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Scott McKain

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Technology Is NOT the Problem…

According to Schmidt, Google is the newspaper industry’s greatest source of promotion

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Via Bert Decker on Twitter, I’ve become friends with Mike Myatt. His blog on corporate growth is terrific — one I highly recommend. When Mike was going to be away for a few days, he asked a few of his colleagues to submit guest postings. I wanted to share Mike’s link with you — and repost here what I contributed to him. Mike titled my submission, “Love Your Customers…Or Someone Else Will.”

What would YOU do if someone provided you contact with literally millions of potential customers…and did so absolutely FREE?

Well, if you’re in the newspaper business, you would complain. Which may explain why they are in the shape in which they currently find their industry.

In an op-ed piece in the December 2 edition of “The Wall Street Journal,” Google co-founder Eric Schmidt offers that his company should not be considered the problem when the print media belabors its woes. In fact, according to Schmidt, Google is the newspaper industry’s greatest source of promotion. They are providing literally 100,000 opportunities a minute for newspapers to “win loyal readers and generate revenue-for free.”

I think he’s right. The problem is not Google – the flaw is in the monopolistic, conventional thinking that is part of the fabric of most traditional media outlets. Even Rupert Murdoch has said the problem is not technology – it’s complacency.

You don’t have to look to a far-away past to remember the time that a city’s newspaper was one of its most stable and profitable enterprises. The family – in my home area, it was the Bingham’s of Louisville or the Pulliam’s of Indianapolis – that owned the paper (before the media conglomerates common today) were center-points of high society. Reporters were given time to research and investigate, and it went without saying that civic and charitable involvement was an integral part of the duties expected of their employees.

How quickly things change. I – like millions of others – have cancelled my subscription for delivery of the physical paper. I can read it easily and quickly on my iPhone or laptop. Yet, the other problem is perhaps even more profound. I find more interesting and compelling writing on my favorite blogs – and more instantaneous information on Twitter.

However, if the local newspaper would have more emphasis on better writing – and if the delivery of content was more immediate and user-friendly – there would be no reason for me to stray. Again, complacency…not technology…is the issue. It’s a great lesson for all of us – in every industry. Aspects and traditions we take for granted can be decimated in a relative instant in today’s hyper-speed culture.

Leaders respect the history of their company and industry, while maximizing their organization’s current position. Visionary leaders, in addition, do not let tradition imprison their thinking about the future. They embrace organizational revolution, rather than display a knee-jerk opposition to change. They refuse to allow themselves – or their colleagues – to accept contentment as a way of corporate life.

And, they certainly wouldn’t view 100,000 prospects a minute as a bad thing. Schmidt concludes, “I certainly don’t believe that the Internet will mean the death of news. Through innovation and technology, it can endure with newfound profitability and vitality.”

What will lead your organization into newfound profits and energy?

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Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on Amazon.com list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers (Amazon.com & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" show...to a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.