Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Will the center hold?

Posted on | November 16, 2007 | No Comments

Man, it’s a busy Friday!
Word from inside the CMP Death Star in Manhasset today is that Adam Marder (x’d out on the right in this MediaWire Daily photo montage) , the company’s CFO, is out, on the heels of Steve Weitzner’s side-step from the CEO office a couple of weeks ago. Weitzner brought back Marder, who came up through the old Electronics Group years ago and then went elsewhere, to slap some sense into the company’s cost structure. Guess that didn’t work out, no matter how much he refused to shitcan the stupid Green Envelope expense system. No new CEO yet, and tongues are wagging at 600 Community Drive. They’re also wagging at MediaWire, where the outlet laid odds recently on a new CEO. Well, Marder’s out of the picture. Faletra is too old-school CMP, despite his savvy political skills. Uphoff came back at Weitzner’s request and maybe that’s not a good thing in this environment. Paul Miller, my old boss, has shiny credentials and was just named to min’s Digital Hot List.
But if I’m David Levin, and I’m feeling heat in my own office, I’m going outside and moving the headquarters from Long Island to mid-town Manhattan. That’s right. Blow it up and rebuild it somewhere else with different people creating a new culture. Despite all the cutbacks, this company is too big, and too legacy, to move into the digital world.
* * *
Had coffee today with Drew Lanza (below in an unrelated, but witty interview), one of the Silicon Valley’s wittiest venture capitalists, and Ed Sperling, late of Electronic News. Drew’s topic: what the hell is going on?

Drew’s problem is that in a deeply technical business like electronics, you have to have professional filters; the industry can’t simply break apart into a thousand blogs and hope for the best. Couldn’t agree more. But the problem lies with ROI. Companies, consciously or not, are pushing mainstream media to deliver actionable ROI (and in the semi industry’s case it’s solid business leads with phone numbers and email addresses). They think that’s what the internet is going to deliver (see salivating over OpenSocial, MySpace, Facebook opening its API etc.).
Maybe. But in an old-school world like electronics, advertisers right now are in danger of killing off the media. When that happens, they’ll have to rebuild their contact lists, their leads and so on and that ROI stinks.
* * *
That brings us to an old-media guy who gets it. John Donovan’s been around a long time. He runs Portable Design. Have you ever tried to start a blog in an old-line media company? I have. It’s not pretty and it’s rarely effective. I just finished a blogger audit in the enterprise software space for Oracle. One of the things I found, perhaps not surprisingly, is that mainstream media editors who “blog” don’t really blog; they write columns. Real bloggers in this space are consultants and software developers and IT managers who get it and they’re influential.
Anyhow, John started a Portable Design blog on Blogger and promptly began firing audio and video into. It’s a great newcomer.
Welcome aboard John.
* * *
Oh, and by the way, Lou Covey’s close to launching his innovative media outlet for the design technology world.
Maybe, just maybe, the center will hold.

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No Responses to “Will the center hold?”

  1. Lou
    November 17th, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

    Brian, thanks for the shout out, but a clarification. New Tech Press is concentrating on “Design Technology,” which we see as a bigger niche than EDA. We’re going to be looking at EDA companies, but we’re also targeting fabless startups, semiconductor IP, and embedded software.

    No publication covering just EDA can survive in this age.

  2. Greeley's Ghost
    November 18th, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

    My bad. Thanks for clearing that up, Lou.
    When’s the launch?

  3. Lou
    November 19th, 2007 @ 10:10 am

    According to my webmaster, last week. (best laid plans and all). We have a meeting. All is in readiness. Just what was that server password again?

  4. Anonymous
    July 17th, 2008 @ 10:37 pm
  5. Anonymous
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