A lot of my work consists of working with media companies, as most of you know. I’ve worked at a few myself, and met even more through our consultancy. I feel like I have a fairly accurate picture of how the Swedish industry thinks and works. It’s not that big, after all.
Lately I have had several meetings that all have led me to the same conclusion. The level of technical knowledge – from the ground floor to the management – is pitifully low. Still. Even after the embarrassment regarding classifieds. No, if nothing is done about this fairly soon I think we are headed for yet another sticky situation.
Consider how many players that are entering the field and have advertising as their primary business plan. They are not from the media, they’re from all other fields – including tech. Innovation in idea and execution will be crucial in acquiring and retaining new visitors to these sites. When McKinsey and guys like that list their CSF/KSF for why these new sites are so successful, the technology will be behind several of them. Just look at YouTube for instance.
Media companies will have to compete with tech-driven companies for the advertising bucks. And the latter have their main advantage in having superior knowledge in an area which is absolutely crucial for business. Worrying, to say the least.
If I was a media exec, I would make sure that I had staff that understood what tech was working, and why. Then I would demand regular reports to the board on the latest in technical innovation. Scouts that knew what companies were getting VC funding. Suggesting companies for me to invest in myself. Enabling my brands to host new offspring from these technologies – leveraging both brand power and superior execution.
Media company CEO’s without a CTO on their staff should prepare to be acquired or broken up – they are fighting the future rather than monetizing it.