Memo to CBS: Listen to CNET

Dear Les Moonves,

It was a very smart move for you to acquire CNET. I’ll save all the business analysis for others, because I’m not sure you really understand a certain intangible — namely that the talented group of observers and writers who make up your acquisition can really, really help you with your, um, other business.

The first thing you should do is invite Dan Farber (and if they’ll come, the rest of the Gillmor Gang) into your office and have a nice little sit down. I know you’re the guy who normally does all the talking, but this time, I’d suggest you might want to just listen. Bring your underlings along and tell them to listen, too.

Take a hard look at CNET-TV and invite the writers in to talk to them about communicating with an audience. Yeah, I know; tech isn’t Iraq (and so forth), but neither is a lot of the other crap that passes for news these days.

There’s a point to this whole strategy, Les, and it’s why I think you’d be wise to implement the “CBS listens to CNET” campaign: These folks grew a media business without being a part of the media business! That means they BEGAN outside your box, and while I’ll bet you want to suck them into it, you’d be smart not to. Why? Because they can teach you things that those inside the box don’t even see, and isn’t that exactly what traditional media companies need in this day and age.

Now go out and make it a great day.

Your pal,

Terry

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