As I've written about before, I'm very interested in the changes under way in media businesses. We are in a period of massive, technology-driven change that's fun to be in as a consumer and extremely challenging to deal with as a businessperson. While I think other media businesses - particularly those driven by advertising - are being disrupted more rapidly, I firmly believe change is coming to book publishing as well.
As a runner, I was particularly intrigued to come across this post on the new economics of building brands (link here). The author - Umair Haque - discusses the differences between talking at consumers in the way traditional advertising does as opposed to investing in them by providing something that's more immediately valuable. The example of the Nike+ ecosystem, which combines add-on components for ipods plus a vibrant online community (discussed at much greater length here (link) really speaks to me, particularly as it reflects how things that would not have been possible (or economical) in the past are doable now as a result of technological changes and how people spend their time today. As an example: one tool at Nike's disposal for brand building is to sponsor local events such as races or clinics. While that can be an effective contributor to building a brand, the reach is fundamentally pretty limited. In the Nike+ world, however, a bit of spending to build the technology infrastructure where a community of runners can gather, share information, connect for training runs, etc. can have a much, much greater impact.
Since reading the articles linked above, I've purchased the Nike+ sensor/ipod add-on (which according to the article is priced below Nike's cost) and look forward to exploring the running community that Nike has enabled.
Off for an early morning run in Central Park!