When Quo loses its Status

Here’s a great illustration of different thoughts at the executive level from a Techcrunch post by Michael Arrington of a panel at Davos. The references are NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker and Sony CEO Howard Stringer, and the subject is mobile. It’s priceless:

Zucker lamented the currently fragmented U.S. market, but seems optimistic that they’ll be able to move their merchandise effectively in the future (particularly short form video). He also said revenue splits need to change dramatically — today content creators are offered only 10% of revenue from sales, with the vast majority going to the carrier. Competition and openness will change this, he said.

Stringer was less optimistic, noting, for example, that Chinese customers don’t buy content, just blank CDs. “It won’t be easy to hang onto the price of content” he said, adding a quip: “When you defend the status quo when the quo has lost its status, you’re in trouble.”

Like intransigent mainstream media moguls who are trying desperately to make a Media 1.0 model exist in a Media 2.0 world, Zucker continues to harp about the value of his precious “content.” Stringer seems unnecessarily cynical, but at least he’s got a realistic view of things.

It reminds me of some great wisdom I recently read from the genius that is Ian C. Rogers of Yahoo:

Losers wish for scarcity
Winners leverage scale

The status quo wants to continue playing the scarcity game, and the strategy will lead to its ruin.


  1. […] What these leaves us with is a world where we need to reassess how things work. Traditional business and economic drivers (such as scarcity) don’t really work any more. Or, as Terry Heaton wrote, (quoting Ian Rogers), “Losers wish for scarcity, winners leverage scale.” I love Pixel Qi as an example of this. As I wrote last week, “Pixel Qi … is a spinoff from OLPC that hopes to sell the technology developed for the OLPC in a for-profit way, thereby helping the OLPC (and other firms) get the scale they need to lower the prices on the laptops. Basically: The more customers Pixel Qi gets, the cheaper kids around the world can get their hands on this technology.” […]

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