Thursday, November 10, 2011

Visionary Interview

I had the chance to talk to serial entrepreneur Bob Young (of Red Hat and Lulu) for a Bloomberg Entrepreneurs profile. 

What a fascinating guy. He has a way of looking at the world - and at himself - that is both refreshing and charming, and all too rare among very successful people.

We talked about the future of print media, and he was pragmatic. "The people who started making car parts are not the same people who made carriages and buggy whips," he told me. "The people who started monetizing the auto industry are the ones who grew up immersed in it."

In other words, it's not traditional media that will succeed on the Internet. It's people who can bring innovation like my kids, who grew up online and don't know any different. It's a sobering view, but I think it makes a lot of sense.

He has great admiration for print and gave me half a dozen reasons why physical books are superior to e-books, though he said that overall electronics are far superior to print. Young believes that half the jobs in print media will disappear over the next decade or two.

He ended on this sobering thought: 'If you can't move your job in publishing from paper to electrons in the next 10  or 20 years, you have a 50 percent chance of being out of work." Check out the whole article - and Bob's trademark red socks, they're a hoot.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting interview! I loved his comment: "I’m not good at playing by other peoples’ rules." Sounds like my dad who started his own business at age 40. He's still at it part time.
    What's been happening in the book business while I've been out of it has been profoundly sad for me. Probably good I watched from the sidelines.
    Still I believe/hope there are lots of opportunities in this new Wild West world of publishing. I like to read the articles on 'Go To Hellman' such as
    http://go-to-hellman.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-defense-of-book-as-container.html

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  2. Interesting article, Julie! Thanks.

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