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Gideon Rosenblatt
Works at The Vital Edge
Attended Wharton School
Lives in Seattle
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The Automation of the Publishing Industry

This is a new piece, a super in-depth look at the impact that automation has had on the publishing industry. There's lots of research in this one, as I dug into the actual impact that automation has had on newspaper, magazine and book publishers, as well as employment amongst writers, editors and other people in this industry. The results actually surprised me;  it's a more nuanced story than what I'd imagined. 

The other thing this piece does is look at what the automation of publishing is doing to the packaging of human knowledge, and how we are starting to see the early signs of a very new type of publishing, a wrapping of our information in a layer of artificial intelligence along the lines of Google Now and other virtual personal assistants. 

This piece was a lot of work and I'd like to get it to people in the publishing sector who might find it useful. If you know someone in that industry, and you find this piece interesting, please consider helping me get this to them. 

#automation   #publishing   #media   #ai  
An in-depth look at the automation of the publishing industry.
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This is a fairly in-depth look at the effects of automation in the publishing sector - with a particular focus on the impact on employment. The short version is that while employment for newspaper, book and magazine publishers is down considerably, employment for writers and editors is not

One of the key points in this article is that what's happened in the publishing sector isn't just about digitalization because digitalization is simply a means to an end, with that end being automation. 

I've a feeling people in this community will have some opinions about this piece, which would be great to hear. 
An in-depth look at the automation of the publishing industry.
Nathan Lowell's profile photoEvo Terra's profile photoJhonny Marcelo's profile photoC F Majors's profile photo
Do you have a source for your 90% and 1.5 million numbers?

I wish I had some better data sets for the non-ISBN books but, like everything else in this market, it's all dark matter. You can see the gravitational effect but measuring it with any degree of reliability is sketchy.

There's one more or less formal estimate that 33% of the ebooks sold lack ISBNs. (See I think that number is small because it represents only the top sellers on the Amazon list. The dark matter below the surface hides a lot of books. Even taking that number at face value, Bowker's estimates fall very short.  

You're right about newspapers and magazines. I didn't consider them as part of the overall publishing paradigm. Egocentric blinders on my part. I have no idea how those things work. I don't read them, don't write for them, and don't think of them when I think about publishing. 

And you're also right about the limits of government data - any published data these days. It was a problem I faced in academe as well. The innovation cycle is now shorter than the research and publication cycle. Anything published these days likely describes a world that no longer exists. Even the newest pieces (like this one) face the limits of extant data. It's a difficult process at best. 

The cost/pricing - how much do you spend for reading matter - question is a good one. Don't get me wrong. It's a very good snapshot of the way the world was. As an author/publisher in a very niche space, those numbers interest me, but they're largely irrelevant. In the first place, not knowing the distribution of data leaves me with an average value that includes all the millions of people who never read a book. Or who read one book a year. They're not my market. The changes are relevant only in relation to the amount of discretionary entertainment spending. While your article notes that that number went up, it's difficult to tease out why that might have been. The cost of books was rising, the number of stores was shrinking. In recent years, independent bookstores have been reporting growth, but few of them stock anything but the traditionally published titles so aren't useful in determining how much bigger the market might be than the $30B-ish revenues reported by the Bigs. 

It'll be interesting to see how this looks in 20 years. I hope I'm still here to see it. 

Thanks for a good article and discussion. 
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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Let me check that

Evidence suggests we may overestimate our intelligence, or at least our own unaided ability to answer questions, when we've recently been using search engines.

If you’ve ever lived with roommates, chances are you shared a “transactive” memory system with them. One person might have remembered to pay the bills, while another knew the contact details of the plumber. It's common to find social systems that share the information needed by a group across all the members of that group. Systems like these make life easier for individuals, who need only keep track of who knows which nugget.

Transactive memory systems are a common feature of human social groups, but they can be technological, too—and in the case of the Internet, the relationship can be a pretty powerful one. There are already indications that we treat the Internet like a transactive memory partner, remembering only where to find information, rather than the content itself. But could we also be blurring the boundary between our own internal knowledge and the easily accessed knowledge available via search engines? A group of researchers at Yale University think that we are.

