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