:

“We’re hoping, obviously, if [Yahoo] thinks there’s value in showing
Texas athletics, they will find lots of advertisers to jump in.”

The loooong tail

Jeff Jarvis points out an list of knitting blogs. Made me laugh, because whenever I give our stump speech about the surprising communities we may develop locally, knitting is always my made-up example.

Ah, but North Dallas jiu-jitsu. Now that’s long-tail. And we’ll have it.

The world’s a beautiful place– In the comments, Lex Alexander (in my hometown of Greensboro) alerts me to a Dallas knitting blog: Dalai Mama.

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