I never intended for this blog to be well read, or influential, or important in any way. I'm just not that smart and not putting that much time into it. It was just a semi-private outlet for ramblings and rumblings inside my head at a time I was feeling particularly unable to influence change in my own work life. If anyone out there in the ether noticed and felt like engaging in conversations about the future of things, that would be fine, too. But that was about the extent of it.
Yet even I have to feel guilty about going this long with the lights off. Sheesh. The truth is I've been working furiously trying to help build an online store. It's something the paper should have done years ago, admittedly. At least it's a project that's leaning forward a bit, though. And one with future revenue potential. (Though maybe not one with much current revenue potential, given the state of the economy.)
In any case, an early version of my efforts are visible at oregonlivestore.com. If things go according to plan, it will grow and evolve in the months ahead.
Which brings me to a point I intended to make in this space weeks ago. One of the legs of the future business model is likely to be that news companies need to be willing to sell -- everything and often. The store is a small and obvious example. The list could also include databases of information we collect and maintain, a speakers' bureau, the licensing of our news for all sorts of purposes, etc.
We should probably attempt to turn a weakness into a strength by leveraging our printing plants into a more full-service print business, too. As the newsprint portion of our business becomes less and less important, we'll have these large and expensive pieces of equipment that increasingly can't pay for their own existence. So hire a division manager to run them like a standalone print business. The newspaper is one client, and an important one, but hardly the only one. Aggressively seek out business that takes advantage of the equipment. Update it, if need be. Be innovative, and grab market share from existing competitors.
I digress. But you get the idea. The era when we were a one-product company is over. The time when we need to have our (business) noses under 50 or 100 different tents is dawning. It's scary, but it's also a helluva lot of fun. So let's stop playing defense and go on offense for a while, eh?