I started this blog about six months ago, what feels more precisely like 17 years and six months, and this is the 95th article in the series. It seems appropriate to draw a demarkation of sorts at this particular point, with this particular post, on the weekend of the iPad’s commercial launch. I genuinely feel as though something important in the industry is happening. And when I say important, I don’t mean simply eye-popping, like the rise to prominence of Facebook, or the global web domination of Google. Had it not been Facebook, it would have been Friendster or MySpace, (although I do recognize the differences in execution between them), and had it not been Google, it might have been another powerful algorithm. This is not to belittle accomplishments, which have been huge by any standard, but many of these were, in a sense, opportunistic. The iPad, on the other hand – meticulously crafted, architected, introduced, arriving upon the scene sequentially, step by step, the conclusion of a carefully planned and highly controlled process, beginning at Apple with the iPod in what seems now to have been the first stage of a long-term vision – and the idea that this latest creation will very probably change the media sector in material and sweeping ways; all of this makes the iPad launch a real event, a milepost, of historical proportions.
Before I am accused of gushing, which I suppose I am, please recall that there have been other technical breakthroughs in consumer media, throughout history, that, at the time these took place may have seemed small in comparison to other historical events. But now, with hindsight, these are seen as enormous. For example: the introductions of the transistor radio, the television set, the personal computer. Am I being premature to judge? Perhaps. I realize that I may even be naive to call the outcome so quickly, and before initial results are tallied… or maybe a jumper on the bandwagon, considering the enthusiasm of the blogosphere regarding every feature of the iPad and all things related. Some 95 posts from now, I may look back on this article with embarrassment and apology. And at that time, I will be just as passionate and convinced of my correctness as I retract my opinion, or as I express a new one, as I am now. Such is the beauty of opinions, and of those who opine.
All of which said, scanning through the sequence of articles in this column, which began with one about the definition of entrepreneurship, and moved on to a host of related topics in capital markets and consumer media, I do come across the occasional post about the state of affairs at Apple as this relates to the broad economy, as this relates to the media segment at large, as this relates to content value in particular, as this relates to newspapers narrowly, and all of these point in one way or another to the present time, and the product that has arrived. What I mean to say is that – as these commentaries did not occur in isolation – consciously or unconsciously we have seen it coming for a while.Going forward, if what I suspect to be the case is the case, media-related entrepreneurship, the media economy, the value of content, individual segments such as newspapers (and many others), will have to adjust and remodel strategies and plans in accordance to this new device – much in the way that these constituencies had to do the same when the transistor radio, television set, and personal computers came upon the scene. While I do not intend to keep churning out these sorts of articles in the future, attentive as I try to be to the entertainment value and boredom risk of reading (and writing), I think it safe to say that there will be a “pre-” and “post-” aspect to this blog in relation to the weekend of the iPad launch. What perhaps used to be a scattered approach grasping at a variety of directions, will probably become more focused, at least in so far as industry direction is concerned. And I suspect that much of the industry itself will demonstrate a similar transition in style.
Disclosure: No positions.