It’s interesting. But through the sessions it’s becoming very clear that it’s a world of 2 halves.
One half is people who believe that it’s just business as normal. Everything conforms to the old rules in the end. It’s all about talent, content, films and monetization through advertising. And things like fragmentation are just are just an irksome inconvenience than can be sorted out later using old-school big money hammers. There’s glimpses of new thinking. But rightly or wrongly there’s lots of clinging to old stuff too.
The other world is made up of designers, inventors and entrepreneurs. People who love making things. Guys who understand online culture and user experience. They value simplicity, focus, single mindedness and more often than not have built something for themselves that it turns out (and I don’t think by accident) other people love too.
And then there’s the anomalies. Guys like the New York Times who you’d expect to be in the first group, but quite brilliantly exist fairly firmly in the second.
I’m not saying that one or other of the groups is necessarily right or wrong. They can both be right and do their thing. But one costs less, is more fun and feels like the spot where ‘real’ creativity is occurring.
I just lazily took a cab ride from the other side of town back home (and it wasn’t the taxi of the beast as pictured above – that was the first picture I found on Flickr). Anyway…
The cab driver was a chatty and charming young guy. He asked me what I did. I tried to explain, wriggling hard not to fall back on the easy (but commonly understood) ‘web design’ answer. We were chatting around it. Then, just as I’d paid him a fiver, he dropped an awesome question:
I feebly answered ‘a bit of both’.
What a brilliantly insightful question. And one that I’m going to ponder a bit.