When Einstein laid out the groundwork for Quantum Physics in the early 1900′s everyone was amazed at his theories, but soon after everyone was asking, but how can it be used and how is this applicable to anyone's lives? What a waste of taxpayers money being spent on this science stuff! The answer from scientists was put simply that they did not really know what practical use this would bring!
Today Quantum Physics drives around about 50% of all the GDP of western economies, with computers, satellites, mobile devices and the Internet all not possible without the early Quantum work done by Faraday, Bohr, Einstein and Planck.
Fast forward to today and we have seen some of the largest companies in the world turned on their ears by the Internet. Think about this in 2000 we had never heard of Google, Facebook, Twitter and the like, yet today they are an integral part of just about every person and company in the western world, even Apple was an afterthought!
Today these companies not only shape our lives and the people we connect with, but they are also shaping governments and countries around the world! Technology and innovation now drives economies.
News Ltd and Fairfax
So we now come at the cross roads for many incumbent digital and media companies. Many will fall and we will see a rise in new players across the spectrum. The latest being News Ltd and Fairfax as they struggle with diminished revenues from print.
Much of the blame is currently directed at the boardrooms, and yes, the people who sit in these rooms and make strategic decisions for their companies must accept some of the blame - but not all, it was inevitable that they would lose revenues from print. In hindsight, Fairfax today really should be sitting pretty controlling online what jobs are advertised, who rents/buys what home, trades what car and who is selling their bric-a-brac, but for the most part Fairfax have come up short.
News Ltd pretty much control the online housing market, but they will know that they need to continually innovate to stay on top. The message is clear, don't get comfortable!
What can Fairfax do?
Cost cutting is obviously an idea, especially in areas where they know they cannot come back. However one thing Fairfax doesn't have is a Black Ops Tech Division and every media company today should have one. Why? Because most of them do not have money in the bank to just buy great ideas these days.
This Black Ops Tech Division must be funded with enough capital to create a team of around 20 people across the globe, and their mantra would be to develop awesome new ideas, tools, apps which are not restricted or constrained in any way. They are to be given 12 months to come up with a starter set of killer web and mobile apps, ones that may even have an impact on revenues from current services.
The idea is a simple and cost effective one. You cannot tell me the money they spent on Trade Me could not have been used all of those years ago to come up with bigger global solutions.
Fairfax have to think local/global. Yes the ideas must work locally, but they also should work on a global scale.
If Fairfax do this they can be saved, cost cutting and streamlining will only save them for a few years. They need new ideas and new markets and with billions of income waiting out their for them, they would be crazy and possibly negligent not to.
Technology and innovation have only touched the surface, there are people out there today creating amazing ideas and applications that will power new economies, think big or go home!
What Fairfax Need
Well for one thing, they do not need a business person for this division, they do not even need them in an office, they just need someone to head the division that can put together a team around the world that can deliver these tools and make them work on a global scale. The thinking must work on desktop and mobile! This person would be an ideas person, he or she would have a project manager and PA and the rest of the team would be made up of designers and developers finitely skilled in certain areas.
You cant hire these people full time, these are the best of the best in what they do, most people who are available for hire are just not good enough! So you hand pick experience and skills and contract them to perform tasks around a full project!
Start Dreaming Big Fairfax!
Companies like Fairfax cannot afford to buy companies the scale of Trade Me anymore, they must innovate themselves! The idea that they do not have the money for this division is ridiculous, it is something they can no longer afford not to have, it will be the make or break of the company - period! Start dreaming big Fairfax and get out of this rut through innovation and ideas.
Your time is now!