Personally, I see this as part of a much longer trend and set of concerns that really do go back to Socrates. Socrates tried to warn us (about the risks of outsourcing our memory):

Humans have long parted with our unaided, unaugmented ways in this world. That our confidence gets confused over what is and isn't actually us doesn't really surprise (or concern) me too much.

Good find, +John Hagel​.

Transactive memory systems like the Internet are helpful but they can make us feel smarter than we really are
After using search engines, people overestimate their ability to explain ideas.
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angel Kyodo williams's profile photoEhtesham billah's profile photoLouise Nicholas's profile photoWolf Weber's profile photo
I just think that the 'enemy within', along with the corruption and perversion, is not an alien force, but a byproduct of the system. Capitalism can be tamed by good governance to some extent but ultimately monopoly power accrues and it becomes incompatible with democracy, it creates plutocracy. I agree it can continue much longer as a tyranny. But why even attempt to fix a system promotes such corrupting and ugly values, support something better.
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Definitely worth reading. This is a really good article for understanding the United States of America.

American society seems to surge forward one moment, and then in the next sink back into polarization over race and ethnicity, over the advent of the nation’s first black president, over the rights of immigrants, over religious tolerance and birthright citizenship, over reproductive freedom, over the use of basic science to understand climate change, over the extent and protection of voting rights, over civil rights based on sexual preference, and over endless and incompatible claims of “liberty” about the possession and use of firearms, taxation, environmental protection, or the right to health insurance. Perhaps above all, America is a society riven by conflict over federalism, the never-ending debate over the proper relation of federal to state power, perhaps the most lasting a legacy of what many nineteenth century Americans called the “secession war” or simply “the rebellion.” In short, despite enormous changes of heart, head and law, Americans still struggle every day to discern and enact that society of equality that the Civil War at least made imaginable.

Yes, the Civil War was rooted in states’ rights, but like any other constitutional doctrine, it significance rests with the issue in whose service it is employed. States’ rights for or to do what? Forwhom or against whom? In 1860 and 1861, some Southerners exercised “state sovereignty” as an act of revolution in the interest, as they said over and over themselves, of preserving a racial order founded on slavery. Today, states’ rights claims are advanced by many governors, legislatures, and presidential candidates in the ubiquitous language of “limited government,” or resistance to “big government.” Every now and then, though, these claims are couched in the rhetoric of “secession” or even “nullification” made so infamous during the Civil War era. More often, such claims have manifested in a new Orwellian language etched into laws to protect the “right to work,” or “religious freedom,” or the “integrity of the ballot.”

The silence at Appomattox is still deafening. This is an excellent read.
150 years after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Americans are still fighting over the great issues at the heart of the conflict.
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I hope it never gets to that again, +psher grant​. Have a good one.
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Gideon Rosenblatt

People-Centered  - 
Part of this grows organically from Starbucks’ long-visible corporate culture and ethos.  Starbucks as we know it today was created by Howard Schultz, a leader who comes from a working-class background, son of a factory work who was ill-treated in his career.  Schultz has written that he promised himself early in his career that if he ever was in a position to make a difference in the lives of the people who worked for him, he would do so.  Once he was in such a position, rather than backtracking on his personal commitment, he immediately made it visible, by providing health insurance to both part-time and full-time workers, a rare move by such a large and geographically diverse employer.
Starbucks To Shell Out $250 Million On Free 4-Year College For Every Employee [New in – Author: Micah Solomon, customer service consultant and speaker]
Starbucks Coffee today promised to make full 4-year college tuition coverage available for every U.S. employee of the company, an increase in the coffee giant's previously-announced educational commitment.  The Seattle-based coffee company had initially offered 100% tuition coverage to juniors and seniors when the program was announced last June and more recently committed to ensuring that 10,000 or [...]
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More and more companies are realising the value of investing in people.

Thanks for sharing Gideon
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I'm interested in the intersection of emotions and technology, so this piece caught my attention. 

