Wick Communications

Think like a startup

In Online media on August 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm

The New York Times this week launched beta620, a website devoted to its own emerging technological ideas.

It is no surprise that the site is a lot like the recently discontinued Google Labs site, which was an incubator of sorts for the world’s leading search engine. No doubt, the smart folks at the New York Times would like to take a cue from Google when it comes to developing Internet concepts. Wouldn’t we all want to operate a bit more like Google?

The site itself features some interesting concepts. There is a community hub idea that allows readers to aggregate comments in a social-media dashboard. There is an HTML5 app project that allows crossword lovers to work on the puzzle offline – presumably a terrific addition for subway commuters with iPads. TimesInstant mimics the auto-complete technology that now fills in your Google queries even before you finish typing.

Beyond all that, I think the site itself is interesting. It is an attempt to harness the considerable people power of the New York Times and turn it loose on what the Online News Association is calling “news entrepreneuring.” …

Key to that is the acknowledgment that we don’t have all the answers currently. The world is shifting under our feet. The Internet has changed absolutely everything. I know there are people in my community who have great ideas for communicating with our neighbors – things I wouldn’t dream up on my own. Beta620 specifically asks for reader suggestions.

Can an existing pillar of the mainstream media think like a startup? We’ll see. I hope so. It’s important. And I think we should all be searching for paradigm-shifting ideas that go beyond simply typing words for the same readers we’ve had for a generation.

Clay

 

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