These slides are from a talk I gave at BookNet Canada’s 2015 Techforum. Obviously, a lot gets lost in translation when seeing just slides and not hearing the words that correlate with them. As soon as the video of the event is made available, it will be posted here.
(short version: two failed publishers)
I visited Toronto once before. I was ten. This is me sitting for a drawing on Yonge Street (the same street where my hotel is this week).
Open Air Publishing.
In 2011, I read about ~5 books in total. Mostly printed design tomes.
Last year, I read >40 books—most on my iPhone.
How Do I Start This Talk?
Startups Are Stupid.
–Facebook (it’s now the much better “Move Fast With Stable Infra.”)
–Ancient Proverb of Startups (and criminals).
Publishing is Stupid.
-Thomas Wolfe (I honestly just googled “publishing industry stupid.”)
-Venture Capitalists, probably
OK, I needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for letting me have that.
Sorry, let’s just start over.
Jokes aside, this really does highlight a big difference in startup culture vs. entrenched industry cultures like publishing.
Having been on both sides of this—and often being a lone developer in a publishing world—I thought I’d just talk about some things I think about daily.
So here’s a bunch of random thoughts.
The only constant is change.
Care as much about cyber security as you do about selling ebooks.
–Allen Tan (He works at the New York Times, but probably doesn’t want that attributed to them.)
When in Doubt, Steal from a Newspaper’s Digital Strategy.
Tools Tools Tools.
Start with a pen knife, work your way up to a laser.
What tools will save your team the most time? Not the perfect tool, but an optimal tool.
Almost every publisher is trying to solve the same things, and we’re all doing it in our own clean rooms. Let’s start getting together.
Don’t be afraid of open source tools.
Free is cool. Communities are cooler.
⟼ Build your own website, and sell books on them. ⟻
Eat Your Own Dogfood.
We’re gonna call this ebooking now, bc ebooks are obviously the dogfood of books.
You should assume you want to keep ALL of it. Realistically, you can’t.
Thoughts on Hiring and Developing Tech Talent.
FYI, we prefer to be called snowflakes.
Pay us more than your CEO.
Be wary of consultancies and agencies.
It’s ok to remind a developer they are not the end product.
writers != coders
If a dev starts by telling you that writers should learn Markdown or HTML, I give you permission not to hire them.
Let Your Devs Take Pride in Their Work.
The Web is an Idea and a Thing; Digital is a Medium.
Publishing has a ~500 year history; the Web, just 30.
But the amount of Data is probably on the same scale.
“You don’t understand book publishing.”
“You might be right, but maybe you don’t understand the web.”
Follow The Grain of the Web