“Web 2.0” Controversy at O’Reilly

Hot Job Segment and E-Book Debate

This brief article on wsj.com talks about the latest red-hot job: online ad sales rep. According to the article, six-figure salaries are the norm and competition for experienced candidates is fierce. As usual, Google appears to be one step ahead of the rest. They’re apparently hiring outside the industry, looking more in the finance and consulting arenas, rather than joining the bidding war for industry veterans. I got a chuckle from the quote attributed to Tim Armstrong, Google’s VP for Ad Sales: "There's a pool of people who are in the rotation plan within the industry, and we generally don't recruit those people proactively any more." Every industry certainly has its share of job-hoppers. I wonder how long it will take before this bubble bursts…

Last week I discovered Mark Glaser’s MediaShift blog (thanks Willem!). He recently started a dialog with a post entitled “Should books be reinvented in a digital format?” I weighed in along with several others. Mark then asked some follow-up questions and posted the results here.


Do you think most publishers and authors are waiting for the killer e-book device? Do you think there is a reluctance for most publishers to think differently about print and electronic distribution due to skepticism about its future, tight deadlines or limited resources? All three? I do agree with you that whatever electronic distribution takes place it should be considered another channel and not a replacement to the book necessarily.

Joe Wikert

Yes, I think most publishers are indeed waiting for the killer e-book device. Some are waiting very passively while others are at least making sure their existing content is ready to be poured into whatever format/platform comes about. I still think we've got to be more sophisticated in our thinking, though. As I've mentioned before, we can't just expect a new product to emerge (like the iPod did for music), catch fire and allow us to place all our content as is on it. The content layering approach I've posted about before will be critical. As a wise person once told me: It's like the first days of TV when many shows were nothing more than radio bits where you could see the people speaking. They didn't take advantage of the "device", but it didn't take long to figure out how to fix that problem! Finally, yes, I agree that many publishers are skeptical about the future of e-books and therefore may not be investing much. You really can't blame them though, given how small a percentage of all books sales e-books has represented up to now.

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