Colin’s Corner: The threat of disintermediation

Colin’s Corner: The threat of disintermediation "We’ve always regarded ourselves as trusted providers of information services but now we also need to recognize that some of the most valuable information comes from outside our traditional content generation mechanism , from our users. We need to be about the creation of strong branded communities where people converse together and share experiences and look for advice and information. We need to focus not only on the distribution of information, but also, and more importantly, on allowing the community to share information while providing the opportunity to interact with editors and vendors. As publishers, we need to view ourselves as managers of content, delivering the right content and tools to our users when and where they want to consume the information"

Simplicity Defined

There’s nothing like a new iPod courtesy of the I/S department — surely one of the most frivilous pieces of hardware they’ve ever had to install. I think I disappointed the poor person who came into my office bearing gifts when I said I would set it up myself. The rationale for getting the company to buy me the new toy is that I need a player to test our nascent podcasting plans here at CXO and to play with iTunes 4.9’s podcast subscription facility.

After the usual USB plug-in and configuration I moved about five hours worth of IT Conversations and other assorted geek casts (along with some hilarious Tour de France commentary performed by two slightly drunk Brits in a Wayne’s World format) over to the 6 gig mini, then walked it out to the car and set up the Belkin charger/gooseneck holder gizmo and the Belkin FM transmitter.

I tried to listen to an excellent Gillmor Gang conference call featuring Dan Bricklin, Doc Searles, Dan Farber and other, but the cell phone interrupted me and actually wasted 30 minutes of bumper-to-bumper commuting/listening time. Excellent discussion and evidence that great content quality can be delivered with little to no production value.

I got home, changed into my cycling gear, filled up the water bottle, and hopped aboard my fixed-gear — the legendary "Snotrocket", an old Bianchi ten-speed that I spray-painted black and stripped of all gears and non-essentials. Fixed-gears are basically what urban messengers and track racers ride in the velodrome. One gear and no coasting. If the rear wheel is moving, so are your feet. Want to brake? Use your feet.

The nice thing about fixed-gear cycling, other than the purity of no gears to click, is the total focus on cycling and the extreme effort required to ascend hills, etc.


I broke a cardinal rule and brought along the mini so I could finish the podcasts. This is a rule for safety sake — you can’t hear approaching traffic with your ears filled with music or talk radio — but I was on some serious back roads through farmland and gave it a go.

 There was something appropriate about listening to homebrew radio, on a device with one of the simplest user interfaces ever invented, on a homebrew cycle with no extraneous parts.

 Great workout and I filled my head at the same time.

Mens sana in corpus sano

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