Here's a key excerpt: 
But there is a curious difference between the emotions that drive commenting behavior compared to voting behavior. Guerini and Staiano say that posts generate more comments when they are associated with emotions of high arousal, such as happiness and anger, and with emotions where people feel less in control, such as fear and sadness.

By contrast, posts generate more social votes when associated with emotions people feel more in control of, such as inspiration.

Curiously, the valence of an emotion does not influence virality at all. In other words, people are just as likely to comment or vote on a post regardless of whether it triggers a positive or negative emotion.

Thanks +Eric Enge for highlighting this post of +AJ Kohn's. 

An Emerging Science of Clickbait

Every emotion occupies a point in this Valence-Arousal-Dominance parameter space.

Guerini and Staiano’s idea is that it is not an emotion itself that determines virality but its position in this parameter space.

Some very interesting results here on what type of pieces get comments and what type of pieces get shared. 

#social   #research  
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+Joe Repka Yep. What is the value? I think the original intention was to reach as many people as possible. But clickbait disappoints in the extreme.
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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Washing away graffiti. A short film by Seattle's rain.
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So beautiful. Thank you share for this video.
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Employment, Revenues and Business Formation in the Publishing Industry

Two weeks ago, I published a very long piece called The Automation of Publishing. It's long for a reason, as there's an arch to a story about what I think is happening in the publishing sector in terms of the big picture of technology and the way we manage knowledge. 

I think the length of this particular article proved too much of a barrier for people, however, and so over the next couple days I'm going to publish some of the key data and findings from this piece.

Today is a look at employment, revenues and business formation for newspapers, periodicals (magazines) and books. While these all exhibit signs of tough times for publishers, as we'll see tomorrow, the impact on writers and editors has not actually been the same. 

Automation isn’t the only force affecting the publishing sector. Financial markets, changing customer preferences and numerous other factors are clearly at play. But automation acts as a behind-the-scenes magnetic force, disrupting the economics of publishing by unbundling processes, and revenue streams, once held exclusively by publishers.

The most dramatic case of publisher unbundling is the newspaper industry. This was an industry that was extremely lucrative at one point because many papers held what were essentially local monopolies. In 1920, 42.6 percent of U.S. cities had two or more newspapers competing with each other. By 2000, only 1.4 percent did, mostly because afternoon newspapers had disappeared. In the 1980s, Wall Street-owned newspaper chains started gobbling up local independent papers, using “harvesting strategies” to extract maximum profits from each paper.

Not long afterwards, in the mid-nineties, many of the most lucrative advertising buckets once dominated by local papers started slipping into the hands of more focused and technologically savvy web-based, e-commerce businesses. I actually started one of those businesses at Microsoft, a car-buying service called CarPoint that served some seven million users a month. I remember meeting with some of the big newspaper chains at the time and being shocked at just how blind they were to what was happening to cornerstones of their advertising models; not just automotive, but real estate, job listings and wanted advertisements.

When you compare newspapers with books and periodicals, it’s clear that the papers have been hardest hit. Between 1997 and 2012, the total number of newspaper businesses dropped 13%. The problems are even more obvious when you look at revenues and employment (see images).

My interpretation of these numbers is that the impacts of publishing automation have fallen most heavily on newspapers and magazines (periodicals). Without advertising to support it, book publishing never really achieved the same scale of revenues as these other two publishing sectors. When advertising moved online, magazines and papers had the most to lose. As form factors, magazines and newspapers also lent themselves to easier methods of automated publishing, which in turn stimulated the supply of new online writers and website owners and increased their overall competition.

Here's a link to the full article if you'd prefer to read it all in one go: 
The Automation of Publishing

#automation   #publishing   #technologicalunemployment  
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Thanks +Karl Louis and +Jim Rudnick. Much appreciated. 
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Interesting changes underway at GE, as the company sheds focus on finance in order to focus more on industry (again). But how did this Bloomberg piece completely miss the connection with GE's "Industrial Internet" strategy? That's why they're making this shift.

Cc: +Shaker Cherukuri​​
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Achilles Firewall?  The story of Achilles did not turn out to well for him.  Maybe a different name should have been chosen?  :)
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It is worth mentioning that this is not this particular rumor’s first rodeo.  The “Google to buy Twitter” story has been around for years, and some reports indicate that executive teams from both firms even met on a merger in 2011.

