Monday, March 28, 2011

New York Times: A Dog's Got To Eat

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...Image via CrunchBaseI am fond of the New York Times. Both NYT and I seem to like the same font: Georgia. I did not learn that from the New York Times, but the similarity lead to affinity. It is a great paper. If I could get only one source of news - thank God I don't, thank the wild wild web - the New York Times might be in contention. And I take hometown pride.

Reading articles in the New York Times feels like reading a book. As in, the quality is great. In most cases it is better than reading a book. Because many many people work on any one article. There is a lot of collaboration. Most books gets written by people who think they are smart enough that they can go solo.

I once read a tweet from someone from the New York Times - Indian dude - during the Gulf Crisis. He made it sound like he was going home after like a month. He said he had been working on this one article. The article took me five minutes to read. And I am like wow. You mean you and many others worked on this for a month? To give me a great five minute experience?

But I can't pay. I am bootstrapped. Even after I go up a few income brackets, I think my urge would be to not pay. A payfence is not a business model that excites me. So when the New York Times made news not long ago - I think during South By South West, or right before, or right after, whatever - that it had spend 50 million dollars to erect a paywall that it was about to unveil, my first thought was, those were 50 million dollars you did not have.
Image representing Zynga as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
The Internet is one big farm for mindfood. And it has managed to disrupt the business models of all traditional mindfood farmers. Makes you think. I like the Zynga model much better. The game is free. But 1% of the players pay for extra stuff. GigaOm has that same model. You pay for premium content.

Advertising online is not where it needs to be. That is not the fault of the New York Times. It is for tech startups to take advertising online where it needs to go. In the mean time I am going to beckon my entrepreneurial spirit to find all the free ways to read many, many New York Times articles. And I read many, many. The free quota is so not going to cover my base. But did you say if I follow links to New York Times articles from tweets, then all that is free? I can live with that. I know how to use the Twitter search engine.

June 2009: New York Times, Don't Die, Live
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