It’s been a good week for guest speakers here at the office. Gary Vaynerchuk was here on Tuesday, and Clayton Christensen spoke yesterday. Pretty much a coincidence, I think, as their talks were part of two different programs here, but I think Christensen would happily cite @garyvee as an example of his theories in action.
So Gary was fun, but I was looking forward to Christensen. There’s a not-too-thin logical chain where I have a job in this industry because of his research getting into the hands of certain early online news adopters.
When Gary spoke, I think I promised Sean Blanda I would give Christensen the #sholinonrap treatment.
— Ryan Sholin (@ryansholin) May 21, 2013
I had my dates mixed up, but you get the picture.
For the uninitiated, “#sholinonrap” is how Sean responds on Twitter or Facebook or wherever, whenever I make some sort of hip-hop reference. Last time Sean was here at the office for some sort of panel, I gave him the treatment, tweeting about the panel in the form of rap lyrics.
And not only was it fun, but it was also a disciplined approach to note-taking that forced me to do three things:
- Pay attention.
- Boil down complex topics into simple, 140-character-or-less approximations of lines of verse, complete with rhymes and flow where possible. (I am not an expert at this, kids.)
- Show my work by tweeting it.
In other words, an efficient and entertaining (for me, anyway) bit of exercise for my brain.
So yesterday during Christensen’s talk, I found a nondescript spot in the audience between a VP of News and a Social Media Editor and did my thing. It went okay.
I had a couple interesting conversations later in the day about why Christensen might not have been too excited about answering direct questions about how this applies to the news business.
One reason might be that the American Press Institute (hi y’all!) spent a few years of research on how Christensen’s theories about disruptive innovation fit into the news business. Newspaper Next. You might have heard of it. Maybe not. Here are a few useful links. (Some of these are remarkably useful.)
- The Newspaper Next research itself, from API. This should probably be required reading for anyone seeing this, but really, you should have read it a few years ago. Some of it may seem patently obvious now.
- Steve Buttry in September 2011 on his personal experience as part of the Newspaper Next project.
- An October 2011 Nieman Lab post by Justin Ellis revisiting the Newspaper Next research and its impact (or lack thereof).
- From Nieman Lab again, an October 2012 post that includes a podcast interview with Christensen and links to…
- …the Fall 2012 Nieman Reports cover story on Christensen and how his disruption theory applies to the news industry.
Plenty to peruse there over your holiday weekend, eh? Anyway, hope you enjoyed this episode of #sholinonrap. Beast!