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

Will the center hold? Part 2

Posted on | November 20, 2007 | No Comments

A few comments have rolled in since that posting late last week about the latest moves at CMP Media.

I should emphasize a couple of points from that post, especially the parts where I suggested radical change.
I do think radical change has to come to traditional B:B publishing houses. It’s almost too late to implement it. Almost.

The problem isn’t CMP’s per se. It’s the old-publishing model.

The value of a publishing house is (a) in the news and information it publishes and the audience it delivers based on that information. That’s publishing 101. Does the traditional publishing house need in-house HR? In-house legal? Most importantly does it need incredibly costly IT?

These questions need to be thoroughly pondered today if B:B publishers are to continue to exist. These three corporate functions are outsourceable today, to outfits that are professional and eager to serve. Fifteen years ago CMP and other B:B publishers owned their own printing presses. For 450 years the press WAS the value add. No more. CMP sold its presses and never looked back.

Do you need centralized IT? You have to wonder when publishing companies have struggled to keep up with technology that’s proliferating online. David Strom brought this up this spring. Name a company that’s blowing the world away because it’s got great IT. Or great HR. Or great legal.

Forty years ago, great Silicon Valley companies owned everything from the finished chip to the wafers they were sawed from to the lithography machines all the way down to silicon ingot pullers. That disaggregated in a hurry, and great Silicon Valley companies (in the hardware mold) own design expertise today. That’s it.

CMP, and the Electronics Group in particular, have done an admirable job of evolving the business in the worst of times. Paul Miller and company have made really savvy acquisitions (Semiconductor Insights and Dave Carey’s Portelligent to name just two).
Time to reconsider the semiconductor industry’s disaggregation model.


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