While the innovators take risks, the protectionists attempt to preserve those moments when they had one great idea that gave them a foundation that could be sustained longer than a one hit wonder. Almost all of the rest fail, with the exception of subservient companies — businesses that make their money filling some need that innovators and protectionists have.
These five fresh picks (actually four since one was scrapped) help paint a picture of the protectionists, companies that are trying to hold on to something they have while the world closes in on them. Almost all of them act like dying empires that will eventually become failures unless they are lucky enough to find a leader willing to lead them out of the muck.
Best Fresh Content In Review, Week of December 20
• Failure To Innovate: Yahoo Loss Someone’s Gain.
Yahoo has had a long tradition of struggling with acquisitions that retain the original brand. MyBlogLog, Delicious, and a host of other social media related sites will be sold or scraped in the weeks ahead. The topics have been covered to death, but Heather Rast pulled something else out of the discussion. The problem wasn't simply treating these services as step-children, but rather a deeper problem tied to innovation. I might go a step further. There seems to be a culture of protectionism.
• How Social Media Boutiques Are Winning Deals Over Traditional Digital Agencies.
Some people will have mixed feelings about Jeremiah Owyang's assessment, but how one feels is separate from the battle between large agencies and social media boutiques. I don't agree with the assessment that immature brands rely on traditional agencies, but I do agree that large agencies need to understand where social media fits or they will allow yet another beach head to establish on the shores of their clients. The last time, agencies eventually won, buying up many of the best web designers or, at least, made them servants.
• Net Semi-Neutrality: New Rules from the FCC
Sometimes compromise is a good thing. Sometime it's not. Gini Dietrich shares her take on the FCC's decision to adopt “net semi-neutrality,” which is a hybrid of the worst kind in that it pretends to preserve some freedoms by giving up a few of them. Yes. It can be likened to offering up 25 percent (or more) of your neighborhood in order to preserve the majority. On the other hand, it does temporarily sooth the savage beast that really built the Internet, companies that laid the wires and the cell lines only to it cut deeply into their primary revenue streams.
• Yuletide Crisis Containment.
Peter Himler covers a just under the radar crisis communication story that was passed over by many, even after it was covered by The Wall Street Journal. The crisis includes a civil suit against Ernst & Young, which has adopted a position of silence. While it is generally acceptable to not comment during a lawsuit (and sometimes prudent), Ernst & Young didn't stop at simply offering one of the few acceptable times to avoid comment. It claims the case has no factual or legal basis, but then refuses to back up the statement. It's hard to say where this might go in the year ahead, but there is no denying they've taken a risky route.
• An Open Letter to PR Professionals.
Doug Davidoff begins by saying "There are three gaps that PR and social media professionals must bridge if they want a seat at the table and to be treated with the seriousness they deserve." Those three gaps include: better processes, better prioritization, and better alignment with the goals of the business. It makes sense. All too often the profession finds itself developing industry best practices when the only best practices that ought to matter are those that directly benefit the business and the publics that the business hope to reach. The same can said about social media. All the buzz is nice, but how does it support the mission?