The slow death of printed media … continues …

Numbers coming in from print media circulation numbers are starting to suggest that print media as we’ve come to know it is in trouble. Despite this Google’s about to start selling newspaper advertising. I suspect this is more to increasingly corner the advertising market than because Google is bullish on the future of newspapers.

Despite John Battelle‘s concerns about Google’s algorithms and print ads, I think mathematical analysis of advertising is a very good thing to do all of the time. I may be taking him a bit out of the broader context since he’s always advocated the value of online ads but here’s what he said today that bugged me:

>>> Ads for a specific, community driven audience need to be part of a conversation, not an algorithm >>>

Sheesh! What “need” is John talking about? Although this may be true from the publisher/sales perspective it’s not at all true for a smart advertiser who will want maximum ROI on the advertising dollar.

Historically, advertisers have been too mathematically incompetent and manipulated by sales BS to make good ad decisions. This is all changing (slower than it should, but changing nonetheless) thanks to PPC efficiency plus superior analytical tools, both provided by Google at low cost.

Newspapers and magazines should be very, very worried, because even dense advertisers will finally start to see that most print ad campaigns have negative ROIs* The print media industry has been built on overpriced ads and low paid authors, and things are going to get much, much worse.

* This has been my view for some time based on some of my own studies, but obviously ROI can depend on your definition of “return”. I’m defining it as direct sales rather than some sort of branding “lift” which is a confusing and questionable method for determination of return on advertising investments, but one that is increasingly used because, IMHO, it tends to support the status quo of massive advertising waste on foolish print advertising campaigns run by expensive advertising agencies.

More on this from Dan Blank

The Golden Rule for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches … and Companies?

As anybody who has ever cooked more than a few grilled cheese sandwiches knows very well, it’s VERY easy to burn them. Yet there is a way to make virtually perfect grilled cheeses every time, and it’s a simple “Golden Rule”. Don’t leave the pan unattended. If you simply stand by your pan and keep tabs on the process for the 4-5 total minutes it will take to complete the process it is very hard to burn the thing – just keep checking every 10 seconds or so until you have a golden brown, gently melted, cheddar or american, taste sensation of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Companies too?   I’ve noted that restaurants often go downhill at the point where the owner stops keeping tabs on the day to day activities, and I noted the comments of Venture Capitalist Rick Segal at Startup Camp suggesting that one of the worst things that can happen to a new company is when the founders start to view themselves as “employees” which can happen as venture money, and the resulting obligations, start to change the company culture.  He also talked about the importance of keeping those founders involved *as founders* so that the intellectual and emotional investment in the success of the venture is not tarnished by the new venture relationship.

Grilled Cheese Virgin Mary

Of course if you follow the Golden Rule of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Companies AND get a bit lucky you might even create a Mother Mary Grilled Cheese and sell it to GoldenPalace Casino via Ebay for $28,000 as happened with the one pictured above.