Auletta explained how the three major television networks lost viewers and squandered opportunities to get into cable by massive-ego-driven infighting in his 1992 classic Three Blind Mice. In Googled he documents how two Stanford Ph.D. students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, changed the media landscape and, in fact, changed the world while executives in the old media world squandered opportunities to get on the Internet and whined about the death of their magic world – media history repeats itself.
Auletta invested two-and-a-half years thoroughly researching and writing Googled, and no one could have done it better. The Columbia Journalism Review, in ranking him as America's premier media critic, concluded, "No other reporter has covered the new communications revolution as thoroughly as has Auletta," and New YorkMagazine described him as the "media Boswell."
Executives, managers, and creative people in the media are not going to like what they read in this book because Auletta writes that at Google and in the new Internet world engineers are the kings and queens and are the new creators that drive the business, not the marketers and salespeople who drive the dinosaur media.
Engineers believe in data and they ask tough questions. They ask, "Why can't we make information free and accessible to everyone?" Or "Why can't we put the needs of consumers first and not worry about making money right away?" This kind of thinking will drive greedy media moguls nuts. They'll probably be happier watching "American Idol" or WWE Wrestling.
But you're smarter than that. Read Ken Auletta's Googled and don't miss the final chapter, titled "Media Maxims," that he did not include in the book because he thought the 25 maxims (what he learned from writing the book) are "not organic to the book's narrative, and because I feared it [would] muddy the book's purpose, casting it as a How-To book."
The final chapter containing the 25 maxims are available in a PDF format on his Website. Don't miss them; they will give you almost the equivalent to a masters degree in media management.
Until he retired in 2002, Charlie Warner was Vice President of AOL's Interactive Marketing division. Before joining AOL, he was the Goldenson Endowed Professor at the Missouri Journalism School where he taught media management and sales, and he created and ran the annual Management Seminar for News Executives. Charlie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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