Business leaders can learn a thing or two from Guy Kawasaki. The author, speaker, investor, and business mogul has quite a resume — he was part of Apple‘s early days and recently announced a new gig at Google. He’s written extensively on topics like Google+ and self-publishing, and his latest startup,AllTop, has added to his legacy in the digital media revolution by aggregating the best headlines from everywhere on the Web.
So just what can business leaders learn from this media mogul and successful founder? Quite a bit. I recently spoke to Kawasaki to hear his take on all things business, publishing, and digital media — and how all that relates to dinosaurs. Here’s what he had to say:
Ilya Pozin: Where do you think the publishing industry is headed in five to 10 years?
Guy Kawasaki: A long-term trend will be us going in the direction of established, digital readers. I realize there’s a resistance to giving up paper, but just as we’re not using cartography or landmines anymore, we’re not going to be reading paper books. Publishers will disagree with that, mostly because they don’t have an alternative, but I think that’s just the way it is.
Ilya: Sites like BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post use contributor models to provide great content. We’re also seeing a lot of great media startups like Upworthy and Medium. Do you think those models will work in the long-term?
Guy: We’re seeing new companies pop up, but not necessarily succeed. There is a sense of entitlement on the Internet. People seem to believe their time is so valuable that they’re doing any content creator a favor just by reading. And when you have that sense of entitlement, payment goes out the window, because you think you’re doing content creators a favor. I don’t see why it’s going to change, so many will have to find another business model.
Ilya: Do you think this contributor model will begin to take precedence over traditional journalism as content moves online?
Guy: Well, as long as contributors believe that writing for Forbes or The Huffington Post for free somehow improves their career possibilities, then it’s a viable model for them. That said, I don’t think the issue is controlling costs. I think the issue is increasing revenue. That’s a very different challenge, creation of revenue as opposed to content.
Not only are there many places to advertise, there are many people who do not believe in paying for advertising because they can use Twitter, Google+, and other social media platforms. They’re free marketing platforms. So only brands with more money actually pay for social media promotion.
Ilya: So businesses are now talking to unpaid contributors to get their names in these outlets. Do you think eventually this model will catch up to these media companies? Will they end up having so much irrelevant content that it will hurt more than help them?
Guy: I think the free contributor model will last as long as there are young people who will do anything to build a resume. It’s in the same sense that there are interns working in Hollywood for free because they want to break into the movie business — when do you see that ending? When do you see interns ending? I don’t see it ending.