David Mathison sold more than 5,000 copies of BE THE MEDIA in less than two weeks using some of the new media tools he details in his book. The former Reuters executive wrote the book to offer solutions to artists, non-profits and anyone else wanting to get the word out about their unique content or product rather than relying on the traditional media. He points out at the beginning of BE THE MEDIA that readers will find no whining in the book.
Q: You tell readers they don’t have an excuse to complain about the media because they can now be the media. Why did you write that?
A: “When I first started writing the book, there were so many books on media consolidation, and I love them, don’t get me wrong. But I feel like you can write only so many of those books before you slit your wrists and light your hair on fire . . . No matter what happens with corporate control, there seems to be this human need to express ourselves, and we’ll find the way to get the message out, no matter what the obstacle. . . . It’s a hopeful book.”
Q: Why are you hopeful?
A: “When I was at Reuters, it costs me $500,000, a team and six months to build something . . . Now it takes less money and fewer people to do the same thing. Everything is becoming easier to create and launch. You don’t have to raise millions of dollars from venture capitalists who then own most of what you do . . . You can have the reach, the immediacy and power of the largest news agencies. It’s a very empowering and hopeful message: anybody can do it.”
Q: You also point out early in the book that this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. What prompted this?
A: “The question is why are we continuing as artists, journalists and musicians to drag these old business models onto the Internet that don’t work, but we’re ignoring entrepreneurs on the Internet already doing this and making millions of dollars? . . . I wanted to state upfront that it’s not that easy and it’s a lot of hard work. And the problem is that we’re all competing against each other . . . First, you have to have quality content, a great message; and No. 2, you have to figure out how to be above the fray and get your fans to link to you and buy your stuff. But it’s not all about the money – it’s non-profit, community journalism. I don’t want people to be Rupert Murdochs. There needs to be space for local, non-profit media for voices that aren’t heard.”
Q: We hear a lot about finding the business model that works. What is the model going to be?”
A: “We’re moving from a model of scarcity to a model of abundance. There are only five major media companies, only five book publishers, only a couple of concert promoters – that’s a model of scarcity, and they actually thrive on scarcity. But now we’re in a world of abundance. Just look at YouTube, iPhone, iTunes.”
Q: So if you create it, then will they come?
A: “You have to have good content and awesome fans. The fans are the news managers, they’re the new sales people, the new Best Buy. I’ll take the word of a trusted friend about what music to buy over a $1 million ad campaign. I think it’s always been that way, but now with Facebook, it’s easier to amplify that.”
Q: Will there be a sequel to BE THE MEDIA?
A: “We’re definitely going to come out with part two, and I’m hoping others will help. It will be best practices and case studies. I would love for the next edition to have tons of examples. We’ll have an eight-week BE THE MEDIA webinar. . . . We’ll continue to do the radio show (every Wednesday at 5 p.m.). We’ll be doing it live from We Media, where I’ll be talking with Michael Wolff, Tom Curley and a bunch of other people.”
David will also moderate one of the invention sessions Thursday morning.