Media and a Strong Culture of Experimentation

Sometimes you read something that says it all. A group of sentences that you wish you had come up with (but sadly did not).   Yesterday I came across one of those gems while reading an interview with Amy O’Leary, recently with the New York Times and now with Upworthy. Here is the link to the whole piece, but read this first.

No one has really figured out the secret to mastering what it means to be a media organization in the digital age. So the critical thing is that places like The New York Times dive head first into a strong culture of experimentation. And by that I don’t mean throwing everything to the wall and seeing what sticks. I mean rigorous, studied experimentation, where new ideas are tried with excitement and with ease and are studied to learn what works and what doesn’t. I mean that taking risks and trying new things are celebrated even when they may seem, at the outset, like a failure. And that the definition of success for a new idea should be whether or not we learned anything from it, not whether or not it became the future of media.”

The entire world of media can learn a lot from this paragraph.

By this, I mean anyone who writes journalism, creates a TV show, produces a movie, posts on YouTube, creates on Instagram, produces a radio show, a podcast, writes a book or makes music.

That large group that includes everyone who creates media intended for any audience in our digital age.

As Amy points out, we all should engage in “rigorous, studied experimentation”.

Maybe easier said than done, but doable nonetheless.

About Chris Dorr

I consult with companies on digital media strategy and business development. Clients include Samsung, MTV Networks, Tribeca Film Festival, Shaw Media and Canadian Film Center. I created the Future of Film blog for Tribeca. I have worked in the movie business for Disney Studios, Universal Pictures, Scott Free and in the digital media business for Intertainer, Sony and Nokia. Contact me at [email protected] or follow me at @chrisdorr
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  • Joel Valle

    Hi Chris,

    I’m always glad you are having these type of conversations. I agree that everybody in the art of creating should take a cue from silicon valley and embrace the notion of experimentation.

    Someone who is pushing the envelope in media is Gary Varnerchuck from Vaynermedia. His key philosophy is to always create value first for the audience. Below is a link of one of his many short videos explaining some start-up entrepreneurs about becoming a media company first before trying to sell their app.

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