Big Data And Filthy Lucre: Neil Irwin At WonkBlog-‘Here’s What The Bloomberg Data Scandal Reveals About How The Media Really Makes Money’

Full piece here.

It’s not just all puppy dogs and citizen-journalists out there:

‘Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has achieved the thing that every company desperately seeks: An economic moat, a way to achieve persistently high profit margins that competitors cannot easily encroach. It is a textbook case of a company doing everything it can to seize and maintain competitive advantage.’


‘In the heydey of print newspapers, reporters were part of a complex ecosystem that allowed publishers to maintain competitive advantage and near-monopoly status in order to make vast sums from selling advertising. In the current heydey of Bloomberg, reporters are part of a complex ecosystem to guard the data terminal business against competitors.’

Get ready for more data wars and information races, for wherever there’s a revenue stream, there are people maintaining it, tapping into it, and various others living off of it. No one likes a challenge to their near-monopoly.

Many digital publishers are paywalling-up.

News-gathering, investigative journalism and other functions of the paper used to thrive on the old revenue model. Now you can sell your cockatiel online for free, leaving some papers charging you to announce grandma’s death. The core technology has allowed very cheap access to share information, causing severe disruption.

Furthermore, that core technology is changing all the time, now going more mobile and interactive: Are blogs really being declared dead?

Bloomberg LP, however, doesn’t just focus on opinion blogging, political reporting, or cultural commentary, mind you. They go first where the money and information are. It’s a business model for the financial sector, one which has secured for itself a near monopoly on a certain kind of information and business reporting (where milliseconds matter, and millions can be gained or lost in that time).

As for near monopolies, this reminds me a bit of Microsoft, which got there first with a software package on nearly every machine, and has since maintained a competitive advantage quite well, and at times, ruthlessly.

Addition:  Laptop U?

Another Addition:  And of course I support open markets, they’re better than the government, crony-capitalist alternatives, but sometimes they can get a little monopolistic.

Related On This Site: Universities, take note.  Part of your core model can be made available to technology. Some of what happened to old media, brick and mortar business, is happening to you:

The Disruption Of Education-From AVC: ‘Video Of The Week: Mark Suster Interview of Clayton Christensen’

Good luck making money blogging:

A Few Thoughts On Blogging-Chris Anderson At Wired: ‘The Long Tail’

Whence journalism?:

From The Atlantic: “Information May Want To Be Free. But Not Journalism”

Jack Shafer At Slate: ‘Nonprofit Journalism Comes At A Cost’..

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die? 

Malcolm Gladwell argues here that apart from the information/journalism divide, the technology still ultimately costs something as well…”Free” is a utopian vision, and I suspect Gladwell knows this pretty well:  From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”

From The Economist: ‘No News Isn’t Good News’

Classic Yellow Journalism by malik2moon

Remember The Maine! The good old days…by malik2moon

Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’


As Kotkin highlights, there’s the service economy, and then there’s the high-end economy they’re serving, with less and less in-between.  More taxation is an attractive option and the path of least resistance for many city politicians.  He argues that working and/or middle management and/or middle income jobs are hard to find, and especially hard to find outside of public service and government.  Once that economy goes away, so goes the heart and soul of your city (see Detroit).  He argues that Chicago has got to get competitive for business again.

I suspect many libertarians and conservatives will argue that the liberal focus on the arts, culture, equality, education under the banner of rights-based liberty is being done post-mortem in many cases.  It won’t bring back the jobs and opportunity that made the city hum, and beneath those liberal ideals, where the sausage is made, are politicians fighting for less and less pie, voting for higher property taxes, cronyism, unions, and union protectionism etc.  Like New York nearly did in the 70’s, or like Harrisburg did recently, borrowing itself into bankruptcy, cities can end up in tough times.  The liberal/progressive model doesn’t help.

The city that gave us the Chicago School is facing some real challenges as is most of the rust belt.

Of course, I think it’s fair to say that not everyone has the analytical/quantitative reasoning ability and corresponding education to succeed in the developing tech marketplace and explosion of biotech and the sciences either, even if the U.S. educational system is able to re-prioritize away from its old ways (both ideological and practical) and make us more competitive again.

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model from the ground up in NYC.

Related On This Site: The current administration can’t seem to imagine a problem that doesn’t involve a government solution: How Would Obama Respond To Milton Friedman’s Four Ways To Spend Money?From Bloomberg.Com: Nancy Pelosi Says “Bankruptcy Is Not An Option”

Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’A Few Thoughts On Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: “Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I”

How to end up in a conservative position Repost-Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’…when there is socialism vs authoritarianism and fascism all around you:A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’

Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’

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Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘Want To Be The Next Apple? Lose The Bafflegab’

Full post here.

‘A strategy is not a goal like maximizing shareholder value or keeping America safe from terrorism. It’s not even a plan. It is a design — a coherent approach to defining and solving a particular problem, in which the different elements have to work together.’

And on Postrel’s analysis of Apple, that’s what it’s doing well.

‘So if you really want to be like Apple, drop the fluff- filled vision statements and magical wishes. Pretend your company’s existence is at stake, coldly evaluate the environment, and make choices. Stop thinking of strategy as meaningless verbiage or financial goals and treat it as a serious design challenge.’

Here are two quotations from Henry Kissinger:

“The purpose of bureaucracy is to devise a standard operating procedure which can cope effectively with most problems.  A bureaucracy is efficient if the matters which it handles routinely are, in fact, the most frequent and if its procedures are relevant to their solution.  If those criteria are met, the energies of the top leadership are freed to deal creatively with the unexpected occurrence or with the need for innovation.  Bureaucracy becomes an obstacle when what it defines as routine does not address the most significant range of issues or when its prescribed mode of action proves irrelevant to the problem.”


“Moreover, the reputation, indeed the political survival, of most leaders depends on their ability to realize their goals, however these may have been arrived at.  Whether these goals are desireable is relatively less crucial.”

Book here.

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From Buzzmachine: ‘Hard Economic Lessons For News’

Full post here.

So, you want to be in the news business?:

‘I continue to be astonished at the economic naiveté I hear in discussions of the business of news.’

Does the news business attract more idealists than other areas…what about in conjunction with the higher education bubble?

Worth a read.

Related On This Site: Who Reads The Newspapers?From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”…Bill Virgin says newspapers built up their value, and slowly let it die: From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die?.

What about pay sites?:  From Denis Pombriant: ‘Reinventing The Newspaper Business Model With Zuora”

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