C –SCAPE 11/02/2012


Conquer the Forces

Changing Business Today


Harper Collins Publishers



The book centres on convergence of media as  the result of new strides made in technology and  deals with how  consumers and businesses adapt those technologies to meet their evolving needs. To select from the many choices that are available they need to think anew and the book serves as their guide for future action. There is not  one changing factor  but four which are interlinked and influencing one another in an ongoing, self reflexive process and the author uses the analogy of driving a car to explain this. The idea to write this book  came  from  his own experience when he had started a job as the first president of digital media for CBS, and  he was sitting in the front row at the CBS Affiliates meeting inLas Vegas. While he  was  watching pilots of new CBS shows on a huge screen along with hundreds of station owners from around the country , he had received a news alert on his mobile and he was able to spring into action, all due to the facility  new technology provided.

The four factors according to the author that would shape our future are:

1.Consumers    choose what, how, and when they consume.

2.Content      becomes king

3.Curation    cures information overload.

4.Convergence  revolutionizes every form of communication

(We find Curation, consumers, convergence and content ,appear in that order on the jacket of the book )

All the  above are covered  in four Parts  with  a few  examples of established companies thrown in ,some of them making a paradigm shift according to the changing trends  and  benefiting in the process.

PART ONE :The C-SCAPE: HOW DID WE GET HERE? begins with a tricky question asked by the author’s friend:  ‘If you strap an engine on a horse, do you have a car?’ indicating to the reader the obvious answer which sets the tone to the four factors that shape the C—SCAPE  which Larry calls the world around us. They are:  1. Consumers Choose; 2.Content Becomes King ;3. Curation Cures Information Overload and 4.Convergence Remakes Communication—and Organizations.  He  goes on to discusses them  step by step  tracing the time the changes began  to take place. For instance , a shift in power to the consumer began not in the 1990s, with the widespread use of the personal computer or the Internet ,but in 1950, with the introduction of a game-changing technology, one that would revolutionize how every business was conducted and  touch all our lives—the remote control .

In the business of news ,the culprit of killing newspapers wasn’t just Google  but Craigslist too had contributed to it. He suggests a few ways to remedy the situation and  aptly quotes   Clay Shirky in this context: ‘We don’t need newspapers.We need journalism.’

Similarly we find  a few suggestions to manage  Information and Social Overload  where  wise businessmen  offer themselves as Curators ,providing valuable  guidance to consumers .

This is the era of Convergence which has come to stay with consumers converging with producers in creating Content  they want  and  the traditional and  modern co existing .

Part Two titled   ‘ What Happens To Markets?’ has the following  sub headings:  Marketing beyond the Purchase Funnel; Talk With, Not At and Digital Mind reading .

Here we see Advertising undergoes a major change ,almost becoming redundant in its earlier form .I t  takes the form of  ‘Content’  and converges with Entertainment ,with News and Information .However Public Relations  continues to thrive or survive as the deliverer  of the message .

In  Digital Mind reading Customer Service replaces Sales and the future is ‘Concierge’ marketing  and  Amazon.com and other online superstores are examples of the success  of this concept.

Part  Three talks of What Happens to Products ?  It is divided into :Is Everything ‘Content’?  They Choose, but You Curate and Loyalty That Lasts .Here the focus shifts on to the consumer’s experience  and his satisfaction with the products and  gaining his loyalty which  is a real  challenge to the manufacturers .

The final  Part and the most vital part of any business is what happens to it as a consequence of  the paradigm shift? ‘Price the Experience ,Not the Product’ reads the sub heading, followed by ‘Partner like a Start –up’ and  ‘The New Newsroom.’ Some of the suggestions  made and discussed threadbare  under the first are: Concierge pricing, the power of the subscription model, diversifying revenue streams . Under the second  the author says everyone connected to your business is your ‘consumer’ and there should be Convergent Entrepreneurship ,blending traditional corporate approaches with entrepreneurship even after businesses are  established and thriving. The ‘New Newsroom’ that evolves with the C—Scape does not end with  merely setting it up but to keep it relevant amid changing  technologies and consumer choices  as  Nespresso  did.

Though the  analogy of driving a car is used  to explain the four interlinking factors to navigate through  the change which is a running thread of the book, I  agree with what he writes in the introduction: ‘but this trip is going to be longer, more perilous, and more surprising than any quick spin down the highway.What will it be like? I t will resemble one of the great ocean voyages of discovery in the age of exploration ,when captains and crew didn’t know where they were going or what they would find when they got there.’  It might take several decades for  Indian businessmen  to  adapt the  change  however attractive Larry Kramer makes it sound.


n.meera raghavendra rao


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