This may be off-topic if you’re reading this blog because I mostly focus on startups and microISVs, but stick with me for a moment.
Who is going to make the future, or at least the part pertaining to how people interact with idea-containers formally known as books?
Actually, I’m nominating you for the job. Because the difference today between those of us who ship code for a living and those of us who ship words for a living is almost no difference at all. How do you succeed as a bootstrapping startup? You take deep domain knowledge and a professional discipline applied to the craft of developing software, work your butt off while trying to build a meaningful relationship with people who elect to become your market. That’s the job description for any non-fiction writer today.
If you read this blog, you’ll have gathered I am a big time fanboy of Seth Godin. After reading his books, listening to him speak, having the good fortune to interview him, I’ve been very closely watching his decision to thumb his nose at traditional publishers and do something disruptive, awesome and risky with his Domino Project. I’m hoping to help him out in some small way as a member of his Street Team because I believe he’s betting the farm on a wild crazy idea that will ultimately benefit millions of people, like more than a few startup founders I’ve gotten to know over the past few years.
Back to why I’m nominating you for the job of deciding the future, or at least this part of it. Simply put, if the geeks like us support Seth’s publishing killer app, a whole lot of non-geeks will get on board too. But if online people don’t make it clear that when it comes to idea containers, they want the future and they want it now, traditional publishers will continue squeezing a few more dollars out of a revenue model that well past its sell-by date.
Whether it’s telcos who want to favor their bits over your bits, record labels who smack around people with lawsuits or traditional publishers who want to defend their right to decide what, when and how you read, it’s the same thing: those who benefit from the status quo will defend the status quo against those who seek to disrupt it.
And if you’re building a startup, or running an “impossible” one-person global software company, you too are committed to disrupting the status quo.