Frederic Filloux is out with a tough Monday Note this week about all of the missed opportunities that established media organizations have failed to seize in the digital age. He uses the metaphor of two planes on a runway -- one overly controlled and stifled, the other sleekly designed and ready for takeoff. The former is the legacy media, doomed to exist in a world of low risk/low reward. The latter is the start-up culture epitomized by Facebook (back in the day) and app designers, who saw the web as an opportunity rather than a threat.
Guess who's thriving now? And guess who's on "deathwatch?"
I find myself in complete agreement with Filloux, but annoyed by his hectoring tone. One imagines an angry man astride a podium, shaking his fists while preaching to people who already agree with him. (Filloux says in the piece that many people from established media organization have told him in confidence they agree with him too -- I don't have any reason to doubt Filloux's word, but without quotes on the record it is hard to take this as gospel truth.) This is not a way to bring people along to a new understanding, it feels more like kicking someone who is already down.
Filloux recognizes the challenges of his tone, and attempts to end on a "hopeful note" although his last paragraph is a throwaway effort. He is much more detailed and precise in his critiques of flaws than in his vague statements about how the media can build average revenue per user.
I know how Filloux feels -- when you can see the future coming from years away, and passionately educate people who choose to completely ignore you, patience wears thin. One imagines he's endured many difficult consultations with benighted news executives, people so tethered to the glories of print that they can imagine no other way to share the news. Nonetheless, wielding a cudgel is not a good look.