Be a silobuster

Remember the great print vs. online war of 1995-2005?

Well, some of you are probably still fighting this war, eh? Not everyone got the news yet, but the war is over, and the silobusters won.

Anyway, you’re going to think this is crazy, but lately I’ve spotted a new silo developing, over there in the corner office.

It’s the mobile silo.

Wait, wait, before you go, I’m not the crazy one here; I know how important mobile delivery of information is, and I know you need to pay special attention to it, and I know that people like me have been telling folks at newspapers and media companies for years that they should be paying special attention, too.

But I see a funny thing happening, in large media companies and in job listings — I see mobile as a full department being split off from the Web or “online” silo. Yes, yes, some of you are doing a great job at calling the whole department “digital,” and if it works for you, go for it.

Now, I’m not here to tell you how to run your silos, and I think it’s inevitable that you’re going to do it, if only to make sure there’s someone responsible for iPad app development and WAP sites and a text alert strategy and heck, let’s throw Android into this sentence, too, just to make sure we don’t offend anyone.

What I wanted to say was this:

As always, there’s a huge job opportunity for individuals who make a habit of busting silos. If you’re the person who can get mobile, Web, and print teams on the same (ahem) page, make sure each knows what the others are up to, and help them not repeat work or work at cross-purposes, you might be a silobuster.

Let’s make a short list out of this.

You might be a silobuster if:

  1. At summer camp, you were friends with kids from at least four different cliques. (This was a harder trick to pull in school, just as it’s a harder trick to pull at a large corporation.)
  2. You’re equally at home talking about CSS, CS5, and CB4.
  3. Your idea of “playing politics” is walking into someone’s office and asking them a straightforward question.

What else should be on this list? Jump on in anytime here, folks…

Conclusion: You should expect media companies and news organizations to continue to find reasons (some of them good ones) to segment off different types of development and delivery of news, but if you can see the big picture of how it all fits together — or even better, build the tools that make it all fit together — there’s work for you in this business.

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