The Architect of Innovative Publishing
Technology is fundamentally transforming publishing. From generating ideas to packaging information to delivering products and beyond, everything is changing. Tim O’Reilly, the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, the renowned Silicon Valley-based computer/technology publisher, believes that many publishers are woefully unprepared. His company, one of the leading computer-book publishing companies in the world, is at the forefront of the technologies that have directly shaped publishing of the past, present and future.
When I spoke with O’Reilly, he was getting ready to board a plane to New York City to keynote Google’s “Unbound” conference on Jan. 18. The conference was billed as “a day for examining how the book business has changed and how it will continue to evolve.”
Google isn’t the only one knocking down his door for speaking engagements—the company’s founder makes for the perfect expert to talk on the industry’s ongoing evolution. Though sometimes, his cutting-edge insights can be a little challenging for some to follow.
“I spoke recently at The Stanford Publishing Course, and O’Reilly editor Sarah Milstein, who attended, reported back, ‘They loved your talk, but in follow-up conversations during the rest of the week, I realized that many of them didn’t really know what you were talking about,’” he says.
At O’Reilly, the employees tend to be ahead of the curve in their way of thinking, but not so far ahead of the curve that they believe they can do it all alone. This is one of the reasons why they are trying to bridge the gap and help educate others.
“We’re far from always ahead of the curve. But when we are, it’s because of a philosophy that I call ‘watching the Alpha geeks,’” O’Reilly says. “That is, rather than chasing ‘the hot topic du jour,’ we find interesting people, and ask them what they are finding new and interesting.”