Future-Proofing Publishing

Scroll down to the bottom of the post to watch the video of this Technology Forum 2013 session.

This year, Technology Forum 2013 closed on a particularly inspiring and energized note with Robert Wheaton’s presentation called “Future-Proofing Publishing: Lightweight Technologies Publishers Should Be Watching Right Now”. Robert is VP of Strategic Digital Business Development at Random House of Canada and the fearless leader of the Hazlitt team. His background in inventory management at Indigo and web development in the arts gives him a unique perspective. He has a vision for publishers and on March 7th, he had attractively packaged it in an Indiana Jones metaphor. 

His talk sets out to respond to the question, as he puts it, “Hazlitt: are you guys crazy?” Robert began by pointing out that digital distribution is about more than just switching from a print to electronice format. In fact, it “poses additional long-term challenges that, in some ways, are even more substantial than changes in format and distribution.” In other words, “ebooks are a good start.” He goes on to list some of the challenges we need to tackle (5:32), and then outlines the six light-weight technologies we need to tackle:

  1. APIs (7:45) – Good practical applications demonstrated here.
  2. Branding (12:32) – Inspiration for the next generation of publishers and a reminder of the importance of voice.
  3. Newstand Apps (19:48) – An examination of lean online publishing and how to monetize it.
  4. Content Management Systems (25:17) – Not just for website management anymore because we can use them for production too. There’s also a segment for CMS nerds around 27:00.
  5. Real-Time Analytics Tools (28:46) – Good review of what’s already available to you and a call to implementing a culture of access and data-driven decision-making and how that might improve the product cycle.
  6. Narrative (35:23) – Narrative as a cultural technology and how to make sure technology enhances narrative rather than disrupting it.

There’s a lot more to this video but I’ll just leave you to watch it to get at all the juicy details juicy.

Click here for the Tech Forum video archive.