Long shot, but credible?

More background:
george oloo's profile photoLaura Gibbs's profile photoIrina Grishanova's profile photoRichard Krawczyk (Richard M Krawczyk)'s profile photo
They already block certain people. Seen it.
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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This is a nice piece from most recent issue of +YES! Magazine.
Here's Edgar Mitchell, one of only a dozen humans who have walked upon the lunar surface:

“I was gazing out of the window, at the Earth, moon, sun, and star-studded blackness of space in turn as our capsule slowly rotated,” he said. “Gradually, I was flooded with the ecstatic awareness that I was a part of what I was observing. Every molecule in my body was birthed in a star hanging in space. I became aware that everything that exists is part of one intricately interconnected whole.”

...Mitchell called this realization “the Overview Effect,” and he said that virtually all of the moon astronauts experienced it during their flights. 

We’re closer to environmental disaster than ever before. We need a new story for our relationship with the Earth, one that goes beyond science and religion.
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I'll check them out.
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Technology and Love

How would I feel if one of my sons were to grow up never knowing real love with another human being? Let’s say that while gathered around a Thanksgiving dinner table ten years from now, he broke it to my wife and me that a human relationship was just too much trouble, especially when compared to the simpler, more convenient connection he’d been able to find with his new virtual girlfriend. I love my son, so I would try to be supportive and understanding, but deep-down, I would be tremendously sad that he might never really know what it feels like to be truly loved by someone other than his parents.
What might it mean to live in a world where we outsource our love to machines?
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+Gideon Rosenblatt I stopped studying social psychology when I realized its goal was to, essentially, find ways to control/sell to people. This is just another tack on that direction. As to loving our kids and wanting them to have love in their lives, I have ever said (can't remember when I realized this) that the horror would not be not being loved, but not being capable of loving another completely.

I am trying to stay out of the way as my younger son (29) is going through his dog dying. The sacrifices he has made to keep her alive are astounding to me (sold his car (!)) but it is also making me feel he's connected to what makes life of value: love.

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  • Wharton School
    MBA, 1989 - 1991
  • Lewis and Clark College
    International Relations
Basic Information
What do we want our organizations and technologies to be when they wake up?
I'm a writer with a background in technology, business and social change. 

Most of my writing these days is at The Vital Edge, where I explore how technology affects organizations and the way people work. I am particularly interested in artificial intelligence, automation and networks and what they hold for the future of humanity. 

I believe in the human soul, and I believe it deserves a place in our understanding of organizations and technology. I have no interest in pushing religion or any particular spiritual point of view, but I do believe in exploring technology and human organization on a deeper level than is typical for these topics today. 

When it comes to my presence on Google+, most of my effort here is really aimed at connecting with people who are drawn to the questions I explore through my writing. I am active on Twitter (@gideonro) as well, and share content more frequently there, but my deepest online engagement is still here on Google+. 

My Story
For nine years, I ran Groundwire, a mission-driven technology consulting group, dedicated to building a more sustainable world. Groundwire specialized in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases, websites, social media communications, and engagement strategy as a way to help organizations mobilize people around sustainability causes.

Prior to Groundwire, I worked at Microsoft for ten years (back when it was cool), in various marketing, product development and management positions. While there, I developed CarPoint, one of the world's first large-scale e-commerce websites. I also marketed the world’s first digital encyclopedia and dictionary, and other innovative multimedia works.
I was raised in Utah, lived and worked in Japan and China for several years, and now live in Seattle with my wife, CJ, and two boys. Oh, and I am a proud board member of YES! Magazine.

#AI #automation #organization #technology #GoodBusiness #soul 
I'm a technologist with a background in business and social change. I write about the impact of technology on organizations and society.
  • The Vital Edge
    Publisher and Writer, 2013 - present
    Disruptively good business.
  • Alchemy of Change
    Writer, 2010 - 2012
    Executive Director, 2001 - 2010
  • Microsoft
    Product Unit Manager, 1991 - 2001
  • US China Business Council
    1985 - 1989
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