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

Good Times

Posted on | May 20, 2010 | No Comments

It’s been a while, yes. We’re selling our house and moving to San Francisco (more on that in a later post) so the past month has been, to say the least, busy. Then there’s that work thing. At Numetrics, we’ve been working diligently to launch a new software product, and that’s just crazy nuts. Which brings me to the topic of this post.

We have been working with EE Times in recent months and have had a keen interest in the relaunch of the vaunted brand’s mighty site. It was initially slated for early April, although when EET Group CEO Paul Miller mentioned that in a public forum, you could see Editorial Director Rich Nass’s hair stand on end.

In any case, they publicly moved the launch to last weekend but on Saturday announced its postponement (Lou Covey captured the feeling in a State of the Media blog post). Performance issues are dogging the new site. Welcome to the world of software development. Adair insert-pearson copy

It’s always the corner cases that kill you (the source of their performance issues is not public). It’s a wonder any sophisticated software makes it to market. But it does. And so will the relaunch of EE Times.

My issue with the matter was simple: Miller beat himself and his organization up too much on this in public. Yes, they set a date and marketed to it. But in the end, everyone understands how difficult development is. Slip happens. Gmail goes down sometimes. Oh well.

Crossing the chasm

It reveals an important gap in publishing expertise, though: Traditional publishers know content, advertising and audience like the back of their hand. They’re learning  development as they go. And they have to. Software and platform development is as important to publishers today as union contracts, audience development and printing presses were  back in the day. Google and Yahoo understand this obviously.

Miller and his team have appreciated this dynamic for some time and have gotten more sophisticated in developing, for example, custom products using dispersed development teams; relatively new addition Brent Pearson, Group CIO, is another reflection of this increased grokking of the importance of development. But it needs to worm its way deep into every publisher’s DNA though, and that will take time. Last weekend’s announcement suggests:

  • It’s still a journey
  • Overhauling a 17-year-old Web franchise and tens of thousands of pieces of content ain’t easy
  • There’s a reason we know place names like Bangalore and Lahore and didn’t 15 years ago.

EE Times is now looking at late June to turn the switch on the new site, and we’ll all be fine with that. Really.

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