I've been thinking a lot lately about the future. I find that so much more actionable than thinking about the past. The problem is, to quote the great wordsmith Yogi Berra, "The future ain't what is used to be."
In my last post, I wrote about—heck, I guaranteed—that XML wasn’t going anywhere. I’m usually not such a big trash talker, but I firmly believe this—mostly because you can use XML to future-proof content, as well as the fact that putting any structured tagging in your content could be leveraged, even if XML goes away. Which it won’t (I know, nice English).
A few years back, I was giving a presentation about all the wonderful things our company was going to be able to do with XML, and that we should get to it. Only thing was, our company was in the midst of being acquired by a major Dutch company that had a pretty strong reputation in their handling of XML (names have been omitted to protect the innocent).
I had a lot of fun last week speaking at the SIIA’s Brown Bag series on a panel called “Beyond the eBook” with a few colleagues, new and old (the relationships, not the people). But there was an interesting element to it that I thought was funny, and would like to share.
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, I quickly became labeled as the “curmudgeon” or “technology cynic” because of a number of factors, all of them self-inflicted. Again, it was all good natured, but my unwillingness to rush out and buy an iPad transformed me into the technology curmudgeon in the room. I absolutely I loved it.
Back during Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, advisor James Carville famously kept a sign in his office that said: “It’s the economy, stupid.” It served to keep the campaign focused, despite the many distractions of the campaign, on an issue that their polling showed mattered MOST to most people. It was an offshoot of the KISS principle: Keep it Simple, Stupid (how come all slogans seem to assume I’m stupid?).
There is no shortage of opinions when it comes to people’s perceptions of “print vs. digital” in the area of information consumption, and books in particular. There are extreme opinions on both sides – print is dead vs. print will never go away – and like a lot of debates, the truth is probably somewhere in between.
I like to think I'm a pretty easy-going guy. I don't usually get mad at too many things, and try to take a reasoned, fact-based approach to issues. But I have to admit, nothing gets my blood boiling quite like the debate over pricing of digital content.
If you believe the hype, everyone on the planet either has or soon will have a Kindle, and if they don't, they will have one of the many competitors coming to market. No one will ever buy a print book again.