Someone has to go first

by Jason Preston on July 16, 2009

Being first to innovate in the startup space is a great thing. Be the first to build a comprehensive home-prices database. Be the first to effectively integrate stock market chatter into Twitter. Be the first to invent teleportation.

Everyone wants to go first because you get recognition and you get a head-start on your competition. You establish a gap in quality that acts as a buffer against other companies who are trying to steal your customers.

In the news business, nobody wants to go first.

The first objection I hear from newspaper staff when I talk about new business models or new products is “nobody else has done it yet.”

Given that the whole industry is flailing at the moment, I’d say originality is a good thing. The companies that succeed in the news business over the next five years are going to be the ones willing to try things that no one else has tried yet. Or even better, try things that others have already dismissed as failures.

It’s scary to try something new. But this industry can not reinvent itself by sticking to the beaten path.

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Bureaucracy and newsrooms — Eat Sleep Publish
07.22.09 at 10:50 am

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