Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Are You Preparing for the Future?

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@Colleen - we are in the storytelling business and not in the tools business. Technology changes. Many industries are facing similar issues and continue to hold on to what made them successful in the past. If that was tied to old distribution, then they need to understand how what they do scales to new distribution. To me innovation resides with the job customers want to do, not so much what they seem to embrace today (I continued the conversation at today's post on Trust). Likewise, thrilled to have had a chance to learn more about how you work.

@Monique - you got it. I like it how you flesh out the business requirements. So often we start with the tools before asking what is the job that needs to be done.

@Mary Ann - delivery and distribution constraints need to be part of the consideration along with business requirements. The way we pull information in one medium (and thus the format desired) is not the same as that of another. You last sentence is key in the comment - the walls have come down, now it is up to each of those businesses to figure out what business they wish to (+ can) be in.

Hello Valeria,
Mike Elgan calls old media's efforts at digitization as "mere tokenism," and that, to me, is the central truth of his article. Virginia Heffernan goes into more detail about this same idea in a very perceptive piece in the NYTimes Magazine, see ( She asks, "Does anyone still believe that the forms of movies, television, magazines and newspapers might exist independently of their rapidly changing modes of distribution?" I'd ad books to that list, too, especially reference and textbooks, and the output of nearly the whole of the STM publishing industry.

Monique is correct in her comment above, that old media are doggedly trying to solve the wrong problem by tweaking what is no longer relevant.

Merely migrating content that comes out of the traditional content-development models & processes into newer digital output formats is still old-school thinking, and probably not nearly radical enough to help old media institutions survive. But I think it is a waste of time to target "format-neutral" as a content goal. There is no such thing anyway. Delivery and distribution constraints are always a fundamental assumption when content is being generated. Those assumptions are changing, and our idea of what is possible and desirable in content will change along with it. As publishers struggle to identify the value they can provide and sell, they may find the walls dividing newspapers, books, tv, journals and magazines disappearing.

Very good article, It articulates the need for a starting point at the context of users (social contextual design). Focussing on adding value to the needs of users, long before you mark this down in the use of any platform. Thinking in platforms is really narrowing the minds and cutting off prosperous routes too much in advance. I don't need a newspaper, i need news. I don't need a mobile telephone, I need an always on connection to my beloved, working groups and friends. I don't need internet, I need information and connectivitiy..

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