Big Media Must Kill Bureaucracy to Innovate
In response to a NYTimes article about which media company has the internet "figured out", Michael Parekh wonders which media companies will be the first to figure out how to innovate internally rather than by acquisition.
There are two major things that old media will have to do to innovate.
First, incentivize R&D. Simply put: if there's no incentive to innovate, most of your employees won't. And if you don't invest in R&D, your internet business will suffer.
Incentivize by giving money, control, flexibility: there's no one-size-fits-all. You'll have to work hard to incentivize the right people in the right ways. But it will be worth it.
More importantly, though, big media companies have to kill the bureaucratic mindset. In many technology companies, decision-making authority and access to information are pushed to the edges, where it belongs. People are thus able to make smarter and quicker decisions.
The thing is, talent flows to where bureaucracy isn't.
And media companies are now competing with technology companies for talent.
The free Dr. Pepper, on-site gym, and massages are nice. But they are often superficial fixes to a systemic problem.
You've already got the interesting problems to solve.
So get rid of the bureaucracy, and watch the talent floodgates open.
And with that talent will come passion and profits.
The first big media company to figure that out will have a step on their dinosaur contemporaries, and will be in a good enough place to make sure Google or Yahoo doesn't eat their lunch.
The question is: who will be so brave?