Once upon a time, Business 2.0 was my favorite magazine. I loved reading about the hottest companies and ideas. There were great one-page articles on what’s hot and cool right now. It was filled with news about young people doing amazing things. It brimmed full of interesting ideas and tips. And that was awesome perspective and information. I’d tear through the issue as soon as I got it, often that same night.
A funny thing has happened though. I noticed this year that my joy and love for Business 2.0 had significantly dimmed. Why? Blogs. Though I’ve “blogging” (does doing LiveJournal in 2000 count?) for years now, I’ve only been sucked in this year, spending an hour+ daily reading blogs. All of the great stuff that I used to love from Business 2.0, was now being fulfilled and then some by my blogs. A lot of this information lent itself more naturally to blogs, too. They were bite-sized, quick stories and the fact that they ran the spectrum of all topics under the sun made them better.
I read recently that Business 2.0 was having some issues. Circulation down, etc. That got me thinking about what I’d do different. If I was a publisher at a major magazine, I’d run as fast as I could to what my medium does best. Ideally this is also something that the medium that threatens me doesn’t do well. This means I’d refocus Business 2.0 around lengthy deep analysis into the big questions that people are asking about the new business world. Leave the quick profiles, the news updates, and the spotlight of the “hot startups” to blogs. I think blogs do it better anyway. Magazines have the advantage of:
– engaging readers for more than a few scant minutes (something I constantly challenge and in doing so annoy the few loyal readers I have!)
– full-time staffs who can spend the time doing thoughtful, careful research
– the credibility to gain access to many of the halls of power and notable personalities that all but the most connected of bloggers don’t.
And of course, if you’re reading a looong article, you’d much rather have it physically in your hand. So, I’d propose that Bus 2.0 grows up into it’s older brother Fortune, but with a different focus. Leave the Fortune 500, yes, to Fortune. Tackle the hottest questions that Silicon Valley is asking, etc.
So why this entry now?
1) Marc Andreessen, the amazing entrepreneur, just started blogging. And he’s totally wrecking my view of the world. (which i just stated above) He’s posting these long, insightful, seemingly deeply researched posts on a wide-expanse of topics. It’s ridiculously amazing. Anyone interested in business, and/or technology should read every one of his blog entries. My favorite. He’s encroaching on what should be prime magazine turf.
2) Owen Thomas my favorite writer at Business 2.0, announced he’s leaving to be the blogger at Valleywag. That’s the blog to which everyone working in technology is ridiculously addicted to. It’s the equivalent of those entertainment shows on TV: Extra, Entertainment Tonight, etc. They more or less are usually right, sometimes cover weighty topics, and is pretty glitzy (it’s sexy to have been mentioned). When I was younger and obsessed with Hollywood, I used to think about how cool it would be to one day be on one of those programs (of course, with The Apprentice, this surreally happened)– I think it’s similar for Bay residents to secretly hope for a mention on the ‘wag. Anyway, my point here is that Thomas who was blogging for 2.0 anyway, has gone full-bore into the “new medium” for this kind of news. It’s exciting. And I can’t wait to read it now.
End random thoughts on blogs vs magazines.
5/11/13 – it’s nice to actually call a trend properly every now and then. Om Malik from Business 2.0 went on to start GigaOm a huge publishing enterprise birthed through a blog. Meanwhile, magazines continue their descent. Sadly.