NBC stupidly shutting down Breaking News app, service
The decision, as it often does in the media business, came down to revenue. “Unfortunately, despite its consumer appeal, Breaking News has not been able to generate enough revenue to sustain itself,” Ascheim said in the letter supplied by NBC News. “We have therefore made the hard decision to close its operations so that we can re-invest that funding into NBC News’ core digital products to help us achieve our ambitious goals for those businesses.”
This is short-sighted. Web-based news isn’t generating revenue? No shit. Breaking News has been a standard-bearer of confirm-before-publishing and still manages to be ahead of every other news outlet’s attempt at a breaking news product.
I’d spend $2.99/month on this thing to keep it alive. Let’s say 1/4 of its Twitter followers would do the same. That’s $84.6 million in revenue right there.
Would that be sustainable?
Why we don’t speak up at work
This piece by Claire Lew at Signal v. Noise doesn’t exactly fit into my general topics of law, technology and design, but it’s so important I that feel obligated to share it. I mention in my article about the role of metrics in editorial strategy that I’ve been present for some poor decisions and didn’t speak my mind.
Claire’s post explains exactly why I failed to speak up, and it’s an important read whether you’re a manager or not. Unlike more navel-gazing, hand-wavy articles in the management advice realm, she actually offers some practical advice.
Pivot while there’s still time
Bobby Ghoshal, co-founder of the now-defunct social news app Flud:
A year after pivoting to the enterprise we were out of business […] because we ran out of money and investors didn’t have enough data to make a decision to jump on board.
I buy this reasoning. I read a lot about venture capital investors and how they conduct their due diligence.
Investors want to (as they should) gorge themselves on data before even discussing the possibility of backing your startup.
But if the first iteration of your idea falters and you’re too late to accept it or notice it or implement a pivot, getting to the next phase of development won’t save you because, as Ghoshal notes, the data won’t be there to convince investors to sign on the line which is dotted.
Of course, passion and user engagement is important when you’re building an app with a backend service. But all passion and users usually get you is a meeting.
It’s data that closes deals.
Sheryl Sandberg: The real story
CNN’s Miguel Helft, in a great profile of Sandberg at the Money blog:
How Sandberg, amid all her Facebook activities, managed to write Lean In, orchestrate flashy book tours on three continents, launch a foundation, and become a ubiquitous spokesperson for the ambitions of women, remains baffling to most people.
Her advocacy for women in business is great, but what I find most impressive about Sandberg is not that she is a woman and an executive, but an executive with such a full plate who seems to truly love what she does.