The New York Times had this article over the weekend all about how online retailing is so over. Yesterday. Dead. Done. Well, maybe they didn’t proclaim it over, but they certainly were calling dibs on the rotting remains. Anyway, as soon as I saw this I was struck by what this meant. Well, let me clarify: I don’t see this as substantive news. I’m more struck by the reality of having to deal with the media now acting as if this was reality. One article doesn’t make anything so, but by virtue of the NY Times writing this article, doing some decent research and gotten some solid names to give quotes– a cursory glance at the article would convince a reader to take for granted that online sales are slowing. So the meme starts.
What does it matter? Well, I guess it doesn’t. But it got me thinking about how much of the media seems to be sheep these days. One station or outlet reports something, and then, all of a sudden, it’s fact. Everyone quotes patient zero and it’s true. The media chases the hot story, and usually, the simple story. So if someone has done the legwork and seems to have their stuff together– sure, let’s run with it!
To be fair: I’m probably wrong in this instance. When I saw this Sunday, I thought by now there’d be a tone of follow-ups. But it’s Tuesday now and there haven’t been. But since I still think my broader point still holds, I thought I’d post this anyway. Sheep.
Another random thought:
The Sports Illustrated curse: Once an athlete or team appears on the cover, typically something ill happens to them. Injury. Losing streak. Terrible luck. Whatever. And so, it’s called the SI curse. Like a lot of people, I’ve always thought that was crap. Most recently it was again tested w/Lebron James. He lit the Pistons up and had something like 29 of his teams final 30 points. He was being anointed as the greatest thing since Jordan. Lebron saves all! He can’t be stopped It was then that I realized that it’s the hype of the media that’s at fault. Actually, strike that. It’s the hype in general. Typically before SI puts someone on the cover, that person is already near frothy levels. Everything about them is overblown and people think they’re infallible. So, what I’m saying is that SI is merely the symptom of the disease. They put the athlete or team on the cover because the public is saying that they’re practically perfect. We’ve set them on their pedestal. And of course, almost everything on a pedestal eventually returns to earth. And since SI is a lagging indicator (the person/team has been hot for a while, and SI gets to them once it’s practically consensus hysteria)they’re primed for the fall. And so I thought this once Lebron went all Jordan on the Pistons. I thought, “man, they’re hyping him up and then they’re going to rip him apart.” And sure enough, there was the “curse.” Terrible all 4 games against the Spurs on route to being swept in the NBA finals. The truth, which most of us knew? Lebron is not yet the best player in the NBA and he’s certainly not a terrible player who shoots near-30% a night. He’s a ridiculously good developing player. But it’s easy to forget. It’s far easy to classify something as amazing/best ever or awful/failure. That’s life.
It ties back to the NYT article on e-commerce in showing how much the media loves to do this too. Go for the simple story. Good. Bad. e-commerce is so over. What do I think about e-commerce? It’s like Lebron. I think e-commerce is going through growing-pains. $10 says that a sweet technology, feature, site, etc within a year kicks demand up again. But the fact that it’s a multi-variable equation isn’t nearly as sexy as “has online retailing entered the Dot Calm era?”
5/11/13 – A lot of these posts just serve to remind me how much I like to ramble.