Here, writ large is another example of the problem* with digital – an interview I did with Twitter Tech Numbers Celebrity and Raconteur with a cool name Horace Dediu. Of course, I’m only referencing this because it is a good example of digital publishing problems and not because of the sub-head he gave this post. The sub-head, just in case you were wondering, is:
Chris Brennan asked a few important questions regarding potential saturation of the iPhone market.Horace Dediu
It was for a piece in MacUser magazine, a feature on the future of Apple as I recall, Now, both the magazine and the website for MacUser are gone and therefore so is the interview**. For the avoidance of any doubt, I’m talking of the UK-based MacUser magazine and not that imposter and ne’er-do-well MacUser magazine from the United States that Felix Dennis sold to the Yanks for $1 BILLION*** and a bag of chips.
Both the US and proper UK version of MacUser are now Dodo-like, the only people who can read the interview are those who still have access to the printed magazine and, well, those with access to Deidu’s website. Which is emblematic of digital content. Once it’s out there it’s not yours anymore, not only is the author dead so is their intellectual property value. The dead tree version isn’t bringing in any revenue at all any more though so at least on that there’s some equality.
A short diversion. Funny story, I emailed HD (that’s what all his close good buddies call him, I guess) and asked him if he’d be willing to do an interview and given that I am a very polite young man, or was at least, young that is, I’m still polite, he agreed. I was delighted, he gave some good answers. Then, just before the magazine went to print he published it on his website. Fair enough I guess given that they were his words, but then it felt a bit weird as that didn’t normally happen, more traditional for the journalist to publish the piece before the interviewee does.
Turns out, it was good for me that he did break with tradition and publish the interview as it is now pretty much the only place you can read it. However, I guess my wider point is that aside from being able to flex my ego by quoting the sub-head he chose, is that the thing only exists because he chooses to keep it there and not because the original publisher wants it. Once his site goes, so does the interview. Digital is dead quick and dead, quick.
I do love the comments on this piece, naturally, as the comments are open to the great unwashed they are of the highest quality. I especially like the guy who on reading an article titled, and I’m paraphrasing here a touch ‘greatest questions I’ve ever been asked’ both criticise me for my choice of questions and praised HD for his answers as if the two are wholly unrelated.
*Not sure ‘problem’ is the right word, but then neither are any others so I stuck with it, you may sue me later.
** I am 52% certain the interview was also on the MacUser website, but I could be wrong.
***May not have been a billion.