iPaddling.

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Headline after headline, story after story, the refrain is consistent….and hauntingly familiar.

The iPad will save us.  Yeah, the iPad….that’s the ticket.

In recent weeks I’ve seen slick demos of magazine content on the iPad platform and have heard both print-side execs and digital advertising leaders pointing once again to the flag on top of the next hill.  In the 16 years I’ve been part of the digital media business, I’ve seen this movie a dozen times.  “Push” technology, each new version of the browser, each new mobile generation, each new means of targeting……it’s always the next big thing.

We hold out the promise, we sell the future.  And in doing so, we mark down the value of the present.   The thing about the future is that it never quite arrives.  And if we tell the marketing establishment that ‘someday’ things are going to look so great, then that’s exactly when they’ll spend; ‘someday.’

It reminds me of the fundamental schism between technology and media.  Tech salespeople are always selling the next software version, next generation technology, the upgrade.  Media is all about what already exists.  The audience that’s here today, the consumer experience that already exists, the attention that’s already being paid.

I’m not saying the iPad may not indeed be the grooviest thing going.  But let’s all take a breath and look around.  It’s a pretty amazing web out there and a lot of really valuable consumers are using the hell out of it.  Let’s all sell some today and let tomorrow take care of itself.

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